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Best Places to Visit in Scotland

Hi

My husband and I will be celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary. One of our destinations will be going to Scotland, we are big Braveheart and HP fans so we'd like to see the best sights. I love seeing natural beauty as well, so any recommendations on that front would be great too.

Any Suggestions welcome including: Best time of Year to go, Hotels or AirBNB's, restaurants and tours.

Many Thanks!

Posted by
76 posts

I have a trip to Scotland previously scheduled for July that will, in all likelihood, have to be rescheduled.

So I'll watch responses to your rather open-ended post in case I learn something that makes me want to modify my original plan.

But I have a question. What do you mean by the abbreviation HP?

In my world, HP means Hewlett Packard, but I doubt that's what you mean.

Disclosure: I've never seen the film Braveheart, so if that has something to do with it, perhaps that explains my confusion.

Posted by
2 posts

Hi Sammy,

Thank you for the quick reply!

LOL! HP is for Harry Potter... And you should definitely watch Braveheart before going to Scotland... Great movie, Legend, Love Story and soundtrack (it's my favorite :) )

Be Well!

Posted by
1402 posts

We spent a week in 1999 in Callendar, renting an apartment at the Leny Lodge. Great time. Nice central location

Posted by
3790 posts

I should be in Scotland right now but alas, we have to wait.

If you don’t want to drive (we aren’t) you might want to look at Rabbies tours. I had two booked and had a hard time deciding. I ended up booking a Castles tour and an Isle of Skye tour...and I’ll keep those for when we can go. And of course spending some nights in Edinburgh and Glasgow in between the tours.

As for time of year...well, I went by bugs. I hate biting bugs with a passion (they ruin my gardening time) and I think the midges start emerging around now. I follow an Edinburgh page on fb and the pics they’ve been posting the last few weeks are lovely....cherry trees in bloom and gardens coming up, everything green (compared to home where the trees are barely budding). End of April/early May could be a good time but not sure about rain. I’m sure someone who lives there will chime in. I’m not a fan of humidity/heat either, so July/Aug are out for me. I guess it depends on your preferences. (If I could go now, I’d look at mid September...again, it’s my preferred time to travel).

Posted by
3790 posts

As for restaurants...maybe give an idea of what you like to eat. I borrow guidebooks from my local e-library. I always check the restaurant suggestions and if something looks intriguing I’ll check out the menu online (thank god for online menus!) and if the type of food and prices are in my wheelhouse, I’ll pin it on my map app.

Posted by
378 posts

Many of the castle scenes in Braveheart were actually filmed in Ireland at Trim Castle outside of Dublin. The Hogwarts Express bridge scene is filmed at the Glenfinnan Viaduct in the West Highlands of Scotland. You can ride the Jacobite steam train which takes you across the viaduct.

Posted by
3200 posts

My first reaction to HP was British “HP Sauce,” kind of like A1 in the USA, and you should definitely have HP sauce with some meal in Scotland! Burger, roast, haggis, fries (chips).

Our trip planned this July, has sadly been postponed until medically doable. Anyway, the 2 big cities, Glasgow and Edinburgh, are packed with sights. In the scenic countryside, the Glen Coe valley is incredible. At its western end is the city of Glencoe, and just north, Fort William, at the base of Scotland’s highest mountains. They’re not huge like in Colorado, but they’re mighty and stunning nonetheless.

And get off the mainland and onto an island. Skye, just west, is reachable by ferry or bridge. It’s like another world, with stunning mountains, rock formations, coastal scenery, and sheep, lots of sheep. Stay at the Hazeldean B&B on the western side of Skye, and have dinner at the outstanding Three Chimneys. Orkney, off the northern tip of mainland Scotland, reachable by ferry or plane, has scenery but also lots of historic sights. Some dating to World War II, and some thousands of years ago, to Viking and Neolithic times.

Posted by
1017 posts

My 2 cents:
Glasgow for the big city vibe
Edinburgh for the historic vibe
Fort Williams for the Jacobite train and general ambience
Fort Augustus for the tranquility of watching boats passing the locks

Posted by
3 posts

For an HP fan, Edinburgh is fantastic. There are free tours I believe, but check out the Elephant House, where JK wrote some of HP - tea at one of the back tables is excellent, it has a view of the castle. The bathrooms are customer artwork tributes. Victoria street is one of the inspirations for Diagon Alley, and then the nearby Greyfriars graveyard has tombstones for “Thomas Riddell”and “William McGonagall”, both sources for those character names it appears. Then of course the Castle, and really the city itself to me feels like I am walking through an HP movie. I also took a train from Edinburgh to London/Kings Cross, but not sure if that would fit in your travel agenda. On my next Scotland trip I plan to watch the Jacobite at the Glenfinnan viaduct. Oh and the HP play in London is definitely worth it too, though of course outside the scope of a trip to Scotland.

Posted by
583 posts

William Topaz McGonagall is worthy of exploration in his own right. Laugh out loud bad poetry (the funnier because it was written as art), no sense of humour and a spectacularly inflated ego. When a group of students suggested, tongue firmly in cheek, that he should be appointed Poet Laureate and the honour wasn’t forthcoming, not least because of the, erm, limitations of his work, he merely appointed himself to the role!

Posted by
2 posts

One of my favorite places in Scotland is Glencoe, a place full of history and beauty. It is a small village so offers a different feel from Edinburgh/Glasgow. There is some great hiking for all levels - around the loch or in the valley. They have a thatched roof history museum with a lot of local history. About a mile away is the visitor centre that tells the story of the Glencoe Massacre in 1692. It has been a few years since I've been there and the B&B's owner, Arthur Smith, passed away so where I stayed is not still open- but there are other places in the village. I also suggest staying in a castle - there are so many across Scotland so it would fit most anywhere in your trip. I stayed at Traquair Castle on my trip. It is 30 minutes south of Edinburgh and has a garden, maze and some great history. Edinburgh is a must see with everything along the Royal Mile. The only time I have been to Scotland is over the summer so can't compare it to other seasons. Since you are a Braveheart fan, you will want to visit Stirling where the Wallace Monument/display is located. Also Stirling has a great town, castle and other sites to see. Since you like Braveheart you might also be interested in visiting Culloden - they have guided tours of the battlefield where the dreams of Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites ended.

Posted by
543 posts

For natural beauty, I recommend the area around Glencoe. We walked the West Highland Way a few years ago, and that area was stunning. If you have time, I encourage you to take a hike, whether in that area or somewhere else in the highlands. It quickly became one of my favorite places ever. In my mind, I return to scenes of that trip often.