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Inverary Castle from Cruise ship.

Is it best to take a tour to Inveraray Castle or just try an get there myself? My last name is Campbell so this is of interest to me.

Michelle

Posted by
6992 posts

just try an get there myself?

From where would you be coming?

Posted by
2739 posts

How well acquainted are you with the roads in Scotland? For that matter, how comfortable are you driving a right hand drive car on UK roads? And how many hours will you have between the gangplank opening and the all aboard? It's (over optimistically) over 1 1/2 hours driving time each way. Add in more time for pick up, parking, gassing up, and drop off. Is that something you would want to do, or would it make more sense to do it as an excursion (either through the ship or a private hire). I'm assuming you're docking at Greenock.

Posted by
163 posts

It is a overnight cruise stop.. I think I will be coming from Glasgow. I have never been to Scotland before. I saw Inveraray Castle on one of Ricks TV shows and I want to see it.. I really do not trust cruise ship tours.. But if someone can recommend. I like the advise.

The only other time I was in Europe, I did a short Cosmos tour 7 days and 2 weeks on my own in Italy. using Ricks books and getting advise here. I hated the bus tour.. All the tour guild did was rush me through, try and sell me more rushed tours I did not want and direct me to high end stores. I swore never a Bus tour again.. I hate being on a bus all day. Being on my own with public transport and Ricks guidance was so much better. I want to just go to the castle and spend all day there. at my own pace. I chose a cruise because it gets me to many places and I can see what is close by.. it starts in London and stops in 3 other countries.. France Ireland and Scotland. I know I cant see everything.. But I can get a taste of attractions close by.

Ricks books and Tv shows are great. He has so many it gets confusing which to buy and take with me.. I start at the public library and review. Then I get one of them at the bookstore to take with me.

Any advise here is appreciated.

Michelle

Posted by
6992 posts

It is a overnight cruise stop.. I think I will be coming from Glasgow

The Castle appears to be a 2+ hr trip from Glasgow ( a bit less from Greenock, if the ship docks there)

In normal times the Castle admitted visitors from 10 AM to 5 PM

I do not see how you can spend a day there, on an overnight stop.

Posted by
2739 posts

I would really like to know why you do not trust cruise ship excursions. These are the excursions that new cruisers, or those with little experience with independent travel select- specifically because they are a safe choice. They know that the cruiseline has vetted the independent contractor who actually provides the excursions. And while you, of course, need to abide by their time constraints, this is no different than going with a private tour. The advantage of the cruise excursion is that if something should happen and you miss the all aboard, the ship will usually wait for you. This won't happen if you are off on your own.

DH and I have had previously trips to the UK, some of which were driving trips. There is a definite learning curve involved.

May I suggest a third alternative? Do you know the cruise critic website? There are forums devoted to each of the major cruise lines, with subforums for roll calls for every sailing. Cruisers chat on these roll calls about the cruise and ports of call and often form small groups which will hire a private contractor for a custom tour. You might consider starting or joining one of these. A small group, maybe only enough to fill a car or van, that takes you to the castle and wherever else you want for the day. We've often done this on previous cruises and have found them very satisfying and usually less expensive (when the cost is shared) than the cruise excursions.

As for your previous bus tour- all I'll say is you get what you pay for. The same goes for cruises.

Posted by
17881 posts

I visited Inveraray last year in transit from Glasgow to Oban. During my research I determined it would have been logistically easier (due to bus schedules) to make it a day-trip from Glasgow, but I needed to visit on the way to Oban. You can check the bus schedule here: https://travelinescotland.com/ . The operator on that route is Citylink, and you should verify the schedule on that company's website: https://www.citylink.co.uk/ . I never had any problems with TravelineScotland's bus schedules, but I did observe some inconsistencies between the rail schedules displayed there and those on the nationalrail.co.uk website, so my policy is to verify everything with the provider of the transportation.

The trip will take about 1-3/4 hours each way. The castle is a bit of a walk from the bus stop; you can check the estimated walking time on Google Maps. The gardens are nice; you can spend a good amount of time seeing them. I didn't go inside the castle, but my travel mate enjoyed it. You may also want to spend a bit of time seeing the town; we didn't have time to do much of that because our onward bus was due.

