Day Trip Ideas for you and your Flatmates…

Image of Jupiter Artland

…by Georgia / from the UK / studying Geography / 2nd year

Don’t get me wrong, Edinburgh is a fantastic city to explore, with endless opportunity to visit new places, try different food spots and capture content for your instagram. But occasionally the Semester begins to feel never ending, and with much of work being held online, it’s easy to get cabin fever. This is how I was feeling at times last year, so myself and my friends decided to take our exploring a little further afield. The following blog locates a few easy to reach places you can visit, whether its on your own or with your flatmates. Just a short bus or train ride away, they can expand your experience of Scotland and take you outside of your day-to-day Edinburgh bubble.

Destinations by Bus:

1) The Pentlands The Pentlands, often in view from higher spots in the city are a fantastic place to visit to escape the urban environment and see some of Scotland’s spectacular landscapes. There are several buses available from different locations in the city (you can follow this link to find out the closest bus route for you: https://www.pentlandhills.org/downloads/file/4/how-to-get-to-the-pentland-hills-by-bus Spotted with small lochs and streams that you can go open water swimming in, there are many mapped routes you can take, all varying in distance and difficulty. Whether you fancy a shorter walk or full day hike, the possibilities are endless. There is a whole host of different wildlife to see too, including lapwings, otters, badgers and roe deer if you’re lucky. So if you’re down for a bit of escapism and fancy a bit of exercise, the Pentlands are the perfect spot. Plus if you want to get in a bit of practice before doing the Seven Hills of Edinburgh, its the place for you.

2) Lauriston Castle Lauriston Castle (pictured), a picturesque location based just outside of Cramond (South West Edinburgh) is a short 30 minute bus ride from the centre of Edinburgh. Whilst the castle with its Edwardian decor required paid entry, the gardens are free and are great if you just fancy a wander. There is a Mimi’s Makehouse on site too if you fancy a sweet treat – I highly recommend the Biscoff Brownie. The castle is not far from Cramond beach either, so combine your trip with a walk along the promenade or paddle in the sea.

3) Jupiter Art Land If you fancy channelling your creative side, I recommend visiting Jupiter Art Land. Based in Wilkieston, out west of Edinburgh, the art park is slightly further afield, but no more than an hour away by bus. Whilst I visited with a friend from my course, I can imagine its a great place to visit if your family have come to stay too. Hosting eclectic art, contemporary exhibitions and fabulous sculpture-filled gardens, you could stay for hours and check off all the checkpoints on the map provided. Entry is £5 for students.

Destinations by Train:

4) North Berwick North Berwick makes for a great seaside day out. Only a 30 minute train from Edinburgh Waverley, the town has beautiful natural landscapes and man-made structures such as the North Berwick Law and Tantallon Castle. Its a great spot for getting out of Edinburgh for the day, stopped for fish and chips at the beach or some confectionary from the traditional sweet shops in the town centre. You can cycle to North Berwick from Edinburgh, it’s approximately 40km each way. It’s a beautiful cycle, taking you along the ‘Golf Coast’ of Scotland. However I recommend giving yourself plenty of time to complete this, as there headwind on the way back into Edinburgh can be quite intense.

5) St Andrews St Andrews is the perfect day trip. Whilst not too far from Edinburgh, the trip takes slightly longer – a train from Waverley or Haymarket takes around an hour and then the town is another short bus ride from the station. From my experience, you can see most of St Andrews in a day – the town has nice shops you can wander around, a beach and the oldest Golf Course in Scotland to visit, an impressive Botanical gardens and some great ice cream. There are plenty of students wandering the streets so it has a similar vibe to Edinburgh just slightly less chaotic! When I visited, I really enjoyed scampi and chips from Cromars on Union Street and ice cream from Jannettas Gelateria.

6) Glasgow Finally, why not take your exploration of Scotland a little further away and visit Glasgow for the day. Again an easy 1 hour train Journey from Edinburgh, the city hosts an entirely different, and arguable more Scottish atmosphere and an abundance of places to visit. The centre of the city is great for shopping, visiting art galleries and finding places to eat. The West End, just a hop on and off the clockwork orange (the name given to the underground system in the city) also has the Botanic Gardens, a really yummy Churros and Ice Cream parlour called Loop and Scoop and is home to the main university campus. Whilst I’ve not experienced it, Glasgow is also known as a great night out destination, so why not make the most of the reduced restrictions and visit the city with your flatmates.

This blog was originally published on the ‘Chat to our students’ site here: https://www.ed.ac.uk/studying/undergraduate/student-life/student-chat

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