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Day Tours from Edinburgh

Hello! I am planning my trip to England/Scotland and thought about doing a day trip or two (maybe) from Edinburgh. I found a few tour options and didn't know if anyone here had used them or had any thoughts? I found Viator, Rabbies, and Highland Explorer.

Any recommendations or ones I should stay away from?

Posted by
21334 posts

Viator is not a tour operator. It just sells tours run by other companies, sometimes at a higher cost. (If not at a higher cost, the tour company doesn't receive as much as it would if you booked directly, because Viator takes a substantial cut.)

Rosslyn Chapel, in the town of Roslin, is a (partial) day trip you can take on your own. There are public buses from Edinburgh.

Posted by
1945 posts

Rabies has a good reputation. And I follow Monarch Tours on IG, but have no experience using a tour. :)

Posted by
917 posts

I took a day tour with Rabbie’s from Glasgow that included Stirling Castle, a whiskey distillery tour, and a stop at Loch Lomond. Nice commentary along the drive. Great way to see a lot in a short period of time without having to do the driving.

Viator is a middle man. They don’t actually provide the tours, they go through other companies.

Posted by
810 posts

We've uses Viator twice with good experiences. Once in Ireland and once in Budapest. Just be sure to read the details especially the cancellation policy since as others have said they are repping for other tour operators.

As to places to go, we enjoyed Stirling castle and would love to see it again.

Posted by
21875 posts

We generally have good luck with local tours from the local TI after we arrive. Some day tours are subject to weather so we tend to not book a tour until we know what the weather will be that day. But that only works if you are not on a rigid schedule.

Posted by
21334 posts

Scotland's tough, what with the iffy weather. Forecasts may not be accurate very far out, and a lot of tours seem to use small vans. If you wait until you're pretty confident you'll have a good day, the tour you want to take may be sold out. (Voice of experience here.)

I'd try hard not to plan to depend on tours when going to places reachable by public transportation, because the latter may be more readily available on relatively short notice. If planning to employ that technique, though, I'd recommend checking availability of the bus or train you want to take in the days leading up to your target date. I've seen buses sell out, and I assume trains sometimes do, as well. The truth is that the tourism infrastructure in Scotland seems to be lagging a bit behind the demand. It makes the country a lovely place to visit--it's generally not overrun except for Edinburgh, but it also makes getting around a challenge if you don't have your own vehicle.

Posted by
1309 posts

In December 2019 we went on Rabbies' West Highlands. Lochs, and Castles tour. We were a three generation family group of seven and everyone enjoyed the tour! We can recommend this tour company.

Posted by
11468 posts

I've taken numerous tours with Rabbies and plan do so again in the future. Never had a bad tour or even anything close.

Posted by
1981 posts

We took a Rabbies tour to St. Andrews two years ago from Edinburgh and it was excellent. We left about 9am and home by dinner. The driver was a great wealth of knowledge and I remember we stopped once on way there, had about there hours in St. Andrews and enough time to walk around and have lunch and stopped on way back enough time to walk around a small village and get a cup of tea. Don't remember the price but it was not too expensive. it was well worth it.

Posted by
169 posts

I will look at booking Rabbies. Thank you everyone for the responses!! Have a beautiful day or night, where ever you are!!

Posted by
4 posts

Consider a day trip to Falkirk to see the Kelpies and the Falkirk Wheel. Easy to get there by train from Edinburgh. Go to visitscotland.com website and click on Falkirk to find out more about the Kelpies and the Wheel.