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There are so many incredible day trips from Edinburgh by Train. In fact, one of the easiest ways to get around Scotland is by using the train that goes throughout the country, and it can get you to some pretty cool places!
Whether you’re looking for Edinburgh day trips by train to places in the great outdoors or you’d rather hit up a small coastal town, this list has got you covered. Each section includes precisely how to get there and the distance, and some fun things to do in the place.
Read on to learn all about the best day trips from Edinburgh by train!
Distance: 1 hour 45 minutes
How to Get There: Take the Scotrail towards Dundee from Edinburgh Waverley Station and get off at Leuchars. Then, take the 94A towards St Andrews and get off at the St Andrews bus station from the station.
First up is one of the best Edinburgh day trips by train, St. Andrews! It only takes slightly less than two hours to get there from Edinburgh, and the drive is pretty scenic along the way, making it the perfect way to spend a day. Plus, St Andrews is one of the best places to visit in Scotland.
As a coastal city in Scotland, St Andrews is a beautiful location known for its history and excellent golf courses. In fact, it’s even home to a museum dedicated to golfing, called the British Golf Museum!
Many people know St Andrews because it’s also home to the University of St Andrews, one of Scotland’s universities dating back to the 1400s. The university itself features gorgeous architecture and outdoor spaces worth exploring.
Other fun things to check out while visiting St Andrews include the St Andrews Cathedral, St Andrews Castle, and even the St Andrews Aquarium.
If you want to make your trip an overnight trip, consider staying at Five Pilmour Place. With mid-range pricing and lots of amenities, this is one of the most popular places to stay in St Andrews! Plus, the rooms are cozy, and it’s a short walk to the Old Course and St Andrews Castle.
Distance: 1 hour 45 minutes
How to Get There: Hop on the ScotRail towards Aberdeen from Edinburgh Waverley. Get off at Dundee!
Another of the best day trips by train from Edinburgh is Dundee, a harbor town on the eastern coast of Scotland with a population of over 150,000. It is home to prominent universities, world-class golf courses, and eclectic art galleries.
There are many things to do in Dundee, Scotland. It has an impressive selection of museums, art galleries, and cafes that are great for the whole family. The town also offers plenty of shopping opportunities on the High Street with many independent shops to explore.
For a fun educational (yet also free) time, head to the V&A Museum in Dundee. The entrance is free, and there are always fun art exhibits inside, like the one in the image above. Often, there are also paid exhibits that circle around a specific topic. I was lucky enough to attend one about video games in 2019!
Other fun things to do in Dundee include visiting the McManus Art Gallery & Museum, Dundee Contemporary Arts, or Verdant Works.
An excellent place to stay in Dundee is the Hotel Indigo Dundee. Average nightly costs are under $100, and it’s in a reasonably central location! There are great amenities like parking, air conditioning, and an on-site restaurant.
Distance: 4 hours
How to Get There: Take the ScotRail towards Dundee from Edinburgh Waverley and get off at Perth. Then, switch to the ScotRail towards Inverness and get off at Inverness. From there, you’ll have to rent a car, go on a tour, or use a local bus to get to Loch Ness.
One of the best day trips from Edinburgh by train is Loch Ness! Many people that visit Scotland want to see the famed Loch Ness Monster, which is said to be right at Loch Ness. While there is no definitive proof that this creature exists, there are many claims of sightings and even photos of it.
Most people visit Urquhart Castle, right at Loch Ness, when visiting. It is said that the castle was the first place the monster was seen back in 565 AD. Today, visitors can take a boat ride out on the loch or hike around the hillsides to try to catch a glimpse of it!
Many tour operators offer tours of the area and local shops where tourists can purchase souvenirs and gifts, so you can easily make your trip to Loch Ness longer if needed.
If you’re looking to stay in the area by Loch Ness, consider spending the night at The Lovat Loch Ness in Fort Augustus. This four-star hotel is usually around $100 per night, so it is super affordable for the value that you get. The rooms are chic, and there’s free breakfast, plus two restaurants right on site.
