The best Scotland tours from Edinburgh [2022]

The best Scotland tours from Edinburgh [2022]

Taking one of the organised Scotland tours from Edinburgh is quite simply the easiest way to see this beautiful part of the UK. Why not sit back and relax while someone else guides you around the country, allowing you to gawp open-mouthed at the stunning scenery?

Crystal clear lochs, vast swathes of heather-clad countryside and wide open skies – Edinburgh is up there with the top places to go in the UK, but it would be a crime not to venture outside the city while you’re there.

Which is exactly why I’ve handpicked the very best day trips from Edinburgh – as well as longer ones so you can spend more time trying to spot Nessie, seeing the Highlands and wandering around the Isle of Skye. Plus much, much more.

In a hurry? My favourite of these from-Edinburgh tours is the Highlands, Loch Ness & Glencoe tour.

I love the Loch Ness, Glencoe & Highlands tour because if you only have one day to see the sights beyond Edinburgh, this trip will give you a taste of the real Scotland. Be warned, though, it may just make you want to come back for more…

Find out more or book this tour here

Also covered are trips that will take you to see a magnificent horse heads sculpture, on the Harry Potter steam train or to the university town of St Andrews, home of golf.

Whether you know you want to go from Edinburgh to Loch Ness, or are just interested in finding out what’s on the itineraries of various Edinburgh day trips, stay right here to discover your perfect Skye, whisky and Highland tours from Edinburgh.

Let’s get started – in a strong contender as my favourite city of them all. Anywhere on earth. But then I am biased, having grown up in Northumberland, just over the England – Scotland border. My primary school trip even took me to Edinburgh Zoo!

Best Scotland tours from Edinburgh contents

Best day tours from Edinburgh comparison table

Key locationsDurationCustomer score*Price
Glencoe, Loch Ness & Highlands12.5 hours4.8Click here
Hogwarts Express, Glencoe & Highlands13 hours4.7Click here
Outlander village, castles & palace9 hours4.8Click here
Whisky, glens, lochs & Highlands9.5 hours4.7Click here
Fife, Falkland & St Andrews8.5 hours4.7Click here
Loch Lomond, Stirling Castle & Kelpies9 hours4.8Click here
Hadrian’s Wall, Roman fort & border country11 hours4.8Click here
*Average Get Your Guide score at time of writing

Best day trips from Edinburgh – Top options

day trips from edinburgh

7 of the best day trips from Edinburgh

Here they are – 7 of the finest from-Edinburgh sightseeing trips you’ll find anywhere. Let alone from one of the most handsome cities on earth…

Glencoe, Loch Ness & Scottish Highlands

Best for – Seeing key sights in 1 day

  • Average score: 4.8 / 5
  • Duration: 12.5 hours

Glencoe, Loch Ness & Scottish Highlands itinerary

  • Meet Highland ‘hairy coos’ & enjoy morning coffee in Kilmahog
  • Stop in glorious, historic Glencoe for photos, deer & eagle spotting
  • Lunch break in Fort William – including an intro to the Scottish kilt
  • Head to Loch Ness & Urquhart Castle with time to spend as you like
  • A quick stop in pretty Pitlochry en route to Edinburgh rounds off the day

If you want to see Scotland’s essential sights in just one day this from-Edinburgh sightseeing bus is the trip to go for. You’ll meet hairy Highland cattle, enjoy time in picturesque Glencoe, and can also take a boat cruise on Loch Ness or a tour of Urquhart Castle if you wish.

