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Inverness at the end of August, please advise!

Is there anything fun to do in Inverness, Scotland at the end of August? How does flying into Inverness because it's cheaper and taking the train to Glasgow or Edinburgh for a week sound?
Three of us want to go to the UK and so far flying into Inverness is the cheapest. My friend will be with us for a week and fly back home and my mom and I will stay an 7 to 10 days in Scotland. I was thinking we could fly into Inverness and take the train to Glasgow or Edinburgh, once my friend has to fly home we'd go back with her to Inverness and continue our trip to Lochness, Isle of Skye, and/or Orkney. I haven't been able to really plan since the flight is the deciding factor. What do you think or advise? About hownmich are train tickets? What iterinary do you recommend? Anything helps, TIA!!

Posted by
519 posts

I feel like we need a bit more information before we can help with this one.
1. What are your interests and where are you coming from? Are you coming from a city somewhere and want to see scenery and natural beauty? Or are you coming from a rural area and want to see the bright lights of Edinburgh and Glasgow? What does your friend want to do?

  1. There's nothing much to detain you in Inverness itself, especially if this is your first trip to Scotland, but the airport is a good starting point for a trip to the Highlands. You could also fly from Inverness to Kirkwall on Orkney. There are many options for a week with Inverness as the starting point. For example, fly direct from there to Orkney and explore the archeological treasures there, or head west and spend the week in the Highlands and on Skye. Or yes, you could hop on a train to Edinburgh and spend some time there. All depends on your interests.

  2. For train planning use national rail uk This site has all the timetables and then links you through to the train operating companies to buy your tickets. It is always cheaper to book on a specific train (advance tickets) but these are non transferrable so you have to be sure of your plans (they are available about 12 weeks out from the date of travel). There are also various railcards you can buy (e.g. two together - for a discount when two of you travel) but you need to sort these out ahead of time (all details available via the link I provided).

  3. How will you travel around apart from using the train to get to Edinburgh/Glasgow? The highlands are not that accessible by train and there are no trains and only very few buses on Skye. You are probably going to want to look at either renting a car or doing an organised tour with someone like Rabbies.

  4. Finally, the weather. I always think of July and August as being among the rainiest months here. May, June and September seem more reliable, although it can (and does) rain at any time. I assume you've already factored this in and decided that you don't mind about the weather?

Best wishes
Jacqui (Skyegirl)

Posted by
4872 posts

Flying into Inverness isn’t just about the cost - taking the train from Inverness to Edinburgh or Glasgow will be 5 hours door to door, which is going to impact on how much you can see in your timeframe.

One thing to bear in mind is that August in Edinburgh means the Fringe Festival and much of the accommodation will already be booked up. Ditto Skye, as it’s school holidays.

If you only have a week, Inverness wouldn’t be my choice of destinations in Scotland to spend much time, as the attractions near there are interesting, but to my mind, second tier attractions.

Orkney can be covered as a day trip from John o’Groats or with an overnight stay. You would be better served staying somewhere closer than Inverness, as it’s a 3 hour drive from Inverness to John o’Groats before you catch the boat.

Skye ideally needs 3 full days there to cover the main sights. Loch Ness is tacky and best avoided as there are many prettier lochs.

Have you looked at Rabbies tours?

Posted by
19170 posts

I fear you're going to have great difficulty finding lodgings for three in many places. I had trouble finding one room with twin beds, and I was looking in December-January for July of last year. Your best bet will probably be in places without direct public-transportation access. Are you prepared to rent a car while outside Glasgow/Edinburgh?

One place you might check in Edinburgh is the Destiny-Murano student lodgings. Each room has its own private bath, and they were not 100% full for August last year when I was staying there in July. However, I suspect they do not have twin-bedded rooms or triples. Worth checking, though, because Edinburgh is going to be a problem, I think. I, personally, would not go to Edinburgh in August unless I planned to take full advantage of the Festival. The core of the city is extremely touristy earlier in the summer, and I've read it gets much worse in August, as well as more expensive. There are plenty of other places to go in Scotland--though the western coast and islands are going to present lodgning challenges.

Glasgow is very different from Edinburgh and not as often recommended. I guess it's not what people think of as "classic Scotland". But I enjoyed it just as much as Edinburgh, and you should have no difficulty finding reasonably priced rooms in Glasgow.