We know that when it comes to planning a trip, time and distance are two pretty important factors to consider. Whether you're looking for a weekend trip away to indulge your passions or are keen to explore new parts of the country, it's important to know you'll have plenty of time to do the things you enjoy, and that the traveling is straightforward and minimal.

Check out these suggestions for great places which are ideal for a mid-week or weekend break - all are reachable in under three hours travel time from either Glasgow or Edinburgh, Scotland's two major cities. Get planning your short trip today!

Head to Scotland's beautiful west coast to discover some of Argyll's most alluring islands and enjoy the charms of a bustling harbour town. For this short break, base yourself in Oban and take advantage of organised tours or plan scenic drives to explore the surrounding coastline.

Things to See & Do

Book the Three Isle Tour for a day of incredible island delights. The tour involves travelling by ferry to the Inner Hebridean isles of Mull, Iona and Staffa. See the wild landscapes of Mull, experience the beaches tranquil Iona, and take in the geological marvel of Staffa and the mighty Fingal's Cave - if you go in summer, you might even get up close to a few puffins.

You could also explore the coastline south of Oban and drive to the Isle of Seil, connected to the mainland by the charming Clachan Bridge, otherwise known as the 'Bridge over the Atlantic'. From the village of Ellenabeich, take the short ferry crossing to Easdale Island, defined by its impressive flooded slate quarries and charming white washed cottages. If you fancy seeing the third largest whirlpool in the world, take a boat trip from Seil with SeaFari Adventures or Sealife Adventures.

Eating out

When it comes to snacking and dining, the town boasts plenty of eateries. Treat yourself to some of Oban's finest seafood and dine out at Ee-usk or the Waterfront Fishouse, or grab some fresh scallops, mussels, prawns or crab to go from one of the seafood shacks on the North Pier.

Getting there

From Glasgow, it's a 2 hour and 30 minute drive to Oban. Take the M8 west bound, then follow the A82, passing Loch Lomond, before joining the A85 at Tyndrum. It's also conveniently served by bus and train services too.

A three hour drive could take you from Glasgow to the foot of the UK's highest mountain where there are dozens of adventures you could throw yourself into. Get ready to test yourself in Fort William and Lochaber, otherwise known as the Outdoor Capital of the UK!

Things to See & Do

For starters, there's plenty for you to climb, including the mighty Ben Nevis, the UK's highest mountain! It's a great challenge well suited to experienced walkers. In the surrounding area, there are some other incredible mountain ranges perfect for hill walking and much more besides.

Aonach Mor is home to the Nevis Range, a mountain resort which offers winter sports during the ski season and a whole host of activities during the summer months. It's worth taking the mountain gondola just for the views, but you can also try high wire courses, forest walks, mountain biking and paragliding!

The area also boasts some fantastic opportunities for all kinds of watersports. Have a go at canoeing or kayaking and explore the Great Glen Canoe Trail, or experience the power of surging rivers as you try gorge walking, canyoning, white water rafting and funyaking.

Eating out

Once you've worked up an appetite, there are plenty of great places for food to choose from. Enjoy a proper bar supper at the Clachaig Inn in Glen Coe or the Ben Nevis Inn, experience innovative dishes at the Lime Tree or try west Highland seafood in the Crannog Restaurant beside Loch Linnhe.

Getting there

Fort William is accessible from Glasgow by road, train or bus and it's a stunning journey, whatever mode of transport you take. By car, leave the city west on the M8 and follow the A82 north through Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, across Rannoch Moor and Glencoe, and alongside Loch Linnhe.

Bundle the kids into the car and enjoy some quality family fun as you explore the Isle of Arran. Thanks to the RET (road equivalent tariff), it's very reasonable to travel by ferry to this gem in the Firth of Clyde.

Things to See & Do

Get out and about! Embark on an island safari with MOGABOUT to discover just how magical Arran really is. Be sure to make time to discover the island's pretty little bays, and see what you can find in rock pools as you explore the coast.

For anyone game for a new challenge, try outdoor activities such as gorge scrambling, sea kayaking or mountain biking. For gentler activities to suit a range of abilities, why not try archery or have a go on a Segway?

Enjoy Arran at a leisurely pace and take time to explore Brodick Castle, Garden and Country Park and discover over 800 years' worth of history, and later pop to the Isle of Arran Heritage Museum of the uncover island life in times gone by. Get a real flavour of the island and sample local cheeses at the Island Cheese Company or the Arran Creamery Cheese Shop.

Eating out

Food is a pretty big deal on Arran and you'll find there are lots of places to eat! Café Thyme at Machrie on the island's west coast has a great selection of bites, including bread and pizza made in an authentic Turkish wood burning oven, or check out the popular Brodick Bar & Brasserie, ideal for both afternoon snacks and evening meals.

Getting there

The drive to the ferry port at Ardrossan in Ayrshire takes less an hour from Glasgow, with the route mainly following the M8 before joining the A737. Trains also run regularly from the city to Ardossan. Caledonian MacBrayne (CalMac) operates a number of ferry services departing through the day, with the journey time a total of 45 minutes.

Fife is a region of varied coastal delights. With the long golden sands of St Andrews and the quaint fishing villages of the East Neuk, it's hard not to be enchanted by this diverse easterly region.

Things to See & Do

Take time to roam the pretty university town of St Andrews, taking in the castle, admiring the impressive ruined cathedral and, of course, hitting the famous West Sands beach! It's perfect for a bracing walk, or if you fancy trying something a little different, have a go at land yachting and sail across the sands with Blown Away Experiences.

Should you feel a little parched, then make your way to Eden Mill, craft producers of both beer and gin, for a tour and a tasting. You can also visit Kingsbarn Distillery, one of the country's newest distilleries.

