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Help with Itinerary in Scotland

We will be in Scotland for a few days. Working on our road trip plans and would appreciate input as we haven't been to Scotland before and are trying to figure this all out. Will probably have to drop some of these things or maybe put them in a different order? Suggestions to add? Thanks so much!

Arriving by overnight train into Edinburgh
Spend a day in Edinburgh,
Arthur's Seat
Edinburgh Castle
Scott Monument
Holyrood Palace
stay for the night at Dalhousie Castle

In the morning head to Inverness--stops along the way
Stirling Castle
Urquhart Castle
Loch Ness
Falls of Foyers

Stay overnight in Evanton, Highland Airbnb

Next day head to Isle of Skye early
Eilean Doonan Castle
Old Man of Storr
Kilt Rock
Overnight Airbnb in Stenscholl

Wake up in Skye
Brothers Point
??? Where else in Skye???
What should we do along the way to our next stop?
Overnight Airbnb in Argyll & Bute

Head to Glasgow
Guinness Tour
Explore Glasgow
Overnight in Glasgow City then to Northern Ireland in the morning.

Thanks for your input!

Posted by
436 posts

Hi there
You don't say exactly when you are coming to Scotland, and that might have an impact in terms of daylight hours and how much you will be able to do in a day. I'm also going to assume that you have arranged a rental car and that you have already booked your accommodation as your overnight locations are very specific. Having made those assumptions here are my thoughts;

Where are you collecting your rental car? If in the centre of Edinburgh you will find driving in the city and traffic problematic. There are many bus/taxi lanes and traffic is generally highly congested. You would probably be best to collect your car at Edinburgh airport after you have finished exploring the city.

Dalhousie castle is well south of Edinburgh, but you are then proposing to head north the next day. From your accommodation to Stirling castle will take at least an hour and probably more in traffic (rush hour traffic around Edinburgh is very heavy). You will need a full morning to do justice to Stirling castle, and then it will take you about 1.5 hours to get to PItlochry. The next 3 sites that you want to see on that day, the Falls of Foyers, Urquhart Castle and Loch Ness are however, not on the way to your accommodation, but would be better dealt with on your way to Skye. Unless you have a particular reason for wanting to stay in Evanton overnight it does seem a strange choice of location. Have you thought about where you'd have dinner? I don't know the village but it looks tiny on the map and is a good ways north of Inverness. Personally, I would reconsider that one.

Your day 3 plans are OK, you can see Loch Ness etc en route to Skye and the route also takes you past Eilean Donan castle (in my opinion not worth going inside, but lovely from the outside). From Evanton to Eilean Donan would take you about 2.5 hours without any stops, but obviously if you want to stop around the Loch Ness area (Urquhart castle etc) then you are adding another couple of hours, so I suggest getting an early start and aiming to be crossing the bridge onto Skye just after lunch. This would give you time for a whistlestop look at the Trotternish peninsula to see the Old Man of Storr, Kilt Rock etc.) and then find your B&B which is near Staffin. Again I would ask whether you have thought about dinner that night, as options are very limited around that area. You'd probably be heading over to Uig for the Ferry Inn, or down into Portree. You will definitely need to make dinner reservations on Skye if you are coming anytime between May and the end of September.

On day 4 you ask what else you can see on Skye, but my question would be where in Argyll and Bute (a large region) is your accommodation? I assume you are planning on heading down through Glencoe? Are you planning to take the ferry off Skye from Armadale to Mallaig? This would give you the opportunity to see different scenery than on your arrival journey. If so you need to make reservations ahead of time. Depending on where you are trying to get to and which ferry you get then you might not have much time to see much more of Skye as from your accommodation to Armadale ferry terminal will take you close to 2 hours (with tourist traffic - I assume you won't over take as much as I do, and it would take me at least 1 hour 45 minutes). So I think you need to think about this day in more detail before we can help with other sites on Skye.

Day 5 to Glasgow. I am not a resident of Glasgow and don't go there that often, but I was under the impression that the Guinness brewery and tour was in Dublin not Scotland? If there's nothing else to detain you in Glasgow, then personally I'd add another night in the Highlands or on Skye as at the moment your itinerary is super busy and it seems like a heck of a lot of driving for not that much sight seeing.

