A Day Trip to Rosslyn Chapel from Edinburgh: Ultimate guide
You don’t always have to travel to lands far away to find a little bit of magic. Case in point? Rosslyn Chapel! A Rosslyn Chapel Day trip is within seven miles of Edinburgh, but it feels like another realm. Take a stroll in the incredibly quaint Rosslyn Village. Have lunch in a historic pub. Explore the enchanted ruins of Rosslyn Castle and take an easy hike in the magical Rosslyn Glen. If you fancy extending your stay further, sleep in a historic Rosslyn Chapel guest house. It’s all there waiting for you, just a few miles beyond central Edinburgh.
Rosslyn Chapel is steeped in mystery, but if it looks familiar, that’s because it is! Rosslyn Chapel was the inspiration for the book and film the Da Vinci Code. As such, she’s a magnet for tourists looking to get a taste of intrigue.
Trust me, you’re going to fall in love with this place.
Why Visit Rosslyn Chapel?
There’s so much more to Rosslyn Chapel than Dan Brown fandom though! If the Holy Grail and Knights Templar aren’t your bag, there’s still tons here for you to discover. I was pleasantly surprised to find that my visit to Rosslyn Chapel and the visitor’s center was only the beginning. Soaring gothic architecture in miniature form, an enchanted, ivy covered glen, a tumbledown ruined castle.
It’s all there waiting for you…
Directions to Rosslyn Chapel
Rossyln Chapel lies about seven miles south of Edinburgh’s city center. It is totally possible to get to Rosslyn Chapel via public transit. From Princes Street, Lothian bus X37 (toward Penicuik) will bring you to Rosslyn Village in just under an hour. Once you’ve arrived in Rosslyn, all of the activities in this guide are a short walking distance from each other. Everything in Rosslyn is very clearly signposted, making it very difficult to get lost…even if you’re a space case like me!
Rosslyn Chapel Day Trip Interactive Map
I made you a little interactive map with all of the places listed in this guide. Click on the pins to learn more about each destination including directions, opening times, phone number, web address, contact info, reviews, and more. Enjoy!
You can use this map to plan your entire journey, from Princes street, to Rosslyn, including great places to eat lunch, hike and spend the night!
Looking for more fun, easy day trips from Edinburgh? Check out my post, 10 Amazing Things to Do Solo in Berwick Upon Tweed.
Self-Guided Tours of Rosslyn Chapel
It is possible to do a self guided tour of Rosslyn Chapel. Keep in mind that tickets to Rosslyn Chapel are timed, so it makes sense to book one in advance. Your time slot will last 90 minutes and includes a free map and an informative talk from a chapel guide.
The Rosslyn Chapel visitor’s center has a gift shop, an interactive exhibit, a small cafe and toilet facilities.
Professional Tours of Rosslyn Chapel
Of course, sometimes it’s nice to kick back and let the pros do all of the hard work for you. Our friends at Viator run several very intriguing day tours from Edinburgh to Rosslyn Chapel and other nearby attractions such as Stirling Castle and Dunfermline Abbey. They even do a Rosslyn Chapel tour that includes a visit to Glenkinchie Distillery.
The Advantages of a Private Rosslyn Chapel Tour
The Viator tours include a private guide and a driver. Hassle free round trip transit to and from Edinburgh could be a wonderful way to avoid a long public transit journey. Plus, Stirling Castle and Dunfermline Abbey are not easy to get to from Edinburgh via bus so if you’re interested in seeing those places as well, it’s best to book a guide.
Getting friendly with gargoyles!
Exploring the Rosslyn Chapel Grounds
One of the things I enjoyed most about visiting Rosslyn Chapel was that I was able to get up close and personal with Gothic architecture! Rosslyn Chapel is essentially built like a mini-cathedral, so it’s easy to take it all in. And since I didn’t have to compete with hordes of other tourists, I was able to take my time and really appreciate every detail.
Scoping out stained glass
Take as many photos as you wish outside, but put your camera away once you enter the sanctuary because photography is forbidden inside Rosslyn Chapel. This is a shame because the interior of Rosslyn Chapel is one of the most unusual and ornate structures I’ve ever visited. I’ve seen a ton of churches in my time and they can start to look the same after a while. Not the case here!