Head along the coast to discover the villages of East Neuk, characterised by their winding streets and alleyways, historic harbours and neat whitewashed stone cottages. Places to visit include Crail, Anstruther, Pittenweem, St Monans and Elie and Earlsferry - a great way to explore a few is by following the Fife Coastal Path, one of Scotland's Great Trails.

Eating out

You'll be spoiled for choice in St Andrews, with its fantastic range of eateries, from fine dining to well-stocked delis. Treat yourself to an ice cream from Janettas Gelateria. And of course, no trip to Anstruther would be complete without trying its world famous fish and chips!

Getting there

From Edinburgh it's a pleasant 1 hour 30 minute journey by car to St Andrews, crossing over the Forth Road Bridge into the Kingdom of Fife. You can also take the train to nearby Leuchars and then catch a bus to St Andrews.

Did you know that many pivotal moments in Scotland's long and fascinating history were played out in and around Stirling, one of Scotland's seven cities? Visit castles, battleground monuments and more to learn about the area's past.

Things to See & Do

Start your trip by visiting the magnificent Stirling Castle, where you can while away the hours learning about its more tumultuous times. From the Great Hall and the Royal Palace to the vaults, you can literally walk through hundreds of years of history, and don't miss the beautiful Stirling Tapestries. For kids, there are plenty of fun interactive exhibits too. Afterwards, skirt the old town  by following the Back Walk, dating from the 16th century, and wander through the ornate Old Town Cemetery.

Ascend the 246 steps of the National Wallace Monument to enjoy some of the most fantastic panoramic views of the countryside surrounding Stirling, and learn the story of the Guardian of Scotland, the 13th century warrior William Wallace. Stand upon one of the most famous battlegrounds in history at Bannockburn and visit the interactive, state-of-the-art Battle of Bannockburn Visitor Centre for an immersive battle experience.

Eating out

The city centre has plenty of great dining out options to suit all palates, but also consider venturing countryside. The Inn at Kippen, a beautiful 17th century coaching inn, is Taste Our Best assured, or head to the nearby Bridge of Allan, a handsome spa town which is home to a number of popular bistros and restaurants, including the Meadowpark.

Getting there

Connected by motorway, Stirling is easily accessible from both Glasgow and Edinburgh, taking less than an hour's drive. It also has great rail and bus connections, too.

Follow in the footsteps of Scotland's Bard, the famous Robert Burns, a poet and lyricist whose works are known the world over. Make a round trip from Scotland's major cities and visit his birthplace in Alloway in Ayrshire and Dumfries in Dumfries & Galloway, where he spent the final years of his short life.

Things to see & do

In Alloway, discover where the wordsmith's story started at the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum. You can explore sites connected with Burns at Burns Cottage, Alloway Auld Kirk, Brig o'Doon and the Burns Monument.

Nearby, you can also visit the Bachelor's Club in Tarbolton, where Burns and his friends established a debating club, and Souter Johnnie's Cottage in Kirkoswald, the home of the real-life character who was immortalised in the Robert Burns poem Tam o' Shanter.

Head to Dumfries where you'll find the Robert Burns House, an unassuming sandstone building where Burns lived in the final years of his life where he penned some of his best known work. If you've got time, pay a visit to Dumfries Museum & Camera Obscura to get fantastic views of the town via the Victorian optical and find out about the local history. And when you get peckish or thirsty, head for the Globe Inn, a pub established in 1610 which was a favourite haunt of Burns.

Eating out

In Alloway, the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum is home to the Bard's Bakery and Café, serving treats and hot snacks, including the great chieftain o' the pudding race, haggis! Dumfries' famous Globe Inn serves pub meals, but there's a whole range of eateries across the town, from homely Italian restaurants to modern bistros.

Getting there

From Glasgow, Alloway is less than an hour's journey by car following the M77/A77. Driving from Alloway to Dumfries takes around 1 hour and 30 minutes via the A713 and the A75. It takes roughly the same amount of time from Dumfries to Glasgow when taking the A74/M74.

Ready for rejuvenation? Prepared to be pampered? Then book yourself into Stobo Castle, Scotland's only destination spa hotel, and head to the Scottish Borders.

Things to see & do

Stobo boasts a state-of-the art spa, including some women-only facilities. Unwind in the Swedish sauna, the crystal steam room, swimming pool, hot tubs, hydro spa and relaxation suite. There's a fab range of treatments to choose from, from mud wraps to green tea facials, and a fitness suite. In the castle grounds, there's a tennis court, or should you fancy a stroll to enjoy the country air, take a lochside walk or admire the waterfall in the Japanese Water Gardens.

It'd be very easy to dedicate your whole break to relaxing, but then you'd missing out on the beautiful scenery of the Scottish Borders! Dawyck Botanic Garden is located nearby, home to acres of colourful flora. Explore the charming town of Peebles, from where you could cycle a gentle 5 miles along the Tweed Valley Railway Path to nearby Innerleithen.

Eating out

The elegant dining room of Stobo Castle offers both sumptuous fine dining and guilt-free healthy options, as well as afternoon tea, and also serves food in the bar and coffee shop. In Peebles, there are some great eateries, such as Coltman's Deli, Kitchen & Bar, offering food with real culinary flare, and Cocoa Black Chocolate Shop & Café, where you can indulge your sweet tooth!

Getting there

From Edinburgh, you can drive to Stobo following the A701 south, taking the A72 and the B712 on the final leg of the journey. The journey takes just over an hour.

Cookie Policy

VisitScotland uses cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By using our website you consent to our use of cookies. Please read our new privacy and cookies statement for more information.