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Highlands Day Tour or Glasgow DIY

Hi everyone,

I have three days in Edinburgh, and I want to take a day trip. I've been debating between the highlands/loch ness tour offered by Rabbie's Tours (among other companies) or a DIY train trip to Glasgow, both options are rated two stars by Rick Steves. Could anyone recommend one or the other? I'm really torn between the two.

Much thanks!

Posted by
552 posts

It's really going to depend on what you like to do. I did not stop at Loch Ness, but drove right it and don't think I missed much. It's a big lake with a monster myth, but we have one of those here where I live so it didn't seem out of the ordinary to me. It was not a recommended stop by the company that did my driving itinerary, they stated it was over-rated and over priced. I think doing it from Edinburgh is going to be a very long day on a bus. Glasgow, however, has many interesting things to see and do, and is fairly easy to get around on by foot, or the HOHO bus. Glasgow will be more about museums, art (Charles Rennie MacIntosh), and architecture (always look up when you are in Glasgow). Keep in mind that when you take some of these tours the cost of certain things is not included. So, you may want to take a boat tour when you get to Loch Ness, but that will most likely be an extra cost to you.

Posted by
2785 posts

We just took the Rabbies West Highlands tour from Glascow. We highly recommend this-the guide was outstanding and the scenery beautiful.

Posted by
11262 posts

I agree that it's all about what kind of day trip you want - city, or country? Neither one is "better," as they're so different.

Anita put it very well: Glasgow will be more about museums, art (Charles Rennie MacIntosh), and architecture (always look up when you are in Glasgow). If these things interest you, you'll have a great day in Glasgow; note that many of the museums are free. If these things are not what you are looking for, you'll do better spending time elsewhere.

If you want to see how I spent 4 nights in Glasgow, here's my trip report from September 2016 (just skip the sections on Manchester and Liverpool): https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/trip-reports/uk-trip-report-glasgow-manchester-liverpool-in-september-2016

Posted by
19 posts

Thanks, everyone for your input. I do understand it's two very different options and asked my parents which option they are interested in (museums/architecture versus scenery - really glad for this summary), given the rest of our trip will be more about museums etc. I think I will do the highlands tour :)
And I didn't consider the west highlands as an option, but it seemed to be a shorter trip than the 12-hour exhausting loch ness/Highlands tour, and given that the hotel we booked is out of the city, this might be a better option.

Posted by
6499 posts

I think the Highlands are more different from anything else than Glasgow is -- as much as I looove Glasgow, and am spending more days there this August, if I only had one day to pick and hadn't seen the Highlands, I'd get me out to the Scottish countryside.