My husband and I will be in Edinburgh from Sept. 8-10 and we will not have a car for day trips. Has anyone done this particular tour? It isn't as long as some of the others and appears to have several stops along the way. Highland Tours is one of the recommended tour companies in Rick's 2013 Great Britain guidebook. All advice is welcome and thank you.
Never heard of it.
Your link shows nine hours. Four hours of it has to be riding the bus. Allow an hour for lunch. By the little map, you've got four stops to see stuff, making it an average of an hour for each.
I've spent a lot of time in Scotland and seen most of them - - by passing by - - none would have been worth a detour - - two I had to scratch my head to even remember what they were.
You don't have a lot of time in Edinburgh, maybe not even enough to get out of town.
Thank you very much. I think we will focus on staying in and close to Edinburgh, maybe just stick with a half day side trip to St. Andrews instead of anything longer.
To reiterate what Ed daos- I did a highlands tour through Greyline. We had a different itinerary but similar concept and I regretted it...well, regretted it as much as you can regret being on a vacation and driving through Scotland. I wish I had just spend the extra time in Edinburgh or hit a closer town on my own. I think you are making a good call skipping the tour.
Edit: what Ed "said"
There are quite a few of these "see the highlands in one day!" tours out of Edinburgh. There is so much bus time. The best thing to do is explore close to Edinburgh and resolve to go back. :)
If you really want a touch of the countryside, You could do one of the shorter tours to the Borders and see one of the Abbeys. Or i if you want to say you've walked in the hills of Scotland, take the train from Edinburgh to Dunkeld/Birnam. There are some very nice not stressful walks to the Hermitage and along the River Tay. And if you go over the bridge to Dunkeld you can check out the cathedral, the restored little houses, and have an ale and lunch at The Taybank. There's a sweet little Beatrix Potter Garden in Birnam.
Or another great day trip is to Stirling to see the castle. It's amazingly historic. I am pretty sure that there is a bus out to Bannockburn--there is a big anniversary this year and the referendum on Independence is not coincidentally being held close to the anniversary.
You're going to be in Scotland very close to the Independence vote.
Thank you everyone. We've decided to skip any of the "all day" tours and may instead do one of the shorter day trip suggestions, especially if we decide to add one more day in Edinburgh.
I think you are on the right track Mary.
I, too, am looking for a short trip outside of Edinburgh so that my family can see some Scottish countryside without spending 8+hours on a bus. Timberbush Tours offered me a private (4-5 hour) tour into the Troussachs area and passing Stirling Castle - but this is expensive. I like Pamela's suggestion (in this string of conversation) of busing to Stirling castle or training to Dunkeld/Birnam as an alternative to this expensive private tour but I don't know anything about these destinations. Has anyone been to the Troussachs area? I cannot find any tour company offering 1/2 day tours out of Edinburgh. Any suggestions?
The Trossachs are a national park. I visited it a bit. Loch Katrine has a steam boat on it that you can ride to one end then either return on the boat or you've rented a bike and bike back. Loch Katrine is locale of Sir Walter Scott's poem, Lady of the Lake. It's also where Rob Roy Macgregor hung out. Ask where he's going to take you in the Trossachs.
Dunkeld is a lovely village in Perthshire. The bridge that links Dunkeld and Birnam is a Telford Bridge and didn't connect the towns until 1809. Back in the dark ages it was the ecclesiastic capital of Scotland. Here's a link to some of the history. I think that Perthshire is beautiful. It's has the lochs, the rivers, the trees. It's one of my favorite places.
Thank you, Pamela! Very helpful information!
Honestly, you can spend 3 full days in Edinburgh alone. Make a list of what you want to do in Edinburgh first - then judge whether or not to do a day trip. On that note, my family and I have done day trips with Rabbie's tours. I enjoyed them. You may want to consider the Stirling Castle trip - given its history. Then, you get to see loch lommond as well. Don't push yourself too much - this is a vacation after all.
I wouldn't disagree that you can spend three days in Edinburgh, but a lot of people want to see the countryside as well as the city. If you think of what is iconic about Scotland, lochs and mountains are right up there with castles and kilts. So, it's not really surprising that people who have a short stay in Scotland want to try and figure out a way to fit in a visit to the countryside. The trick is to do it without spending hours and hours on a bus or having to rent a car.
All great advice! Thanks!