There are many things to do in Glasgow for all types of travelers but at some point, escaping the city is a must! These Glasgow day trips will offer a refuge from city life and for you to experience some of Scotland’s best nature and scenery.
This day trips from Glasgow guest post was written by Gemma and Campbell at Highlands 2 Hammocks.
Glasgow Day Trips
The buzzing metropolis of Scotland’s largest city is a place that any visitor to Scotland should pay a visit to during their time in these bonnie lands.
Once named as the Culture Capital of Europe, Glasgow is a city bursting with beauty, fun, laughter, and fascination, from the colorful murals lining the streets to the colorful characters you will meet on every corner.
Once you have exhausted yourself of things to do in Glasgow, from the famous mural train to the nighttime ghost tours, it is time to escape the city. Outside of this busy central hub, there are a huge number of beautiful locations, all within an hours drive of the city center.
Here are some of the best day trips from Glasgow, some well-known and some a little more undiscovered, all from the mouth of a local.
Day Trips from Glasgow – The List
Shop at Loch Lomond Shores
Upon driving just half an hour from the city center of Glasgow, you will find yourself in a completely different environment. As you enter the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, the hills begin to tower around you and the busy city life that you just left seems like a distant memory.
At the very south of the largest loch in Scotland, Loch Lomond, there is a beautiful little stopping point that is the perfect place to stretch your legs and soak up the beauty.
The Loch Lomond Shores center is a shopping mall with a range of local produce and locally supplied cafes, all of which overlook the still waters of the loch.
In this area, there is also an aquarium where you can learn about the Scottish sealife, loads of children’s play areas, a small harbor area where you can rent SUP and pedaloes and even a newly installed outdoor cinema.
There is also the nearby town of Balloch, where you will also find more shops and restaurants, and even a train station if you do not have a car to reach Loch Lomond.
Loch Lomond Shores is usually our starting point when we head out on a road trip along the loch, and is a beautiful place to come and admire the stunning views of the distant Ben Lomond, which towers over the water.
The Devil’s Pulpit – Finnich Glen
Situated to the north of Glasgow, around 30-minutes by car from the busy city center, lies one of the most bizarre places you will find in this fascinating country.
As you arrive at the Finnich Glen, there is nothing seemingly special about the quiet, wooded road that winds its way along the Heart 200 road trip.
However, hidden from view by the tree line on your right is a passageway to another world.
Parking up at a safe position nearby the Finnich Glen, you are able to follow a pretty obvious path further into the woods, towards the fabled gorge known as the Devil’s Pulpit.
This 70ft deep crevice has a hauntingly beautiful feeling to it, and as you descend the slippery staircase into the deep ravine, you will find yourself transported to another world.
Surrounded by mossy green walls, with the only noise coming from the trickling stream that flows blood red before you, the Devil’s Pulpit is like something from a fairytale.
Named after the lump of rock that lies further along the gorge from the stairs, it is said that this platform was where the Devil once stood to address his followers.
For those of you who have fallen in love with Scotland’s beauty through the TV show, Outlander, this is a stop you don’t want to miss. This is also the scene from the hit TV Show, where it features as the scene of “the Liar’s Spring”.
Discover the Inveruglus Pyramid
Continuing further north from Loch Lomond Shores along the western banks of the loch, around halfway along the bonnie banks, you will eventually reach a small outcrop of land on your right known as Inveruglus.
This parking area for this is unmissable, directly across from the hydro station at the bottom of the hill, with huge water pipes reaching from here up to the top of the hill.
The car park at Inveruglus has a small visitor center that is open during the day that serves food and drinks to adventurers. There is a small harbor beside the car park that is perfect for jumping into the water on hot summer days and setting sail on SUP boards throughout the year.
From the car park, if you walk up the hill between the visitor center and the harbor, you will find a strange and inviting structure sitting at the top. Overlooking the magnificent view of the southern half of Loch Lomond is the towering Inveruglus Pyramid, also known as An Ceann Mor.
This is a newly installed feature, opened in 2015, that towers 8-meters into the sky.
On the lochside of the monument, there are steps that lead up the monument to the top, with seats spread along its height. At the top, you will find a set of free binoculars that allow you to see the length of the loch.
This is one of our favorite spots to admire the beauty of Loch Lomond, only 1-hour from the city center of Glasgow. A quiet, hidden, and peaceful spot that allows you to become completely removed from whatever is going on in life at that moment.
This was our frequent chillout spot when we studied at university in Glasgow. An escape from the stress of exams and deadlines. A place that would allow us to forget everything and be present in the moment. A hidden paradise on Loch Lomond.
Chase the Falls of Falloch
At the very northern end of Loch Lomond, you will find one of the most popular swimming holes in this part of Scotland.
Just south of the small town of Crianlarich lies the beautiful Falls of Falloch, a large waterfall that sits just off the side of the A82 road.
At the base of the Falls of Falloch is a large plunge pool, deep as still as the crashing water flows into it. There is a custom made viewing platform above it for a high up vantage point and a platform that is best for photos.
If you walk down the hill to the right, it is possible to gain entry to the plunge pool from the water level. From here you can wade into the water and swim beneath the falls if you are brave enough.
This is a very popular spot for swimming during the summer months in Scotland, and it may even be possible to jump from the nearby cliffs into the water.
