I would like some suggestions on the above itinerary, excluding the major cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow , I already have a plan for those 2 cities. My plan would be to leave either of those cities and drive in somewhat of a circle , returning to the other major city 5 days later. Castles, moors, lochs, glens, rolling hillsides, seacoast , etc would be on my list. Walking is good and maybe short hikes, but nothing too strenuous. I know we can't see everything and I rather go at a slower pace and enjoy the particular site, rather than rushing to see too much. Any suggestions, including places to stay and eat, would be appreciated. Thank you, Neil
You mention "the above itinerary", but didn't post one. Do you have something in mind you want some suggestions on? Five days is not a lot in Scotland (I did a ten day circle route) as it takes a lot longer to get somewhere than you might think just looking at a map. You might want to take a look at the Secret Scotland web site to get some ideas, but with only five days I would suggest sticking to the southern half so you don't spend all of your time driving.
Hi! I had some fun with Google Maps plotting a drive for you. Here's my first try. This is a through the heart of Scotland option. I'm sending you to Dunkeld for your first night. You can just drive straight north from Edinburgh, or you could go a bit west and visit Stirling. I pick Dunkeld because it has a marvelous pub--The Taybank--where you can usually hear traditional music. It has beautiful countryside with nice shore walks that can give you a flavor of the hills of Scotland. The town is a small village with good Scottish History.
I next send you on to Inverness via the scenic route. If you drive west to Aberfeldy and then over the mountain on the single track road to Kinloch Rannoch you'll see beautiful Loch Tay, wonderful mountains than can look west along Lochs Tummell and Rannoch to be able to visualize what was the Road to the Isles. I then take you to Queensview where you can stop for a cup of tea and enjoy the view of the lochs you've just driven by. Then it's back on the A9. You drive through the Killiecrankie Pass which not only has a great name is where an historic battle was fought--check out the visitor center if you are ready to stretch your legs again. And you'll go past Blair Castle. If you love castles, this would be a good one to stop off and visit.
I would spend night 2 in Inverness. In the Inverness you can visit Culloden, Loch Ness, Urquhart Castle, Cawdor Castle, Clava Cairns, Fort George, go for a boat ride on the Moray Firth. So you could easily spend a second night here.
I would spend the next night in Ballater. It's not far, but you're driving through the Cairngorms and there are side trips that you can take to castles and more. On the route I suggested you go right past Corgarff Castle which is a classic tower house. But you could go other routes if castles are a priority for you. There is a wonderful gallery, that I would recommend near Balmoral or the Syllavethy Gallery near Alford if you go further east.
I am running out of characters so will do a second post.
After Ballater, I have you headed south through the Cairngorms to Kirriemuir--where JM Barrie was born and you can visit his house--to Glamis and then on to Saint Andrews. Glamis is where the Queen Mum grew up. It's a truly wonderful castle. You could spend your fourth night in St. Andrews or somewhere else in Fife. This is a beautiful drive. There are other drives around Kirriemuir that I would love to explore someday, but the weather thwarted me on my visit.
In Fife there is more to see than St. Andrews--although in addition to the ancestral home of golf has other great Scottish history associated with it. You could explore the villages of East Neuk or go to Falkland Palace. I really enjoyed seeing the tennis court!
An alternate route from Ballater would be to head east to Stonehaven and see Dunnottar Castle. (I added the Fife bit to this route.) Another places steeped in history and very dramatic. I've not yet been. I would suggest stopping off at Arbroath. One to see the Abbey, but also to try an Arbroath Smokie!
Thank you for all the information, it looks like a great itinerary do you have any recommendations for the inns or hotels ?
Kudos to Pamela for the Map trick! Nice Narrative too! We did much the same but our circle went via Loch Ness. Visit Scotland and Historic Scotland are two good on-line sites for preview photos. Bon Voyage!
I stayed at The Bridge B&B in Dunkeld. But otherwise no particular suggestions. There are lots of choices.