Scotland is so much more than the hustle and bustle of Edinburgh and Glasgow. Hike the Glencoe Lochan Trails or explore the best castles in Ayrshire with this article covering the 7 Best Day Trips from Glasgow.
The 7 Best Day Trips from Glasgow
As you might have gathered by now, I am utterly in love with my adopted home town Glasgow.
I mean, how is it possible to not love a city as vibrant, messy, chaotic and colourful as Glasgow? You know, not even the constant rain storms or insanely windy days can even slightly dim my light and love for this city.
But no matter how much I love this city (which, for the record, is way cooler than the more royal and touristy Edinburgh. Sorry, not sorry), I think it’s still rather healthy to occasionally venture out of the city and discover new sights. No matter if you’re visiting Glasgow for the first time or the fifth – I advice you to leave the city behind and explore more of the absolutely awesome experiences that Scotland can offer.
After 3 years of travels within Scotland, I have chosen 7 of my favourite day trips from Glasgow. And I can promise you that they will all give you some absolutely breathtaking views!
Find Tranquility on The Glencoe Lochan Trails
If you’re only in Scotland for a few days, Glencoe is a place you definitely cannot miss out on. If you have ever seen one of those breathtakingly beautiful photos of the Highlands, chances are that photo was taken in the surroundings of beautiful Glencoe.
Hiking enthusiasts will fall for the Glencoe Lochan Trails, a beautiful trail taking you from the dramatic mountains of the Highlands to serene waterlily-covered lakes and lochs. The wildlife in Glencoe is also spectacular, and if you’re lucky you might just stumble upon Scotlands Big Five: the Red Squirrel, the Golden Eagle, the Harbour Seal, the Otter, and the Red Deer.
There are plenty of great Glencoe Walks – if you’re not a hiker you can always stop for photos of the stunning scenery.
Find Magic at the Harry Potter Train Bridge aka the Glenfinnan Viaduct Train
I’m a massive Harry Potter-nerd, and I’m always on the look out for awesome Harry Potter locations around the UK. Luckily, Scotland is filled to the brim with Harry Potter-esque scenery, and my absolute favourite is the Harry Potter Train Bridge – also known under its real name, the Glenfinnan Viaduct. The Bridge is located near Loch Shiel, not far from Inverness, so this is the perfect stop if you have already ticked Glencoe off your bucket list.
But it’s also possible to travel on the train itself! The Jacobite Steam Train, which is its real name, travels between Fort William and Mallaig, and you can book your journey here.
So are you ready to take the Harry Potter train to Hogwarts?
Go Whale Watching in Oban
As you might have gathered by now, Scotland is a paradise for wildlife lovers!
Oban is often considered the capital of West Scotland, and there are plenty of Oban Tours that will take you out (of your comfort zone) and show you the best of Scotland’s wildlife. A visit to Oban will give you plenty of opportunities to see the adorable puffins in West Scotland, but most popular are perhaps the many Whale Watching tours leaving from Oban harbour. You can book your tour here, I’m sure you’ll have a whale of a time!
Are you perhaps more a whisky enthusiast than a wildlife lover? No worries, Oban actually produces some of the best whisky in the world. Perhaps attempting to taste the difference of an Oban 14 vs Macallan 12 will be more up your alley? Yeah, I thought so.
Hike and Relax in Loch Long at Hotel Arrochar
Arrochar is a wee gem situated less than an hours train ride from Glasgow Queen Street Station.
Situated on the beautiful shores of Loch Long, Hotel Arrochar will be the perfect start point for all your weekend shenanigans. I spent some time in Arrochar this spring, and I’m already dreaming of going back. The Arrochar Alps are perfect for those of you who are looking for awesome and breathtaking hiking trails in Scotland, and I highly recommend that you try climbing The Cobbler (Ben Arthur). Evenings in Arrochar should always consist of a delicious dinner and a fine wine at The Village Inn. They also serve the best gin & tonic in Scotland.
Try the Best Fish and Chips in Scotland near the idyllic Waterfront in Anstruther
You probably think I’m exaggerating, but Anstruther Fish Bar has actually won an award for serving the Fish and Chips in Scotland! The Fish Bar is super popular and there’s always a queue for a table – if you want to be served quicker, you can order a takeaway and sit by the beautiful waterfront in Anstruther.
Anstruther is a wee village located near St Andrews, and rumour has it that Prince William once took Kate Middleton on a date to this exact fish bar (they both studied at St Andrews at the time). If fish, chips and princes aren’t really your thing, you can walk along and admire the cute wee streets of Arrochar.
Marvel At The Sight of The Best Castles in Ayrshire
Ayrshire, located in the West Lowlands of Scotland, is the ultimate day trip destination for the history lovers amongst us. Two villages (!) in Ayrshire claim to be the birthplace of Sir William Wallace, the region is also the birthplace of the great Scottish bard Robert Burns, and Mary Queen of Scots visited the region on several occasions.
Furthermore, some of the best castles in Ayrshire are open to the public. One of these, Culzean Castle, makes for an amazing day trip for both history lovers and wildlife lovers. At Culzean, you can explore the castle grounds by taking one of the many hiking trails, you can take a guided castle tour and you can pet the llamas in the Culzean Country Park. You can find all of this just an hour outside of Glasgow!
Enjoy Your Afternoon Tea at Pollok House and Country Park
Ok, so I know that Pollok House and Country Park is technically in Glasgow, but it still is a great place to go in order to escape the hustle and bustle of Glasgow.
This grand and elegant home, once the home of the wealthy Maxwell family, will make you feel as if you walked straight into a Jane Austen novel. Enjoy the vast art collection, relax and unwind with a glass of wine or some Afternoon Tea in the Edwardian Kitchen Cafe, or say hello to the cute cows living in the country park. If you want some more excitement, you can try out their awesome Escape Room Challenge. Read more about Pollok House here.
Pollok might still be in Glasgow, but it will make you feel as if you’re a million miles away…
A Bonus tip: Escape the city and try a yoga festival!
This is a bit of an underdog, guys, but hear me out on this!
In May 2018, Scapa Fest – the UK´s Yoga and Adventure festival, will be held for the first time. The festival will be near the shores of Loch Fyne, Scottish Highlands, and they offer an absolutely awesome lineup with renowned yoga instructors from all over the UK. You can see the full lineup here.
Not a yogi bear (yet)? Don’t worry, Scapa also offers kayaking, sunrise hikes, cacao ceremonies and constellation night walks. It’s basically a really great initiative focusing on weaving together mind-body health, environmental action and outdoor education. It will be great fun, and I hope to meet you there!
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