Glasgow Days Out Travel Pass Guide

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Our top picks for days out from Glasgow

With a Glasgow Days Out Travel Pass you get unlimited travel within an hour of Glasgow for two consecutive days. That puts you within reach of Loch Lomond, the coast, and Scotland’s historic heart: Stirling.

Hop on and off wherever you like within the zone, and plan whatever trip takes your fancy. Head for the hills. Take the kids to the beach. Play soldiers in a castle. And don’t forget to check our 2FOR1 offers to get even better savings on things to do for your days out.

We’ve sorted the tickets – it’s up to you to plan the adventure. To get you started, here are our five favourite escapes from Glasgow.

Loch Lomond

Route: Glasgow Central, lower ground platforms to Balloch

Typical journey time: 50 minutes

Why it’s good

Loch Lomond is one of the most popular destinations in Scotland, and it’s easy to see why. There’s a huge range of things to do, it’s easy to get to, and you’ll be rewarded with some of the most beautiful Highland (and Lowland) scenery in Scotland.

Hire bikes and head up the cycle paths along the shores of Loch Lomond, or get the bus to Balmaha and climb Conic Hill. Head for Luss (on the bus from Balloch) for boat trips and barbecues, plus a swift hike up Ben Dubh, with astonishing views of the Arrochar Alps in the west.

But don’t overlook Balloch itself: head for the Sea Life Centre at Loch Lomond Shores to wow the kids at the aquarium (and get 2FOR1 tickets while you’re at it). Or pick the first or third Sunday of the month, and you’ll find the shore bustling with stalls for one of Scotland’s most beautiful, and longest running, farmer’s markets.

Then, of course, there’s Balloch Castle Country Park – perfect for a quiet stroll through the woods, with spectacular views over the loch.

There’s a tourist information centre right across from the station – and a pub next door too, so you can take stock and plan the day.

Stirling

Route: Glasgow Queen Street to Stirling

Typical journey time: 30 minutes

Why it’s good

Stirling’s the ancient seat of power in Scotland – and a trip to the castle will show you why. Look out in any direction from the battlements, and you could see an army coming for miles around. Inside the castle, you can delve deep into Scotland’s history – from the magnificent great hall, built for James VI, to the splendour of the Royal Palace, decked out as it was when Mary Queen of Scots grew up here.

Stirling has an atmospheric Old Town too: take the ‘Back Walk’ route to get the feel of its medieval and Renaissance buildings. Just out of town, you’ll find the Wallace Monument perched high over the plain: climb the 294 steps to the top for views of the city, Loch Lomond, and the Forth Bridge (on a clear day).

Venture a little further, and you’ll find the Battle of Bannockburn Centre, two miles south of the city. Easily reachable by bus from Stirling Bus Station, the centre provides an engaging, interactive experience of the famous battle of 1314 – though, you’ll be glad to hear, with much less bashing and slicing.

Don't forget your 2FOR1 entry.

Troon

Route: Glasgow Central to Troon

Typical journey time: 37 minutes

Why it’s good

Is there a finer thing than a fish supper on the beach? We don’t think so. And there’s no finer thing than the fish suppers from the Wee Hurrie, by the award-winning MacCallums of Troon. Set right on the harbour, this is a chippy with a difference: exceptionally fresh cod and haddock sit alongside irresistible seafood – and it’s all travelled about 200 metres from the boat. You might even spot a seal in the harbour, while you wait for the chips to fry. Beware of Mondays though, when the Wee Hurrie’s closed.

Follow the road back from the Wee Hurrie, and you’ll find your way to one of the best beaches on mainland Scotland: it’s a broad expanse of golden sand that’s just waiting for sandcastles, strolls and kite-flying.

Lochwinnoch

Route: Glasgow Central to Lochwinnoch

Typical journey time: 23 minutes

Why it’s good

Think of an RSPB reserve, and you might imagine a long trek into the wilderness. Not so with Lochwinnoch: you step off the train, and the reserve is a very short walk away. You’ll spot the loch from the train – but you’ll need to explore the paths and hides to get a close-up look at the wildlife. Not only is it one of the last wetlands in the west of Scotland, it’s also a seriously family-friendly reserve. There are all sorts of nature-inspired activities for the kids: think pond-dipping and bug hunting, and you’re on the right track.

Take your binoculars – or hire a pair from the RSPB centre – and you could spot a great crested grebe drift across the loch, or watch a sedge warbler pirouetting skywards from the bushes.

Ayr

Route: Glasgow Central to Ayr

Typical journey time: 50 minutes

Why it’s good

Looking for a classic seaside getaway? Head for Ayr, with its lengthy esplanade, broad beach, and fine selection of play parks for the kids.

Ice cream. Fish suppers. Fairground rides. Ayr’s got it all – plus Ayrshire is the birthplace of Robert Burns, so if you need to add a little culture to your nostalgic beach break, head for the birthplace museum for a full dose of Scotland’s favourite bard.

The museum is two and a half miles south of Ayr itself – about a 45-minute walk, or a bit longer if you go along the beach for the scenic route. There are buses and cabs too, of course – if you don’t fancy the walk.

Explore with the Glasgow Days Out Travel Pass

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Had a great day out? Tell us about it!

These are our top five picks for a day out from Glasgow. 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.