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Can one experience the Highlands in 1-2 days from Edinburgh?

We have 3.5 days in Edinburgh. We would like to experience memorable scenery in the Highlands and perhaps see a castle. We will have a car. A drive to Isle of Skye and Eileen Donan would seem to fit the bill, but is that too much and is last week in March a suitable time? As an alternative, is it possible to have a stunning visual Highland experience closer to Edinburgh and what would you suggest? Many thanks - first time to Scotland and want to create a great memory for my son.

Posted by
971 posts

Skye and Eileen Donan is probably stretching it for a day trip. You could focus on areas closer to Edinburgh, like the Loch Lomond NP or Glencoe. On the way there you could stop at Doune Castle. Thats just my suggestion.

Posted by
5514 posts

Loch Lommond was quite underwhelming to me. I would venture somewhere else. Stirling Castle is close to Edinburgh and quite interesting.

Posted by
2 posts

Very appreciative of the practical replies. I should also add that I generally like finding my own way, but I am not completely adverse to a tour. I’ve read on this site about Rabbies day trips and would consider that as an option if not too rushed and crowded. Thanks and keep advice coming.

Posted by
1815 posts

As another poster stated, Isle of Skye is way to far from Edinburgh for 1-2 days. We drove from Inverness, and it took 3 hours..Edinburgh is much further south.

In my opinion, Stirling Castle was pretty much the same as Edinburgh Castle...so I'd say, pick one.

You can drive towards Oban and Glen Coe for a day...over towards Ft William..not exactly the high, Highlands, but a very pretty drive through some charming landscape.

My daughter and I based in Edinburgh, but took a train to Inverness, spent the night, and did a tour from there to Culloden and Clava Cairns, and some other places, it was a great way to see some of the country side from the train window (we went in early March, and it was fairly cold) It did add to the cost of our trip, as we prepaid for the hotel in Edinburgh, but didnt' use it one night! We didn't have a car.

Also, we took a Rabbie's tour (we got stuck in Edinburgh due to a blizzard on the east coast, and our flight home got cancelled) Rabbie's offers a great way to get out into the Highlands without you having to drive...plus you get the benefit of the guide adding interesting details to what you are seeing. The groups are small, 12 or so.. https://www.rabbies.com/en/scotland-tours/see/scottish-highland-tours

Went back in September with my hubby to hike The Great Glen Way...so we were in the thick of the Highlands then...and had a car so were outside quite a bit more than with my daughter on the first trip...

Posted by
1068 posts

My 2 cents. I thought Stirling was more interesting than Edinburgh Castle and would pick that if it was a choice. Also, I enjoyed Loch Ness, especially Urquhart Castle. Some interesting landscapes around Ness as well, but there are great landscapes all over the highlands.

Posted by
1345 posts

Take a map. Take a set square. Set it at 80 km or 50 miles. That is about one hour travel.

From Edinburgh you can put in Perth, Dundee, Glasgow, Stirling, Glasgow, the Borders.

For a day trip and return to the capital that is probably the Highlands out of it. At a max, you would get to the bits of Perth and Kinross in the Highlands, Loch Tay etc.