I need a little help in planning some time in Scotland with my family of 5 (me. my husband, and 3 boys who will be 17, 14, and 11). This is a piece of a month-long trip to Europe. We did another month in Europe two summers ago and had an amazing time.
Our plan is to take the overnight train from London to Scotland. We plan to see Edinburgh and some of the Highlands on our visit which will be during August. We plan to return to London via the overnight train again. I know not everyone is a fan of overnight trains but we have done this before and find it an effective way to move and save money on hotel at the same time. We have already survived two journeys on Thello so the Caledonian sleeper to Scotland looks like the Ritz-Carlton compared to that!!!
The thought was to take the train from London to Inverness so we would arrive bright and early there. Trying to keep the boys engaged so we will definitely need to search for the Loch Ness Monster somehow and my husband will probably want to do some kind of Scotch whiskey tour. I read about the sheepdog demonstration as well and that sounds like something we would enjoy. If there is any kind of Highland games going on in August, we'd love to see that (although it seems like they are mostly earlier in the summer?). We like castles but plan to see the Edinburgh castle (and see the Military Tattoo) so not sure how many more castles the boys can stand.
I have read posts from a lot of people cautioning about driving. Being that there are 5 of us, we try to do the most cost effective solutions so I thought driving would be the way to go. I know I can take tour busses from Inverness around to these places but the cost TIMES FIVE always makes that less appealing. We love taking trains so if it is possible to see these things by train, that would be preferable. I just don't know how accessible everything is once off at the train stations between Inverness and Edinburgh. Places I have seen interesting like Plitochry and Aviemore - do they have local transportation?
If we drove, we would want to pick up the car in Inverness near the train station and drop it off in Edinburgh. We were thinking of staying somewhere in between Inverness and Edinburgh to break up the trip.
We plan to stay in Edinburgh 3 nights and then return to London on the night train either out of Edinburgh or Glasgow.
Also if anyone knows of places in Edinburgh or between Edinburgh and Inverness that have rooms that sleep a family of 5, please let me know! These are always hard to come by.
Thanks for any and all suggestions,