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Four days in Scotland using Edinburgh as home base.

We will be staying in Edinburgh for 4 days at the beginning of August (just miss Festival of Fringe). Looking for suggestions. I know we are going to do the royal mile plus the Edinburgh Castle but looking for day trips or other things to do in Edinburgh. I know we will just enjoy being there experiencing the city. Looking at Glasgow, Hadrian's Wall, St. Andrews, maybe take a train into the Highlands somewhere. We don't want to be rushed so nothing too ambitious like the Isle of Skye (which I would love to do).

Posted by
685 posts

Edinburgh is a great city for walking, even if some of it is up hill. After visiting the castle I took a walk around the base of the hill and just wandered in and out of places I came across. At the base of the royal mile there is Holyrood house, and then you may want to walk up nearby Calton Hill for a great view of the city. I enjoyed a visit to Victoria House, and climbed up the Walter Scott monument. I also made a visit to the royal yacht Britannia by city bus. I did a day trip that went to Hadrian's Wall and Rosslyn Chapel, and if you want you could do a day trip to Sterling Castle and Loch Lomond from Edinburgh (I did it from Glasgow). There is a lot to see in Edinburgh, though, so with only four days you may not want to use two days for day trips (I had six days). You could easily spend one whole day just at the castle and down the Royal Mile popping into shops, cathedrals etc. and ending at Holyrood. Arthur's seat is a popular destination, but time-consuming to get to by public transit so I skipped it. Some of what you do may depend on the weather, but I still did the day trip to Hadrian's wall in the pouring cold rain, just be prepared to get wet.

Posted by
1845 posts

We had 5 nights in Edinburgh. Took two of those days to go outside the city. One was an overnight trip to Inverness where we took a tour of Culloden and Clava Cairns, and other sights in the Highlands. The 2nd day trip out was a Rabbie's tour and we went to Doune Castle, Kilchurn Castle and other sights.

Stirling wouldn't be difficult to get to, it's not that far from Edinburgh.

We spent a good 2 days on the Royal Mile, doing Holyrood on one day and the lower part of the mile, and then Edinburgh Castle another day and the upper part of the Mile. We also explored New Town one day and Calton Hill.

There is also the Museum...we'll visit that the next time there, starting in June- November there is a temporary exhibit of Bonny Prince Charlie and the Jacobite Revolt...should be super interesting if you are into learning more about the history of the Highlands and the destruction of the Highland Clans and way of life in the 1700's.

Posted by
823 posts

I personally think all four days can be occupied in the city, Edinburgh has so much to offer, it's easy to fill up a four day schedule.

I'm not a big fan of Hop-on/Hop-off bus tours but the ones in Edinburgh are and exception and probably the best anywhere. The Royal Edinburgh package is a particularly good deal in my opinion.

If you do want to stray from the city one day, Stirling, with its castle and the William Wallace Monument makes a good self-guided day trip by train. The Falkirk Wheel has always been on my list of things to see but I've never made it there.

Good luck and have fun.

Posted by
3040 posts

A closer day trip is Rosslyn Chapel in the village of Roslin (I always have to look up which spelling goes with which destination). It's about 1 to 1.5 hrs each way from Edinburgh, depending on traffic and/or how far your hotel is from the city center.

You take a regular Lothian bus. If you buy a bus day pass, you can use the bus again later in the day to go out to dinner or whatever.

Posted by
702 posts

We spent 5 nights in Edinburgh and took a day trip out of the city to Stirling Castle, Loch Lomond & Glengoyne Distillery. We used Highland Experience tours & it was a nice change from the city. We left at 9am and returned at 6:45pm. Follow your interests in finding a tour you would enjoy. There are lots of them to choose from. Our tour was on the edge of the Highlands & it was so beautiful. It was a nice mix of things to see & do.

Other things to do in Edinburgh - Climb Calton Hill and see the monuments, tour the Palace of Holyroodhouse, listen to music at Sandy Bells, explore some of the closes off the Royal Mile, attend a service at St Giles Cathedral, see Her Majesty's Royal Yacht Britannia. Have a great time on your trip. We sure did.