Distance: 30 minutes
How to Get There: Head to Edinburgh Waverley station and hop on the Scotrail towards Dunblane. Get off on Falkirk Grahamston and enjoy your trip!
Falkirk is a town in Scotland with lots of things to do, plus, it’s right on the water. There are many shops and restaurants and different pubs for any type of drinker. The people are amicable and always helpful if you need directions or need help finding anything.
This gorgeous Scottish town is also perfect for walking or hiking because there are beautiful parks with walking trails that go through them. It’s a great way to spend some time if you’re looking for a getaway from Edinburgh!
Some of the best attractions in Falkirk include the Falkirk Wheel, Callendar House, and the Kelpies. If you’re traveling with children, check out Wonder World Soft Play as well as Sky High Trampolining!
To spend a longer time in Falkirk, book a night at the Orchard Hotel. It’s only a short walk from the Falkirk Grahamston Station and is kid-friendly! Plus, there is complimentary breakfast and wifi.
Distance: 20 minutes
How to Get There: Take the ScotRail from Edinburgh Waverley towards Glasgow Queen Street, get off at Linlithgow.
Linlithgow is one of the top day trips by train from Edinburgh! It might be a small town with a population of about 8,000, but it has many things to do for locals and tourists alike.
The most popular place to visit is the Linlithgow Palace, where Mary Queen of Scots lived before becoming Queen of England. The palace is now a museum and visitor center that takes guests to explore the storied past of this country’s history! Any history fan will love it.
In addition to checking out the palace, other great things to do in Linlithgow include learning at the Linlithgow Museum, seeing the deer at Beecraigs Country Park, and biking along Union Canal.
By far, the best place to stay in Linlithgow is the West Port Hotel! With prices generally under $100 per night, this modern hotel has free breakfast and ample room sizes. Plus, there’s even a gastropub. What’s not to like?
Newcastle Upon Tyne
Distance: 1.5 hours
How to Get There: Hop on the train at Edinburgh Waverley and take the LNER towards London Kings Cross, but get off at Newcastle.
Newcastle-upon-Tyne is the largest city in North East England, located on the River Tyne. It’s one of the best day trips from Edinburgh by train! Newcastle hosts a myriad of things to do, from museums and concerts to shopping districts and sporting events.
The best way to see Newcastle is by foot, as it has many beautiful landmarks that are impossible to miss. One of these attractions is the Tyne Bridge, which was built in 1928 after World War I had ended. This is one of the top landmarks in the city, and it’s impossible to miss because it stretches across the river.
While you should see the Tyne Bridge, there are also other great attractions, like the Living Museum of the North, the Angel of the North, and the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art.
Be sure to book a night’s stay at the Royal Station Hotel if you plan on spending more than a day in Newcastle! This hotel is inside a Victorian building but features modern hotel rooms. Plus, there’s an indoor pool, great dining at a restaurant, and even a spa.
Distance: 25 minutes
How to Get There: Take the Transpennine Express towards Newcastle from Edinburgh Waverley and get off at Dunbar.
For one of the great train trips from Edinburgh Scotland, head to Dunbar.
Dunbar is a small coastal village in the East Lothian region of Scotland. The town has many things to do for visitors and locals alike, such as hiking, exploring, and birdwatching. There are also plenty of eating options available, making it the perfect place to visit for foodies.
When visiting Dunbar, consider stopping at some of the town’s best attractions, like John Muir’s Birthplace, The Fishermen’s Monument, and the Ruins of Tantallon Castle. For some great views, consider also stopping by John Muir Country Park.
To elongate your stay in Dunbar instead of heading back to Edinburgh, book a night’s stay at the Royal Mackintosh Hotel. This 3-star hotel has lavish rooms and even has a great restaurant that features wood pieces from an old historic ship.