I've never seen a bus tour that seemed to allow enough time at a sight I was really interested in, so I totally understand your point of view. I hope you can make the trip work via public transportation, but with a cruise departure hanging in the balance, I wouldn't plan to travel back on the last bus that would get me to the dock on time. There's also the luggage issue: Will you have to stash it somewhere and retrieve it, or will you be leaving it on the ship?

Posted by
6102 posts

Check Rabbies Tours to see if they offer a day tour from whichever city you dock near.

Posted by
1151 posts

Fellow Campbell here: save your Visit to Inveraray Castle for that Land tour you will want to plan after your cruise. You will want to have time to stay overnight and tour this very scenic area. I remember the Main Room of the Castle is a multitude of swords in swirling patterns on the wall, other than that...

Posted by
1174 posts

Remember, currently cruises are not allowing independent shore excursions. You must take a ship's tour if you want to go ashore. You did not say when you are going. It may change by then.

Posted by
163 posts

If Covid-19 is better I am coming into Glasgow on the Sky Princess at 10 am Wed Aug 11. 2020. The schedule also says Greenock. The ship stays docked for an overnight and leaves at 7 pm on Aug 12th. I know the Castle is far.. But since I will be there overnight i thought i could do it on the 11th. It will Not matter when I get back to the ship that day.

I am very inexperienced and do appreciate all advice. The cruise ship tour of he Castle will only let me stay an hour.. I know I want to stay longer.. I have an overnight so it does not matter when I get back to the ship

Michelle

Posted by
585 posts

We visited Inveraray Castle back in 2018. It is a beautiful castle and a current home to the Duke of Argyll. The website has listings of local tour companies. https://www.inveraray-castle.com/visit/getting-here.
The castle and the grounds are well worth a visit. We were there on the day of the Highland games. An added bonus! that day we toured a very uncrowded castle in about 2 hours.

Margaret

Posted by
3389 posts

If you plan to go very far from any port, consider taking one of the ship's excursions. They do cost more. but, if you are on a ship tour and there is a delay returning, the ship will wait. Not so if you are off on your own. Traffic in some ports can cause delays getting back. On numerous occasions we've been caught in traffic jams that delayed our return. But we were on a ship excursion so it waited for us. At least three times we've seen people running along the pier as the ship departed. Not saying it happens all the time, but it only takes happening once to ruin a good cruise. If you plan to stay close enough to the pier area that you can hoof it back if need be, then doing it on your own is fine. But if you plan to venture far afield (such as to the castle) you may consider the ship tours worth the price. Just something to think about.

Posted by
2640 posts

You say your cruise docks 10 am Wed Aug 11, stays docked overnight and leaves at 7 pm on Aug 12th. Are you hoping to stay overnight in Inveraray rather than returning to the ship Wednesday night? If so, I can recommend Brambles, have stayed there twice. Brambles also has a cafe serving breakfast, lunch, and daytime snacks. For dinner and pub, the George Hotel is the place to go.

You could take the CityLink bus on the 11th and return on the 12th. As others have advised, allow plenty of time returning on the 12th in case of any traffic jams or other conditions that could delay the bus.

Inveraray Castle is beautiful inside and out. One of the rooms has exhibits focusing on Clan Campbell. The collection of arms and armor is said to be one of the best in Britain, if not in the world. Beyond the castle gardens (very lovely) there's quite a lot of acreage with at least one walking trail up to a lookout peak. The town of Inveraray is charming; it was designed and built by a Georgian architect so there is a lot of uniformity. There are several shops selling traditional Scottish woolens (check the labels, though, as some items are made in other countries).

If your main reason for devoting the lion's share of your cruise stop in Glasgow/Greenock to Inveraray Castle is your interest in the Campbell clan, I think there are ways to research that online. You might start here https://www.ccsna.org/clan-campbell-faq

Posted by
163 posts

Thank you epltd. That is a great website. I had no idea that the Clan Campbell Society existed. What is really great is one of the directors on the board lives in my town.. So much information. I do not know where to start.. But I am so grateful to you.. This is such a good place to get advise.

I hope someday I can re-pay all the great help I have received and pass it on.

Michelle

Posted by
2640 posts

I'm so glad you found it helpful!

Family name research in the British Isles can often be pursued online. It's fun, of course, to get to visit the seat of a famous family, but the more you find out ahead of time, the more meaningful that in-person visit is likely to be!