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How Many Days in Stirling?

Hi all,

My husband and I are visiting Scotland for the first time in September. We’re trying to figure out how many days we need at each location. Our first stop is going to be in Stirling . We plan on taking the train down to Edinburgh one day, and take another day to visit the city. Do you have any recommendations for another day trip? Also, we are still trying to figure out what route we are going to take up through the country. We were thinking the next stop would be Inverness and then down to Oban. Any recommendations would be appreciated. Thanks!

Posted by
3927 posts

Whatever you do in Stirling , allow a day for the Castle . It's extensive and well worth a visit . One of the highlights is the beautifully restored Palace with major decorative arts , including The Stirling heads and most importantly the complete set of Unicorn Tapestries , the creation of which took nearly fifteen years to complete . I'll also be there in Autumn making my third visit to the Castle - some information - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stirling_Castle I assume you are doing this trip without a car ? Is there any reason you are thinking of Oban ? I would be looking at some other places ( Glasgow , would be a good choice ) To see areas in the North , a car would be a more efficient mode of travel .

Posted by
1853 posts

Apart from the day trip to Edinburgh by train, are you going to be driving or using coach and train to travel around the country.
The recommendations for both that and your day trips out of Stirling will depend very much on your modal choice.
Whichever it doesn't really matter in my opinion if you go clockwise or anticlockwise, although the convention appears to be clockwise.
I think that's a great choice staying in Stirling, rather than Edinburgh itself.
Another great day out, by car or transit from Stirling, is the Falkirk Wheel, the Kelpies, Linlithgow Palace and the Antonine Wall.

Posted by
9 posts

We will be renting a car for the trip.

The reason we have Oban on our list is because we see it recommended on the videos and blogs we've been following. This is our first trip to the UK (we are from the US). Not having visited this area before is making it difficult to plan.

What we really want to experience is the beauty of the country, the culture and history. Castles and quaint towns are on the top of our list.

Posted by
3927 posts

With a car , you will have a lot more flexibility , I would frankly skip Oban and head north , but first of all where are you arriving from the States - that would dictate an efficient itinerary ( I would assume Glasgow or Edinburgh ) Also of major importance , how long is your trip in total ?

Posted by
9 posts

We are flying in and out of London, spending the first four days in England. We will then be taking the train to Glasgow to pick up the rental car and will have 8 days in Scotland before heading back to London to fly home.

Posted by
3927 posts

Lisa , this sounds good - Don't start in Stirling , when you arrive in Glasgow , pick up the car at Glasgow airport , and its an easy drive west along The Clyde over The Erskine Bridge , and up into the Trossachs ( Loch Lomond ) Of course you could delay getting the car for a day or two and spend some time in Glasgow , Going north from Loch Lomond you could head toward Ft William and Ft Augustus and then west into the Cairngorms , Idyllic scenery , and cute villages there , before heading south toward Perthshire and ending in Stirling . Drop the car at Edinburgh airport and take an overnight in town before taking the train down to London . There is a great deal to see in eight days ,so your timing will be based on a choice of what is most important to you . Don't try to cram too much into this , you will need to go back . The Autumn will be my third extended trip to the UK with a month of it in Scotland . Once you get your feet wet with this ,come back with specific questions .

Posted by
1853 posts

So you will be travelling to Glasgow from London Euston on Avanti West Coast. I'm not sure if your 8 days in Scotland includes your arrival day. If you leave London at a sensible time, say 9.30am, it'll be about 2pm arriving at Glasgow, beyond 3pm arriving in Stirling so that is most of that day gone.
While train is the way we should be travelling, if only on environmental grounds, I would suggest you give consideration to flying up and picking up the car from Glasgow Airport. From there you are straight on to the Highway.
So we have a daytrip to Edinburgh, a day exploring Stirling (the Castle, the old Town Gaol and the Wallace Monument) and a day trip to Falkirk etc.
One more suggestion I would make for Stirling is a day trip into the Trossachs and Loch Katrine where you can have a Loch cruise on the steamship Sir Walter Scott
There is a round trip (different routes out and back) that you can take from Stirling.
But I think there are choices to make there to begin to explore the rest of the Country, as you could spend the whole vacation in Stirling, which isn't the idea at all.

By the way the part of the Trossachs I am talking about are between Stirling and Loch Lomond,

Posted by
1306 posts

Hi, lisa_mi64,

Do you have specific sites or places which you plan to visit while staying in Oban? Oban is usually described as a place to go to get to other places, or to paraphrase the Book Voice in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, "...a place out of which you must get". Oban can be used as a staging place to get to the nearby islands, or to visit Kilmartin Glen.

With eight days on the ground in Scotland, including one day in Stirling and one day in Edinburgh, you have six days left to enjoy Scotland's beauty. If you're heading north to Inverness prior to Oban, your best bet would be to take the A9 north from Stirling, as you're somewhat limited for time. You could stop in Aviemore and visit the western section of Cairngorm National Park. If you drive straight through, however, it would take about three hours at a leisurely pace from Stirling to Inverness.

Once you've reached Inverness, there are many choices of day trips which you can take, in addition to places to visit in and around the city. Personally, I'd recommend driving out to Lochcarron, then up through Glen Torridon, with a possible side trip over the Bealach-na-ba. Another choice would be a day trip to Gairloch and Ullapool, or a drive along the Moray coast, to visit some of the fishing villages. But the choices are yours. Check more than one guidebook. Look for travel videos on YouTube. There are some really good ones out there.

You had a great idea about staying in Stirling and visiting Edinburgh from there. The money that you save in lodging and parking will more than pay for the train fare. With just one day in Edinburgh, you need to plan your visit really well.

Good luck with your plans! Please ask if you have more questions. The folks who post on this forum are people who love Scotland, and are happy to share that love with you!

A' the best,

Mike (Auchterless)

Posted by
5183 posts

En route to Stirling (2nights) from Edinburgh we stopped to see the Forth Bridge, Falkirk Wheel, and the Kelpies. We spent maybe three hours at Stirling Castle. While in the area we also visited Scone Palace, Doune Castle, and St. Andrews.

Posted by
360 posts

Just to throw in my two cents for Doune Castle. It's reopened since last Spring after renovations to repair the changes made for Outlander. "Jamie" even narrates part of the audio tour. Aside from the Outlander connection, it's a fine relic. Wallace Monument might be worth a visit as well, although the day we went there, we got a Historic Scotland email notifying us that Doune opened that day, so we had to hurry to do both before our booking for Stirling Castle. We found Stirling and Edinburgh Castles similar enough that unless you really crave "operational" castles, pick just one. We'd much rather visit a ruin.

Posted by
9 posts

After reading through all of your recommendations, we are now looking at spending 2 nights in London (no option to change flying into LHR, they were free tickets with Delta SkyMiles) and then flying London to Glasgow and back to London from Edinburgh. The flights up and back including adding a car for the 10 days is about the same as taking the train. This will give us 10 days (including travel days) in Scotland.

I appreciate all of the guidance!