Rosslyn Chapel’s incredible stone carvings are completely unique. It honestly just has to be seen to be believed.
Trust me. The interior is even more incredible!
Make sure you grab a free guide on your way in so you can try to scope out all of the chapel’s interesting features. Stay on the lookout for a carving of a farm wife saving a goose from a hungry fox, the devil and lovers, and a very Scottish angel with bagpipes!
When I finished my official tour of Rosslyn Chapel, that’s where the adventure truly began.
I didn’t think it was possible, but what I found next was completely unexpected and even more enchanting that Rosslyn Chapel…
Peeping over hedges at Rosslyn’s War Memorial
Once you’ve had your fill of Rosslyn Chapel and the visitor’s center, head down the drive the way you came in. Just before the car park, take a left and head downhill.
You’re about to enter the enchanted world of Rosslyn Castle and Rosslyn Glen…
Take care as you traverse the dirt road heading down toward the castle because it can be quite slippery and muddy.
Do you believe in Faeries?
Because where you’re going it’ll be hard not to…
Once you make your way downhill on the winding path, you’ll feel like you’ve crossed over to the fae realm. Everything surrounding Rosslyn Glen is draped in vines and ivy.
Looking for another great day trip from Edinburgh? Check out Inchcolm Island!
Explore the view from below Rosslyn Castle Ruins
Rosslyn Castle is currently undergoing a major renovation. As such, it is not open to visitors. However, this is still a lovely spot. It’s still worth taking some time to stroll around the ruins on your way down to Rosslyn Glen.
Make sure you don’t miss out on Rosslyn Glen
Just across the footbridge from the Rosslyn castle ground lies Rosslyn Glen. This pristine haven for nature and wildlife has been the inspiration for many artists, and once you get there it will be easy to see why.
People. I had no idea Rosslyn Glen even existed before I stumbled upon it myself! This is a real shame, because I could have extended this half day trip into a full day one with a wander around Rosslyn Glen.
Rosslyn Glen is said to have both a “light” side with miles of easy, picturesque trails, and a “darker” side, with more rugged terrain. Whichever side you choose, it’s sure to delight your wild, outdoorsy side!
Don’t lose your way!
Worked up an appetite from all that walking?
Time to head back up the hill to Rosslyn village for a bite!
Places to Eat Near Rosslyn Chapel
Interior of the Original Rosslyn Inn Pub.
Rosslyn Village offers several great options if you’re looking for a place to eat near Rosslyn Chapel.
Original Rosslyn Inn & Gastro Pub
This cozy gastro pub has tasty food and great service. It’s just across the street from the bus stop and adjacent to the chapel entrance, making it a great place to eat on your way too or from Rosslyn Chapel.
Dolly’s Tea Room
Just across the street is Dolly’s Tea Room, an adorable little place to grab afternoon tea after your visit to Rosslyn Chapel. Fun Fact, Dolly’s Tea Room was named after Dolly The Sheep. Dolly was the first mammal to ever be cloned. This happened right up the street at the Roslin Institute.
The Perfect Rosslyn Chapel Guest House
Grab a pint in the beer garden!
So by now you’ve figured out that a Rosslyn Chapel day trip is terrific…but there’s more to do in Rosslyn than meets the eye.
If you fancy getting away from the hustle and bustle of Edinburgh for a bit, why not book a stay in a local Rosslyn Chapel Guest house? Staying overnight in Rosslyn would be a great way to extend your trip so that you can see Rosslyn Chapel and make the most of the hiking to be had at Rosslyn Glen.
The Original Rosslyn Inn is a historic Inn located right in the heart of Rosslyn village, just steps from Rosslyn Chapel. It’s loaded with atmosphere and would be an ideal place to stay on your Rosslyn getaway!
Chapel Hill Guest House is another local gem, conveniently located just steps from Rosslyn Chapel. They even have their own victorian tea room!
Charming cherry blossoms.
Are you dreaming of Dolly the Sheep, Dan Brown, visits to faerie kingdoms and cozy pub lunches now? No matter how you get there or how long you choose to stay, Rosslyn Chapel is a do not miss in my book.
So what are you waiting for, you crazy kid? Go and get your gargoyle on!
Can’t get enough of Scotland? Check out my post 12 Easy Car Free Day Trips From Edinburgh!
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