High points:

  • Includes air-conditioned coach, expert guide & commentary
  • See Highland cows, Glencoe, Loch Ness & Urquhart Castle
  • Cancel 24 hours before travel for a full refund

Low points:

  • Lunch & optional extras not included
  • Lots of travelling time
  • No kids under 4

Click here to view or book this Scottish highlights tour

‘Hogwarts Express’, Glencoe & Highlands

Best for – Harry Potter fans & trainspotters

  • Average score: 4.7 / 5
  • Duration: 13 hours

‘Hogwarts Express’, Glencoe & Highlands itinerary

  • Pass the Forth Bridge & Perth as you head to the Glenfinnan Viaduct
  • Take a trip on the ‘Hogwarts Express’ aka the Jacobite Steam Train
  • The steam train will take you from Mallaig to Fort William
  • Go to Glencoe to see & photograph the stunning & historic landscape
  • Travel back to Edinburgh by coach, via moody Rannoch Moor

If you want to take a Harry Potter tour from Edinburgh, this is the one to go for. You’ll pass the famous Glenfinnan Viaduct as seen in the films as well as other key Scottish sights such as Glencoe, the Forth Bridge and Fort William. The highlight is a ride on the Jacobite steam train, aka the ‘Hogwarts Express’.

High points:

  • Includes air-conditioned coach, guide & Jacobite train ticket
  • See the Glenfinnan Viaduct, take a steam train trip & go to Glencoe
  • Cancel 24 hours before travel for a full refund

Low points:

  • Lunch not included
  • Not suitable for mobility impaired
  • No kids under 5

Click here to view or book this Harry Potter train tour

‘Outlander’ village, castles & palace

Best for – Outlander fans & Scottish castles

  • Average score: 4.8 / 5
  • Duration: 9 hours

‘Outlander’ village, castles & palace itinerary

  • Travel to the 16th century of Culross, aka Cranesmuir
  • Pass Stirling Castle & Wallace Monument en route to Doune Castle
  • See the Forth bridges, explore the ruins or picnic by the loch at Linlithgow Palace
  • Walk the ramparts at Blackness Castle & photograph Midhope Castle
  • Return to Edinburgh via the picturesque harbour at South Queensferry

The tour available via Get Your Guide from Edinburgh is a must for fans of the hit TV series ‘Outlander’. During the day you can see various locations used when filming, from Claire’s herb garden in ‘Cranesmuir’ to the castle that was also used for recording ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’.

High points:

  • Includes luxury mini coach, expert guide & storytelling
  • See various key locations used when filming ‘Outlander’
  • Cancel 24 hours before travel for a full refund

Low points:

  • Lunch not included
  • No kids under 5

Click here to view or book this Outlander locations tour

Whisky, Lochs, Glens & Highlands

Best for – Whisky connisseurs & landscape lovers

  • Average score: 4.7 / 5
  • Duration: 9 hours

Whisky, Lochs, Glens & Highlands itinerary

  • Scenic trip through the glens and lochs of Perthshire
  • Cross the Forth Road Bridge to the Kingdom of Fife
  • See Dunkeld and its cathedral before walking up to the Black Linn Falls
  • Stop in pretty Pitlochry, a Victorian resort with great cafes and shopping
  • Sample a ‘wee dram’ or two at Dewars Whisky Distillery before heading back to Edinburgh

This pick of the Highland tours from Edinburgh includes what some refer to as the ‘water of life’ – it’s certainly Scotland’s national drink, anyway. As well as visiting a whisky distillery, you’ll see some spectacular sights, including glens, lochs, falls and the towns of Pitlochry and Dunkeld.

High points:

  • Includes coach travel & expert guide
  • See Dunkeld, Pitlochry & how whisky is made
  • Cancel 24 hours before travel for a full refund

Low points:

  • Dewars World of Whisky entry fee payable
  • Lunch not included
  • No kids under 5

Click here to view or book this whisky & nature lovers’ tour

Fife, St Andrews & Falkland

Best for – Fans of history, golf & the coast

  • Average score: 4.7 / 5
  • Duration: 8.5 hours

Fife, St Andrews & Falkland itinerary

  • Travel via the Forth Road Bridge to the Kingdom of Fife
  • Stop in Anstruther, a quaint Scottish fishing village with a harbour & cobbled streets
  • Discover St Andrews, home of golf and the biggest Norman cathedral in Scotland
  • See Falkland Palace in the village of the same name, once home to the Stewarts
  • Take a break in one of the charming cafes or pubs of Falkland

If you love history, golf or coastal locations, this is surely the pick of the coach tours from Edinburgh for you. You’ll also get to see St Andrews university, where future king William and his wife Kate first met. From fishing villages to Falkland, this trip covers history, golf and even a palace.

High points:

  • Includes coach travel & expert guide
  • See Anstruther, Falkland & St Andrews
  • Cancel 24 hours before travel for a full refund

Low points:

  • Falkland Castle closed November to Easter
  • Lunch & entry fees not included
  • No kids under 5

Click here to view or book this golf, Fife villages & palace tour

Stirling Castle, Loch Lomond & Kelpies

Best for – Exploring history, nature & sculpture

  • Average score: 4.8 / 5
  • Duration: 9 hours

Stirling Castle, Loch Lomond & Kelpies itinerary

  • Leave Edinburgh via Linlithgow palace, Mary Queen of Scots’ birthplace
  • Stop at the Kelpies Monument, representing the ‘horse power’ that developed Scotland
  • Spend time at the Loch Lomond National Park, with fabulous water & mountain views
  • Visit The Trossachs, aka the ‘Highlands in Miniature’, where lowlands & highlands meet
  • Call at Stirling Castle in the city of the same name, with the option to explore inside

One of the slightly more off the beaten track day trips from Edinburgh, this tour follows in the footsteps of Rob Roy MacGregor, a famous Scottish folk figure. You’ll also see the stunning Kelpies sculpture and the Trossachs, as well as discovering the Loch Lomond National Park.

High points:

  • Includes coach travel & expert guide
  • See the Kelpies, Stirling Castle & Loch Lomond
  • Cancel 24 hours before travel for a full refund

Low points:

  • Lunch & entry fees not included
  • No kids under 5

Click here to view or book this Loch, Kelpies & Stirling tour

Roman fort, Hadrian’s Wall & border country

Best for – Discovering the borders & the Romans

  • Average score: 4.8 / 5
  • Duration: 11 hours

Roman road, fort & Hadrian’s Wall itinerary

  • Visit historic Jedburgh just north of Edinburgh to see the Augustinian Abbey ruins
  • Stop at picturesque Carter Bar in the Cheviot Hills on the England – Scotland border
  • Head through many miles of beautiful forest in Northumberland National Park
  • Discover Hadrian’s Wall at Steel Rigg & Lanercost & the Roman fort at Birdoswald
  • Take a break in Moffat, a Victorian spa town, on the way back to Edinburgh

What can I say, I’m from Northumberland! Yet over 100 reviewers who have rated this trip 4..8 out of 5 prove that I’m not alone in extolling the virtues of border country. A must for anyone who wants to glimpse life during Roman times – and the history of English-Scottish conflict.

High points:

  • Small group tour with coach travel & expert guide
  • See Hadrian’s Wall, a Roman fort & borders countryside
  • Cancel 24 hours before travel for a full refund

Low points:

  • Lunch & entry fees not included
  • No kids under 5

Click here to view or book this Roman fort & Hadrian’s Wall tour

Which Scotland tour from Edinburgh will you take?

From an Edinburgh whisky tour to day trips from Edinburgh with a Harry Potter, Outlander or Roman theme, there are plenty of easy ways to see Scotland outside the capital.

I hope this article has helped you pick out the right tour for you. Don’t forget, when you book via these links, Get Your Guide offers full refunds as long as you cancel 24 hours or more before travel, so there’s nothing to lose by securing a spot early.

Polly x

Wondering what to do while in the Scottish capital? See my suggested 2 day Edinburgh itinerary here. Or if you want to take a longer trip around Scotland from Edinburgh, check out a 4 day itinerary for Scotland. There’s also a London 2 day itinerary post.

Note – This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy via these, I may earn a small fee. This has absolutely no effect on the price you pay. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. 

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