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23 days in Scotland... I'm going to have lots of questions for the group...

Hi folks,

My wife and I will be spending our holiday in Scotland and because I decided to turn 50 this year, we're making it a longer than usual trip to Europe. We plan to be in country for 21 full days plus the day travel on each end. We are going in June/July this summer. I've been doing a bit of research on locations and other logistics and I have a few locations that I definitely want to see. I'll post a rough itinerary soon for comments.

One of the first questions that I wanted to get an answer to is seeing Glasgow and Edinburgh. We fly into EDI and fly out of there as well at the end. I am thinking that we could spend a few days in Edinburgh while staying in a hotel in town somewhere and then get a car rental after that to start seeing the rest of the country.

As we finish the trip, I thought we could bring the car back to Edinburgh and drop it off at the rental place and then take a train to Glasgow to spend the last few days of the trip. Then, take the train to EDI to get on the plane on the last day.

Is this logistically viable? I presume there are decent taxis and Uber or whatever from the airport to the city, but what would it take to get to Glasgow and back? Is that going to be too much hassle to try to manage? A lot of this depends on where the train station is... I suppose it might also be possible to pick up the car at EDI and then drop it off at GLA to avoid the one train shuttle leg. If that isn't hugely expensive to do so, then it would make sense to take that approach.

Any comments are much appreciated.

Thanks,

---Michael

Posted by
1731 posts

We're making our first trip to Scotland in June and so I can't speak from experience but can tell you what I've learned in our planning.

We're flying in and out of Glasgow, but after hopping off the plane, we take the airport Express into Glasgow and then the train to Edinburgh, so very viable. After a week in Edinburgh we've rented a car from Celtic Legend and dropping it off in Glasgow, there is a drop off fee and I can't recall the cost but it is less than a return train ticket for 2. The train will take you from city centre to city centre. Celtic Legend has multiple locations in Glasgow and Edinburgh and can recommend the best pick up and drop off points.

Posted by
489 posts

It is certainly logistically possible. The question is really how you want to spend you time. Do you want to see cities or the scenic splendour of the rest of Scotland? Living here in Scotland I never really understand the fascination of visitors with Glasgow. Yes it has a good gallery (Kelvingrove) but apart from that it's just like any other large, industrial city. Edinburgh I understand as it is quite special historically and architecturally and is the capital of Scotland, but Glasgow? Personally I'd rather spend some time in Stirling seeing the castle and maybe a side trip to Falkirk to see the Kelpies. But maybe we can help more when we see your planned itinerary.

Just a side note on Uber. You won't find them outside of the central belt (Glasgow and Edinburgh) and even within those locations could I respectfully request that you consider using locally licensed taxis? Uber is not a particularly popular company among some (dare I even say many) Brits for it's employment and fiscal practices. We also have a pretty good public transport system of trains and buses, at least in the major cities. With a bit of patience and time to get your head around the timetables they might work for you.

Good luck with your planning.
Jacqui (Skyegirl)

Posted by
18351 posts

Aah, Skyegirl, I liked the architecture in Glasgow at least as well as that in Edinburgh. It all looks old to Americans, and the Victorian buildings in Glasgow have a lot more variety than the Georgian (?) building in Edinburgh's New Town. Then there are the Charles Rennie Mackintosh buildings. And Glasgow, unlike Edinburgh, is not awash with tourists.

But I agree that Scotland's glory is its scenery. It will be comparatively easy to return to Edinburgh and/or Glasgow on a future trip to Europe, then just hop over to the continent on a budget flight. Rural Scotland takes time to get to, so I'd want to take full advantage of being there. That could well mean skipping Glasgow entirely on this trip, and I wouldn't argue with that unless you're mad for late-19th/early-20th century architecture.

Keep in mind that the weather--especially in western Scotland--tends to be overcast and rainy. A car will give you some flexibility in how you use your time, but if you are very interested in rural walking/hiking, you'd be well advised to pad your schedule to allow for encountering days not terribly suitable for outdoor activities.

Posted by
10 posts

I'm an architect/engineer by training and i have an architectural history minor, so seeing some Mackintosh projects is a necessary requirement when I'm in Scotland! Hahaha... I understand the industrial city aspect, and I won't be spending too much time in either city, but I simply must go see at least the School of Art and the tearoom...

Thanks so much for the feedback on the trains and car rentals... it looks like I could pick up in EDI and drop in GLA, so I may take that approach. I'll be developing my itinerary for the next few days, and will get back with a few other logistical questions once I have a better idea of what we want to see/do.

---Michael

Posted by
189 posts

Sounds good to me and definitely doable. Edinburgh and Glasgow are very different and you have time to see both. There is a regular train service between the two.

When renting a car, use a reputable company - Arnold Clarke is good. AVOID Green Motion or Easirent. Their prices may look cheap but you are likely to be stung by all sorts of additional charges and damage to the car.

Don’t underestimate driving times. Scotland may not look very big but it will take a lot longer to cover the miles than you might expect. If using Google Maps add at least 25% to their drive times AND THEN ADD ON TIME FOR STOPS.

And finally, have you found the Undiscovered Scotland website? It is a wealth of information and lots better than any guide book. Use the maps and follow the links to text pages with lots of pictures and information.
https://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/

Posted by
18351 posts

Scratch Glasgow School of Art. Had second catastrophic fire in 2018 and will be closed for ages. Scaffolding blocks view of even the exterior.

