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13 Best Day Trips From Edinburgh by Train

13 Best Day Trips From Edinburgh by Train

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Are you visiting Edinburgh but might want to add some day trips to your Scotland itinerary? Check out these amazing day trips from Edinburgh by train that are totally worth the effort!
This list of day trips from Edinburgh by train was written by family travel expert Marcie Cheung and contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.

Scotland’s capital is the perfect place for a European city break with tons to see and do.

But it’s also a great base to explore the rest of the country. With well-connected public transport stations and tour companies, it’s super easy to take day trips from Edinburgh without a car.

And if riding the rails is your transport method of choice, you’re in luck! 

There are lots of great day trips from Edinburgh by train.

These are all the most accessible day trips from Edinburgh to Highlands, cities, beach towns, English border towns, medieval castles, and more!

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13 Best Day Trips From Edinburgh by Train

Day Trip from Edinburgh to Stirling

One of the easiest day trips from Edinburgh by train is to the city of Stirling. This is a great place to visit for incredible historical sites!

Image of Stirling Castle in Scotland
Stirling Castle is a popular place to visit in Scotland.

The majestic Stirling Castle sits on a rocky outcrop on the edge of the city and dates back to the 12th century. It has connections to William Wallace, whose National Monument stands across the River Forth in Stirling.

If you’re a fan of Braveheart then it’s one of the top places to visit near Edinburgh for you.

How To Get From Edinburgh to Stirling by Train

Distance: 38.5 miles

From Edinburgh Waverley station, take a direct ScotRail service to Stirling station. These services depart approximately every 30 minutes and take under one hour. Return tickets start from £11.

Edinburgh to North Berwick Day Trip

North Berwick is a picturesque seaside town just south of the Scottish capital and it’s one of the simplest Edinburgh day trips to navigate.

Image of Tantallon Castle in Scotland
Tantallon Castle is a cool place to explore in North Berwick.

You can climb North Berwick Law which is a small hill with views of the town, spend the day on Milsey Bay Beach, or check out Tantallon Castle.

It’s one of the top day trips by train from Edinburgh for nature lovers. Bass Rock, a large offshore island, is one of the most important seabird nesting sites in the country!

How To Get From Edinburgh to North Berwick by Train

Distance: 27.9 miles

From Edinburgh Waverley station, hop on a direct ScotRail train service to North Berwick station. This service departs once an hour and takes just over 30 minutes. Return tickets can cost as little as £6, but £15 is more likely when booked last minute.

Day Trip from Edinburgh to St Andrews

If you don’t mind taking day trips from Edinburgh by bus and train, St Andrews should be at the top of your list. 

There are so many things to do here that it’s impossible to get bored!

Golf St Andrews old course links, fairway and stone bridge on Hole 18. Fife, Scotland, Uk, Europe.
St. Andrews is perfect for golfers.

This coastal city is known for being the birthplace of golf and is home to a prestigious university. St Andrews Castle, West Sands Beach, and a pretty harbor are the best activities to add to your day trip itinerary. 

How To Get From Edinburgh to St Andrews by Train

Distance: 51.5 miles

From Edinburgh Waverley station, catch a direct ScotRail train to Leuchars station which takes around 70 to 75 minutes. From the bus stop at the train station, catch the 99 bus to St Andrews Bus Station which takes around 10 to 15 minutes.

Trains depart approximately every 30 minutes and cost around £15 for a return ticket booked in advance. Bus tickets cost between £2 – £4 for single journeys which you can buy on the bus.

Edinburgh to Glasgow Day Trip

Want to check out more museums, galleries, and shopping malls? One of the best day trips out of Edinburgh, Scotland is to Glasgow. It’s Scotland’s largest city and super easy to get to from the capital.

University of Glasgow, Scotland in a beautiful summer day, United Kingdom
This is the University of Glasgow.

Glasgow’s parks (like Kelvingrove and Pollock Country Park) and museums (like the Science Center and Kelvingrove Art Gallery) are just some places to visit.

How To Get From Edinburgh to Glasgow by Train

Distance: 46.3 miles

From Edinburgh Waverley station, take a direct ScotRail train to Glasgow Queen Street station which takes just under one hour. There are other direct ScotRail services to Glasgow Central station, but these trains take around 90 minutes. 

Both stations are in the city center, so take the shorter train when possible!

Trains depart very frequently; often less than once per 30 minutes. Return train tickets cost £16 on average.

Day Trip from Edinburgh to Linlithgow

A great one-day tour from Edinburgh for history fans is Linlithgow. Not only is it close to the capital, but it’s also home to an important Scottish palace.

Linlithgow Palace in the town of Linlithgow, West Lothian, Scotland. UK
Linlithgow Palace is a popular attraction in West Lothian, Scotland.

Linlithgow Palace was the principal residence for Scottish monarchs during the 15th and 16th centuries. Mary, Queen of Scots was born there! 

Outlander fans might like to visit Linlithgow Palace as it was the filming location for Westworth Prison.

