Hi, I am a first time poster but have been searching the boards for tips and info as I plan our family's Scotland vacation in late July 2015. (Some of the Q&As are dated as far back as 2008, so I thought I would ask some repeat questions.) We will have just moved to London from the U.S. and it will be our first visit to Scotland.
Home base is located on the north side of Fort William, and we will have a car.
My question is this: are there any concerns for attempting the following itinerary for one of our weekdays, and what are some ideas for the time between 1-3pm?
- 7:30/8:00 am: Drive from Fort William to Culloden, est travel 1 hour 50 minutes
- 9:30/10:00 until 1:00pm: Culloden (operating hours 9am-6pm)
- 1:00pm: depart Culloden
- ???? trying to figure out how this will look between 1 and 3pm - stop for lunch somewhere, have a quick picnic, or eat in the car as we dash from one place to another?
- 3:00pm: board last cruise for 2 hour Loch Ness tour which includes 1 hour at Urhquart Castle
- 5:00pm: touring complete, head back to Fort William
- 3:00pm: board cruise for 1 hour Loch Ness tour
- 4-5:00pm: drive to and enter Urquhart Castle (last entry at 5:15pm)
- 6:00pm: touring complete, head back to Fort William
The Loch Ness cruise is a must for one of the family members. Is the Exhibition Centre also worth the visit? I am afraid we can't add it in unless we cut time from Culloden. Culloden is a "must" for me as I am a big Outlander fan (grins sheepishly) and I know I would really appreciate seeing it. Having my 4 kids (15, 13, 13, 7) I don't think they will want to spend as much time as I would reading a lot of detailed info about Culloden, so I am willing to do a 3 hour visit although many people say to give it a fair amount of time.
Do you drive through Inverness to travel from Culloden to catch the Jacobite Loch Ness tour? Google maps says 25 minutes. Is it feasible to stop in Inverness for lunch, or should we pack a picnic so we can eat more quickly?
I am just trying to figure out the best way to approach this. I also plan to buy a family membership in the UK for the National Trust sites, and I think it will apply to some of the sites in Scotland. This may also include Urquhart Castle. I am having trouble understanding what properties work with that membership, but if it does cover my family's entry into Urquhart, then the 1 hour boat cruise would make more sense by saving money.
I hope all of this makes sense. Thanks for any feedback, I am very excited about our trip!!