Karen Bryan, editor of the Europe a la Carte Blog gives tips on four great day trips from Edinburgh.
While Edinburgh is the most popular Scottish destinations for visitors and one of my favourite European cities (well I would say that being Scottish and an east coaster to boot), there is so much to see and do on a day out from Edinburgh. Here are my suggestions for four Edinburgh day trips, all easily accessible by public transport. Traveline Scotland will help you plan your journeys.
Prestonpans, East Lothian
The village of Prestonpans is situated ten miles east of Edinburgh on the Forth Estuary. If you buy an all day Lothian bus pass for £3 you could also stop at Portobello Beach on your way there or back. The village is very proud of its industrial heritage which is charted at the Prestongrange Industrial Museum and on the Prestonpans Murals trail. You can pop into the Gothenburg (pub), on the sea front by the totem pole, for some Fowlers ale straight from the onsite microbrewery. If you visit between May 29 and June 6 2010, you can attend the 3 Harbours Festival, named as one of the UK’s best outdoor arts festivals by the Sunday Observer. Last year I enjoyed the art exhibition at the power station and the launch of the paper boats.
The town lies around 10 miles west of Edinburgh right under the famous Forth Rail Bridge on which you can usually see some scaffolding for the painters. You could even be lucky enough to spot some minke or killer whales on a boat trip to Incholm Island. There’s a good selection of cafes, bars and restaurants along the sea front and main street of the town.
Stirling is around 40 miles from Edinburgh but can be reached in 40 minutes by rail. Highlights of a visit to Stirling include the Castle, the Wallace Monument and the Old Town Jail. The castle can be reached up back walk, starting at Albert Hall. You can explore around the Old Town Cemeteries with its Star Pyramid on the way up. If you then walk back to the city centre there’s a lovely cafe at the Tolbooth in Broad Street.
Dunbar is known locally as “Sunny Dunny” and lies about 30 miles to the east of Edinburgh. The train will take you there in about 30 minutes. The John Muir Museum is housed in the birthplace of the famous conservationist, who moved to the US as a boy with his family and depicts Muir’s fascinating life. There’s a scenic (if somewhat bracing) walk along the coastal path, part of the John Muir Way, alongside red cliffs with views over to the Bass Rock. The Rocks Restaurant, opposite the War Memorial, is very good.
So next time that you’re in the Scottish capital make time to enjoy at least one of my suggested Edinburgh day trips.