Please recommend some day trips from Edinburgh, including any guides or companies, if those are necessary. We love public transportation and we'll be there in the days before Christmas. Thanks!
I enjoyed a partial-day trip by public bus to see Rosslyn Chapel in Roslin. It will be closed December 24, December 25 and January 1.
There's a lot to see in Glasgow as well.
I don't know whether December weather conditions would be suitable for more rural side-trips.
Stirling Castle is 40 minutes by train. There are a lot of historic locations such as the Wallace Memorial and the Archibald House. The Church of the Holy Rood where John Knox preached has a wonderful pipe organ. If the weather is decent it was a lot of fun.
Another vote for Stirling Castle. I actually liked it better than Edinburgh Castle.
Take the train the short distance to Linlithgow, nice little place for a wander ,or again train to South Queensferry (Dalmeny)and get a view of all three of the Bridges, some great places to enjoy a meal.I often get the train to Dalmeny and go for a walk around the Dalmeny estate and finish up in South Queensferry,the walk takes you right underneath part of the famous Forth Bridge, the walk back up to the train station is a bit of a bind though.There is even a micro brewery not far from the train station.
That time of year is when we have the least amount of daylight so only expect daylight between about 9 am and 4 pm.
the huge Horse head sculptures are near Falkirk and well worth visiting.
I took friends from Kansas City there last February, freezing cold but the sculptures are just stunning, you could also take in the Falkirk wheel.
We're visiting Scotland for the first time in June and so I can't vouch for anything yet based on personal experience, but sites I've found useful or customer service I've found exceptional so far:
Rental car https://www.celticlegend.co.uk/car-rental/
If you're on Facebook, check out Scottish Travel Society, the people on that group are incredibly responsive.
If the weather is good and you want a trip to a small town, take the train to Birnam and Dunkeld. Dunkeld has the old Cathedral and lots of history. The wee houses are nice, you can have a lovely lunch at the Taybank or one of the other places. And if it's a good day go for a walk in Birnam Wood or up to the Hermitage.
We took the bus to Craigmiller castle when we had a free day. Also visited Rosslyn chapel on another day trip. The remainder of the trip we had a rental car.
You could take the train to the town of North Berwick.
It's just a little SE of Edinburgh, and is on the sea.
Lots of cafes and restaurants, and beaches to walk on and get wind blown.
We visited nearby Aberdour for the wonderful ruined castle. This can really be more of "half-a-day trip" so you can combine it with a part day of site seeing in Edinburgh or something else you wanted to do. The castle was beautiful and photogenic and we loved wandering around it and taking loads of pictures. It ended up being a favorite for us. There is frequent and easy train service from Edinburgh (we Uber'd there but couldn't get one back so took the train on the return).
We will be in Scotland May 2020...We have planned a trip to Inchcolm Abbey. It appears that you take a tour from Queensferry. There are two different companies offering ferry service and guides on the island.
Just got back from Scotland. I took a Rabbies tour to Rosslyn Chapel and Melrose Abbey and I highly recommend their tours. They offer several, so go to their website. They use rental car size vans and my driver was very entertaining as we drove from place to place.
We did a day trip to hadrian's wall, which stopped at Rosslyn Chapel, Melrose Abbey and hadrian's wall. Long day but enjoyed it. Excellent driver/guide.
Used heart of Scotland tours in their "wee red" bus.
If the weather isn't good and/or if you want something very different from Edinburgh, be sure to go to Glasgow. There are lots of indoor sights, many of them free or low cost, and the Hop On Hop Off bus runs every 10 minutes for much of the day and connects almost all the major sights. I can't emphasize enough that even though they're both cities in Scotland, and about an hour apart, Edinburgh and Glasgow couldn't have a more different look or feel.
We took Rabbie's "Outlander" castle tour from Edinburgh and really enjoyed it. It was an effective way to see a lot of places and castles in one day that I was interested in seeing and I would absolutely recommend it.