8 Best Day Trips From Edinburgh Without A Car

8 Best Day Trips From Edinburgh Without A Car

Are you planning a trip to the enthusiastic Edinburgh? How about going for a few magical day trips from Edinburgh without a car and making your tour more adventurous and exciting? 

Sounds thrilling, nah? Just to let you know, Edinburgh offers an enormous range of amusing no-car things to do, and we’re sure you’ll be amazed to explore each of them. 

Day Trips From Edinburgh Without A Car

And to help you with that, we’ve come up with our free travel guide so that you can make your excursion even more cost-savvy and happening! So without further delay, let’s dig in! 

1. North Berwick

So before I introduce you to this beautiful no-car day trip from Edinburgh, don’t you think you should know about some of the car alternatives in Edinburgh? Of course, you should so take a look at the following:

1. Public Bus

2. Cabs and Taxis

3. Train

4. Uber

5. Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour

6. Edinburgh Trams

7. Cycling (Edinburgh has energetic cycling routes)

8. Walking

9. Cruises

Only by taking a 30-minute Edinburgh Waverley train ride can you reach this seaside beauty without even giving a damn about cars! 

From the buzzing of glowing golden beach sands to the nearby art relics centers, the calming sound of the water splashes from the boat tours, beach-side picnic spots, galleries, cafes, award-winning gardens, unique bird sight, the Bass Rock with birds like Terns, Razorbills, and of course the beauty of the serene turquoise sea makes this place a perfect spot for a soothing day trip

This impressive seaside coastal town isn’t only for nature lovers; it also has stunning activities for adventure enthusiasts! So if you’re an adventure junkie, remember to climb up the pinnacle of the conical North Berwick Law to get some unparalleled views of the coast from the top

Also, if you’re into birdwatching, visit the nearby Scottish Seabird Center, where you can watch puffins and seals with zoom-in featured handy cameras! 

And if you feel tired of exploring North Berwick town, you can give yourself a piping hot lobster treat from the famous beach-side eatery Lobster Shack. While you relish your lobster, don’t forget to check out the nearby funky souvenir shops

But what makes it more special? Here it is; with a 10-minute Even Coaches 120 bus ride, you can witness the historic 14th-century half-ruin Tantallon Castle nestled between 50-foot-high-curtain walls

Don’t worry; you won’t get bored while exploring the castle since the nearby Drift cafe serves mouthwatering pastries, coffees, and sandwiches, so yeah, you won’t need a car to enjoy all these from this stunning day trip!

2. Harry Potter Filming Sites

Do we have anyone who doesn’t know Harry Potter? Most of us are a fan of the Harry Potter squad, right? And what if I tell you that you can visit your favorite Harry Potter movie’s shooting sites, that too with the day trips from Edinburgh without a car

Yes, you read it right! So firstly, the most hyped and the closest one, Alnwick Castle, should be your spot; the castle portrays Hogwarts in the film, with plenty of iconic shots; one famous shot filmed here was Harry Potter flying with the broomstick

Also, it offers broomstick rides for real, so make sure you take your kids for a fun ride! It was also the shooting spot for the popular movie, Transformers: The Last Knight

This place isn’t only about the film sites, but there’s also a vintage Barter Books book store in Alnwick’s nearby train station premises; you’ll not only witness some rare books and posters but can also grab a coffee in its cute cafe. 

You’ll also find many scenic parklands and gardens here; a notable one is the Poison Garden, where you can view some unique medicinal plant species. Some other popular Harry Potter site day trips are:

  • The Jacobite Train (Steam train that showcases Hogwarts Express in the film, so remember to visit this luxury train on day trips from Edinburgh)
  • Steal Falls (the place where Harry fought the dragon)

You can reach each site within 2-3 hours by taking public transport; you can also use Traveline to check out bus routes for your destination. 

However, it’ll be tough to visit all the Harry Potter sites in one day since the sites take a good amount of time to reach from Edinburgh, so remember you shouldn’t try to fit numerous locations in just one day trip; instead, make a schedule for multiple day excursion.

3. The World Famous Underground Ghost Trip

And to step up your no-car itinerary game with a spooky vibe, you need to hit this place! It is a one-of-a-kind 75-minute underground ghostly evening walking tour of South Bridge Vaults and Edinburgh’s Old Town

The English guide perfectly sets a horror ambiance for his creepy costume; the guide will tell you horrifying stories of murders, cannibalism, tortures, terrifying spirits, mysteries, and paranormal events. 

While you explore the hidden underground alleys, vaults, and 400-year-old history of Edinburgh, remember to check out the Greyfriars Kirkyard, the world’s most ghostly graveyard. But yes, they don’t facilitate food, so remember to get some chips in your shoulder bag (also, the place discourages under five kids and wheelchair visitors). 

And for this thrilling day trip from Edinburgh, your meeting point is 124 High Street, which you can easily reach by catching a train from ScotRail

You can go for Viator (per head cost $21) to get your guided ghostly without a car day trip, but do reach the meeting point 10-15 minutes before the trip’s scheduled time because latecomers might not get service!

4. Trossachs National Park & Loch Lomond

Are you looking for family-friendly day trips from Edinburgh without a car that has everything packed in it? Then it is your spot to be! 

With a whopping 7000 square miles of jaw-dropping vistas, with a 153 km of shoreline, this place is an all-in-package because it offers everything from wildlife and bird watching of more than 200 unique species like the golden eagle and red deer to spectacular hiking trails, kayaking tours, camping, Insta-perfect wooden hills, boutique stores, waterfront restaurants, glens of Trossachs, climbing, biking and many more! 