Good places to learn about and/or admire Mackintosh's work (information gathered in 2019):

The Lighthouse, 11 Mitchell Lane, N of Argyle St; Center for Design and Architecture: Mackintosh Interpretation Center with models, etc. Free. Mon-Sat 1030–1700, Sun1200-1700. Subway: St. Enoch or Buchanan St; follow street signs to The Lighthouse. I think this is where you sign up for the Mackintosh walking tour.

Hunterian Art Gallery, 82 Hillhead St, across from Hunterian Museum. Good art. Free except for adjacent reconstructed home of C R Mackintosh (£3); tours Tue-Fri at 1000, 1030, 1100, 1130, 1200 and 1230. First-come, first served; no reservations. Self-guided visits to Mackintosh House studio-drawing room Tue-Fri from 1300 and all day Sat-Sun; 12 people at a time. Museum Tue-Sat 1000–1700, Sun 1100–1600. Last admission 45 min. earlier. Reading room: 1930s Art Nouveau. One of my top suggestions.

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Argyle St (walkable from Hunterian): Art and natural history, focused on Scotland. Excellent and free. Enough Mackintosh work to justify visit. Mon-Thu & Sat 1000-1700, Fri and Sun 1100-1700. Donation ₤5.

House for an Art Lover (2-for-1 deal; ask if you need info), near NE corner Bellahouston Park, off Dumbreck and Paisley Roads, S of Clyde: Built 1996 from 1901 Mackintosh competition design. RR 5 min. from Glasgow Central to Dumbreck, then 10-min. walk; a bit hard to find. Excellent audio guide. M–W 1000–1600, Th–Sun 1000–1300. ₤3. A top recommendation.

Glasgow Art Club, 185 Bath Street, between Dalhousie St and Rose St: Mackintosh input on decorative elements. Gallery open to the public. Mon - Tue 1100 - 1800, Wed 1100 – 2300, Thu – Sat 1100 – 2400. (Walking tour goes inside.)

Willow Tea Room, 97 Buchanan St, is copy of Mackintosh design. (Walking tour passes by.) As I recall, the tea room is upstairs so you can't see much from the street. Sort of on the way to the Glasgow Art Club.

Daily Record Building, 20-26 Renfield Lane, between Hope St and Renfield St, very near river. Exterior only. Sight lines not great. Lower priority. (Walking tour passes by.)

Queen’s Cross Church (aka The Mackintosh Church), 870 Garscube Road, near Maryhill Rd: Mon-Fri 1000-1600 during summer. Bus: No 60/60A & 61 from Hope Street at Central Station. Subway: Alight at St George’s Cross then 15-min. walk through Cromwell Street into Maryhill Road. ₤2.50 senior entry. [I didn't have time for this one.]

Ruchill Church Hall, 15/17 Shakespeare St, E of Maryhill Rd and well N of Botanic Gardens: Exterior viewing only. Minor Mackintosh work, not very distinctive (based on pictures). Beside MacDonald's opposite Maryhill Shpg Ctr on Maryhill Rd (bus stops at both). Behind the Church is the Forth and Clyde canal with a bridge across to Ruchill. [I didn't have time for this one.]

Scotland St School Museum, 225 Scotland St, S of the Clyde: Mackintosh, but not very distinctively so. https://www.glasgowlife.org.uk/museums/venues/scotland-street-school-museum. Free. Tu-Th and Sat 10-17, Fri and Sun 11-17. Closed Mon. Opposite Shields Road Subway. First Bus 89 and 90. Skippable unless you're interested in the history of the school, which is the main focus.

Outside Glasgow but Helensburgh may be on your way west:

Hill House, CRM’s residential masterpiece (2-for-1 deal). RR from Glasgow Queen Street to Helensburgh Upper, walk up Sinclair Street (1.5 miles), turn right onto Kennedy Dr. and right onto Upper Colquhoun St. Top recommendation

Helensburgh Club, 38-40 Sinclair Street.Helensburgh Club, 38-40 Sinclair Street, Helensburgh. Tue-Fri 1100-1600. ₤3. [Closed when I visited on a Monday.]

Posted by
10 posts

Wow... I hadn't heard about the fire. I'll look at alternates and the list you have provided is excellent. Thanks!

Posted by
3072 posts

I have been to all of the Mackintosh sites , as I am a lover of his work , and that of his equally talented wife , Margaret MacDonald . I will be revisiting Hill House this coming Autumn , principally to see the elaborate restoration project that is ongoing there . This is a must see for an architect . - https://www.nts.org.uk/visit/places/the-hill-house Also , this documentary about their work produced in 1996 that coincided with the retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC , is well worth your time . 45 minutes in three 15 minute segments - https://youtu.be/LNrV6vbu4os The restoration project - https://youtu.be/mrlvRuM8gXo

Posted by
489 posts

Ah - well now you've told us you're interested in architecture then yes Glasgow is a must and the list you've been given of RM related buildings is excellent. Definitely worth the side trip to Helensburgh to see the Hill House. It would be on any route to the west that you might take on leaving Glasgow heading for the Highlands.

Jacqui (Skyegirl)

Posted by
10 posts

Thanks to all... yes, I have some out-of-the-norm preferences, and they will be apparent in the next thread I start.

As for the architectural subjects, I will be keeping this to a minimum on this trip and will spend most of the time outdoors in the country or at the ocean. You'll see that soon in my high-level itinerary that I am going to ask about shortly. I'll start a new thread for that.

Thanks again.

---Michael

Posted by
558 posts

In Glasgow, we had fun on a food tour, and learned a lot about the history of the city. It included a wonderful walk around/through the University of Glasgow. Gillian is a wonderful guide and takes you to wonderful places; check it out -- https://www.glasgowfoodndrinktour.co.uk