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8 Best Weekend Getaways from Edinburgh


Loch Lomond National Park
Hi, I'm Karen!

Karen is a Scottish freelance travel and culture writer based in the US. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, National Geographic, BBC, and Condé Nast Traveler.

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Hi, I'm Karen!

Karen is a Scottish freelance travel and culture writer based in the US. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, National Geographic, BBC, and Condé Nast Traveler.

see more

From wandering atmospheric medieval wynds and exploring the ancient castle to checking out the art scene and embracing the city’s top-flight nightlife, there’s more than enough to keep you occupied in Edinburgh. But one of the beauties of the Scottish capital is that, from there, you can visit some of Scotland’s other top destinations with ease. Here are just eight convenient weekend getaway options that will give you a fuller experience of Scotland’s scenery, history, and culture.

Rosslyn Chapel

Rosslyn Chapel was made famous by Dan Brown's novels. Photo: essevu / Shutterstock

9 miles (15 kilometers) from Edinburgh

Made infamous by Dan Brown’s book The Da Vinci Code, the 15th-century Rosslyn Chapel is easily visited in just a half-day trip from Edinburgh. Get insights into the rich symbolism hidden in the Gothic chapel’s elaborate stone carvings by booking a tour from Edinburgh. Or, make a longer trip of it on a combination tour that takes you to Hadrian's Wall, Melrose Abbey, and more top locations in the Scottish Borders.

North Berwick

North Berwick is a charming Scottish seaside destination. Photo: Antonio Coppola / Shutterstock

27.5 miles (44 kilometers) from Edinburgh

A sandy stretch of beach draws regular train- and car-loads of Edinburghers east to the seaside town of North Berwick. Wildlife lovers will be interested in North Berwick’s Scottish Seabird Centre and, just offshore, the Bass Rock, home to the world’s largest colony of northern gannets. The imposing cliff-edge ruin of Tantallon Castle is also within reach of the town and included on many day tours from the capital.

Loch Lomond National Park

Loch Lomond National Park is among the best of its kind in Scotland. Photo: Arijeet Bannerjee / Shutterstock

56 miles (90 kilometers) from Edinburgh

The jagged mountains, deep valleys, and mist-shrouded lochs (lakes) of Loch Lomond National Park are a magnet for outdoor adventurers who can explore by foot, kayak, or bicycle. Even if you only have a limited time to make the most of the sprawling park, you can still soak up the highlights on a day tour from Edinburgh—some tours also include stops at such notable sites as Stirling Castle and a whisky distillery.

St. Andrews

St. Andrews is famed for its historic golf course. Photo: Alizada Studios / Shutterstock

52 miles (84 kilometers) from Edinburgh

The genteel north-east coastal town of St. Andrews is famed as the home of Scotland's oldest university and the Old Course, the oldest and most celebrated golf course in the world. But you don’t need to be a student or golfer to enjoy the town’s medieval ruins and white-sand beach. On a day trip from Edinburgh you can see all of St. Andrews’ highlights, as well as one or two of the quaint fishing villages of the East Neuk.

Loch Ness

Loch Ness is a perennial favorite for Edinburgh daytrippers. Photo: Botond Horvath / Shutterstock

169 miles (272 kilometers) from Edinburgh

Deep, dark, and long, Scotland’s infamous (and perhaps monster-inhabited?) loch brims with history and majestic scenery, and it’s within reach from Edinburgh if you have two days to spare. Guided tours from the capital take you on a scenic drive through the Highlands—making stops along the way at Loch Lubnaig and Glencoe—and offer the option of taking a boat ride across the loch upon arrival or just wandering along its atmospheric shores.

Isle of Arran

The Isle of Arran is worth the drive from Edinburgh. Photo: Stefano Bobini / Shutterstock

97 miles (156 kilometers) from Edinburgh

Off Scotland’s southwest coast, kidney-bean shaped Arran is one of the country’s most accessible islands and is famed for offering a “Scotland in miniature” experience. The Highland-Lowland dividing line passes straight through the island, creating a rugged landscape of mountains and glens in the north and a south coast that boasts some wonderful golden beaches. Book a 3-day tour from Edinburgh to enjoy a long weekend on Arran without the hassle of arranging transportation and accommodation.

Speyside

Speyside is a must-visit for whiskey fans in Scotland. Photo: Sophie J / Shutterstock

133 miles (214 kilometers) from Edinburgh

Whisky-lovers need little introduction to the charms of the Highland Speyside region, home to such distilleries as Glenfarclas, Aberlour, and Glenlivet. If whisky-tasting is on the agenda for your Scottish vacation, you’d be best to avoid driving or tackling public transportation. Instead, book a tour from Edinburgh to enjoy a long weekend of sampling some of the best golden nectar produced in Speyside and let your guide take care of all the logistics.

Isle of Skye

The Isle of Skye is one of the best Scottish weekend destinations. Photo: YuriFineart / Shutterstock

227 miles (365 kilometers) from Edinburgh

Up in the northwest corner of the country and dotted with velvet moors, towering mountains, sparkling lochs, and steep sea cliffs, the Isle of Skye is one of Scotland’s most celebrated islands. Thanks to a bridge connecting it to the mainland, it’s quite accessible from Edinburgh—although you’ll need at least a couple of days to spare. A convenient 3-day tour from Edinburgh lets you soak up the island’s scenery and breaks up the trip with stops at such attractions as Loch Ness.

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See all Edinburgh tours
660 tours & tickets
Things to do in Edinburgh
See all things to do in Edinburgh
4 Must-See Edinburgh Neighborhoods and How to Visit
4 Must-See Edinburgh Neighborhoods and How to Visit