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SPS student voices and experiences
Seeing the Scottish sights: discovering day trips outside Edinburgh

Seeing the Scottish sights: discovering day trips outside Edinburgh

Edinburgh is one of the best student cities in the world (unbiased opinion…), but while you’re studying here it’s essential to escape the urban life and see the other sights Scotland has to offer! Martha gives you the lowdown on her favourite day trips outside Edinburgh.

We’ve all been there: you’ve been in the library every day for as long as you can remember; you don’t bother to properly shut down your laptop because you’ll be logging in again in less than 12 hours; the only exercise you’ve done for the past month is walking to and from campus. One of the most important lessons I learned when I studied in Sweden last year was that a work-life balance is key to both you and your university work, and since I’ve come back to Edinburgh, I’ve been keen to incorporate day trips into my routine. When the deadlines are looming, it’s hard to take time away from your laptop screen and prioritise yourself, but I promise it’s worth it.

Here are three places you can go for the day to escape the library, breathe some fresh air and have a break from impending deadline stress.

North Berwick

Image shows two people strolling down the sunny beach at North Berwick.
The beach at North Berwick!

Only a 30-minute train ride from Edinburgh Waverley, North Berwick is a lovely Scottish seaside town with an abundance of restaurants and charity shops, also featuring a speciality coffee roastery (Steampunk Coffee) which rivals any I’ve been to in Edinburgh. Whether you choose to head up the Berwick Law (a hill formed from the core of an ancient volcano), wander along the quaint streets, or walk along the sandy beach with a view of Bass Rock, North Berwick is a welcome break from the bustling streets of Edinburgh.

When in doubt, North Berwick is always my go-to for an easy, calming, day trip from Edinburgh.


Image shows someone strolling through the Glasgow Necropolis, with the city's skyline in the distance.
Strolling through Glasgow’s Necropolis

While still a city, Glasgow has a very different feel to Edinburgh. Due to its key role in shipbuilding during the British Empire’s slave trade, Glasgow’s architecture is very industrial and grid-like. Either a 45-minute train or 1.5-hour bus journey (free for under 22s), it is a very accessible city, and one definitely worth visiting to experience a different part of Scotland. While there, I’d recommend checking out the Necropolis, a Victorian graveyard next to the Cathedral, with great views over the city. The Riverside Museum is also worth a visit – it has free admission and tells the story of Glasgow as a city.

The Pentland Hills

Image shows a view of the vast Pentland Hills in the sunshine.
The picturesque Pentlands

Without realising, you’ve probably seen the Pentlands when you’ve been staring out of the window on a study break in Main Library. South of the city, the Pentland Hills Regional Park is a range of mountains only a 30-minute bus journey from the city centre. There are numerous walking routes you can do, either staying low or going up into the hills, so whatever your ability, there is a walk for you. If you go to the top on a clear day, you will be rewarded with amazing views over Edinburgh and Fife, and all the way to the Borders. I’d recommend checking out the Walkhighland website for detailed walking routes. When I’m craving a day of fresh air by escaping the city, the Pentlands are my favourite place to go.



I hope you’ve enjoyed this blog post, and these places are by no means the only places to go on a daytrip from Edinburgh. Feel free to comment your favourite places to go! Stay tuned for another post from me soon 🙂

More posts from Martha about student life

The last semester: Martha reflects on her time in Edinburgh

Martha’s Swedish Sojourn: recounting a Scandinavian year abroad

Social Policy, Scandinavia, and Symphony Orchestra – Introducing Martha! 

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