Distance: 3 hours
How to Get There: Getting to Loch Lomond by train is no easy feat, but it is possible. Start by taking the ScotRail towards Dunblane from Edinburgh Waverley and get off at Larbert. Then, take the Scotrail towards Glasgow Queen Street and get off at Glasgow Queen Street. After, hop back on the ScotRail but take the one towards Balloch and get off at Balloch. Finally, take the 305 bus towards Luss from Craiglomond Gardens and get off at the Visitor Center Car Park!
Loch Lomond is one of the nicest day trips from Edinburgh to the highlands!
Scotland’s Loch Lomond is a lake located in the Central Highlands of Scotland and is one of the largest freshwater lochs in Great Britain. It is nestled between the towns of Balloch and Drymen and will genuinely take your breath away, especially if you’re looking for incredible natural landscapes in Scotland.
In addition to exploring Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, there are many other great things to do in the area. For instance, you can visit the SEA LIFE Loch Lomond Aquarium, take a ride on the Maid of the Loch, and more.
To fully enjoy the beauty of Loch Lomond, consider staying in the area right at the Loch Lomond Arms Hotel. This 4-star hotel is moderately priced and is inside an old eighteenth-century building. It features tons of terrific amenities, including a bar, prime location, and even air conditioning.
Distance: 20 minutes
How to Get There: Take the ScotRail towards Helensburgh Central from Edinburgh Waverley and get off at Livingston North.
One of the best train routes from Edinburgh is to Livingston. With the stunning mountain views and historical places such as The Livingston Manor House and Middle Hill, you’ll find plenty to see in the area.
The Scottish city of Livingston is a great place to visit, with tons of fun things to do like exploring the Livingston Skate Park, the Almond Valley Heritage Trust, and even the Five Sisters Zoo.
If you’re in the mood to explore some of Scotland’s stunning natural beauty, take a walk along part of the Water of Leith or partake in a guided kayaking trip along the River Almond. As one of the best day trips by train from Edinburgh, there’s quite a bit to do here!
To make your trip to Livingston longer, consider booking a stay at the 3-star Mercure Livingston Hotel, right near some of the best places to visit in the area. Plus, there’s free wifi, an indoor pool, and air conditioning available to all guests.
Distance: 2 hours
How to Get There: To get to Arbroath from Edinburgh, take the ScotRail towards Aberdeen from Edinburgh Waverley and get off at Arbroath.
Arbroath is located close to Aberdeen at the mouth of the North Sea and offers a variety of things for travelers to do during their stay. It’s one of the best Edinburgh day trips by train and has a pretty scenic ride along the way!
This town offers many scenic spots, like the Arbroath Cliffs, which will truly take your breath away. The town has many attractions for visitors, like Arbroath Abbey, which was founded in 1160. Nearby is Alford Garden, with its ancient tree yews and labyrinths.
Other great attractions in the area include the Signal Tower Museum, the Arbroath to Auchmithie Coastal Path, and the West Links Park.
A great affordable place to stay in town is the Townhouse Hotel. It’s less than $100 per night and has free wifi, air conditioning, and even a restaurant. Plus, it’s a quick walk to get to the North Sea, so it’s incredibly central.
Cairngorms National Park
Distance: 4-5 hours
How to Get There: Take the ScotRail toward Aberdeen from Edinburgh Waverley and get off at Aberdeen. Then, take a bus to get to the part of the park that you’d most like to visit.
One of the best day trips from Edinburgh to the highlands is Cairngorms National Park. It’s a bit more challenging to get there, but it’s well worth it. If you can swing it, it’s even better if once you make it out there, you’re able to rent a car so you can visit places like Craigievar Castle and Balmoral Castle in the area.
The Cairngorms National Park consists of the mountains of the Cairngorm Range. The Crown Estate owns much of this area and manages it for outdoor recreation, wildlife, and agriculture.
The park is perfect for hikers, nature lovers, and nature photographers who want to capture these moments in time before they change. Many people even say that it’s one of the best places for hiking in all of the United Kingdom!
To spend more time near the park, book a stay at the Cairngorm Hotel in Aviemore. This 3-star hotel is super nice inside and has great traditional Scotland decor. Plus, it’s top-rated, has an excellent restaurant, and is near public transportation.
