Escape the city for a day to enjoy history, art, wildlife, the beach or just relaxing in the sunshine watching the world go by, glass of wine in hand, with our ideas for Edinburgh day trips.
Dating back to the 17th century, ‘Scotland’s finest stately home’ is a chance to see the grandeur in which the upper classes lived during the Georgian era.
The interior of Hopetoun, which is furnished with fine tapestries, carpets, antique and paintings, has changed little over the centuries. Daily guided tours, included in the prices of admission tickets, offer a fascinating insight into the history behind the magnificent house and, with no roped off areas, visitors are positively encouraged to take a closer look into the wonderful furnishings (including lying on a rug to get a better view of intricate plasterwork ceilings).
Hopetoun House runs events throughout the year and these can be found at: Hopetoun Events
Opening Times: Daily from 10:30 – 17:00 with last entry at 16:00.
Opening Dates: Mid April to near the end of September (check website for details). Group bookings can be made year round on 0131 331 2451.
A former Royal Burgh, the gentle seaside town of North Berwick is the perfect antidote to the bustling streets of the city centre during the summer months.
Activities in and around North Berwick include boat trips, a visit to Dirleton Castle or Tantallon Castle and golf (some of these require your own transport). We prefer to relax at the Lobster Shack on the harbour wall and enjoy the freshest of lobster, crab, line caught mackerel or sea bass with a portion of delicious chips, salad and a glass of wine before meandering along the beach or sitting outside one of the local pubs.
A regular train service operates from Waverley Station, but make sure you check the schedule for the last train back to Edinburgh as it’s surprisingly early.
Address: Signposted from the A1, north and south.
Website: Visit North Berwick
Set within the 80 acre estate of Bonnington House, Jupiter Artland is a sculpture park with indoor gallery spaces around 10 miles outside Edinburgh where a trail takes you through woodland and parkland admiring art installations along the way.
Established in 1999 by Robert and Nicky Wilson, Jupiter Artland was shortlisted for the Museum of the Year award in 2016, and although there’s a wonderful collection of art, you don’t actually need to be an art lover to enjoy a day out there.
The gentle trail is peppered with installations as you meander through woodland before emerging at Charles Jencks’s Cells of Life (pictured above), where you can simply sit and relax before continuing on on to the peaceful tinkling bells of Christian Boltanski’s Animitas and beyond.
Opening Times: 10:00 – 17:00 everyday in July and August, closed on Mondays, Tuesday and Wednesdays on other days.
Opening Dates: Early May until early October (check website for details).
Founded by the 1st Earl of Caithness as the Collegiate Church of St Matthew, Rosslyn Chapel, just outside the Edinburgh by-pass, was constructed as a Catholic collegiate church in the mid 15th Century and has recently been shrouded in theories regarding the Knights Templar and the Holy Grail.
The chapel is built on fourteen pillars creating a series of towering arches on three sides of the nave. Nearly every surface of the chapel is covered in ornate stonework, most of which has explanations in biblical stories or paganism, but some of which remains a mystery.
There are regular guides tours of the chapel throughout the day and illustrated information sheets for those who’d rather wonder around on their own.
Opening Times: June – August 09:30 – 18:00, Sundays 12:00 – 16.45; Sept – Dec 09:30 – 17:00, Sundays 12:00 – 16:45; May – January 09:30 – 17:00, Sundays 12:00 – 16:45.
Opening Dates: Year round except 24, 25 and 31 December and 1 January.
Address: Chapel Loan, Roslin, Midlothian, EH25 9PU
Telephone: +44 (0)131 440 2159
Website: Rosslyn Chapel
Blair Drummond Safari Park
Blair Drummond Safari and Adventure, set in 120 acres of grounds near Stirling, has drive-through animal reserves, a boat safari, petting zoo, amusements and a children’s play area.
Lions, zebras, rhinos, monkeys and camels are amongst the animals in the drive-through reserves, whilst other animals, such as lemurs, otters, penguins and sea lions can be visited on foot.
If you’re taking children, they can let off steam in the adventure play area before visiting the petting area, having their faces painted or taking a boat ride to chimp island.
One of the picnic areas has a bank of barbecues as well as picnic tables with built in benches. There’s also a cafe , as well as a cafe, restaurant and bar.
Opening Times: 10:00 – 17:30pm daily with last admissions at 16:30.
Opening Dates: Mid March to the end of October (check website for details).
Address: Blair Drummond, Stirling FK9 4UR
Telephone: 01786 841456
Website: Blair Drummond Safari and Adventure Park
IF YOU’D LIKED OUR PIECE ON EDINBURGH DAY TRIPS YOU MIGHT LIKE: