Lochs, Rocks, and Too Many Beautiful Day Trips from Glasgow

Pick any road out of Glasgow and you will encounter lochs, castles, rugged islands and the Highlands. These day trips from Glasgow are conveniently located less than two hours away by bus, train, and ferry. But where to start?

Take a peek at our guide to quick day trips from Glasgow.

1. Isle of Cumbrae

The Isle of Cumbrae is one of those escapist day trips from Glasgow: it really takes you back in time. One of the Isle’s top attractions includes Lion Rock. At 65 million years old, this naturally formed rock in the shape of a lion on the hunt attracts the geologist in all of us.

For water-lovers, the Isle of Cumbrae it is a perfect place to master the waves. The sailing school at the Sport Scotland National Centre offers one-day classes in kayaking and canoeing.

day trips from glasgow

If you’re more of a landlubber, the island is still worth the trip thanks to its scenic cycle routes and numerous bike rental shops, earning Great Cumbrae the nickname, “the Bicycle Island“.

2. Linlithgow Palace

Linlithgow Palace is the closest day trip from Glasgow at just 35 minutes by train. The palace is sadly no longer as glorious as it once was, thanks to a fire left by the advancing English army in 1746. However, for a ruin there are still a lot of the authentic courtyards still standing, which makes an impressive site as you wander between the high fortress’s walls.

day trips from glasgow

The palace once was the birthplace to Mary Queen of Scots, James V, and a whole line of Stuart royals, but nowadays it has a more modern claim to fame: the TV series Outlander, based on Diana Gabaldon’s story of time travel, was shot around the ruins and the lake that it overlooks, the stunning Loch Linlithgow.

3. Stirling Castle

It takes under an hour by either bus or train to reach Stirling Castle and is one of the best day trips from Glasgow for Braveheart fans. Stirling Bridge was where the infamous battle took place, when William Wallace and Andrew Moray reclaimed the site from the English.

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However, Stirling is also known for multiple other battles: sometimes changing hands at least once a decade. It’s a wonder that the fierce rivalry between Scots and the English hasn’t left the castle a shambles.

In fact, it is one of the most beautiful places to spend a rainy day thanks to its lavish royal chambers, halls, and tapestry rooms

4. Loch Lomond and Ben Lomond

You’re in Scotland and you’re yearning to see a loch. The one Nessy lives in is pretty far north, but day trips from Glasgow to Loch Lomond are very doable. Once there, you’ll be able to see all that Scotland’s nature has to offer – including mountain bogs and peatland.

day trips from glasgow

There are a couple of ways to explore Loch Lomond: you go on a pony trek around the park, starting near Balloch in the south with the Loch Lomond Pony Trekking company.

Or you could work those hamstrings and hike up Ben Lomond. It is one of the more popular “Munros” (Scottish mountains roughly over 3,000 feet/900 m in height) as it has just the right balance between friendly and daring paths.

People come here to take part in the local challenge of “Munro bagging“, climbing as many of the hundreds of peaks as possible.

5. New Lanark Mill

This little settlement just outside of Lanark is the furthest of these day trips from Glasgow at one and a half hours by public transport, but it is one of the most-unique-historical sites in the world.

New Lanark is an 18th-century village, which was later developed to have one purpose only: to create a Utopian residence for the couple of thousand cotton mill workers. The houses are roomy and the grounds are green, thanks to the pioneer of Industrial Age quality of life, Robert Owen.

day trips from glasgow

New Lanark inspired humane working environments around the world and is still working today. The cotton mill closed in 1968, but the museum will still show you the workings of a 19th-century spinning mule which now rattles away for the New Lanark Wool & Textiles company.

They took over and make proper Scottish woollies from organic wool and using renewable hydro-electric energy, carrying on the tradition from the original water mills.

And that’s not even including Edinburgh…

We left the obvious till last: Edinburgh is only an hour away and definitely deserves a place on our list of Glasgow day trips. Its food scene ranges from pub grub to too trendy, its bars are some of the best in Europe, and it easy to get to from Edinburgh.

Rosalee Edwards

Rosalee Edwards

Rosalee is Brit who loves travelling almost as much as she loves tea. Her home is Berlin, a city which taught her the meaning of the phrase: "come as you are."
Rosalee Edwards

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