Edinburgh is one of my favourite cities to live in, and visit. It also makes a great base for exploring the surrounding areas! If you are looking for a day trip from Edinburgh here are 5 of my favourites.
Linlithgow – Royal Palaces, boat trips and loch side strolls
The royal burgh of Linlithgow lies 20 miles west of Edinburgh and is a bustling little town complete with its own palace and loch to explore. On the historic high street sits the recently refurbished Burgh Halls as well as lots of local shops. To the south of the town centre is the Union Canal on which you can take a boat trip either through the town or over the nearby aqueducts. A visit to Linlithgow is one of my favourite Edinburgh day trips!
- Visit: Explore the ruined Linlithgow Palace (Historic Scotland) and the pretty Linlithgow Canal Centre.
- Walk: Take a walk around Linlithgow Loch (2.25miles)
- Eat at: There is a huge choice of cafes and restaurants in Linlithgow, whatever your budget!
- Get there: Drive – 45 minutes west of Edinburgh. Direct 15 minutes train to Linlithgow station. Book your train tickets with trainline.com*.
- Make it a weekend: Stay at – The Wee Upside Down House*, Honeysuckle Cottage*, The West Port Hotel*
Melrose – Abbeys, Abbotsford and Scott
The opening of a Borders rail line has made the Scottish Borders towns more easily accessible from Edinburgh. Melrose is my favourite; it has small town charm, a beautiful setting and more history than you can handle. It is home to one of the Scottish Border’s four famous Abbeys and Abbotsford, the home of Sir Walter Scott is nearby. Take time to wander around the galleries and traditional shops (there is a great vintage shop!) and relax in the friendly Scottish Borders way of life.
- Visit: Melrose Abbey (Historic Scotland) and the stunning Abbotsford in Tweedbank.
- Walk: Explore Melrose and the River Tweed (3.5miles)
- Eat at: Good pub food at Burts Hotel or the Abbey wine shop hides a cafe at the rear.
- Get there: Drive – 1 hour south of Edinburgh. Borders Railway train to Tweedbank and then catch the First Bus number X62, or it is a 40 min walk from Tweedbank to Melrose. Book your train tickets with trainline.com*.
- Make it a weekend: Stay at Aikwood tower, the Dryburgh Abbey Hotel* or Burt’s Hotel*, Melrose
North Berwick – beaches, lobster dinner and seabirds
North Berwick is East Lothian’s proper old-fashioned seaside resort. With two town beaches, a seabird centre, a harbour for boat trips out to the Forth estuary islands, fish & chips and plenty of galleries and shops to wander around it has all the beach town charm you could wish for. North Berwick is where my now husband and I had our first date, and it will always hold a special place in my heart.
- Visit: The Scottish Seabird Centre where you can see the birds on Bass Rock through the telescope and cameras.
- Walk: Climb North Berwick Law for incredible views (4.25miles)
- Eat: at the Lobster Shack for some of the best fresh Scottish seafood money can buy, eaten right on the harbour wall. They even serve champagne! Great coffee is available at Steampunk behind the high street.
- Get there: Drive – 45mins east of Edinburgh. Direct train to North Berwick. Book your train tickets with trainline.com*.
- Make it a weekend: Stay at Beach Cottage*, Seapink Cottage*, Wee Windy guesthouse*, Cockleshell Cottage* or the Nether Abbey Hotel*.
Read more – how to visit North Berwick
Culross – Outlander tales and a Royal Burgh
The pretty village of Culross in the south-west coast of Fife is one of Scotland’s best preserved medieval villages. Thanks to the National Trust for Scotland you can step back into the 17th Century to explore both real and fictional history (it is the village of Cranesmuir in Outlander) between its cobbled streets.
Don’t miss the frankly fascinating and incredibly well-preserved Culross Palace. If you have a car, you can make this a circular trip, driving across the Forth Road Bridge and the Kincardine Bridges and visiting Blackness Castle.
- Visit: Culross Palace with its fantastic interiors (National Trust for Scotland)
- Walk: the Culross Heritage Walk (2.5 miles)
- Eat at: The Red Lion Inn or the Biscuit Cafe (above the Pottery Shop)
- Get there: Drive – 50mins north of Edinburgh or catch the train to Dunfermline (book your train tickets with trainline.com*) and then Stagecoach bus nos 71, 74 and 78.
- Make it a weekend: stay at Coorie by the Coast in Limekilns*, Tanhouse Studio*, or Old Inzievar*.
Read more – How to visit Culross
St Abbs – Nature reserves and crab sarnies
The Scottish Borders coastal village of St Abbs is a thriving fishing harbour, providing a home for six lobster boats who bring in daily catches of lobster and local edible crabs known as Poos! With a nature reserve offering up spectacular cliffside walks and seabirds galore, it is a great stopping point if you are heading north or the perfect distance for a day trip from Edinburgh.
- Walk: St Abbs Head Nature Reserve (hopefully it will be a sunny day!)
- Eat at: Ebb Carrs Cafe for crab sandwiches.
- Get there: Drive – 1 hour east of Edinburgh. Perryman’s buses no. 253 runs from Edinburgh, the 235 from Berwick.
- Make it a weekend: stay at the Allanton Inn*, for great local food and real ale, The Ships Quarters* Eyemouth and Chirnside Hall*
- Read more – how to visit St Abbs
Love from, Scotland x
I’m Kate – a travel writer and photographer living in Scotland. Love, From Scotland is the Scotland travel guide that shows you where to stay and how to get outside in Scotland.