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Input on this Itinerary

Thanks in advance for any advice/input!
Here is what we have planned: 4 adults
Two of us have been in Edinburgh before, but it will be the first time for the other two.

5/7 Arrive Edinburgh by train from London around dinner time.
5/8 Sleep Edinburgh
5/9 Sleep Edinburgh
5/10 Pick up car hire in the morning and drive to St. Andrews, spend the rest of the day, sleep in Dundee.
5/11 Leave Dundee in the morning, driving toward Ft. William. (Input on stops along the way? Pitlochry. Killiecrankie, somewhere else?) Sleep in Ft. William
5/12 Take the Jacobite train, both directions (This takes much of the day, I believe. A friend told me this was the best thing they did and that we will definitely want to do it.)
Sleep in Ft. William
5/13 Drive to Glasgow, stopping in Stirling? Sleep Glasgow. See whatever we have time for that afternoon/evening in Glasgow.
5/14 Drive to Edinburgh, return car, take train to London

The portion I am concerned about is leaving Ft. William area, and heading to Glasgow, via Stirling. Is that doable? We realize we will not have much time in Glasgow, so it's possible we should head straight back to Edinburgh and spend one more night there. Thoughts?
Thanks again!

Posted by
506 posts

Hi Kristine
Without knowing a little more about your interests and why you have chosen specific locations it is pretty hard to comment on your plans.

Is what you have set out above doable in 7 days? Yes. Is it what I would do if I had 7 days in Scotland? No. But then my interests could be entirely different from yours. I see from another post that you want to see St Andrews and that some of your party are interested in golf - so that looks fine. The Jacobite train? Yes, perfectly possible and it will take up most of the day. You will need to book tickets as far in advance as possible.

Dundee? Well I quite like Dundee, and I would recommend a visit to the Discovery - the ship that took Captain Scott and Ernest Shackleton to the Antarctic, and next door is the newly opened V&A museum. But apart from those attractions there is probably not that much to hold the visitor's attention. If you just want a scenic route from St Andrews to Fort William you might do better to either head up the A9 stopping overnight in Pitlochry and then on to Dalwhinnie (good distillery) before heading west to pick up the road south (at Spean Bridge) to Fort William.

Glasgow? Well it's a modern, vibrant city with some decent galleries and museums, but would it be my choice to include on a 7 day holiday in Scotland, when you've already spent a couple of days in Edinburgh? Probably not. I'd highly recommend Stirling castle and an overnight in Stirling before heading back to Edinburgh to return your car. Your drive from Fort William will take you via Glencoe, and you could make a small diversion into Glen Etive.

Hope this helps.
Jacqui (Skyegirl)

Posted by
18701 posts

I liked Dundee, too (and the McManus Museum Art Gallery and Museum is also worthwhile), but I agree that with so little time there--and at a time of day when none of the museums will probably be open--it makes sense to skip it. I figure when you have a car, the best stopping point is usually a smaller rather than a larger place.

I enjoyed Glasgow a great deal for the interesting architecture and comparative lack of tourists, as well as the museums, but trying to include both big cities on such a short trip isn't what I would do. I'd take advantage of having a car by hitting more of rural Scotland.

Posted by
14 posts

Skyegirl and acraven,
Thank you both - that is great input! I'm going to tweak our itinerary to skip Glasgow, and adjust where we spend the night after St. Andrews.
I really appreciate it!

Posted by
2721 posts

I was going to respond to your "concerned about" question with the same suggestion: Since you want to see Stirling, and Glasgow is not on your way back to Edinburgh, skip Glasgow.

After you leave St. Andrews, you might prefer to spend the night in Pitlochry or somewhere in that area.

What time of year will you be there? I'm sure you've seen other advice on this forum about short days in the winter months, so take that into account if you're going any time soon. Driving on unfamiliar roads in the highlands is best not done in the dark, let alone bad weather at night.

Posted by
14 posts

We will be going in May, so hopefully the weather will be decent.
I think we are going to skip Glasgow, and stay in Stirling instead.
Really appreciate the input!

Posted by
2721 posts

We've been to Scotland twice in May and it's been beautiful. The bluebells may be blooming when you're there. Days will be long -- I remember it being light at 9 PM. Very likely there will be rain part of the time, and it could be chilly, so dress in layers (I especially got a lot of use out of my rain hat and fingerless gloves). Waterproof your footwear with silicone spray before you leave home. Bring extra socks and some kind of little slippers to wear inside the hotel to let your feet get warm and dry.

Posted by
14 posts

Good tips, thank you! We were in Edinburgh for 2 days in May a couple of years ago, and the weather was perfect. Hoping for a similar experience, and very excited to see much more of Scotland!

Posted by
560 posts

We enjoyed Pitlochry, mostly because of the wonderful tour we had at Edradour. Even if you are not into whisky, the tour was fantastic, clearly the best of the 4 distillery tours we took. We also enjoyed walking around Dunkeld, which is close to Pitlochry.