Here are five unforgettable day trips you can do from Edinburgh without a car
For everyone who thinks going to Portobello is a day trip x
Edinburgh, with its Royal Mile, closes, rolling hills and castle, what more could you ask for? The answer is a lot, a lot more. As undeniably gorgeous Edinburgh is, there’s more to Scotland than the capital, but without a car, it can be difficult to make these core memory trips happen. The vast amounts of trains, buses, trams and more coming in and out of Edinburgh can get you from here to the other side of Scotland within the hour, so why not have a fun day out exploring the rest of this gorgeous country?
Train | Edinburgh Waverley to Stirling | 40 mins
Just a quick train ride away, Stirling offers an even more dramatic slice of Scottish history. Stirling Castle, perched on a volcanic rock (this feels like a running theme), has been a focal point during major events throughout Scotland very long history. It’s almost like a smaller, quieter, more scenic Edinburgh.
The city not only offers the the cobblestones and castles Edinburgh does, but a surplus amount of hills worth hiking, and forests worth exploring – and the Wallace Monument is a must.
Train | Edinburgh Waverley to Leuchars Station | 50 mins + 10-minute bus ride to St Andrews
St Andrews is more than just the home of the United States’ very own Scottish colony – looking at you, St Andrews students – it’s a historic gem with cobbled streets, a stunning university (Scotland’s oldest), and the ruins of a cathedral that lend an eerie yet beautiful air to the town.
You can walk along the same streets as Prince William did during his university days, soak up the atmosphere in quaint cafes, or visit the famous Old Course (pretty sure Donald Trump golfed here). And don’t miss Portobello’s stunning sister, West Sands Beach, which offers a long stretch of sand and stunning views, especially at sunset.
Train | Edinburgh Waverley to Glasgow Queen Street | 50 mins
Scotland’s largest city, Glasgow, is a must-visit for its vibrant cultural scene. The city is a haven for shopaholics, foodies, and art enthusiasts alike. You can explore the impressive Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, the modern Riverside Museum of Transport, or delve into Glasgow’s famous nightlife if you’d like to switch this day trip into a night trip.
You can’t miss the West End of Glasgow, this is by far the coolest part of Glasgow, home to Glasgow University, middle class mothers and some of the best bars and restaurants in the city, as well as the beautiful Botanic Gardens – it’s a must see.
Train | Edinburgh Waverley to Pitlochry | 1 hr 40 mins
A bit further afield, Pitlochry is nestled in the heart of Scotland and offers a picturesque escape with a Victorian charm. It’s a gateway to the Scottish Highlands and famous for its salmon ladder, where you can watch fish leap upstream – since when is that a thing?
There’s also the Enchanted Forest, an annual light show that transforms the nearby Faskally Wood into a magical experience every autumn, or if you’d rather just drink, don’t miss the chance to visit one of the many local distilleries.
Train | Edinburgh Waverley to North Berwick | 30 mins
If you’re after a seaside escape, North Berwick is a charming coastal town just a short train ride away. Enjoy the fresh sea air, stroll along the beaches, and take in the views of the Bass Rock, a haven for seabirds including the world’s largest colony of Northern gannets.
The Scottish Seabird Centre here offers boat trips around the rock and an interactive experience focused on wildlife conservation.
Whether you’re looking for history, culture, shopping, or just stunning scenery, Scotland’s excellent public transport links mean you can explore all these places from Edinburgh without needing a car. Just hop on a train and start your next adventure. Remember to check the latest travel advice and train schedules ahead of your journey, as times can change seasonally.