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18 days in Scotland & UK

We will be taking our first trip to Scotland and parts of the UK this fall. 2 active seniors, planning to spend around 18 days, mid September. We will not be renting a car so we will need to be within easy access to train stations.
I would really like some itinerary advice. This is my preliminary itinerary:
Day 1 - arrive London, travel to Bath
2 - Day trip to Stonehenge, Avebury
3 - Sights in the city of Bath
4 - train to Conwy
5 - Conwy castle, Plas Mawr, Trefriw Woolen Mills or maybe a tour
6 - Conwy to Glasgow- evening walking tour of Glasgow
7 - 9 - 3 day tour from Glasgow to Skye & Loch Ness
10 - train to Inverness - walking tour
11 - Sights of Inverness or possibly a tour of northern highlands
12 - Inverness to Pitlochry to Edinburgh.
13 - Sights in the city of Edinburgh
14 - day trip to Stirling, the Kelpies, St Andrews
15 - Edinburgh to London
16 - sights in London
17 - sights in London
18 - fly home

I’m wondering about the Inverness, Pitlochry portion of this trip. Is it worth it to see that part of the country? Also, are there luggage lockers in the train station in Pitlochry?
Any advice you can give would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance!

Posted by
6743 posts

This is the bus timetable for Trefriw- https://llewjones.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/04/PDF.pdf

No there is no luggage facility at Pitlochry Station, or as far as I know anywhere in the town.

It is a very subjective opinion if Pitlochry is worth it.

Personally I find the town a bit touristy- but the visitor centre at the Dam and Fishpass is worth visiting. To see more of the area maybe take a round trip on Elizabeth Yule's bus #84 to Kinloch Rannoch- https://www.elizabethyulecoaches.co.uk/route-Pitlochry-bull-Faskally-bull-Tummel-Bridge-bull-Kinloch-Rannoch-id14

The bus leaves from right outside the station.

There is a short cut to the dam straight off the northbound Platform.

Posted by
7025 posts

First, I think you might be overdoing it with the day trip to Stirling, the Kelpies and St. Andrews in one day. I spent more than half a day at Stirling, seeing the castle and the town, and didn't leave till around 3 pm. You might go through more quickly, but that's a lot to see, especially considering you will not have a car. I would visit Stirling in one day (with the Kelpies) and St. Andrews on another. OR pick one of those. My vote would be for Stirling as I really loved it, but I have not been to St. Andrews.

Second, there are several people here who live in Scotland who mention that Inverness is not really a great sightseeing location. It's more of a place to get to other places unless you live there. BUT if you're using it as a base for a tour, then it works. Rabbies has a number of one-day tours that originate in Inverness that would be interesting.

And I would also skip Pitlochry and head straight down to Edinburgh. That way you can see more of the city, maybe add in St. Andrews or Stirling (depending on what you do there), or even add in an extra day in London. London has so much to see that 3 days will not even begin to cover it. But you have plenty of options. :-)

Posted by
2066 posts

Picking up on Mardee's comment about Inverness - it is very much a 'marmite' type of place. People either love it ir hate it. I actually like the city. Yes it is tourist central but then so many other places beloved of the tourists are too. Don't bother with all the Nessie hype and Urquhart Castle is always busy. The best way to see the castle is from a cruise on Loch Ness.

Culloden Battlefield is on most tick lists but is probably best appreciated if you have an understanding and interest in Scottish history and the Jacobite Rebellion.

Near Culloden is Clava Cairns which are worth visiting, especially if you are fans of Outlander. They are supposed to be the inspiration for Craig na Dun. The cairns were part of a Bronze Age cemetery dating from 3000-4000 years ago. They are best visited early evening after all the other tourist have gone and the lower light is much more evocative. I've always found them a magical place.

The other place worth considering is Fort George which was built after the Battle of Culloden to subdue the Highlands. It is virtually unchanged since it was built and still remains one of the largest and most impregnable fortifications in Europe. Impressive just doesn't begin to describe it. Allow plenty of time as there is a lot to see. It is still used by the military and soldiers can be seen around the site.

By the time it was finished, the Highlands were relatively calm and no action was ever required from Fort George. There is a story, may be apocryphal, that one shot was fired by a jittery soldier on night duty who thought he saw a Jacobite soldier creeping up to the fort and fired at him. Next morning the guards found the dead body of a cow....

Jutting out on a peninsula into the Moray Firth, this is also a good place to see bottle nosed dolphins.

Another choice could be Dunrobin Castle, the family home of the Dukes of Sutherland and the largest and most northerly of Scotland's Stately homes. Again it is impressive. There are more pictures and information here. Check out train times. Dunrobin Halt is a request stop, so make sure you tell teh ticket Collector(Guard) when you get on the train that you want to get off there. He'll then tell the driver. On the return trip, stand in clear view of the arriving train and hold you hand up high as a signal you want the train to stop.

So don't be discouraged from using Inverness as a base. There's a lot you can do from there.

Posted by
5063 posts

You might consider switching day two and three if possible. Your arrival day in Bath will be one during which you will be jet lagged and tired. The next day you might still be that way to an extent. If so, then touring Bath will be better than more travel such as heading out to Stonehenge and Avbury, as it will give you a chance to "settle in" and acclimate. Others may have a different opinion, but it's just something to think about.