How To Get From Edinburgh to Linlithgow by Train

Distance: 21.1 miles

From Edinburgh Waverley station, hop on a direct ScotRail train to Linlithgow station which is a journey lasting less than 30 minutes. Trains depart very frequently, often every 10 or 20 minutes. The average price of a return train ticket is around £10.

Edinburgh to Queensferry Day Trip

Visiting Queensferry is one of the best things to do outside Edinburgh, especially if you’re short on time. You only need a couple of hours!

Image of the promenade in Queensferry, Scotland.
This is the Forth Rail Bridge in Scotland.

North and South Queensferry are two towns that straddle the Firth of Forth. They’re connected by three bridges, one of which (the Forth Rail Bridge) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

It’s worth visiting to see the bridges, South Queensferry is a cute town with lots of old pubs and ice cream shops.

How To Get From Edinburgh to Queensferry by Train

Distance: 14.6 miles

From Edinburgh Waverley station, catch a direct ScotRail service to North Queensferry station which takes less than 25 minutes. Trains depart every 30 minutes and return tickets start from as little as £6.

Day Trip from Edinburgh to Berwick-Upon-Tweed

Taking day trips from Edinburgh, Scotland to England is 100% possible!

Image of a stone bridge over water in Berwick-Upon-Tweed in Scotland
Don’t miss the Royal Border Bridge.

Berwick-Upon-Tweed was once a Scottish town but was reclaimed by the English in 1482. The Royal Border Bridge, the Ancient Town Walls, and the Berwick Lighthouse are just some of Berwick-Upon-Tweed’s highlights.

How To Get From Edinburgh to Berwick-Upon-Tweed by Train

Distance: 56.7 miles

From Edinburgh Waverley station, take a direct CrossCountry, Transpennine Express, or LNER service to Berwick-upon-Tweed station. These journeys take around 45 to one hour and depart two to three times an hour.

Return train tickets booked in advance can be as little as £15, but you can usually only travel on services run by one train company.

Edinburgh to Alnwick Day Trip

Another of the best day trips from Edinburgh by train to England is Alnwick. This northeastern English town is known for three awesome attractions: the 14th-century Alnwick Castle, the Alnwick Garden, and the Barter Bookshop.

Image of Alnwick Castle in Alnwick in the English county of Northumberland, United Kingdom. It is a location for films and programs.
Alnwick Castle English county of Northumberland, United Kingdom.

Alnwick Castle was one of the main Hogwarts filming locations in the first two Harry Potter movies. You can even take broomstick flying lessons! 

Alnwick Garden is famous for its ‘poison’ garden and Barter Books is one of the largest second-hand bookshops in Britain. 

How To Get From Edinburgh to Alnwick by Train

Distance: 87.1 miles

From Edinburgh Waverley station, hop on a direct CrossCountry, Transpennine Express, or LNER service to Alnmouth station. These services depart approximately every 40 minutes and take about an hour. 

Return tickets can cost anywhere from £15 to £30 or more, so book in advance!

Walk about two minutes to the Curly Lane Bus Station and take the X20 bus to Alnwick Bus Station which should only take between 10 and 15 minutes. Single bus tickets cost £2 and you can pay the driver.

These bus services only depart once an hour, so check the buses and trains align before planning your day trip!

Day Trip from Edinburgh to Loch Lomond

Loch Lomond and the Trossachs is one of two national parks in Scotland and one of the best days out from Edinburgh.

Image of a view of Loch Lomond from the West highland Way in Scotland. A hiker walking on the path down to the lake.
There are lots of trails around Loch Lomond.

You can climb Conic Hill for panoramic views across the park or take a cruise on the Maid of the Loch. 

How To Get From Edinburgh to Loch Lomond by Train

Distance: 70.6 miles

From Edinburgh Waverley station, catch a ScotRail train to Glasgow Queen Street station which takes between 45 – 60 minutes. Change for a ScotRail train to Balloch station which is a journey that takes around 50 minutes.

This entire journey departs every hour, sometimes twice an hour. Return train tickets start from £20 but they can cost much more so book in advance!

Edinburgh to Dundee Day Trip

Dundee isn’t one of the most popular day trips out of Edinburgh, but there’s more to this former industrial city than meets the eye.

Image of The McManus Dundee's Art Gallery & Museum, a Gothic revival building which currently is home to a variety of 19th-20th century Scottish art and local history and cultural exhibits.
The McManus Art Gallery & Museum is another great stop in Dundee.

Visit the brand new, purpose-built V&A museum on Dundee’s waterfront which showcases the best of Scotland’s heritage and innovations. Tour the RRS Discovery, a ship that sailed to the Antarctic on the 1901 British Expedition.

How To Get From Edinburgh to Dundee by Train

Distance: 62.5 miles

From Edinburgh Waverley station, take a direct ScotRail service to Dundee station. This service takes between 75 – 90 minutes and departs approximately once every half an hour. Average return tickets cost around £13.

Day Trip from Edinburgh to Dunfermline

Again, Dunfermline isn’t a popular Edinburgh day trip but you might be convinced to add it to your itinerary once you learn more.

Image of the Abbot House from Dunfermline
This is where Robert the Bruce is buried.

