How far is Edinburgh from other places worth seeing?

Get familiar with how far is Edinburgh from other popular Scottish destinations (and also London, down in England). Plus a mileage table to help trip planning. We outline what is feasible from a base in Scotland’s capital and how much time you’ll need to see the best of Scotland.

How far is Edinburgh from a variety of starting points is pretty relevant if you are planning your trip to see us. Scotland is a small country and visitors from overseas often fly in via London, England. So let’s start there.

How far to Edinburgh from London? Scotland’s capital is 414 miles / 662 km from London by road. So, let’s say at least seven hours drive time, around 5 hours by rail or over an hour by air.

Talking of flying, the other distance that preoccupies some visitors is: how far is Edinburgh Airport from the city centre? Let’s call it just under 8 miles / 13 km. Frequent airport bus services and also direct tram link to the city centre. Overall, good connections here.

Talking of airports and flights…this is how to get the best prices:

An August evening; Edinburgh during the Festival
An August evening; Edinburgh during the Festival

OK, so now we have you here, what next? There are lots of places beyond Edinburgh you could visit in due course. (We could pause here while you read, oh, more than a hundred pages on this website.)

Alternatively, take a look right here at the most popular things to do both in and day trips from Edinburgh – and all easily bookable.

However, you might still be at the planning stage and not sure if you should actually make Edinburgh or Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city, your base.

So you might want to know how far is Edinburgh from Glasgow. That’s easy. It’s 48 miles / 77 km from city centre to city centre. Plenty of trains too. Whizz through in well under an hour. By road or rail, you just cross the busy central belt of Scotland. You’re in the Lowlands.

However, from plenty of high points in Edinburgh you can see hills on the horizon – a reminder that Edinburgh and Glasgow are not far from Highland scenery.

Incidentally, before you go beyond Edinburgh, as it’s a walkable city, you might want to consider its choice of guided walking tours.

Edinburgh city-centre
The poet Allan Ramsay (statue of) looks down with approval from Edinburgh’s Princes Street Gardens on a passing Edinburgh tram. It’s a good way of getting to the airport from the city centre, but there is also a regular airport bus service.

Edinburgh Day Trips

So you might then decide, well, how far is Edinburgh from a whole range of days out, Highland or otherwise. 

St Andrews in Fife, for example, at 50 miles / 80 km is a popular choice – though it’s a classic east coast Lowland town.

For a Highland experience you might enjoy a day trip to The Trossachs (61 miles / 98 km). It’s a pretty gentle introduction to a more rugged Scotland (and you could also include Stirling Castle.)

If you are a hillwalker, for example, you can day-trip a whole choice of mountains in the long days of summer and still get back to an Edinburgh base.

For example, some of the Glenshee hills, or Ben Ledi on the edge of the Trossachs, and lots more.

How far is Edinburgh from the Trossachs - just an easy drive
Trossachs in autumn. How far is Edinburgh from here? Driving time not much over an hour.

How far can you drive from Edinburgh
in a day?

Right, what if you have decided to see more of Scotland.? What is feasible for an easy day’s journey to your chosen destination? How far is Edinburgh from Inverness, say?

(That’s not the same as actually advising you to stay in Inverness. This busy little Highland city is just an example – though it’s a natural route centre with lots to see round and about.)

The answer in simplest terms is that Edinburgh to Inverness is 157 miles / 251 km. By road the shortest route involves the A9, the Highland Road.

Bridge over River Tay at Dunkeld, Perthshire
Just a few moments from the main A9 road, the bridge here over the River Tay leads straight into the pleasant little Highland community of Dunkeld.

And just as a reminder that there are lots of places to see close to the A9 en route for Inverness, the little Perthshire community of Dunkeld makes a good stop.

The River Tay lies between the A9 and Dunkeld, and was bridged in in 1809. The handsome bridge was built as a toll road by the local toff, the Duke of Atholl. For decades, he and his graping successors charged the ordinary folk for using it. (Well, they would, wouldn’t they?)

By 1879 the residents had had enough. They rioted and threw the toll gates into the river. Hurrah! The tolls were dropped. A later Duke of Atholl still lives along the road, at Blair Castle, open to visitors, so you can still pay the dukes some money if you visit.

And, only a little further, Pitlochry has a good choice of accommodation and eating places in the heart of Highland Perthshire.

(To be honest, of course, we wouldn’t go towards Inverness via the A9 at all, but that’s just us wanting you to go off the beaten track in Scotland.)

Anyway, en route for Inverness from Edinburgh, Strathspey, anglicised (as in ‘dumbed down’) to Spey Valley, is another area worth exploring. Bases include the resort of Aviemore, but we like the quieter Abernethy or Boat of Garten.

