Hello all - flights are purchased and I've been working hard at piecing together an itinerary that hits a lot of highlights that we want (beautiful scenery, castles, history, whisky, etc). It's our first trip and I find that it's hard not to try to pack too much in - so much to do and not enough time! I'm hoping we have a good start at a sensible itinerary. It'll be myself and my husband, we're in our mid 30s, we like walking/hiking but nothing too technical, we'll rent a car but my husband will probably do most of the driving. On that note, does anyone know if any of the car rental companies allow you to buy additional driver insurance for just one day? We'd like to visit a couple distilleries in Speyside and I need to do the driving as he'll be doing the drinking. On to the itinerary:
Friday October 4: Arrive EDI 9:10am. Visit Craigmillar Castle, Real Mary King's Close, explore Royal Mile.
Saturday October 5: Edinburgh Castle, Scottish National Gallery, Gladstone's Land (may or may not be open, I'm supposed to email them back in a few months), Haunted Tour.
Sunday October 6: Explore Dean Village in morning. Pick up rental car. Stop at one of the following - Doune Castle / Linlithglow / Stirling Castle. Advice on which one to pick based for variation in comparison to other castles we will see on our trip? Drive to Glencoe, sleep for the night.
Monday October 7: Explore Glencoe in the morning, would like to do a short hike in this area. Ferry to Isle of Skye. Need to pick a base for the Isle. Need to pick an afternoon activity for this day - will aim for flexibility and structure activities around weather forecast and logistics. We have experienced light hiking in Ireland in rain and am confident we can get by in good spirits in rain as needed.
Tuesday October 8: Trotternish Loop. I'd like to visit the Skye Museum of Isle Life but it looks like they may be closed in October. I've sent them an email inquiry.
Wednesday October 9: Explore Isle of Skye - Fairy Pools, Dun Beag Broch, Talisker Distillery, Neist Point Lighthouse. I've decided to skip Dunvegan castle as the interiors don't look to be my favorite (I tend to prefer more rustic interiors). We could pick a hike or area to visit on the island in proximity to these areas?
Thursday October 10: Drive to our base in the Speyside area (looking at basing in Aberlour), quick stop for pictures at Eilean Donan on the way. Thinking of skipping Loch Ness and Urquhart since I've read so much conflicting opinions on them...I'm contemplating visiting the Isle of Raasay this morning instead (scenery looks amazing) and then make the drive to Aberlour?
Friday October 11: Whisky tours - probably Aberlour and Glenfiddich. My husband needs to do his own research and pick his preferences but these both sound very good. As it's a Friday night, it would be fun to be able to be in a base that would have some live music this evening.
Saturday October 12: morning drive back to Inverness. Stop at Clava Cairns, then visit Culloden Battlefield. Drop rental car at Inverness Airport and catch 3:00-4:40 easyjet flight to London Gatwick. Need to decide if we want to try to stay in London itself or close to LHR airport this night.
Sunday October 13: flight home at 12:50 out of LHR.
I had thought about going back down to Edinburgh to fly out instead of Inverness. Downside is that it's a couple more hours of driving. Upside is we'd save a little money on car rental and we could catch a cheaper flight to LHR early in the morning from EDI. If we fly out of EDI we would probably skip Isle of Raasay and visit Culloden on the way to Aberlour instead.
How does it look? Should we cut or add in places? Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on our plans. Thank you very much!