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Help with one-week Scotland Itinerary

I am looking for some input on our one-week visit in Scotland. We are a couple in early 60s and will be in Scotland for one week, and then to Wales for one week. We are renting a car when we depart Edinburgh, and will return the car in Inverness when we fly to Manchester. Thanks for your help!! Mary

Saturday
Flight to Edinburgh

Sunday
10am: arrive Edinburgh
• Tour of City* - book historical walking tour
• Edinburgh Castle
• Royal Mile
• The Witchery Restaurant

Monday
Highlights:
• Scotch Whiskey
• St. Giles or Tronkirk Cathedral
• Rosslyn Chapel
• Real Mary King’s Close
• Princess Street Gardens
• National Museum of Scotland
• Greyfriars Kirkyard, Greyfriars Pub; Elephant House Coffee Shop

Tuesday
Pick up rental car: 7:30a
Drive to Skye (5 to 6 hours) - Dalwhinnie/Speanbridge/Invergarry/Dornie
• Edradour Distillery Tour (10a open), Pitlochri OR Dalwhinnie, Distillery
• OPTIONS, if time: Fort William, Neptune’s Staircase

Wednesday
Isle of Skye – Drive The Trotternish Loop
From Portree, drive clockwise, going against traffic
Fairy Glen | Quiraing | Mealt Falls | Brother’s Point | Old Man of Storr.

Thursday
• The Fairy Pools - Depart by 8:30a to avoid crowds (35-min drive).
• Talisker Distillery
• Lunch at the Old inn
• Dunvegan Castle
• Sunset at Neist Point

Friday
Drive Portree to Inverness
• Dornie, Eilean Donan Castle
• Invermoriston
• Telford Bridge

Saturday
Depart Inverness to Manchester

Posted by
18351 posts

Do you know that you both sleep well on transatlantic flights? You have a lot planned for arrival day, and it looks as if you plan to pre-book (and I assume pre-pay) for a walking tour. I don't function well enough on arrival day to make plans other than "walk around outdoors and try to stay awake"; perhaps you are different.

Monday also looks like a lot, especially since you may still be jetlagged. Rosslyn Chapel is about a 45-minute bus ride from Edinburgh, I don't think the buses run super-often, there's a short walk to the chapel, and you'll likely encounter a bit of a ticket line once there. The Chapel is highly decorated, so it's not the sort of place you absorb in 15 to 30 minutes. There's a good audio guide.

The National Museum of Scotland is a very good museum and not small.

Edinburgh is hilly, so you may occasionally find a short walk turning into a bigger deal than expected and slowing you down.

Posted by
1706 posts

Agree with acraven, you have some very busy days planned during time in Edinburgh. The Museum Of Scotland is very big and quite amazing. Look for Dolly the cloned sheep.
Do you know about the Rick Steves audio app you can download on your smartphone? We like his city walks as you can go at your own pace. He has one for Edinburgh which would preclude you from having to book a tour. I try not to schedule too many things that require us to show up at a certain time as it makes trip more stressful.

Posted by
489 posts

Hi Mary
I'm going to concentrate on the Skye portion of your plans as that is where I live and can be of most use (I hope).

Are you picking up your rental car at Edinburgh airport or in the city? My strong advice would be to collect it at the airport. Driving around and out of Edinburgh is a real pain. You can get the tram or bus to the airport very easily and it is much less hassle.

I drove from Edinburgh to my home in the north west of Skye last weekend. It took me 6 hours with no stops and I know the roads and probably drive a bit faster than most people using rental cars. If you want to do a distillery tour and explore Pitlochry than you can bank on more like a 10 hour day by the time you get to Skye. If you are planning on cutting across from the A9 at Dalwhinnie to Spean Bridge, then to get to Fort William from there is a 20 to 30 minute drive, so a bit of a detour.

Are you planning to get to Skye via the ferry from Armadale, in which case Fort William and Neptune's Staircase would be on the way, or are you planning to head north from Spean Bridge and get to Skye across the bridge at Kyle of Lochalsh in which case Fort William is off your route.

If you are planning on the ferry then you need to book in advance. calmac.co.uk is the website.

Your Trotternish loop day looks fine, but I would say there is absolutely no advance in good clockwise. The route is busy in both directions. The only advantage in clockwise is that you would not be driving up the big hill to the Quiraing from the Staffin side and would be approaching from the Uig side which I would agree is easier.

Your Thursday looks doable. You would need to book the Talisker tour well in advance. Sunset at Neist Point will be very, very busy if it is nice day. If it's not a nice day then don't bother with it. You will be miserable!

Friday. Yes easy to get to Inverness in a day. If you are therefore leaving via the bridge it might be nice to arrive by the ferry and see some different scenery and the drive out to Mallaig from Fort William is lovely.

You don't say when you are coming, but I assume you know that accommodation gets booked up well in advance. You will also want to think about dinner reservations at least a couple of weeks out.

Best wishes
Jacqui (Skyegirl)