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Side Trips from Edinburgh & Glasgow

The areas around Glasgow and Edinburgh are some of the richest in sightings and history in entire Scotland. If you’re looking for more information about the side trips that you can take from these two cities, then you’re in luck. We’ve gathered an impressive collection of landmarks that would do for an entertaining, and full of experience day trip.

Both Edinburgh and Glasgow are located in the so-called Central Belt, which is essentially Central Scotland. Our selection of day trips are located to the North of the two cities and are suitable for a night stop. The actual commute to all locations is easy, especially by car. You can either rent one or hire a taxi that will take you there. If you’re travelling with a larger group, perhaps it will be best if you hire a minibus and driver. This is why many taxi companies serve the areas in order to provide an effortless way for travellers to reach the famous destinations. Of course, it’s best to rent a car and travel at your will, but this may come a tad bit expensive for some of the budget travellers. Nevertheless, the landmarks mentioned are not to be missed, even if you are a local.

Without further ado, here are the must-see day trips from Glasgow or Edinburgh.

Stirling

Stirling Castle is probably the most popular day trip from Edinburgh or Glasgow and it’s well worth visiting even if you’ve already seen the Edinburgh Castle. We mention that because some people prefer to have a variety on their travels, so they avoid visiting sightings that are too similar. However, you will do best not to miss this famous castle. It takes around 40 minutes by car if you travel from Glasgow, and an hour if you’re headed from Edinburgh.

The castle itself is a complex, containing different sights within it: The Great Hall, The Stirling Heads Gallery, the kitchens where you’ll learn about the food that was needed to feed the castle’s population back in the years. Stirling Castle was very important because it was the only place from which you could travel from the lowlands to the highlands. In the past, you would say that whoever holds Stirling, holds Scotland. 

North of the Forth 

The reason why you can’t just go north and why Stirling Castle is so important is because the way is cut off by a body of water – the estuary called Firth of Forth. There are several places located north of the Forth worth your visit:

  • Culross – If travelling by car, a good first stop north of Edinburgh is Culross Palace – a medieval royal burg – it means that the palace itself is actually a house. It belonged to a rich industrialist, so you get to see what his life and home were like. The town itself also has a beautiful market square that you can check. An interesting fact is that some of the Outlander episodes were filmed here. 
  • St. Andrews – A bit further north of Edinburgh, St. Andrews is famous for being the home of golf. It was the epicentre of the Scottish reformation. If you’re a golf fan, you should definitely stop by and check this location. You might not be able to play on the famous old golf course but there are plenty of other golf courses in the area. You can enjoy the golf museum and learn a lot about the history of the sport. Non-golfers can enjoy the beautiful beaches or explore cathedral ruins. 
  • Dundee – It’s a small city which you should visit for many reasons. For one, there’s the RRS Discovery ship which was an arctic exploring vessel. It was built and is currently docked at the town. It was used by Robert Falcon Scott and Ernest Shackleton to explore the Antarctic. Adjacent to that is the new Victoria and Albert Museum of Design. There’s one in London and now there’s one in Dundee because the city is known for its contribution to design. Dundee was also an industrial powerhouse similar to Glasgow with jute as the primary goods that were made here. 
  • Dunkeld – Dunkeld is one of the picturesque small towns in Scotland. It’s reachable by car or train. Here you’ll see a beautiful arched stone bridge that goes over the river and was built by the famous Scottish engineer Thomas Telford. It is just a lovely place to wander around, check up the shops, pubs and have lunch by the river. It also has some cathedral ruins that you can check. Dunkeld is located in a Scottish area called Perthshire which is famous for its big trees. For travellers, this means that it’s a great place to go hiking or hill walking. A popular walk just outside Dunkeld is called Hermitage. It is an easy and beautiful path, perfect for taking nature photos. 
  • Kenmore  – The village of Kenmore is a small, quaint place in which you can stay for the night. It’s tiny but beautifully situated on a lake Loch Tay. A must-see sight here is the Crannog Centre which is basically a fortified dwelling that would have been inhabited back in the iron age. There are many similar constructions all over Scotland, but this one was thoughtfully reconstructed using the same building methods and materials that would have been used all those years ago. It’s a museum, so you can actually go inside and check it out.

In the area are a lot of whiskey distilleries, which is normal for most regions in Scotland. This is not the only place where you can go to a distillery but it’s a nice option if you’re short on time and still want to see some while in Glasgow or Edinburgh. Usually, you can get a tour of the distillery which comes with tasting at the end.