If you’re looking for a weekend getaway, check out these top destinations for outdoor sports within 2 hours of Edinburgh! Whether or not you’re from Scotland, these locations are amazing places to visit and close enough to be great weekend destinations.
As beautiful as Edinburgh city centre is, there’s no substitute for outdoor getaways where you can practice sports like coasteering, hiking, canyoning and more. This is the perfect list for nature and adrenaline sports lovers to put on their bucket list, so escape the hustle and bustle of city life now!
First on the list of top destinations for outdoor sports just 2 hours from Edinburgh is Shell Bay. This wonderful place to visit and just over an hour’s drive from Edinburgh city centre. Officially known as Studland Bay, Shell Bay got its nickname after the beautiful shells which once lined the sea break.
Shell Bay is a picturesque bay at the south end of Poole Harbor, with soft fine-sand white beaches to enjoy. It is also a great spot for watching the ships from the Michelin-starred restaurant, Shell Bay Seafood.
But what makes Shell Bay even more incredible is that it’s a perfect place for coasteering. Just off the coastline, Shell Bay offers an adventure for those who want to escape city life. The best way to experience Shell Bay is to take a guided coasteering excursion. Let a professional guide you down to places only the birds and sea life have seen!
The cliffs are full of magical sea caves to explore and cliff-edges perfect for jumping from. The waves here are mild and fun to swim for all fitness levels, not to mention their spectacular clear turquoise colour. Don’t miss Shell Bay this summer straight from Edinburgh.
Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park
Another top destination for outdoor sports within 2 hours of Edinburgh is Loch Lomond and Trossachs Nationa Park. Get ready to explore lush abundant wildlands of Gaelic nature in Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. Just under two hours from Edinburgh, this large, beautiful natural park welcomes visitors year-round, with beauty to enjoy both in snow and in sun. The park is also home to Scottish heritage villages such as Tyndrum, Tarbet and St. Fillans. Callander is another adorable, very walkable nearby village well-known to tourists.
Visitors to Loch Lomond and Trossachs can enjoy outdoor sports such as rock climbing, hiking, cycling, and more. Loch Lomond and Trossachs is especially great for mountain biking because there are trails for all levels. Rent bikes or bring your own downhill mountain bike for flat, family-friendly trails or advanced, single-track technical joyrides.
Loch Lomond is also home to Scotland’s only natural lake, where you can go kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and windsurfing. Windsurfers will find excellent winds south of Rowardennan on Loch Lomond’s eastern shore.
The Falls of Bruar
Located in Cairngorm National Park, Scotland, The Falls of Bruar is an easy drive – just under two hours from Edinburgh. The Falls are also right next to the famous Scottish Highlands.
Besides being accessible from Edinburgh, Bruar Falls is one of the most beautiful and fun places to go canyoning in Scotland. Canyoning was first attempted here 15 years ago and was one of the first canyoning venus opened in the UK. But it has also been a destination for nature-lovers as early as the 18th century. This hidden paradise is nestled amongst lush pine forests and offers some super fun features for canyoners. There are even professional guides to help you navigate the falls.
Bruar Falls boasts smooth rock slides, high jumps, wonderous caves and dramatic waterfalls. These waterfalls are quite high with large amounts of water passing over them. Considered suitable for more experienced canyoners, the falls are the perfect place for canyoners to enjoy large cliff jumps, waterfall swims, caves, and rock slides. Bruar Falls also has a cool Via Ferrata and zip line section with a 5-meter slide drop into the water.
Another bonafide top destination for outdoor sports within 2 hours of Edinburgh is Alva Canyon! in Ochil Hills, not far from Lomond Hills Regional Park, and just over an hour from the city centre, Edinburgh is best known for being an epic canyoning spot.
The canyon itself is just off the main road, making it easily accessible by car, and not much hiking is required. For those who have been cooped up for a bit too long and want a true adventure, Alva Canyon should be your next bucket list travel destination.
Best suited to those with intermediate level fitness abilities, Alva Canyon offers opportunities to abseil 17 meters down the sides of the steep canyon right next to large stunning waterfalls.
The best way to experience Alva Canyon is by booking a professional guide to help navigate through the rocks safely. They also provide equipment, so you only have to jump in your car and head over to Alva!
Another top destination for outdoor sports within 2 hours of Edinburgh is Dollar Canyon. This stunning spot is only 40 measly minutes outside of Edinburgh. It’s the perfect day trip, so jump in your car and head into nature for some fun. The drive takes you into Dollar Glen where the air is fresh and clean. An ideal way to experience Dollar Canyon is by booking an experienced guide to help get your canyon on.
Contrary to what the name Dollar Canyon might bring to mind, money doesn’t grow on trees here. But what Dollar Canyon does have is a natural canyoning course that seems to be made in paradise. With 4-meter high, easily accessible jumps, 5-meter long fun waterslides, it’s well known in the canyoning community as one of the best canyoning spots Scotland has.
Dollar Canyon also has 14-meter abseil sections- all while being suitable for beginners and more experienced adventurers. There are even a few zip lines built in here and there. So consider your next weekend booked and embark on Dollar Canyon asap!
Just waiting to be discovered is Arbroath Abbey in Scotland. This area is just 1 hour 45 minutes from Edinburgh and is an important destination with historical significance. Arbroath Abbey hosted the most significant event in Scottish history on April 6, 1320, when the Scottish Declaration of Independence was signed by the Scottish noblemen.
But Arbroath also offers amazing outdoor activities to try. Coasteering is popular here, for instance. You can head out of the city and into nature, and book a professional guide to take you on an adventure along the coast.
With phenomenal caves to explore, you can swim through the currents, and take some breathtaking 5-12 meter leaps off the cliffs. Arbroath is a spot for those who truly want a thrill. The coasts here are for strong swimmers and true explorers.
If you’re looking for more cool places to go in the UK, check ou the Top Places to try Tandem Skydiving in the UK.