Flying into Edinburgh..will arrive in the evening then have 3 more full days in scotland. what are the must see sights? I will be traveling with my 85 year old mom and will have a rental car. We love little towns and shopping local with some great scenery and history thrown in. I've got 1 day slated for Edinburgh itself and then i have Inverness and Loch Ness on the itenerary but looking for other great ideas. We don't want to spend all day in the car but rather drive and stop and drive and stop. We did this before in Ireland and "luvved" it! :) Thanks in advance for the help!
Inverness is a full days drive by Loch Ness which others also agree has boring scenery for miles except for Urquhart Castle. There a lot of great places to visit that are closer to Edinburgh. Check the Visit Scotland website for some good ideas. Glasgow has the wonderful Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery, and the Necropolis with very cool headstones and monuments. Stirling has the Castle was the capitol of Scotland in King James time. The Trossachs is a National Park that has boat rides. Inveraray has the Castle that is the home of the Laird Argyle and clan headquarters of the Campbells and has a fantastic armory display on the walls. Bon Voyage.
Have a look at some of the itineraries suggested by the Visit Scotland website.
Loch Ness and Inverness are not the best Scotland has to offer.
Inverness will not fit the bill for 'little town' or 'great scenery'. It is a working town used by those of us who live remotely to get essential supplies. Loch Ness is very dull!. I'm sure Mike (Auchterless) will have some good suggestions for you, but really 3 full days is not very much to see Scotland, especially when you already have one full day in Edinburgh. Personally I would pick one base and then do trips out from there. It will save you much time on packing, unpacking and finding your lodgings. Pitlochry could be a good base. From there you could get to House of Bruar, which is a very upmarket store, known locally as the Harrods of the North, but it has lots of very Scottish items for sale, from artisan food, through to cashmere, and everything in between. You could also visit Scone Palace in Perth easily from Pitlochry. You could drive out across Rannoch Moor, following loch Rannoch to the very isolated railway station, which has a wonderful tea room. You will feel as though you are at the end of the earth. You would pass the Queen's lookout (named for Queen Victoria who loved this area). Hope this helps.
Honestly, I'd advise staying in Edinburgh near Waverley Station and taking a day trip by train each of the days you want to get out into the countryside. Unpacking and checking in at another lodging just doesn't seem worth it for such a short time, let alone the hassle of renting a car and navigating to your chosen destination(s).
I agree with the others that Inverness and Loch Ness are not the best choices given your time constraints. You would be, as you say, spending all day in the car.
From Edinburgh you could take a day trip by rail to any of many smaller towns, especially if you're willing to combine train with bus. For example, you can take a train to Dundee and bus onward to Glamis Castle. https://www.rome2rio.com/map/Edinburgh-Waverley-Station/Glamis-Castle
In a different direction, Linlithgow, Falkirk, and Sterling are all on one train line. Or, if you want more of a highlands feel, you could take a train to Pitlochry and onward to Blair Atholl and Blair Castle, on the edge of the Cairngorms National Park.
I wouldn't do rail travel with an 85 year old. Potentially lots of steps and staircases to navigate getting from one platform to another. Rail stations not always in town centre, so often a bit of a walk into town to see points of interest. And lots of wasted time waiting for trains. Just my opinion though.....
You have a couple of options - spend the first full day and night in Edinburgh, then spend the last two days on the trot, or use Edinburgh as a base and make day trips. Jacqui (Skyegirl) has suggested Pitlochry, which would be a good base for exploring the Central Highlands (Rannoch Moor would make for a good outing, as would the Aviemore/Cairngorm/Loch Morlich area - mum would probably enjoy shopping in Aviemore).
As Skyegirl recommended, Inverness and Loch Ness are worth a miss. There are many prettier lochs in the Central Highlands than Loch Ness - Loch Tay, Loch Tummel, and Loch Rannoch, for example. Loch Ness is big, and it's wide, and may or may not have a plesiosaur lurking in its depths, but other than that, it's not particularly attractive. Inverness is attractive enough, but it's more a hub for taking day trips than a city to spend time in. Plus if you prefer small towns, Inverness certainly does not, as Skyegirl noted, fill the bill.
If you decide to take day trips from Edinburgh, and enjoy the ambience of small towns, you may want to consider the East Neuk of Fife. You could start by taking the M90 across the River Forth, then the A985 to the village of Culross. From there, take the A985 back toward the bridge, cross under the bridge, and take the A921 toward Dalgety Bay and Burntisland. From Burntisland, follow the coast road through Kirkcaldy and on to the coastal villages of Pittenweem, Anstruther, and Crail. From there, you can follow the North Sea coast around to St. Andrews. From St. Andrews, you could then take the A91 back to Edinburgh by way of Kinross and Loch Leven.
On day two out of Edinburgh, you could explore the Scottish Border towns. Kelso, Galashiels, Melrose, Selkirk, and Moffat are all small towns worth a visit, and you could enjoy James Hogg's (the Ettrick Shepherd) old haunts near Yarrow and St. Mary's Loch. On the way back to Edinburgh, you could pay a visit to New Lanark, and walk up to Cora Linn and the Falls of Clyde, if mum has any energy left. :)
I hope that helps you make some choices. I hope, too, that your lodging in Edinburgh has parking available, as parking in the city is expensive, and not always readily available.
Best wishes for your holiday!
We will not be traveling by train or bus as i will already have a rental car. All our travel will be in the rental car which i am driving. just looking for good towns/sites to visit without having to drive all day to get there. We're going to spend the first day in Edinburgh, will probably just park the car and walk the city then get into the car and head to our next destination.
Auchterless-thanks for the reply! I think we will do the "trot" version and just pick a few towns that might be good options then find local B&B to stay the night. What towns/sites are your "top" suggestions?? Again, my mom is very agile, yet 85. We like small towns to shop, we like local history, we like pretty views. Thanks!!
Auchterless-sorry i missed your lengthy reply! I am studying it now!! thank you!
Hi again, ruggierm,
I have to apologize for my earlier disjointed post, which may have caused you some confusion. I had typed the first paragraph, then was interrupted, so I posted it, figuring I would be back in a couple of minutes. Well, it was a while before I got back.
Anyway, now that I know that you'll have two days outwith Edinburgh, I like Skyegirl's suggestions. Pitlochry would be a good place for a two day base. You could also consider visiting the East Neuk of Fife, or just Culross, then heading up to Pitlochry from there. You might also want to consider going a little bit farther up the A9 to Aviemore, and using that as your base. That would put you within striking distance of the Western Highlands, and even a day trip as far north as Ullapool wouldn't be out of the question. You'd also be near some of the fishing villages along the Moray Firth. Although you did say that you didn't want to spend too much time in the car.
A lot will depend on where you need to be on day five (after the 1 1/2 days in Edinburgh and two days on the road). If you need to be back in Edinburgh, or farther south, you don't want to spend your fourth night too far from where you need to be on day five.
Once again, best wishes for your holiday!