To celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary, my wife and I want to take our son, his wife, and their (at that time) 12-year-old daughter to Europe for a 10-14-day trip in 2013. (It’s never too early to begin to plan – and dream.) It will be an early summer trip due to school obligations. We have a few destinations in mind, and one of them is Scotland, a region we have never visited and have only read about. So, I am asking you veteran Scotland travelers for recommendations of what to see and how to see it. Ideally, we would like to stay in a location for 3 or 4 days at a time and travel out from there to avoid too much travel time and changing places to stay. Three or four centrally located villages or cities would be ideal. What do you suggest? What is “must-see,” and what should we see to get a true feel for the country? Keep in mind we’ll have a 12-year-old with us. Thanks in advance for what I am sure will be wonderful advice.
Scenery is a very big thing in Scotland. How does your daughter feel about scenic drives? I love beautiful countryside now, but I remember being very bored during long drives as a child, including those in scenic mountain country.
Edinburgh has a lot to interest people of all ages.
Sorry for the confusion. The date is supposed to be 2023.
Here's a great site for planning your trip: www.visitscotland.com/see-do/tours/driving-road-trips/routes/planner/overview. It shows the best scenic routes in the different regions of Scotland. There's more to Scotland than just the "Highlands".
This response could take a while. I'll try to condense my answer. Edinburgh: Brittania, the Castle, Holyrood palace, St. Gile's Church. There are two impressive art galleries. Rabbie's tours - there are day trips and multi-night trips. You can look up Rabbie's online for specifics. We did two single day trips with our (then - young) daughter: Loch Lommond/Stirling Castle and Alnwick Castle (used in Harry Potter movie)/Melrose Abbey (in ruins).
Then, take a train to Oban. (Scenic ride.) Take a couple of day-time boat trips to see wildlife (puffins), Fingal's cave on Staffa, Iona, etc..
INVERNESS - go find Nessie.
In Scotland do you plan to rent a car? Your answer will make a difference in terms of what we can recommend. Scotland has trains, of course, and a robust network of bus routes, but you'll have much more flexibility and be able to cover more territory with your own vehicle. OTOH, four adults and a 12-year-old, with all luggage, will require a relatively large "people carrier" (British for van or SUV).
Scotland is a great place to take a 12-year-old and it is great for adults as well! I would plan on spending time in Edinburgh. The castle, the museum of Scotland and the city will orient you to the country. I would then suggest that you head north. I would rent a car, If you base yourself in the Inverness area you can reach a range of place that are great to visit. First in the Inverness area is the Cullison Battlefield, but you can also take a boat ride on the Moray Firth to see Dolphins and enjoy a day on the water. You can get to Loch Ness and Urqhart Castle. There is lots of hiking in the area. You can easily get to the Cairngorms as well. The second area to stay would be in the west. A lot will suggest Skye, but look also at Mull. Both have castles.
However, if you have an interest in Neolithic sites you should head for Orkney after Edinburgh. You should fly to Kirkwall. I would then take the ferry to Thurso and then south to Inverness by bus or train. Then you can either enjoy the Inverness area or head west.