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Having trouble finding lodging - Highlands May 2018

This is our first trip to Scotland and we've been looking forward to it a lot. I must be rather too late in working through the planning of our Scotland Highlands trip. I have researched fairly well where we'd like to go but now that I'm down to specific dates and my hoped for itinerary, I am having trouble finding lodgings. In each location we need two rooms, for two couples.

Basic itinerary -
This is the first week of a two week trip to Scotland and Ireland, with another couple. We are locked on the start and end dates and cities, based on booked air flights. We arrive in Edinburgh on May 11 and depart from Glasgow (for Dublin) on May 18.

The itinerary I worked out is to start in Edinburgh (2 nights), travel to Inverness (1 night - mostly as a way point), on to Isle of Skye (1-2 nights), then to Glen Coe (2 nights) and on to Galway. We like to plan on some two night stays, rather than hop from place to place each day. Edinburgh and Glen Coe looked like the "must do" locations. But, as I started inquiries for lodging in Glen Coe I quickly ran into uniform lack of lodgings.

Our interests are to see the countryside, scenery, and local people, not cities, nor shopping, etc. I greatly prefer to plan our own trips rather than follow a scripted tour. We are fine with ad hoc traveling, but seeing the small villages in Scotland, it seems smart to book all our lodging in advance. We prefer B&B casual lodging, not hotels or such.

I can adjust the itinerary but I'm starting to feel lost with the lodging availability problem.

Can you give me any ideas for how to locate lodging or possibly how to adjust the itinerary to find locations with both the scenery we want to see and the lodgings we need?

Thanks for your help!

Posted by
3554 posts

Did you use Booking.com to try to find your lodgings? If not, try it. They cover all kinds of places and there are lots of ways to filter the results. Yes, it may be a little late and you might have to stay in 2 different places as a result.

Did you mean to say on to Glasgow here: "Glen Coe (2 nights) and on to Galway"?

Posted by
1586 posts

Huntingtower lodge is very nice, located about 14 miles from Glencoe.

We had excellent meals at the Onich Hotel, although we did not stay there.

Glencoe village is tiny and has very few accommodations; however there are many places on the way to Fort William which is only 16 miles away.

For Skye, look at places in Broadford. The location is convenient for Skye and for Eileen Donan Castle and Plockton. Several good restaurants in the area - Portree is lacking in those.

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks to all for your help. One helpful B&B owner directed me to DiscoverGlenco (http://discoverglencoe.scot/) as listing many B&Bs in the area, including Fort Williams. I sent out more than a dozen enquiries from that site last night and got three positive replies this morning. I will be checking on those three today and hopefully booking one. Then on to our other preferred stopovers..

Also AirBnB seems to have some positive availability; I'm not entirely sure if they are duplicates, but they show some limited availablity and a good map of "hits".

I do use Booking.com, but for this trip and dates it's generally only coming up with a handful of very expensive hotels.

And, yes -- Glasgow, not Galway (!). Call it dyslexia. Thanks Lo.

Thanks Cynthia re Broadford to Isle of Skye. I'll check it.

I'll also check VisitScotland site -- thanks UncleGus.

Posted by
2772 posts

If you can't get lodging on the Isle of Skye itself, try the Dornie Hotel. It's on the mainland, walking distance from Eilean Donan Castle. It is affordable and clean, nothing fancy, good value and helpful staff. They also have a good pub/restaurant that is popular with locals.

If you want an overnight stop near Inverness but a little more in the countryside, the town of Nairn has many B&Bs; of these I can recommend Tali Ayer. Nairn is located just east of Culloden battlefield and Cawdor Castle so if you are visiting those sights then Nairn is not out of your way.

Posted by
1190 posts

We stayed in Nairn and liked the location very much. When you are there be sure to visit the Castle Brodie. It is very much Victorian Scotland. It is now in the care of Scotland National Trust. We were lucky enough to meet the Laird in full kilt attire. We were there quite awhile ago, but I don't think that it has changed much by looking at current photos.

Posted by
142 posts

I also had trouble finding lodging for our June/July trip to Scotland. After Rick Steves, Booking, Airbnb I resorted to searching small areas of Google Maps for guest house and BnBs. A few miles from Glen Coe I reserved a room at Fern Villa Guest House in Ballachulish

Posted by
4 posts

Closing message --

Thanks again for all the help and ideas.

I successfully obtained a B&B reservation for the Glencoe area, using the long list at DiscoverGlencoe (http://discoverglencoe.scot/).

I found the small towns/villages most challenging. For Glencoe I sent out 19 enquiries for lodging. For my dates in May 2018, 17 of these were fully booked already -- 90%. Number 18 was available so I booked it. It looks very nice. While researching lodgings for Isle of Skye I found similar issues, so I changed our itinerary to avoid such small village areas. If I had started earlier I probably would've been OK.

I have had few problems finding lodging with Rick Steves' recommended B&Bs in Edinburgh and Pitlochry. I'm still working to find space in Inverness but I expect it will work out. About a third of the B&Bs that I contacted for these three cities/towns were already booked (looking in late February for mid-May lodgings).

I did find that AirBnb has quite a few available places even in small village areas, but I have not booked any through that service. There were some very unusual places, as well as many nice ones.

Posted by
3 posts

I am also visiting Scotland this summer. I found Fraser House B&B in Inverness near the river for less than $100/night.
I am looking into Edinburgh now and found that booking.com has a few apartment style stays still walking distance to Old Town.
Good luck,
Laurie