Edinburgh Days Out Travel Pass Guide

Monday, 30 July 2018

Our top picks for days out from Edinburgh.

Sure – Scotland’s cities are great. But when it comes to a long weekend or a sunny day, sometimes you want to explore another side of the country.

That’s where our Edinburgh Days Out travel pass comes in. This nifty flexible ticket give you two-days consecutive travel. Hop on and off the train, so you can see more and pay less. All you need now is a little inspiration. We might have just the thing...

North Berwick

Route: Edinburgh Waverley to North Berwick

Typical journey time: 33 minutes

Birds. Battles. Beach huts. North Berwick is a charming seaside town with a lot more to offer than the fabulous sandy beach and family atmosphere. Best of all, it’s just over half an hour from Edinburgh by train.

Why it’s good

In a word: views.

After an hour of climbing, the knockout panoramas at the top of North Berwick Law make it all worthwhile. On a clear day, there’s Edinburgh Castle and Arthur’s Seat in the distance. Cloudy? Pick out Bass Rock, the Firth of Forth, and the surrounding Berwick fields. Our tip: take a snack to enjoy at the top.

Climb back down to earth, then step back in time at Tantallon Castle. Explore the grounds of this 14th century semi-ruin, be dwarfed by the huge 15 metre curtain wall, and scale the east tower – there are replicas of the guns used to defend against James IV and James V.

Bayonets and battles a bit too intense? Try birds and binoculars instead – The Scottish Seabird Centre is just a short walk from the train station. The best part: controlling the live remote-control cameras on the local islands, then hopping on a boat to get up-close. There’s also the world's largest colony of Northern Gannets on Bass Rock, and the biggest puffin colony on the east coast of Britain.

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After watching all those seabirds snacking on local produce, The Lobster Shack is where you can do the same. Think affordable fine dining, sold from an unassuming beach hut by the harbour. Lobster is the headline act, but there are fresh-caught treats for all tastes.

Borders Railway

Route: Edinburgh Waverley to Tweedbank

Typical journey time: 1 hour

Take a ride on railway history. The Borders Railway is the longest new railway to be built in over 100 years. What better way to escape the city than to go deep into the Borders – pass through gorgeous scenery and stop to explore mining towns, open farmland, and the life of a cultural icon.

Why it’s good

Hop off at Newtongrange for a dark, dusty taste of life down the mines at the National Mining Museum Scotland. You can don your hardhat and go deeper underground with a guided tour of the Pithead from an ex-miner.

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We like when things come full circle. So it’s neat that the first stop on the line is Waverley – named after a novel by Sir Walter Scott – and the final stop, Tweedbank, leads you to where he wrote that very book.

The age of the historical novel comes to life at Abbotsford House – the home of Sir Walter Scott. The stunning building sits on the banks of the River Tweed. The writer lived here from 1812 and wrote many of his most significant works here.

Kids Go Free at Abbotsford House

Alternatively, you can head over to Melrose – 45 minutes’ walk or 15 minutes’ bus from the station – for one of Scotland’s most charming small towns. Roam the green grounds of the iconic Melrose Abbey, or stroll through the town centre and enjoy lunch at a café or restaurant.

Aberdour and on to Burntisland

Route: Edinburgh Waverley to Aberdour

Typical journey time: 33 minutes

TV castles, sandy beaches, old-school games. There’s loads to see on a trip out to Aberdour and Burntisland.

Why it’s good

Re-enact the exploits of Claire and Jamie by visiting Aberdour Castle – a filming location from the Outlander TV series. It’s a perfect picture opportunity for fans of the show – pack some tartan!

It’s easy to see why the show’s producers chose Aberdour – it’s thought to be the oldest surviving stone castle in Scotland. Roam the stunning walled gardens and uncover the stories of three noble families who inhabited this grand location.

If you’re still not ready to step back to the present day, then visit St Fillan’s, a lovingly-restored Norman church of the 1100s – it’s right next door to the castle.

Then hop back on the train for the quick 10-minute journey along the coast to Burntisland for a very different type of entertainment. There you can find the iconic Kingdom Amusements – a family-run arcade which has been entertaining kids and adults alike for over 40 years. Is there a better way to round-off the day than strolling along the beach with an ice cream? Possibly not.

Dalmeny / South Queensferry

Route: Edinburgh Waverley to Dalmeny

Typical journey time: 15 minutes

Just a 15-minute train journey from Edinburgh. Marvel at iconic engineering, take the boat to a small island, and explore incredible architecture. A trip to South Queensferry has a lot to offer.

Why it’s good

Step off the train and drink in incredible views of the Forth Bridge. Then get up close and personal by taking a walking tour. Find out about Sir William Arrol, the legendary engineer who re-wrote the science of bridge-building.

Don’t just cross the water though – get out on it. Grab a boat tour ticket at Hawes Pier and hop over to Inchcolm. This small island in the middle of the Firth of Forth has its very own abbey and there’s even some medieval art to be enjoyed – look out look out for wall paintings that date as far back as the 13th century.

You can also visit the beautiful Hopetoun House – Outlander fans might recognise as the Duke of Sandringham’s residence. The location scouts know their stuff – this is one of the finest examples of 18th century architecture in Britain. Guided tours of the house and vast grounds come in at £27 for a family of two adults and two children.


Route: Edinburgh Waverley to Linlithgow

Typical journey time: 23 minutes

Rich Scottish history, stunning views, and a quaint town centre to be explored. Linlithgow provides plenty of entertainment for a family day-out.

Why it’s good

Explore the history of Mary Queen of Scots at Linlithgow Palace – she was born right here 1542. It’s well worth scaling the seven floors to reach the top of Queen Margaret’s Bower – where you’ll find amazing views over Linlithgow and the loch. You’ll also learn about the amazing life of one of Scottish history’s most iconic figures.

If stories of death and daring don’t satisfy your thirst for history, then pay a visit to nearby St Michael’s Parish Church. It has sat on the hill since 1138, and has stunning views over the loch.

After all that you might be thirsty – luckily Linlithgow High Street is filled with traditional pubs, cafes and restaurants which provide the perfect place to stop and refuel.

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Had a great day out? Tell us about it!

These are our top five picks for a day out from Edinburgh. Got a better idea? Been to see what we’re chatting about? Share your adventures with @MyScotRail on Twitter or Instagram using #UnlockScotland – we’d love to hear about them.