With its stark architecture, Edinburgh in winter is delicious. But if you want to get out of the city, here are some day trip ideas.

Glasgow

Glasgow deserves a trip of its own, but if you can’t spare the time, it’s definitely worth a day trip – it’s only an hour away from Edinburgh by train. It’s less of a rarefied place than Edinburgh, but since its stint as European Capital of Culture in 1990, it’s been on an unstoppable rise.

Loch Ness

At 150 miles from Edinburgh, Loch Ness is just about doable in a day trip but the long drive will be worth it – for the drive through the Highlands as well as anything else. Even if you don’t catch a glimpse of the monster, the loch is still a beautiful place, so it’s well worth the journey. Just remember to keep your camera on standby in case Nessie makes an appearance!

Fife

Fife may not mean much to you outside being a place name-checked in Macbeth, but these days it’s all about the shark diving. Yes, you read correctly – it’s not in open water, though, but in the Deep Sea World aquarium in Fife. You dive with sand tiger sharks, and they’re officially deemed harmless enough to not need cages. So it’s just you and them in the water. Enjoy!

Forth Bridge

The Forth Bridge isn’t just for architecture buffs – as the gateway to the Highlands, it’s one of the most beautiful sights you’ll see close to the capital (it’s only 10 miles out of Edinburgh). It’s only 1.5 miles long, but it’s a national landmark (and even has a saying taking inspiration from the fact that it’s permanently being painted). Go in a train and you’ll get to cross it; if you’re in a car, you’ll go along the Forth Road Bridge.

Inchcolm Island

An island in the Firth of Forth, and a battleground in the Scottish wars of independence, nowadays Inchcolm is best known for its 13th century Augustinian abbey. Not only is it the most complete monastery left in Scotland, but the island is also home to colonies of seagulls, fulmars and seals. It’s as far as you’ll get from the city without a long journey.

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