9 Short And Sweet Day Trips From Glasgow, Scotland - Updated 2024

best day trips from glasgow
Contributing Writer
| 3 min read

So you’re staying in Glasgow and want to make the most of your time in Scotland? You’ve heard that Scotland is famous for kilts, castles and the loch ness monster, but you’re not quite sure what to do or see first. To make your journey a little easier, here are quick and easy day trips you won’t regret taking. Enjoy!

To make the most of your vacation in Glasgow, consider staying in one of the best castle hotels or Vrbo holiday homes.


Edinburgh is Glasgow’s sister city and the capital of Scotland. Since the city is only an hour away by car you’ll have plenty of time to visit, and Edinburgh boasts a variety of things to do. From castles to extinct volcanos, here are a couple of key places to visit on a day trip from Glasgow. Go for a day and check out both Holyrood Palace and Edinburgh Castle. Perhaps you’ll even have time to climb Arthur’s Seat!

1. Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle
Source: Photo by Flickr user Craig Cormack used under CC BY 2.0

Since Edinburgh is the capital, it also holds two of the countries’ oldest and most important castles. Edinburgh Castle is filled with history, and you can check it out and see the room where Mary Queen of Scots lived, King James was born and many a noble died.

Edinburgh Castle

Address: Castlehill, Edinburgh EH1 2NG, UK

Website: Edinburgh Castle

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2. Palace of Holyrood House

The other beautiful castle in Edinburgh is a little more modern. Holyrood Palace is filled with elaborate tapestries and intricate rooms, but it is only open during the fall and winter months. Why? it’s actually Queen Elizabeth’s Summer Vacation Home! And as a result, all princes and princesses in your family are bound to love it.

Palace of Holyrood House

Address: Canongate, Edinburgh EH8 8DX, UK

Website: Palace of Holyrood House

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3. Arthur’s Seat

Arthur's Seat
Source: Photo by Flickr user Magnus Hagdorn used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Another one of Scotland’s most famous attractions is the lovely Arthur’s Seat hike in the middle of Edinburgh City. Rain or shine Arthur’s Seat is a magnificent and relatively gentle hike that’s fun for the whole family. Sit on top of the extinct volcano and marvel at how diverse and beautiful Scotland is.

Arthur’s Seat

Address: Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

Website: Arthur’s Seat

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Nature, lochs and national parks:

Glasgow is also close to quite a few natural wonders. Go see a loch or take some hikes in the highlands of Scotland!

4. Loch Lomond and Trossach's National Park

Glasgow is also close to some major Lochs, the nearest being Loch Lomond. This nearby Loch is only 50 minutes away by car, so there’s lots of time to walk around and explore it’s beautiful and peaceful shores, plus you won’t have to worry about Nessie! Also, once you’re done walking around the loch enjoy some climbing, hiking, and even sailing through nature at Trossachs National Park.

Loch Lomond

Address: West Dunbartonshire/Argyll and Bute/Stirling, Scotland

Website: Loch Lomond

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5. Loch Ness and the Highlands (from USD 124.0)

If you are hoping to see Nessie on your trip to Scotland, book a day trip from Glasgow to Loch Ness and see a bit of the Highlands of Scotland while you’re at it. The Highlands are absolutely beautiful, and bus trips from the city center run for most of the year. Try this full day tour!

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Scottish Highlands, Glencoe, and Loch Ness Tour from Glasgow

Duration: 12 hours

1095 reviews

6. Isle of Arran

Scotland, Isle of Arran, Blackwaterfoot (3)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Vincent van Zeijst used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Another beautiful piece of Scotland that is easily accessible from Glasgow is the Isle of Arran. This gorgeous island has pebble beaches and ancient rock formations, perfect for living out all your Brave fantasies. Take a Ferry to the Isle and explore to your heart’s content.

Isle of Arran

Address: Brodick, Isle of Arran KA27 8AY, United Kingdom

Website: Isle of Arran

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7. Coast of Aryshire (from USD 123.0)

Ayrshire Coast
Source: Pixabay

Another postcard-worthy area is the Ayrshire Coast. This area is the birth Region of Robert Burns, and it’s easy to see how it could inspire a poet. Everything, from the quaint fishing towns to the majestic rolling hills to the crumbling castles, is incredibly picturesque and waiting to be explored. For an easy and exhaustive experience, try taking a bus tour through the coast and surrounding area, and maybe brush up on your Robert Burns knowledge.

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Ayrshire Coast from Glasgow with Robert Burns Country and More

Duration: 8 hours

101 reviews

8. Stirling Castle

Stirling Castle
Source: Photo by user Stirling Council used under CC BY 2.0

Sheep aren’t the only things Scotland has in abundance. All kinds of castles (some in ruins, others fully furnished and still lived in) are scattered across the country. Stirling Castle is incredibly close to Glasgow and survived through some of the country’s most important historical and formative battles. Take a tour through the castle and soak up Scotland’s Past.

Stirling Castle

Address: Stirling Castle, Castle Esplanade, Stirling FK8 1EJ, UK

Website: Stirling Castle

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9. Doune Castle

Doune Castle
Source: Photo by user Alasdair used under CC BY 2.0

If history doesn’t interest you, try a day trip to the doors of Doune Castle. For fans of Game of Thrones, Monty Python, and Outlander this castle will be very familiar, as it was used in the filming of all three. The doors of Winterfell may not be as intimidating with a tour guide leading you through them, but the castle is almost all from the late 14th century and is surprisingly intact. It sits on a hill by a forest overlooking an expanse of land and is the perfect place for any lords and ladies to look over their kingdom.

Doune Castle

Address: Doune Castle, Castle Hill, Doune FK16 6EA, UK

Website: Doune Castle

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Grab that backpack

From the Game of Thrones set to the Queen’s Vacation Palace there are plenty of castles, lochs, and hikes to visit when you’re staying in Glasgow, so why not spend a day or ten visiting each one? After all, there are plenty of self-catering accommodations and hotels with spa to accommodate you. Each of the above castles and trails gives you a unique view of Scotland, so grab a backpack and make the most of your time in Scotland by seeing as much of it as you can.

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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Elena Aguirre is a travel writer with Trip101 and a student at UC Berkeley. In the past she has worked on technical, marketing, and creative writing. Favorite pastimes include traveling (of...Read more

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