BEFORE you swim in the water or jump from any height, it is crucial to familiarise yourself with how to safely swim in the wild. NEVER JUMP FROM HEIGHT without first checking the depth of the water.
Swimming in this plunge pool is done so at your own risk as there are no lifeguards on duty and the conditions can vary drastically.
Climb Conic Hill
On the eastern banks of Loch Lomond, not far from Loch Lomond Shores (about 25minutes by car) is the small town of Balmaha.
This is one of our favorite spots on the eastern banks of Loch Lomond, complete with cafes, restaurants, and a woodland walk area with beaches overlooking the loch.
High above the small town of Balmaha is one of the most popular hills in the Trossachs National Park, Conic Hill.
This 361m incline is the perfect hill for those who are not expert hill-walkers, or for people wanting an easy climb with a stunning view of Loch Lomond.
Taking roughly an hour to reach the top, the climb up Conic Hill begins in a car park in Balmaha. The path then winds its way through the woods, up the back of another hill, and finally emerges upon the should of Conic Hill, with breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.
From this point, the very top of the hill is a pretty steep slog that will take roughly another 20 minutes, however, the views are worth it.
We highly recommend wearing good, comfortable, and sturdy shoes for this walk as the ground can be uneven and muddy. We also suggest you pack a picnic to eat at the top, whilst you admire the beautiful countryside of Scotland.
Once you are finished with your picnic, however, please be sure to bring ALL of your litter back down with you.
Every day, more and more people disrespect this incredible landscape with litter that will remain there for hundreds of years. Respect the beauty and look after the wildlife of Scotland.
Other sights in this area include the cute harbor of Balmaha Pier, from which you can catch a boat across to the small loch island of Inchcailloch.
Upon this island, you will find the small ruins of a church and graveyard that dates back to the 8th century. You will also find spectacular views from the highest point of the island, which is known to some as the best view in the entire region.
Visit the Capital of Scotland – Edinburgh
One last day trip that you can make from the buzzing, modern city fo Glasgow is a visit to the historical capital of Edinburgh. Where Glasgow charms visitors with its culture and nightlife, Edinburgh does so with its history and beauty.
Proudly acting as the capital of Scotland for over 500 years, Edinburgh is widely regarded as the most beautiful city in Scotland.
With beautiful architecture, towering townhouses and not to mention the unmistakable outline of the castle, high above the city, beauty is everywhere you look in Edinburgh.
During your visit to Edinburgh, some sights that you can easily check out in just one day include taking a stroll up the Royal Mile, visiting Edinburgh Castle, and finishing the day off with a sunset on Calton Hill.
The Royal Mile is the cobbled street that cuts directly through the middle of Old Town in Edinburgh. It is named such as it is the (roughly) one-mile route that takes you from the castle to Holyrood Palace.
This street would once have been the parade route that the Kings and Queens would have taken when they made their way to the palace from the castle.
Spread along the streets of the Royal Mile, you will find a huge range of tourist shops and quirky bars and restaurants. Starting at Holyrood Palace and walking up the hill to the castle is the best direction to go, as this will lead you to your next stop.
Edinburgh Castle sits high above the rest of the city, strategically placed at the top of a volcanic outcrop with sheer cliffs on all sides.
The park that lies below the castle on the north side was once a man-made loch, created by blocking the river that once ran through here and used as a defense against invaders.
It is possible to enter the castle for a tour of the grounds and even inside the building, however, a ticket is required for entry. You can buy tickets either at the gate or online and a free tour of the castle is included in the price.
If you are timing your visit, we recommend trying to go at 1pm, as this is when the cannon fires. This tradition goes back hundreds of years to when the “one o’clock gun” was used to signal to the ships in the nearby harbor that it was now 1pm, allowing them to set their clocks.
Finally, to finish off your trip to Edinburgh, we highly recommend heading to the top of Calton Hill, the second-highest point in Edinburgh. Situated east of the Castle, Calton Hill offers spectacular panoramic views of the city, as well as the harbor and sea to the east.
At the top of Calton Hill, you will find a range of monuments and museums, such as the unfinished Acropolis pillars and the iconic Dougald Stewart monument.
There is so much to see and do in the lands surrounding the vibrant city of Glasgow that it would take a lifetime to see it all. These are a few of the best day trips from Glasgow, all within one hour of the city center and all definitely worth a visit.
About the Authors
Gemma and Campbell are two Scots on the run from a 9-5 lifestyle.
After years of planning, they finally quit their jobs and set out to find their place in this beautiful world.
Currently in Australia, they are living in a camper van and touring the epic Australian coastlines, which shows just how much they love adventure travel. They love promoting this kind of travel to their fellow wanderlusters on their blog highlands2hammocks.co.uk.
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Megan is a travel blogger and writer with a background in digital marketing. Originally from Richmond, VA, she now splits her time between Frankfurt, Germany and Arctic Finland after also living in Norway, Armenia, and Kazakhstan. She has a passion for winter travel, as well as the Nordic countries, but you can also find her eating her way through Italy, perusing perfume stores in Paris, or taking road trips through the USA. Megan has written for or been featured by National Geographic, Forbes, Lonely Planet, the New York Times, and more. She co-authored Fodor’s Travel ‘Essential Norway’ and has visited 45 US states and 100+ countries.