14 Exciting, Fun, And Scenic Edinburgh Day Trips To Try This Summer

Happiness is just a £1.50 Lothian Buses single away.

1. Cockenzie House and Gardens.

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Bus route: 26 towards Port Seton.

This beautiful 17th century manager’s house in the fishing village of Cockenzie and Port Seton is home to the Secret Garden Café operated by Scottish- German baking company Falko Konditormeister. The historic listed gardens are open to the public.

More information here.

2. Inchcolm Island

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Bus route: 63 towards South Queensferry, plus a £13/12 boat ticket and £5.50 landing pass.

Inchcolm is a fortified island in the Firth of Forth; home to a beautiful Augustine Abbey run by Historic Scotland. Visitors can reach Inchcolm by boat from South Queensferry, though you’ll need to book in advance.

More information here.

3. Balerno

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Flickr: devolve / Creative Commons

 

Bus route: 44 or 44a towards Balerno.

Balerno is a pretty former village and suburb near Colinton in the south west of Edinburgh. It’s a great starting point for several beautiful Pentland Hills walks, including this circular route around Black Hill.

More information here.

4. Port Seton Harbour

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Bus route: 26 towards Port Seton.

This working harbour in East Lothian looks out over the Firth of Forth towards Fife. The harbour was built was built between 1655 and 1665 by the 11th Lord Seton. It’s also a great starting point for a walk along the John Muir Way.

More information here.

5. Ratho

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Bus route: 20 towards Ratho.

This village to the west of Edinburgh is a great place to explore the Union Canal. Visitors can either hire a canoe or take a catered cruise courtesy of local pub the Bridge Inn, who operate a restaurant barge. It’s also home to an international climbing arena.

More information here.

6. Rosslyn Chapel and Roslin Glen.

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Hilary Wardle

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Bus route: 40 or 37 towards Penicuik.

Anyone who has read – or seen – The Da Vinci Code will have already heard of Rosslyn Chapel (one of many alleged homes of the Holy Grail) but you might not have heard of the surrounding Roslin Glen: The perfect place for a lush, scenic woodland walk.

More information here.

7. Bonaly Country Park

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geograph.org.uk / Creative Commons

geograph.org.uk / Creative Commons

 

Bus route: 10 towards Bonaly/ Torphin or the 16 towards Colinton.

Bonaly is part of the wider Pentlands Regional Park, and is easily accessible by bus. Well signposted walking routes guide visitors around the scenic Torduff and Clubbiedean reservoirs. The park also offers great views of the Edinburgh skyline.

More information here.

8. Malleny Garden

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Flickr: devolve / Creative Commons

 

Bus route: 44 or 44a towards Balerno, plus £3.50 entrance fee.

This walled garden near Balerno is a real hidden treasure. The garden is maintained by the National Trust and is attached to Malleny House, which was built in 1637. The house isn’t open to the public, but the pretty exterior makes a great backdrop.

More information here.

9. Penicuik House

Hilary Wardle / BuzzFeed

Hilary Wardle / BuzzFeed

Hilary Wardle / BuzzFeed

 

Bus route: 37, 47, 15, or 40 towards Penicuik.

This grand, palladian estate house was built in 1791 but was completely gutted by fire in 1899. It was restored between 2011 and 2014; visitors can now see inside the house as well as walking around its extensive grounds.

More information here.

10. Gilmerton Cove

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Bus route: 3 towards Mayfield or 29 towards Gorebridge (plus £7.50 entrance fee).

This mysterious series of hand-carved passageways was the home of a blacksmith called George Paterson between 1725 and 1735. It’s thought that it would have been impossible for him to create the cove himself, so its origins are still a mystery.

More information here.

 

Bus route: 44 towards Wallyford, or 4 towards The Jewel.

This hidden garden beside the 12th century Duddingston Kirk was reclaimed from an area of wilderness by Drs Nancy and Andrew Neil in the 1960s, as they wanted to create a serene place for contemplation. It’s currently run by a charitable trust.

More information here.

12. Lauriston Castle

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Bus route: 41 towards Cramond.

This 16th century tower house is home to a beautiful Japanese Friendship Garden, a gift from the Japanese city of Kyoto. The interior of the house is preserved exactly as it was left by its last owner Mrs Reid in 1926, who gifted it to the city of Edinburgh when she died.

More information here.

13. Dean Village

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Bus route: 47 or 19 towards Granton (get off on Dean Bridge).

This historic district on the Water of Leith was built in 1880 as model housing for local workers. Although it’s only five minutes walk from busy Princes Street it’s as peaceful and pretty as a rural village, and a great place for a stroll.

More information here.

14. Cramond

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Flickr: cosmicherb70 / Creative Commons

 

Bus route: 41 towards Cramond.

Cramond is a village and suburb of Edinburgh overlooking the Firth of Forth with a long history dating back to the Mesolithic and Bronze ages. Visitors can cross over to Cramond island using a causeway, but make sure you check the tide times first.

More information here.

All bus information is correct at the time of writing but may be subject to change. You can view the most recent Lothian Buses route map here, or visit the Journey Planner page for live updates.

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Hilary Mitchell is the Scotland editor for BuzzFeed and is based in Edinburgh.
 
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