We will be in Scotland for just 2 days in October and I'm wondering if a day trip from Edinburgh to the Highlands with a tour company is worth it. I read in Rick's Edinburgh guide that it usually goes from 8 am to 10:30 pm. Sounds like a long day, but maybe the best way to see a lot without a car. Or should we spend both days in Edinburgh? Thanks for any advice, Chris.
I've heard that people do like it, but you are traveling in October when there is less daylight than there is if you take this same tour in July or even August. And there is so much to see in Edinburgh that you really don't need it. I would say, start planning your second trip to Scotland now so that you can see the Highlands in the daylight and so that you can stop and enjoy it a bit more than you would on a bus tour. :)
I agree with Pam...A lot of sites in the Highlands close for the winter starting in October for the early darkfall and possibility of blustery weather. The Temperature is more moderate in Edinburgh and Glasgow. Stirling or Linlithgow would be easier excursions with loads of Scottish history.
Hi. Got back from Scotland about 2 weeks ago. Did the RS tour and then another short jaunt to see the Orkney Islands. I used this company for the Orkneys. If you choose to go, I think they did a nice job and I think offer a day tour to the highlands....they meet right near St. Giles on the Royal Mile and drop you off there too. That being said, Edinburgh has plenty to see for 2 days. The old town, new town, National Museum (even the National Art Gallery isn't bad, it is free and right there), Calton Hill etc. If I were doing it, I would spend 2 days in Edinburgh. If you take a tour, it will be a lot of driving and you'll miss out on some great sights in the city.
So, here's a link that let you know about the daylight issue. Right now, there there is around 17 hours of daylight. In October it starts with 11.5 hours and decreases to less than 9.5 by the end of the month. So, if daylight starts at 7:30, it's dark by 6:30. So, that last 3.5 hours of that all day tour are in the dark. In summer, Scotland has awesome light, but you have to be ready to deal with sunset and sunrise as you move into fall and winter. I was in the UK in December just north of London, and it was really different to get up and go to work in the dark. See a glimpse of sunlight in mid-day, and the sun headed south between 3 an 4. It was an adjustment! Clearly, October is not like that, but the daylight that allows for the all-day tours in the summer, is not there in the fall. :(
I agree with the first reply that there is so much to see in Edinburgh, I wouldn't take a day for a Highlands tour. Edinburgh Castle, for me, gives a strong feel of Scottish heritage. OK it is not in the Highlands, but you'll see guards and costumed interpreters dressed in kilts and everything.
If you really want to get out of the city, you could buy a bus day pass and go to Rosslyn Chapel. Cheaper than a Highlands tour and will get you back into Edinburgh in plenty of time for dinner.