Explore the Cairngorms National Park from this area – pine forest, high mountain plateau, fine scenery – and yet all this is close to the attractions of Inverness, for example, Culloden Battlefield.

Tullochgrue, near Aviemore
The view from Tullochgrue, near Aviemore, in the Cairngorms National Park – birchwood, Scots pine and a real sense of a wild place – well worth seeing and close to the main A9 road.

From Edinburgh to the Isle of Skye

How far is it from Edinburgh to Skye? It’s 201 miles / 322 km from Edinburgh to the Skye Bridge and basically you should take all day if you decide to drive.

There’s so much to see on the way – Callander- Glen Dochart – Tyndrum – Rannoch Moor – Glencoe – the Great Glen… plus magnificent Glen Shiel – and only then do you reach the western seaboard with the iconic Eilean Donan Castle coming up – for more detail on this, take a look at our dedicated driving to Skye page.

It’s a classic Scottish journey in a way that the direct A9 Edinburgh to Inverness road isn’t.

Of course you can go by public transport to Skye. Both Mallaig and Kyle of Lochalsh on the mainland will deliver you to easy ferry or bus connections to perhaps what is Scotland’s most famous island.

So, you’re in Edinburgh and want to see the north-western seaboard of Scotland – the really rugged Highlands?

There are two distances for you to consider. First, the distance between Edinburgh and Glen Torridon – taking the Torridon area as simply one of the finest and most spectacular mountain areas of Scotland. Think of Torridon as due west of Inverness.

Towards the seaboard of the North-West Highlands

The second distance to consider is between Edinburgh to Ullapool, further north on the peerless seaboard of the west. (Actually, when I typed that it came out as the ‘seaboard of the wet’. Now I’m wondering if that was a Freudian slip. No matter, let’s carry on…)

First Edinburgh to the Torridons. Distance is, 203 miles / 325 km but that’s by the A9, rather than the more scenic route you would take to Skye. (But that’s just my opinion.)

Sure, you can get up there in a day. The mileage given is to Kinlochewe at the east end of the glen rather than, say, to Shieldaig beyond the western end, where there is a better accommodation choice.

There are comments on where to stay in the Torridon and Shieldaig area on the link. You need to stay a couple of nights (at least) if you want to explore, say, Torridon and the Applecross area.

In Glen Torridon, August
In Glen Torridon in August, looking west. Plenty of atmosphere as the clouds come and go. An hour or so’s drive west of Inverness. Not really advisable as an Edinburgh day trip!

Another option for exploring the North-west Highlands option is to head for Ullapool. That will be 210 miles / 336 km from Edinburgh. There is a good accommodation choice here and it’s a good base to explore the seaboard.

Like the Torridons or, say, Gairloch – another west coast resort that is worth a look – Ullapool isn’t really day-trippable from Edinburgh, unless you’re completely mad and a driving nut. (In which case you should note that the A9, the main route to Inverness, now has very effective average speed cameras, so you won’t get away with any antisocial high-speed nonsense!)

Finally, there are dozens of other places that might be your destination if you a heading out of Edinburgh to explore the rest of Scotland. You can, for instance, drive to the very top of Scotland in one day. 

Edinburgh to Orkney in a day?

For example, if you intend to visit Orkney, then the distance to, say, Scrabster, one of three mainland places where you can get a ferry to Orkney, is a fairly demanding 265 miles, 424 km. (Incidentally, the other two links are from Aberdeen and Scrabster. Northlink Ferries run the ferry services from Aberdeen and Scrabster.)

If you don’t go from Aberdeen, then the A9 north of Inverness doesn’t have a lot of dual carriageway / divided highway, so if you start from Edinburgh it’s a big day’s drive with an early start. You should build in some rest and refreshment breaks, especially if you are trying to arrive in good time for a Gills Bay to St Margaret’s Hope ferry

The Orkney ferry Pentalina
MV Pentalina links Gills Bay on the mainland with St Margaret’s Hope on Orkney. It’s a shorter crossing than the Scrabster to Stromness link (and a lot shorter than the Aberdeen connection). In this picture the twin hull construction of the vessel is visible.

How far is Edinburgh to…

  • Edinburgh Airport 8 miles / 13 km
  • Glasgow 48 miles / 77 km
  • St Andrews 50 miles / 80 km
  • Trossachs (Loch Katrine Pier) 61 miles / 98 km
  • Skye (Bridge at Kyle of Lochalsh) 201 miles / 322 km
  • Torridon (Kinlochewe) 203 miles / 325 km
  • Ullapool 210 miles / 336 km
  • Scrabster (Orkney ferry terminal for Stromness) 265 miles, 424 km
  • London (England) 414 miles / 662 km

Here’s a driving route to Skye

Or you could have a day in St Andrews

Or discover The Trossachs