Please sign in to post.

3 Week trip to Scotland to include London, August-September 2022

Planning a 3 week trip to Scotland (August into September 2022), to include 3-4 nights in London either at the front end of the trip flying from the West coast of the US, or at the back end of the trip. I will be following all scenarios for flights, with the possibility of flying out of Glasgow instead of Edinburgh. There are several must do events that I need to include in my planning. 1. Highland games at Braemer (9/3), 2. Edinburgh Military tattoo (taking place 8/5-27), 3. Theatre/show in London, 4. Explore Isle of Skye and visit Dornie (McKenzie ancestors).

I will want to visit some iconic castles, palaces and churches in London and Scotland. Some on my mind are: Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Windsor, Balmoral, Edinburgh and Stirling, Hopetoun House, Midhope, Eilean Donan, Castle Leod (clan Mckenzie). Pretty sure I won’t be able to visit some of these places but they are on the early planning list to see what I can work in.

A huge question for me is what order should I plan? Since I probably will not rent a car and rely on trains, buses, metro, and organized tours (Rabbies), what order should I do this. Here are two examples:

Trip Idea #1:
8/22 Arrive London from West coast, recover from jet lag
8/23-26 Explore London: Westminster Abbey, Tower of London, British Museum, theatre night, palace, South Bank for Borough Market, Tate Modern
8/26 Train to Edinburgh - relaxing dinner
8/27 Edinburgh Military Tattoo
8/28-30 Explore Edinburgh
8/30-9/2 Isle of Skye and surrounds (maybe stop in Dornie) (Rabbies tour)
9/3-4 Highland games in Braemer, Balmoral castle, possible distillery tour
9/5-8 Inverness, Clava Cairns, Cullodan (Rabbies tour)
9/9 Glencoe, Fort William - maybe Oban
9/10-12 Glasgow
9/12 Glasgow - Flight to West coast

Trip Idea #2
8/22 Arrive London from West coast - recover from jet lag
8/23-26 Explore London: Westminster Abbey, Tower of London, British Museum, theatre night, palace, South Bank for Borough Market, Tate Modern
8/26 Train to Edinburgh - relaxing dinner
8/27 Edinburgh Military Tattoo
8/28-30 Explore Edinburgh
8/30-9/2 Inverness, Clava Cairns, Cullodan (Rabbies tour)
9/3-4 Highland games in Braemer, Balmoral castle, possible distillery tour
9/5-10 Isle of Skye and surrounds to include Glencoe and Fort William (maybe stop in Dornie) (Rabbies tour)
9/10-12 Glasgow
9/12 Glasgow - Flight to West coast

So, you will see in the second idea that I switched the order of Inverness/ Braemer and Isle of Skye. Does that make sense?

I have a lot to think about in this early stage of planning. Also, I want to check in with my sisters to see if any of them want to join me and if so, what are on their must see lists.

Thanks for your comments.

Posted by
6824 posts

I would tour London at the end of the trip in September rather than in August for less chance of heat. Book tickets well in advance for Buckingham Palace inside access self guided tours.

Posted by
169 posts

Balmoral Castle will be closed to the public by the time you will be in the Braemar area. The best anyone would manage would be a view of the tower as a drive-by on the A93.

If you wish to attend the Braemar Gathering you need to start looking for suitable accommodation now. The gathering was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 because of the Covid-19 pandemic and tickets purchased for those years could be carried over if required. I can see the 2022 event will be very well attended for that reason. Many accommodation reservations have also been carried over. I have friends not too far away from Braemar who do B&B and they tell me they are already fully booked for the first weekend in September 2022. It is always a very busy time with accommodation for many miles around booked early, sometimes a year in advance.

If you don't want to hire a car you might want to consider staying in Aberdeen and taking the bus to Braemar and back again to attend the gathering. I'm told extra buses are laid on for the event. The same bus route goes through Banchory, Aboyne and Ballater so you could potentially stay in any of those places and use public transport.

There is no railway service to Braemar from anywhere and the nearest station is in Aberdeen.

Or you could look into staying in Inverness and joining a coach day excursion to attend the event from there.

Posted by
5188 posts

Idea #2 is close to what we did 6 years ago - do a counter-clockwise circle. We did have a rental car, which allowed visiting nooks and crannies of Skye, and staying on the northwest corner of the island.

Is flying into Glasgow and out of London a possibility?

You may well know that August in Edinburgh means the Festival and the Festival Fringe underway, in addition to the Tattoo. The mobs of people at the Festivals are one reason for avoiding the place, but also the whole reason for being there. Lodging prices might be a bit higher because of the Festival, but, again, that’s the price of admission, and that’s the biggest time of year to be there, and to join the festivities.

Posted by
19368 posts

You have a lot on your plate for London. Check the websites of the British Museum (monstrously large) and the Tate Modern for late-opening nights to stretch your sightseeing time. Study the layout of the British Museum ahead of time to figure out what sections you most want to see. Note that the Egyptian collection seems to be the busiest. The entire ground floor of the museum is likely to be very, very crowded; I was told this is especially the case on rainy days.

Although Oban is pleasant enough, I believe the usual reason to go there is to hop on the ferry to Mull (and potentially also Iona and Staffa). With no time for those islands, I'd skip it.

Posted by
6872 posts

Just to note as someone mentioned above that lodging rates are very high in Edinburgh during the festival. Another reason it is great you are planning ahead - you are at least giving yourself the chance of finding something reasonable !

Posted by
1463 posts

I love The Fringe- enjoy and have a great time!

Posted by
731 posts

Wow, I see already that some accommodations listed on Booking.com close to Braemer are booked. There seems to be plenty available in Aberdeen but how long a bus ride would that be? I will have to do some research on that. There is a hotel in Banchory listed for about $180 (twin rooms for 4 adults). Still not sure if my sisters are joining so it is difficult to set things up. Hmmmmm

Posted by
169 posts

It's been many a long year since I took a ride on the 201 bus route but I think the journey from Aberdeen to Braemar is around two hours. I have no idea about the cost.

This website should help you with regards planning your travels around Scotland by public transport

www.travelinescotland.com

Posted by
731 posts

acraven - yes, I will definitely look at the RS London book and the museums websites to plan my time at any museum

Kim and Cyn - have already booked accommodations in Edinburgh for 2 nights and will see if it can be extended for my entire stay

Suki - yes, playing around with airfare to see what will be the best flight path but you have an excellent point about the heat. I don’t like it……

Cyn - yes to the possibility of Glasgow for flights - looking at all options

sownack - Thank you for the TravelineScotland link. I had forgotten that I had it bookmarked from an earlier bout of research. You are correct, it takes a little over two hours from Aberdeen. Hmmmm. Maybe my sister will agree to drive. Have to get her onboard.

Posted by
169 posts

In this area of Scotland it really does help if you have your own transport then you can take everything at your own pace and not be locked into a railway or bus timetable. Also you have the flexibility to see and do more.