Its best part is watching the heavenly blue waters of Loch Lomond, the largest lake in Britain with cruising options for over 30 small islands; it offers multiple stunning water sports options like water trampolining, stand-up paddle boarding; and trust me, its unmissable beauty truly has the power even to heal a broken heart! 

Oh! Remember to visit the loch’s ‘bonny banks‘ with a saunter for an even more relaxing experience. 

Be it a leisure loch-side walk or a challenging long-distance hike, this place has it all. Just a short walk away, you’ll see the Balloch Castle Country Park, with a stunning diner, The Balloch House, a beautiful aquarium, and, of course, the majestic Balloch Castle! You can enjoy all these without a car by getting a 2-hour train or bus ride.

5. Rosslyn Chapel

If you’re a history buff, this is the destination of your day trip! 

With ethereal, intricate stone carvings, Biblical Figures, angels, ornate engraves, a mysterious Apprentice Pillar (known for a myth that an apprentice got murdered for making beautiful interior carvings), eye-catching vaulted ceilings, this chapel lets you explore the travel history of 15th-century nobleman William St Clair (Alert: the chapel’s inside prohibits photography). 

You can also take a relaxing stroll around the leafy woodlands of Roslin Glen and explore the historic ruins of Rosslyn Castle. And while you admire the chapel’s beauty, remember to visit the nearby elegant gift shop and cafe. 

The entry fee for adults is £9.50, but there’s always a tourist rush in the chapel, so remember to pre-reserve your time slot! 

You can take the Lothian Buses number 37 bus; it should take about 45-50 minutes from Edinburgh to reach Roslin; the chapel is only a 3 minutes walking distance from Rosslyn Inn Bus stop. 

You can also combine other half-day trips from Edinburgh with Rosslyn chapel excursions, such as Melrose Abbey and Stirling Castle.

6. Linlithgow

Now this surreal day trip is one of the best easy-to-reach options for your no-car venture since it is seamlessly accessible from Edinburgh city center’s train in just only by 20 minutes

Whether it is the calming circular Linlithgow loch saunter or the historic medieval churches, sculptures, buildings, eateries with lip-smacking food, handmade souvenirs, and several shops around the high street, there’s something in Linlithgow for every age group. 

Remember to check out the ruins of Linlithgow Palace, the Queen of Scot’s birthplace

The ancient town also offers a beautiful park called Beecraigs Country Park, the popular Blackness Castle, The Black Bitch Pub, and an array of shopping and event options throughout the year, making it one of the best day trips from Edinburgh for your car-less expedition. 

So yeah, with a strut, give a bye to the cars

7. Glasgow

And your excursion of day trips from Edinburgh without a car would be incomplete if you didn’t make it to this beauty! 

With only a 50-minute bus ride from the CityLink shuttle bus, you can reach Glasgow, the largest city in Scotland. 

It is a perfect day trip for you since the place has a lot to offer, from the picture-perfect cobbled alleyways, Glasgow Cathedral, a botanic garden with over 9000 plants, the iconic architecture Charles Rennie Mackintosh, impressive Lighthouse, vibrant street arts, music buzzing around with several restaurants, breweries, and bar options. 

There’s also a prominent spot called the Kelvingrove Art Gallery, which reserves one of the best art collections in Europe with 22 galleries, showcases glorious Scottish history on every floor, daily organ playing, eclectic interior decor with Instagrammable floating heads on the ceiling, a separate gallery for kids with animal and nature theme. 

The exciting part is it requires no admission fee

Oh, don’t worry about the food, you’ll find a charming cafe here too that offers an incredible range of biscuits and bread. 

Within a few minutes’ walking distance, you can reach Glasgow’s cultural hub, The Merchant City, where you can get several dining and shopping options. 

8. Stirling Castle

Wait, is it even possible to leave Edinburgh without giving a go to its famous castles? Surely not! 

Located at the picturesque Stirling, this castle symbolizes the proud ancient stories of Scotland. You can even get a free castle tour if you’re heading in the summer. 

With carved oak Stirling Heads, a stunning hall, and hand-crafted tapestries, this place offers breathtaking scenery of the scenic Queen Anne Garden

Remember to climb the 67 m tall National Wallace Monument to get top-notch vistas from the top! And to add more colors to your day trip, you can also take a glance at the following:-

  • Classic Stirling Old Bridge
  • Battle of Bannockburn Visitor Center (offers 3D shows that portray the history of Scotland) 
  • Stirling Smith Art Gallery & Museum
  • Falkirk Wheel (unreal boat lift where you can take a ride as well)
  • Iconic Old Town Cemetery 
  • Stirling walking tour

And it doesn’t end here, on the way to these day trips from Edinburgh by public transport, you can also see the most popular 98 feet tall steel horsehead, Kelpies(it’ll be better if your bus stops at these attractions so you can enjoy the fullest). 

And mind you, you can explore all this without a car; however, a guided tour can be your saving grace to discover more on your castle day trip.


Finally, we’ve reached the end of our today’s article on the day trips from Edinburgh without a car, and we hope for your next no-car excursion, you’ll be confident enough since now you’ve read our content!

Apart from the ones we curated, you can also go for bungee jumping tours, scenic Loch Ness, Pentland Hills, and Melrose because these day trips offer some surreal no-car friendly tourist attractions. 

Also, if you have the  Scottish Heritage Pass, you can get a free visit to more than 120 Historic Scotland sites
And if you’re taking a taxi, remember to give small tippings to the driver because you never know, this might help you to get an even smoother and more extensive day trip experience!

Al Amin Sagor

Hi, I'm Al Amin Sagor. Join me as I share travel tips, personal insights, and amazing experiences that have shaped my adventures. Let's explore together and make lasting memories.

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