The best day trips from Glasgow by train and bus – 10+ great ideas for one-day excursions.
With its central location, Glasgow is a great base for one-day trips. I wish I knew that and had spared more than one day in the city. However, I spent a day and a half in Glasgow and six days in Edinburgh.
Although there are a lot of options for day trips from Edinburgh, Glasgow wins due to its location. If you want to explore the Highlands, the city is a great starting point. Of course, you will need more than one day for the Highlands.
Luxury option – Dakota Glasgow – located in the western part of the city centre, the hotel is a great base to explore the centre and West End.
9.3/10 Rating – See hotel images and 1,490+ guest reviews
Mid-range – Grasshopper Hotel – is the best choice if you are looking for something near George Square and the Central train station.
9.4/10 Rating – See hotel images and 720+ guest reviews
Apartment – Fraser Suites – awesome apartments housed in a beautifully-renovated Victorian building in the Merchant City.
9.1/10 Rating – See apartment images and 2,080+ guest reviews
If you don’t know what area to choose, check out the where to stay in Glasgow.
The best one-day trips from Glasgow
Loch Lomond is one of the most scenic places near Glasgow. It’s a must-see for every mountain lover. The beautiful lake is one of the largest lakes in Scotland. You can take a cruise, go hiking or explore its picturesque banks.
Loch Ness, Glencoe and the Highlands Tour
It’s one of the most popular tours from Glasgow. Explore in one day the most famous lochs in Scotland – Loch Lomond and Loch Ness. In addition, the tour includes a visit to Fort William and Urquhart Castle. It’s the best of the Highlands in one day!
4.4/5 Rating – See details and 80+ reviews
West Highland Lochs & Castles Tour
This tour of Loch Lomond National Park takes you to the most atmospheric lochs of the Western Highlands. You’ll visit also the famous Kilchurn Castle on Loch Awe, Scotland’s longest loch.
4.8/5 Rating – See details and 60+ reviews
Loch Lomond and Whisky Distillery Tour
Combine a visit to the beautiful Loch Lomond with a tour of Glengoyne Whisky Distillery. You’ll not only sample their famous whisky but also learn about the malt whisky production.
4.6/5 Rating – See details and 60+ reviews
How to get to Loch Lomond from Glasgow
Take a train from Queen Street Station to Balloch (50 min journey). From there it is about 800m to reach the lake.
Take a bus (CityLink) from Buchanan Bus Station to Loch Lomond (Duck Bay or Luss Village). The trip is about an hour.
Stirling Castle is one of the largest castles in Scotland. Several Scottish rules were born, crowned and died here.
James V constructed the castle for his French wife Mary of Guise. Their daughter Mary, Queen of Scots, was crowned in this castle. Only one week old, Mary became a queen after the death of her father in 1542.
The ticket to Stirling Castle gives you a free access to Argyll’s Lodging, a lovely 17th-century townhouse. Don’t miss to visit the Church of the Holy Rude on your way to the castle.
Stirling Castle, Loch Lomond and Whisky Tour
Get a glimpse of Scotland in one day. See the Stirling Castle and the National Wallace Monument. Explore the beautiful lochs and mountains of the Scottish Highlands. Then finish the day with a whisky tour and find out what makes it so famous.
4.8/5 Rating – See details and 110+ reviews
Loch Lomond, Trossachs and Stirling Castle Tour
Combine a visit to the Stirling Castle with a cruise across Loch Lomond. Discover the legends about the Scottish heroes William Wallace and Rob Roy. You’ll also visit Trossachs, Scotland’s first national park.
4.8/5 Rating – See details and 30+ reviews
How to get to Stirling Castle from Glasgow
Take a train from Queen Street Station to Stirling Station (30 min journey). The castle is an about 1km walk.
Take a bus (CityLink) from Buchanan Bus Station to Stirling Goosecroft Bus Station (50 min journey). The site is an about 1km walk.
Robert Burns Country
Ayrshire Coast is the birthplace of one of the most famous Scottish poets, Robert Burns. Ayrshire is a romantic countryside with magnificent castles, one of which is the Culzean Castle. This 18th-century castle is the former home of Clan Kennedy.
Culzean Castle, Robert Burns Country & the Ayrshire Coast
Discover the charming Ayrshire Coast on this day trip from Glasgow. Explore the magnificent Culzean Castle and the ruined castle of Dunure. Visit the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum and learn more about his life.
4.8/5 Rating – See details and 10+ reviews
Loch Ness and Isle of Skye
Loch Ness and the Isle of Skye are the two must-sees in Scotland. The mystical Isle of Skye features the most stunning scenery in the whole country. Loch Ness is the most famous lakes in Scotland thanks to its monster, Nessie.
3-Day Isle of Skye and Highlands
Spend 3 days in the most magical part of Scotland while exploring Isle of Skye and Loch Ness. The tour includes transportation, a guide and 2 nights bed and breakfast accommodation.
4.8/5 Rating – See details and 10+ reviews
Castles to visit near Glasgow
If you plan to visit more than two castles, buy an Explorer Pass. It gives you a free entry to a whole list of castles and discounts on some audio-guides.
For example, if you visit Stirling Castle (£15), Edinburgh Castle (£17), Linlithgow Palace (£6), you’ll pay £38. Using the 3-day pass (£31), you’ll save £7. Even if you visit only the first two castles, using the pass will save you money. Plus, you’ll skip all the waiting lines.
Find out more why Scotland Explorer Pass is worth it.
You can easily plan your one-day trip from Glasgow by train or bus using this online tool.