Dunfermline is the birthplace of industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. He donated a lot of money to his former hometown which resulted in Carnegie Hall, Carnegie Library, and the sprawling Pittencrieff Park.

Former Scottish king Robert the Bruce is buried in Dunfermline Abbey which is a beautiful Romanesque church.

How To Get From Edinburgh to Dunfermline by Train

Distance: 17.9 miles

From Edinburgh Waverley station, hop on a direct ScotRail service to Dunfermline Queen Margaret station. This journey is usually less than 40 minutes and trains depart approximately twice an hour. Return tickets start from around £7.

Edinburgh to Pitlochry Day Trip

Scotland is a bigger country than you might think and it’s difficult to take a Highlands day trip from Edinburgh by train. However, visiting Pitlochry is definitely doable!

Image of Loch Tummel in Scotland
Loch Timmel is such a pretty place!

Pitlochry is a pretty mountain town on the edge of the Cairngorms National Park. It’s surrounded by miles of woodland and close to the picturesque Loch Timmel. 

It just might satiate your desire to find day trips from Edinburgh in the Highlands if you’re keen to avoid group day trips or renting a car!

How To Get From Edinburgh to Pitlochry by Train

Distance: 71.2 miles

From Edinburgh Waverley station, catch a direct ScotRail or LNER service to Pitlochry station. These services take around two hours and depart approximately once an hour, but there are more if you’re prepared to change trains at Perth or Stirling.

Return tickets start from £15 but only if booked in advance. ScotRail services are usually cheaper than LNER.

Day Trip from Edinburgh to Falkirk

Finally, the best day trip from Edinburgh to see some unique structures is to the city of Falkirk.

Image of Blackness Castle in Falkirk Scotland
Here’s Blackness Castle.

This small city on the Firth of Forth is the location of The Kelpies and The Falkirk Wheel. The Kelpies are two, 100 ft-tall mythical steel horse heads built just outside of the city to honor Scotland’s folkloric traditions. 

The Falkirk Wheel is an unbelievable feat of engineering. It moves canal boats from two different canal networks, the Forth and Clyde Canal and the Union Canal. It’s the world’s only rotating boat lift!

How To Get From Edinburgh to Falkirk by Train

Distance: 26.5 miles

From Edinburgh Waverley station, take a direct ScotRail or LNER service to Falkirk Grahamston station. These services depart every 30 – 40 minutes, and the journey takes between 30 – 50 minutes. The cost of return tickets starts from £9.

Edinburgh Day Trips FAQs

How do I use the Scottish rail system for day trips from Edinburgh?

Purchase tickets online in advance or at the station. Consider a ScotRail pass for multiple trips. Trains are frequent, but check schedules on the ScotRail website or app for specific times and routes.

Can you visit the Highlands on a day trip from Edinburgh by train?

Yes, but it’s a longer journey. Destinations like Pitlochry or Aviemore can be reached by train and offer a taste of the Highlands. For iconic spots like Loch Ness or Glencoe, consider a guided tour for convenience.

Are there any castle day trips from Edinburgh by train?

Absolutely. Stirling Castle is easily accessible by train. Another option is Linlithgow Palace, birthplace of Mary, Queen of Scots, which is a short train ride away.

What coastal towns can I visit from Edinburgh by train?

North Berwick is a popular choice for its beaches, seabird center, and quaint town atmosphere. South Queensferry, although closer and not requiring a train, is reachable by bus or train and offers stunning views of the Forth Bridges.

Is it expensive to take day trips from Edinburgh by train?

Costs can vary depending on the destination and how far in advance you book. Traveling off-peak and booking in advance can save money. Group or family tickets and rail passes may offer additional savings.

What’s the easiest way to find train times and prices for day trips from Edinburgh?

The ScotRail website or the National Rail Enquiries website are the best resources for train times and prices. The Trainline app is also a convenient tool for planning and purchasing tickets.

Can I do a day trip to the Isle of Skye from Edinburgh by train?

While Skye is too far for a practical train day trip from Edinburgh, you can take a train to Mallaig and then a ferry to Skye, but this would be better suited for an overnight stay due to the travel time.

Day Trips From Edinburgh by Train Wrap-Up

From lively cities to historic towns, those are all the best day trips from Edinburgh by train!

Taking day trips from Edinburgh by car might give you more options. Booking spots on the best day tours from Edinburgh might mean you’ll see more places without driving.

But Edinburgh day trips by train can be more cost-effective and allow you to move at your own pace.

Plus, you get a more local experience and have an opportunity to explore Scotland (or England) beyond the well-trodden routes!

Looking for more Scotland travel resources? Check out Planning a Trip to Scotland: Step-by-Step Guide, 13 Best Day Trips From Glasgow by Train, How to Spend 5 Days in Edinburgh with Kids in the Summer, Edinburgh vs Dublin, How to Plan a Budget-Friendly Photo Shoot in Edinburgh, Scotland, 23 Enticing Things to do with Kids in Edinburgh, Best Harry Potter Places in Scotland Worth Visiting, How to Spend 4 Days in the Scotland Highlands, and 9 Best Edinburgh Hotels for Families Worth Booking!

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