My husband and I are traveling to Scotland for a 12 day trip in October. This partial business trip came up unexpectedly so we've had little time to plan. I would appreciate some input on our itinerary. We have business in Edinburgh for the first three days (will have some time for sightseeing) and then are planning to rent a car and head out. For the rest of the trip we'd like to explore the countryside- see and do a wide variety of things from big tourist attractions to hole in the wall local favorites. We'd like to try to keep lodging expenses down where possible but plan to splurge on a couple nights at nicer places as well. Please comment on the itinerary below. Are we spending too much time in one place and not enough in another? Suggestions for lodging or favorite activities?
Day 1-3- Edinburgh. When not working- Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood Park and Arthur's Seat, National Museum of Scotland and Scottish National Galleries.
Day 4 is a Wednesday- Drive to Callendar. Stop in Stirling, explore the town and Stirling Castle and see the National Wallace Monument. (I would love to see Culcross Palace but it's closed on Wednesdays.) Spend two nights in Callendar at Arden House.
Day 5- Hiking in the Trossachs near Callander and in Brig o'Turk. Possibly Rob Roy Visitors center if there's time.
Day 6- Drive to Inverness for shopping at the Victorian Market and visit Inverness Castle and Culloden Battlefield . Stay at the Heathmount Hotel- reviews are good and love the idea of staying right upstairs from the bar.
Day 7- Finish anything we didn’t get to yet in the Inverness area in the AM and drive to the Isle of Skye via the Skye Bridge. Stop along the way in Drumnadrochit for a 1-2 hour horseback ride at the Highland Riding Center and visit the Lock Ness Exhibition Centre. Need suggestions for a place to stay on Skye for three nights please!
Days 8 & 9- Explore Skye- rent bikes if the weather cooperates. See the Cuillin Hills, Fairy Pools. Possibly do the Caledonia Adventures malt whiskey tour. Watch the sunsets!
Day 10- Drive to Glen Coe via the ferry from Mallaig through Fort William and stay the night at Clachaig Inn. Places to visit: Neptune's Staircase, Old Inverlochy Castle, Waterfall of Inchree at Onich, Monument to the Massacre of Glen Coe, Glen Coe Visitor's Center.
Day 11- Drive south past Glasgow to Moffat. Take the scenic A708 drive to Selkirk. Does anyone know approximately how long the drive from Glen Coe to Selkirk is? Any suggestions for a town and nice place to stay in the Borders region? We’re considering a river view room at the Ednam House in Kelso.
Day 12- As many castles and abbeys as possible! Need to end up back in Edinburgh by evening to return the rental car and get to a hotel near the airport. Possible places to visit: Jedburgh Abbey, Floors Castle, Melrose Abbey and Traquair House.
Day 13- 9:30 AM flight back to the U.S.