Hope this helps. Jacqui (Skyegirl)

Posted by
9 posts

First of all...Thank you! Your questions and responses are SO helpful to helping me sort this all out! And secondly, yes. Guinness is in Dublin, hahaha. I've made so many plans I am dizzy. We are heading to Northern Ireland and Ireland after Scotland so got a bit ahead of myself!
We are coming the last of July into August. My husband is a teacher so summer is really our only travel time, even though it's so crowded then. You are correct. I have made airbnb reservations all over Scotland. I think I panicked a little bit seeing that so many places were booked up already and just tried to find some places in the general areas we are heading. There is nothing about our itinerary that is written in stone though, which is why I am seeking help from others with far more knowledge than I. Some of these things can be dropped off entirely or could be re-ordered if it makes more sense
We are taking a night train from London into Edinburgh. Planning to store our bags and explore some of Edinburgh and then get a car.
We are staying in Evanton because it looked like a cool place to stay (a castle) and it was north of Inverness which I thought would give us a little jump on heading to Skye in the morning. Maybe I totally misjudged that?
In Argyll and Bute we are staying at Knockderry Castle. Again, looked like a cool place to stay and got us a few hours south of Skye on our way towards Glasgow.
Can we look at those responses and go from here to start? I very very genuinely appreciate your thoughts and help. Dropping something off the list may be our best choice. I anticipate a fair amount of stopping and looking around as we travel to see the beautiful landscape and appreciate it all as we go.

Posted by
448 posts

I would second Jacqui's extra day on Skye suggestion. We loved it out there and if you go up on Trotternish Peninsula you should take in Quiraing and then cut across the peninsula and take in the Fairy Glen...pretty cool areas, not super easy to get to but worth the effort. this site is great for planning stops and you don't have to be a hiker to value the sites information and suggestions. We didn't hike all round Quirang but easily spent a couple of hours getting photos and admiring scenery on both sides of the road

Posted by
436 posts

Hi again
I think your B&B choices are fine if you particularly wanted to stay in castles. I would just want to be certain I could get dinner nearby if it was me. The overnight train to Edinburgh is a good idea, but I am not sure whether you will be able to leave your bags at the railway station - you might want to check that. Some stations have lockers or left luggage facilities, others do not.

In terms of Glasgow, unless there is something you specifically want to see I would add a night on Skye and forgo the night in Glasgow. You would be looking at a 6 hour drive from your Skye B&B to Knockderry castle if you take the ferry route, and that is without stops.

And I would also check driving distance from your Argyll & Bute castle to the airport in Glasgow. Google is showing me 50 minutes but I think that is highly optimistic. You would probably want to stop in Luss, along Loch Lomond to look at the scenery at the very least.

Does that help?
Jacqui (Skyegirl)

Posted by
9 posts

Okay. I am hearing you both on your suggestions to stay longer in Skye. I can look at that and see what we might change. A second night in Skye actually sounds amazing. It's really my most desired place to explore in Scotland, so I don't know why I rushed us through there in my planning. I'm struggling to understand how large it is. If we stay in one place for two nights there would we be able to explore most of the area? Or do we need to change to different lodging to get all around?
We are actually taking the ferry from Cairnryan over to Northern Ireland. Our original thought was that we would head south from Skye to Knockderry Castle, then on to Glasgow for a night, then travel to Cairnryan for the ferry. Maybe we should do 2 nights in Skye, the head towards Cairnryan. That's probably a lot less driving and more exploring, yes? Maybe skip the night at knockderry and get as far south as Glasgow, then on to Cairnryan.
I am also hearing your thoughts on making sure we have access to dinner or food. I appreciate that! Knowing that we are staying in a lot of Airbnb's we have talked about getting some things and keeping them in the car with us in case we need something or are having trouble finding a place to stop and get something to eat.
Thank you again! This is so helpful to sort it all out!

Posted by
436 posts

Yes to 2 nights on Skye. The island is pretty big. Have a look at google maps. Find the bridge at Kyle of Lochalsh then find Staffin which is near your B&B. It will take you about 1 hour 30 to drive from the bridge to your B&B. From Staffin across to Dunvegan in the west of the island will take about 1 hour 15 minutes.

Yes I would opt to dump the castle in Argyll & Bute and get closer to the ferry to Northern Ireland. Are you planning to leave your rental car in Northern Ireland? Have you checked that's possible? I'd have thought there would be a hefty one way fee to do that and you certainly wouldn't be able to leave it in the Republic of Ireland (I know you mentioned going to Dublin to see the Guinness plant).

Have a look at google maps generally for directions and timings and then add about another 1/3 again on to what ever times they give.

Best wishes
Jacqui (Skyegirl)