Want a family day out from Edinburgh? Blue Flag beaches, historic castles and top quality shopping centres are all just a short train ride away.
There are excellent rail links from Edinburgh to the rest of Scotland and Northern England. Many tourist attractions can be reached by train.
Here are just a few ideas for a day out without a car:
Parks and Gardens in the Historic City of Perth
Perth stands on the banks of the River Tay. For centuries, it has been a vital link between the major cities of southern Scotland and the rural north. This unique position has created a wealth of history and attractions include St John’s Kirk, Scone Palace and Elcho Castle. The modern city centre is a thriving mix of shops and restaurants, together with relaxing parks and gardens.
Trains to Perth run every hour from Edinburgh; the journey takes 1 hour 20 minutes.
Safe Bathing on Fife’s Blue Flag Beaches
One of Fife’s biggest attractions is its unspoilt, award winning, Blue Flag Beaches. In all there are five Blue Flag beaches in Fife offering safe bathing and fun family days out. Two of these beaches, Aberdour and Burntisland, are just a short train ride away from central Edinburgh
Trains to Aberdour and Burntisland run every 30 minutes from Edinburgh; the journey takes 30 minutes to Aberdour and 35 minutes to Burntisland.
Deep Sea World is Scotland’s Largest Aquarium
Deep Sea World has one of Europe’s largest collections of sharks, in the longest underwater tunnel in Britain. Other exhibits include piranhas and seals, and visitors can touch live exhibits in rock pools. Deep Sea World is at North Queensferry, just across the Firth of Forth from Edinburgh and is a short walk from North Queensferry station.
Trains to North Queensferry run every 15 minutes from Edinburgh; the journey takes 20 minutes.
Take a ride on The Falkirk Wheel, the only rotating boat lift of its kind in the world, connecting the Forth and Clyde Canal with the Union Canal.
A 50 minute boat trip is the best way to see the wheel in action. The wheel raises boats by 24 metres but the Union Canal is still 11 metres higher than the aqueduct which meets the wheel. Boats must also pass through a pair of locks between the top of the wheel and the Union Canal.
There are regular trains to Falkirk High and Falkirk Grahamston. The journey time is 30 minutes. The wheel is just over two miles fromthe stations and the No 3 bus runs every15 minutes from near both stations.
Other Ideas for a Day Out from Edinburgh
There are plenty more attractions in easy reach of Edinburgh by train including:
- A day shopping in Glasgow
- The historic town of Berwick upon Tweed
- Aberdour Castle
- The coastal town of North Berwick
- Stirling Castle
National Rail provides up to date details of train times and fares.
Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital city is an all year round tourist attraction. The walk from Edinburgh Castle down the Royal Mile, to Holyrood House and the Scottish Parliament, passes a fascinating mix of museums, historical monuments, churches, shops and eating places. Visit the National Art Gallery, wander round the free Royal Botanic Gardens or take a bus out to Ocean Terminal in Leith where the Royal Yacht Britannia is docked.
Across Britain there are a host of attractions offering free admission. From London to Wales and Coventry to Scotland family days out don’t need to be expensive.
There are some great free family days out across the UK, ranging from top museums to small country parks. In every corner of the United Kingdom there are attractions that offer free admission; some may charge for premium attractions or car parking but all of the places listed below offer a great free day out.
The British Museum is one of the UK’s largest museums. The collection consists of over 7 million items covering the history of the human race from pre historic days to the 21st century. The Museum is in Central London, a short walk from Russell Square and Tottenham Court Road tube stations.
The Tate Galleries celebrate the history of British Art. See the works of Turner and Constable at Tate Britain or more contemporary work along the South Bank at Tate Modern. The regional museums at St Ives and Liverpool also offer free admission.
Imperial War Museum
The Imperial War Museum covers the history of wars and conflicts, especially the two World Wars. The main building is at Lambeth in London, with smaller exhibitions at the Cabinet War Rooms in Whitehall, the historic ship HMS Belfast on the River Thames, The Imperial War Museum at Duxford near Cambridge, and The Imperial War Museum North in Manchester.
Margam Park, Port Talbot
Margam Country Park is set in over 1000 acres of parkland,just east of Port Talbot. Visitors can enjoy everything in the grounds free of charge, except the train ride. Attractions include a Farm, Visitors Centre, Mansion House, Monastic Ruins, Narrow Gauge Railway, Fairytale Land, Children’s Adventure Playground, Deer Herd and Crazy Golf.
Royal Botanical Gardens Edinburgh
The Royal Botanical Gardens are less than 2 miles north of Edinburgh City Centre. See thousands of trees and shrubs including the largest collection of wild-origin Chinese plants outside China, a Rock Garden with over 5000 alpine plants and the Queen Mother’ Memorial Garden. The site, which covers over 70 acres is fully accessible for wheelchair users. Admission to the gardens is free, but there is a small charge to visit the Glass House.
The Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art stands on the south bank of the River Tyne at Gateshead. BALTIC, the biggest gallery of its kind in the world, hosts regularly changing exhibitions and activities – so no two visits are the same.
Coventry Transport Museum
The City of Coventry has a long association with the motor industry. The Coventry Transport Museum is a collection of cycles, motorcars, commercial vehicles and motorbikes made in the city over the years.
National Railway Museum
The National Railway Museums at York and Shildon, near Darlington provide an insight into the the history of the railways. Exhibits range from small railway artefacts to steam engines like the record breaking “Mallard”, and overseas exhibits such as the Japanese Bullet Train.
National Football Museum, Manchester
The National Football Museum at Manchester tells the history of football (soccer) from the origins to the Premier League and Champion’s League. Exhibits include the ball from the 1966 World Cup Final, Maradona’s shirt from the “hand of God” game, the oldest FA Cup trophy and the shirt from the world’s first international.
The Royal Armouries is the United Kingdom’s oldest museum,. Discover the history of the Tower of London and see one of the largest collections of arms and armour in the world, including the UK’s National Collection of Arms and Armour, National Artillery Collection, and National Firearms Collection. The museum is housed across three sites: The Tower of London, Leeds and Portsmouth. Admission to the sites at Portsmouth and Leeds are free of charge, but there is an admission charge to The Tower of London.