The countdown is on to the Commonwealth Games 2014! If you haven’t already got your accommodation organised, there are plenty of cosy cottages and lovely lodges in the surrounding countryside that would make an ideal base before, during and after the big event.
As well as discovering all that the vibrant city of Glasgow has to offer, why not take the opportunity to explore more of our beautiful country and fill up on brilliant moments? If you do have some time to discover some of Scotland’s scenic sights but don’t want to travel too far afield, here are five suggestions for day trips from Glasgow.
Scotland’s First National Park
The Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park is only a hop and skip away from Glasgow (just over half an hour by car to Balloch, at the base of Loch Lomond), where you can immerse yourself in gorgeous mountain and loch landscape. This year you can enjoy a brand new tour – the ‘Two Lochs Tour‘, developed by Loch Katrine Experience and Cruise Loch Lomond. This new way for visitors to experience the beauty of Loch Lomond and Loch Katrine in one tour is ideal for those who only have a short time in which to experience this magnificent National Park. Spend the morning cruising Loch Lomond and then either cycle or walk through four miles of Trossachs woodland before basking in the sights from Loch Katrine.
The tour will run between 24th May and 29th September 2014 – visit www.lochkatrine.com/loch-cruises/two-lochs-tour for more information.
For more suggestions on things to visit around the National Park, take a look at our Stirlingshire tips from the locals.
A Scenic Train Journey
Why not soak up some spectacular Scottish scenery from the comfort of a train? You could swap the cityscape for a coastal setting, and journey along the West Highland Line from Glasgow to Oban (or further north onto Fort William and Mallaig if you have more time). The West Highland Line is one of the country’s most scenic train journeys and the Glasgow to Oban stretch takes around 3 hours. It’s a relaxing way to take in some more of the West Coast sights and refresh the spirit with some lungfuls of sea air. There are many things you could pack into your day in the Oban area – here are just a few ideas on things to see and do when you’re there.
Scotrail run trains three times a day during weekdays to Oban from Glasgow – visit www.scotrail.co.uk for timetables and ticket prices.
An Island Adventure
If you’re keen to experience one of Scotland’s islands there are plenty that cling to Scotland’s West Coast. Both the Isle of Bute and the Isle of Arran can be visited in a day trip from Glasgow (though you’ll want to stay longer!), with picturesque beaches, scenic bays, idyllic places to walk and views patterned with palm trees.
Bute is only 90 minutes from Glasgow, described as both ‘Scotland’s most accessible island’ and ‘the unexplored Isle’. There are a wide range of things to see and do on beautiful Bute, from walking the West Island Way to visiting Mount Stuart House. Here are some tips for visiting the Isle of Bute shared by a local resident.
The Isle of Arran is another island jewel not too far afield – a 50 minute drive from Glasgow takes you to the ferry terminal at Ardrossan, and it’s a further 55 minute ferry journey over to the island. From the lovely Brodick Castle to the Machrie Moor Standing Stones, there are many sights to squeeze in while you’re there. Take a look at what local holiday home owners suggest you do when you visit.
A Tale of Two Castles
No trip to Scotland would be complete without experiencing a castle or two, and the cliff-top castles in the historic cities of Stirling and Edinburgh are must-sees.
The iconic Edinburgh Castle is perched on top of an extinct volcano, like a watch-guard over Princes St Gardens, and offers sweeping views across the city. Discover the highlights of the castle, from the Great Hall to the Royal Palace (and don’t miss the One o’clock Gun!).
From its craggy vantage point on Castle Hill, Stirling Castle looks out over rolling countryside and some of Scotland’s most famous battlefields. With a history interwoven with figures such as William Wallace, Robert the Bruce and Mary Queen of Scots, it’s a fascinating place to delve into Scotland’s past.
The Border Abbeys
A drive of under two hours south of Glasgow will take you to the beautiful Border towns with their magnificent abbey ruins. The charming towns of Melrose, Kelso, Dryburgh and Jedburgh are home to the remains of twelfth century abbeys founded by King David I of Scotland. Being close to the border with England meant that the abbeys became entangled in the Scottish-English warring, and these atmospheric and picturesque ruins are ideal for journeying back in time.
These are just a few suggestions for some day trips – you could also head south to Dumfries and Galloway and the gorgeous Galloway Forest Park; north to Perthshire, home to Big Tree Country; or over to the East Neuk of Fife with its coastal gems… the list goes on.
Take a look at these tips from holiday home owners across Scotland for some holiday inspiration. If you have any questions, or for any advice on trip planning, please use the comments box below.