My mom and I recently returned from an incredible 12 day trip to Scotland. Interests include: historical sites, quaint towns, natural beauty, and a bit of shopping. We visited Inverness, Stonehaven, Edinburgh, Stirling, Ft. William, Isle of Skye and places in between. Thanks to so many on this page for advice and recommendations!
Day 1- We flew on BA into Inverness, with a layover in Heathrow. Making our connecting flight was stressful, but we did it! Rented an automatic car (thank goodness) from Sixt.
It was my first time driving on the left, so I was a bit nervous. There was SO much traffic in Inverness and by the time we arrived at our B&B I was worried that I had made a big mistake in renting a car for the entirety of our trip.
Our host was quite friendly and our room was clean and quaint. After checking in, we took the bus into the city center, walked around and grabbed dinner at MacGregors. The beer was good; the burger was a let down (strangest texture of meat I’ve ever had). Live music and singing started at 6:30 and was quite fun. Headed back and crashed around 9pm.
Day 2 - We did an Inverness & Culloden tour with Happy Tours. There were only 8 of us in the van and our tour guide, Bill, was so knowledgeable, entertaining and quite comical. Saw Loch Ness, Urquhart from a distance, visited a farm with hairy coos and an adorable little shop, saw Beauly Priory, stopped at Singleton Distillery (still don’t like whisky, ha), Culloden battlefield and Clava Clairns. My mom did try to go through the stone to Jamie Fraser, but alas, it didn’t work. It was an exceptional day! Had reservations at Number 27 Restaurant and we both did the 2 course meal, which was delicious. Service was also so friendly.
Day 3- Went to Cawdor Castle, which was enjoyable, and Elgin Cathedral (covered by the Historic Scotland Explorer passes) which we both loved. Such beautiful ruins and we also discovered a lovely park/flower garden across the way as well. I was getting more used to the driving by now. Whew! As we continued on towards Stonehaven the blue skies turned grey and the rain came pouring down. Visibility was awful and unfortunately we could barely even see the outline of Dunnottar Castle🙁 We had reservations at Marine Hotel and again had a scrumptious dinner. Stayed in a lovely B&B in Stonehaven with the friendliest hosts.
Day 4- Stopped at Glamis Castle and joined a tour, which we both thoroughly enjoyed. They have a fantastic gift shop as well. We continued on to Falkland (many Outlander scenes filmed there). The cutest town and we found some nice shops and a yummy coffee & tea room. After my navigation sending me in 4 different directions, we finally found the correct route to Edinburgh. So many people warned me about driving in Edinburgh, but I had to chuckle, because I thought it was easier driving in the city than on some of the ridiculously narrow, windy country roads. I’m also used to traffic and city driving where I live, so that could be why.
I rented an Airbnb for us near Leith. Getting in was a bit of a hassle, but it had off-street parking and was close to public transportation. Yay! After lugging my mom’s and then my suitcase up 33 steps we opened the door and could feel each other’s disappointment. It had an overwhelming smell of food and was just downright dirty. Walls were heavily scuffed, visible dirt along the baseboards and lots of mold in the shower. Thankfully we had dinner reservations at Mamma Roma that night. Italian food fixes everything, right? Both pasta dishes were tasty, though my mom’s was absolutely fabulous. Back to the dirty, smelly Airbnb. At least the bed was comfy.