Distance: 2 hours
How to Get There: Ride the ScotRail towards Inverness from Edinburgh Waverley and get off at Pitlochry.
One of the best places to visit by train near Edinburgh is the small town of Pitlochry. The town sits at the base of Mount Blair near Scotland’s largest lake, Loch Rannoch.
Pitlochry is often referred to as the “gateway to the Highlands.” The town has a population of just over 3,500. Pitlochry is also home to the stately home Blair Castle where it is possible to take guided tours of the estate, which was once the residence of Queen Elizabeth II’s mother. With so many things to do, you will never be bored!
Other fun places to visit include the Blair Athol Distillery, Loch Faskally, and the Pitlochry Dam Visitor Center.
The Atholl Villa Guest House is the perfect place to stay here if you want to elongate your trip to Pitlochry. This 4-star hotel is a fantastic bed and breakfast with home-cooked breakfast in the morning and free wifi. Plus, prices are relatively affordable per night.
Distance: 30 minutes
How to Get There: To get to North Berwick from Edinburgh, take the ScotRail towards North Berwick from Edinburgh Waverley and get off at North Berwick.
North Berwick is a town in Scotland that can be found on the country’s northeast coast. It’s a popular destination for tourists because it offers many different attractions within a small area.
Visitors will find plenty of opportunities to enjoy renowned golf courses, play a round of tennis, or take a stroll through the beaches and coastal forests that border this seaside town. There are also a variety of surf spots along the coastline, where visitors can go to get some great waves during all seasons.
If you’re looking for a sleepy town in the United Kingdom with plenty of history, North Berwick is the perfect destination. There are also family-friendly activities like bowling, indoor rock climbing, or visiting beautiful gardens.
Don’t forget to stop by the nearby castles too, Tantallon Castle and Dirleton Castle & Gardens!
For a great place to stay, consider booking a night at the No 12 Hotel & Bistro. This 3-star hotel is slightly more expensive than other recommendations on this list, but overall, North Berwick accommodations are a bit pricier. The hotel is close to Dirleton Castle & Gardens, Tantallon Castle, and the Scottish Seabird Center.
Distance: 50 minutes
How to Get There: Take the ScotRail towards Glasgow Queen Streed from Edinburgh Waverley and get off at Glasgow Queen Street! This is a quick, easy ride through Scotland.
If you’re looking for one of the more popular train trips from Edinburgh Scotland, head to Glasgow! It’s the largest city in Scotland and is considered to be one of the most exciting and vibrant cities in the world.
The city is famous for its rich history, amazing shops and attractions, art, and culture, as well as its popular music scene. Glasgow’s buzzing population of 1.3 million people means you’ll never run out of things to do!
Glasgow’s history is marked by textile mills, shipbuilding, railroads, and coal miners. Glasgow is also home to many amazing museums like the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery, and The People’s Palace.
Extend your stay in this lovely city by booking a night or two at the Radisson Blue Hotel! This is the most popular place to stay in Glasgow by far. It’s centrally located, has a restaurant, great breakfast, and even a pool. Plus, the rooms are a great size considering the hotel is in a city.
Distance: 40 minutes
How to Get There: If you want to head to Stirling, take the ScotRail towards Dunblane from Edinburgh Waverley and get off at the Stirling stop.
Last but not least is another of the great train routes from Edinburgh, Stirling! It is a historic and scenic city in Scotland. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or an adventure with friends, there are plenty of things to do in this Scottish city.
Some of the best attractions in Stirling include the Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum, the National Wallace Monument, and the Stirling Old Town Jail. Of course, the star of the show is the Stirling Castle, which overlooks the town and is impossible to miss.
For an incredible experience, book a night at the Golden Lion Hotel while visiting Stirling. The hotel has been welcoming guests for over 200 years and has tons of great ammenities. There are also plenty of restaurants, bars, and shops right next to the hotel to enjoy during your stay.
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