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Day tour from Edinburgh

We will have around 4 days in Edinburgh next month. We are considering a possible day tour. I've read up on several companies. They all seem pretty much to offer similar itineraries for similar prices and all with similarly glowing testimonials. I'd be glad to hear anyone's experience with a particular tour company. I'm guessing they'd all be fine, but we are not fans of tours though might like to try a day out to see something beyond the city itself. I'm looking at a few different itineraries. Thanks for any suggestions.

Posted by
1798 posts

Rabbies. Loved our day tour to see castles from Edinburgh. Very organized. Clean van, not huge group. Driver and a guide both on each trip. We went to Doune Castle, Kilchurn Castle, Inveraray Castle, Came back by Rest and Be Thankful pass. Visited a loch, and then Luss for lunch, then a drive back to Edinburgh. For myself and my daughter it was $98 for the day.

They offer lots of day tours to get out of the city and into the Highlands for a day...
I'm am also not a fan of organized tours, but found this to be very enjoyable, and I'm really glad I did it. We learned a lot of Scottish history.

I'll be back in Scotland in September with the hubby, and I"m considering taking another day tour.

Posted by
5382 posts

There's no substitute for rural castles, but I went to Glasgow for the day from Edinburgh, and had a very full independent day. I did focus on art museums and Mackintosh, which isn't everyone's interests. Since then, his art school had a serious fire, and there is probably much more security than when I walked in from the street, years ago. I guess I took the train, but I don't remember.

Posted by
1838 posts

Ellen, thank you! Rabbies was the first company I researched, and the tour you described is in fact the one that caught my eye. I think that wraps it up. If the weather cooperates that will be the one. BTW, we were in Centennial for a week in early April...luckily it was a lot warmer than recently.
Tim, thank you too. I had thought about a day in Glasgow. This stop comes in a 3 week trip which includes Amsterdam, Paris and London, where we will visit every art museum we can manage. We're thinking about something a bit more bucolic for the day, and saving Glasgow for the next time. Thanks again.

Posted by
126 posts

Have you checked out any of the Hairy Coos tours (http://thehairycoo.com)? We've booked the free Highlands tour and wondering if anyone else has done it. Can't beat the price!

We thought that the guides must be good since they're working for whatever people want to pay. Hope to get some feedback from those who have done it.

Posted by
5668 posts

You can also take a day trip by train to St. Andrews and to Stirling of course. Someone has already mentioned Glasgow. You can easily catch the train to any of these places and have a good day exploring.

PAm

Posted by
1838 posts

Thanks for the continued suggestions. Same as always for me...so many choices, limited time. We will take everything into consideration and see how it plays out when we get there. Thank you all again.

Posted by
351 posts

Another vote for Rabbies.

My husband & I took their 4 day/3 night Islay tour a few years ago. The only organized tour we've ever done. We have never been inclined toward organized tours, but being new to Scotland and not willing to drive there it seemed like the best way to get to Islay.

We loved the tour. Our guide was fantastic, very informative, and at each stop we had ample time to explore on our own or stay with her, whichever the stop seemed to warrant.

Posted by
351 posts

I should stress that Rabbies tours are always a max of 17 ppl, so they feel fairly personal but not so small everyone's in each others pockets all the time.

Posted by
26 posts

I'm also curious about a day tour, and had read about Rabbie's. The Hairy Coo tour also sounds a lot like one we thought about taking (it does look a little larger than a Rabbie's tour). I'm entranced by the "pay by tips," but also leery of that most of the time. I think I also heard about another company...?

Wondering if it's like whale watching-- we've been on one out of Cape Ann, MA, and one out of Anacortes, WA...all in communication with each other, all basically similar. Thanks for opening up the thread, Denny-- I'll be looking at responses--
--Shelbey

Posted by
72 posts

I would like to add my vote for Rabbies. We have been on four of their tours including two of their day tours out of Edinburgh as well as a day tour from Glasgow and their three day Isle of Skye tour. We are returning to Scotland next month and will take two more of their tours so we're pretty sold on them. The group is small and the guides have all been very good. You are in a group but most of the time at the various stops you are free to wander on your own or just sit and enjoy the scenery. On our first trip to Scotland we took a big bus tour with about 50 other people and hated it but when we found Rabbies who limit their groups to 16 we had a great time.

Posted by
1838 posts

Thanks for all the input. If we take a tour it will be Rabbies. Yes, I'd seen the hairy coo as well. Somewhere we're going to pay and I know that. No need to keep myself in suspense, so not interested. I remain leery myself whether warranted or not. Looking forward to our trip. We leave tomorrow! I'll write back about the tour if we take it.

Posted by
1838 posts

Just returned yesterday after a great trip. Waited to book depending on weather. Arrived in Edinburgh to discover all Rabbie tours were sold out. We took the Heart of Scotland Wee Red Bus tour, The Best Of Scotland. No regrets though, waited for upper 70s and brilliant sun so we were happy enough. Max 16 people, we were 13. From Waterloo Place near Waverly, 9 am to 6 pm or so. A very nice day. Engaging driver, several stops, ample time at each, no rushing around and felt it was well paced. I would recommend it. Good value for money, and a few pounds concession for seniors.

Posted by
75 posts

Hi Denny - We will be there next week - about how much seat time on the bus do you think?
Thanks!

Posted by
1838 posts

I really wouldn't even hazard a guess, but there really wasn't a lot of seat time per se. It was broken up nicely and well paced I thought. We had perhaps 6 stops, some an hour or a bit more. Other itineraries that travel further distances...like Hardian's Wall would be much different; those were eliminated off the top. I had concerns because I don't do tours but this was quite nice, really. We both felt it fit the bill perfectly for our day.

Posted by
75 posts

Just returned from a "best of Scotland in a day tour.by wee red bus tours. It was fantastic! Paul was a great tour guide and added in a wonderful tour through the Highlands on the way back. Truly memorable day. Loved loved it

Posted by
5 posts

I second the "Wee Red Bus" day tour. I took the Best of Scotland in May. Was great! Mentioned RS and received a discount, too.

Posted by
117 posts

Rabbies tours are excellent out of Edinburgh. Small tour 17 or less, small but very comfortable van. The small van lets you travel the small country roads with ease. Excellent locals that guide the tours. Went on the St Andrews Tour. Plenty of stops along the way. Driver tour guide gave us tons of information and insight. We were there shortly after the failed cessation vote. She explained all the sides of the issue and gave us a lot of information from all the different viewpoints. It is cheapest to buy these direct from the Rabbies website. They have multi day tours for very reasonable prices.

Posted by
21 posts

My husband and I recommend The Hairy Coo Tour (http://thehairycoo.com/our-tours/free-scottish-highland-tour/) very informative and lots of fun. We saw a lot and learned a lot. Tour is free but you are encouraged to tip the driver what you feel the tour is worth. Our driver connected with each person on the tour and made us feel so welcome. Tour is about 10 hours and well worth it. Don't hesitate to book or you might not get on the tour!