The Edinburgh castle and the city itself deserve at least two days of your time. There is so much to see! Take a walk on the famous Royal Mile or in the Princes Street Gardens, search for the Tom Riddle’s Gravestone in Greyfriars Kirkyard, visit the St Giles’ Cathedral and much more.
However, if your time is limited take a one day trip to Edinburgh. The castle is one of the most iconic castles in Scotland. Its oldest part dates from the 12th century. The castle also houses the Crown Jewels of Scotland.
How to get to Edinburgh Castle from Glasgow
Take a train from Queen Street Station to Edinburgh Waverley Station (50 min journey). There is no need to validate your tickets. It’s about 800m walk from the train station to the castle.
Take a bus from Buchanan Bus Station and get off at Edinburgh Bus Station (1:30 hours journey). From the bus station to the castle is about 1km walk.
The Edinburgh castle is not the only place you have to see if you are on a castle hunting. Holyrood Palace is the other site you should not miss in Edinburgh. The Royal Mile connects the two sites. Holyrood Palace was the residence of the Scottish Kings and Queens since the 16th century. Mary, Queen of Scots, preferred it to the Edinburgh castle. Surrounded by beautiful gardens at the foot of Arthur’s Seat, the palace looks magical. It also doesn’t seem so dark and haunted as the Edinburgh Castle.
Queen Elizabeth II visits the Palace every summer at the beginning of July. During this time the palace is closed for visitors. Buy your tickets for Holyrood Palace in advance and skip all the lines.
How to get to Holyrood Palace from Glasgow
Take a train from Queen Street station to Edinburgh Waverley station. The palace is about 500m from the station.
Take a bus from Buchanan Bus Station and get off at Edinburgh Bus Station. The palace is about 1km from the bus station.
Dumbarton Castle started its history as an important stronghold of the ancient Kingdom of Strathclyde. The castle is located on a volcanic plug overlooking the River Clyde. From this castle, Mary Queen of Scots sailed for France to seek shelter as a child.
How to get to Dumbarton Castle from Glasgow
Take a train from Queen Street Station to Dumbarton East station. The trip is about 30min. The castle is 700m away from the station. Keep in mind that you have to climb over 500 steps to reach it.
Located on the bank of River Clyde, the Newark Castle is a charming 15th-century castle. It was built for Maxwell family, a powerful Scottish clan. The name of the castle means “new building work”. The Tower House apartments are currently closed to visitors. Yet, the cellar and the roof remain open.
How to get to Newark Castle from Glasgow
Take a train from Glasgow Central Station to Port Glasgow (30 min journey). The castle is about 600m away from the station.
Linlithgow Palace is my favourite one of all short trips from Glasgow. It was a residence of the Scottish rulers during 15th and 16th century. It was the birthplace of the last Queen of Scotland, Mary Stuart. Today she is known as Mary Queen of Scots.
In 1746 the palace was severely damaged by fire. For centuries on end, no one used it. Nowadays only pigeons play hide and seek in the palace’s great halls.
I didn’t expect to like the Linlithgow Palace. After all, it is all in ruins. I thought that there is nothing to be seen. Oh, boy I was wrong! When you enter the medieval courtyard, the place stuns you with its size. You can explore the ruins on your own. You can lose yourself in a labyrinth of gloomy stone corridors that lead to huge rooms. It is the most romantic palace I have been to! Don’t miss to climb the tower, the views over the lake are amazing.
Linlithgow Palace is also an Outlander film location.
How to get to Linlithgow Palace from Glasgow
Take a train from Queen Street Station to Linlithgow Station (30 min journey). The palace is 300m away from the station.
More places to visit near Glasgow
If you are not into castles, there are still good options for one-day tours from Glasgow.
New Lanark is a restored cotton mill village on River Clyde. Go back in the 18th century while exploring this scenic village.
How to get to New Lanark from Glasgow
Take a train from Glasgow Central Station to Lanark (50 min journey). From there you can either walk to New Lanark (1,5km) or take a local bus. The bus station in Lanark is next to the rail station.
Paisley Abbey is a 12th-century abbey. It was the burial place of many Scottish kings from the House of Stewart. While you are in the town don’t miss to visit Thomas Coats Memorial Church.
How to get to Paisley Abbey from Glasgow
Catch a train from Glasgow Central Station to Paisley Gilmour Street Station (20 min journey). The Abbey is about 400m from the station.
Falkirk is a large town known for the Falkirk Wheel and the Kelpies.
The Falkirk Wheel is the only rotating boat lift in the world. It connects the Forth and Clyde and Union canals in Scotland.
The Kelpies are the world’s largest equine sculptures. Each of them is 30m high and weighs about 300 tonnes of structural steel. Kelpies is the Scottish word for shapeshifting water spirits that could be found in the lakes.
How to get to Falkirk from Glasgow
Catch a train from Queen Street Station to Falkirk High Station (20 min journey). To reach Falkirk Wheel or Kelpies you’ll need to catch a local bus.
Take a single malt whisky and distillery tour.
Learn more about the colourful history of the Celtic Football Club by taking a Celtic Park stadium tour.
Take a hop-on and hop-off bus to see easily all the popular attractions.
Find self-guided walking tours and historical insights in DK Eyewitness Travel Guide Scotland.
If you haven’t planned your time in the city yet, see this Glasgow 1 day itinerary.
Visitors often combine Glasgow with Edinburgh. Check out these great affordable hotels in Edinburgh Old Town.
If you’re planning to rent a car, compare the car rental prices in Europe.
|I'm a travel blogger based in Sofia, Bulgaria. Travelling has always been my passion and I love to discover new places and cultures. I want to show you how easy it is to organize your vacation all by yourself.|
Subscribe to my newsletter and get details about my trips, where I stayed, how much the trip cost plus complete map of my itinerary.