Discover Hidden Gems of Edinburgh: Day Trips by Rail

Beyond Edinburgh International Festival

Edinburgh, with its vibrant cultural scene and captivating charm, attracts half a million visitors to the Edinburgh International Festival each year. Absorbed by the city’s cultural smörgåsbord, many visitors overlook the opportunity to explore the scenic wonders just beyond its borders. As the capital of one of the most beautiful countries in the world, Scotland, Edinburgh offers easy access to stunning scenery on day trips. Here are three delicious transit-accessible suggestions promising mountain hikes, wildlife encounters, and serene lakes.

Coastal spells in East Lothian

Explore the scenic southern shores of the Firth of Forth in East Lothian, where the idyllic town of North Berwick awaits. This quintessential Scottish seaside town has two vast golden sandy beaches, ideal for swimming and relaxing.Be sure to feast on delicious seafood and fish and chips at the Lobster Shack in the charming harbour.

A short boat trip from North Berwick takes you to Bass Rock, celebrated as ‘one of the wildlife wonders of the world’ by Sir David Attenborough. In summer, this extinct volcano becomes a sanctuary for up to 150,000 nesting gannets, as well as guillemots, razorbills, cormorants, puffins and gulls. Prepare to be overwhelmed by the sights and sounds of these majestic birds in their natural habitat. The interactive Scottish Seabird Center enhances the experience with zoom-in cameras and telescopes for a closer view of birds.

Explore further east to find the half-ruined Tantallon Castle perched on the edge of a cliff. This 14th century red sandstone fortress offers panoramic views over the Firth of Forth and delves into its historic past.

History and hiking: Stirling and Dumyat Hill

While the real treasures of mountain hiking in the Highlands can take longer, the region around Stirling offers a taste of the beauty of the Scottish Highlands. Dumyat (Dùn Mhèad in Gaelic), although only 418 meters high, stands proudly on the western edge of the Ochil Hills, offering great views with a manageable hike.

The summit can be reached via a good path, avoiding steep slopes, making it an ideal choice for beginners and families.This scenic route is dotted with sheepfolds and offers views of Ochils, Fife, Stirling Castle, the Wallace Monument and other majestic hills.

Stirling itself is a charming medieval town with cobbled streets and historic buildings. Its Renaissance-style castle, which rivals that of Edinburgh, offers a more intimate experience with fewer visitors. For history buffs, the Battle of Bannockburn experience is a must, offering immersive 3D technology that allows visitors to commandeer a virtual battlefield and relive the defining moment in Scottish history.

Cities and cycling: Glasgow and Loch Lomond

Glasgow, a separate city from Edinburgh, is only an hour away by train. For cycling enthusiasts, Loch Lomond is a rewarding destination, accessible from Glasgow via a flat and easy route. Consider an e-bike for this longer trip, ensuring an enjoyable day trip. Cycle along the well-marked path, following the Clyde and Forth and the Clyde Canal, through post-industrial Glasgow before reaching the picturesque Leven Valley.

Balloch, a small town, marks the gateway to Loch Lomond, Scotland’s largest loch and gateway to the Highlands. Take a boat trip to the small islands that lie on the Highlands Boundary Rift, which separates the Highlands from the Lowlands.Embrace the rugged landscape and immerse yourself in ‘the real Scotland’.

This month Glasgow hosts the inaugural UCI Cycling World Championships, a momentous event encompassing everything from track and BMX to road and mountain biking. Spectators can enjoy racing in the Glasgow Velodome and BMX in Glentress Forest, just 25 miles south of Edinburgh. The men’s elite road race begins in Edinburgh, a thrilling experience that begins at Arthur’s Seat and runs through the Royal Mile, culminating at Edinburgh Castle.

By admin