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Itinerary recommendation

I found a travel deal that includes travel to Edinburgh (3 nights), Aberdeen (2 nights), Inverness (2 nights) and Glasgow (2 nights) from US, with transportation via train in Scotland. Am wondering your thoughts about how important it would be to see Aberdeen, vs. just increasing the number of nights to 3 and 3 in Inverness and Glasgow. 1st trip to Scotland, planning in September '20. What are your recommendations? Thank you!

Posted by
49 posts

We went to Aberdeen area in 2018. Highlight was seeing Dunnotar Castle nearby (Stonehaven). Old parts of town were good to wander. College town. More castles close by that likely requires a car. Haven’t been to Inverness or Glasgow so don’t know if they’d beat it. I’d go back to Aberdeen. Plus we like their soccer team.

Posted by
6394 posts

Would you have a car for the Aberdeen portion? The ability to get out into the countryside is what, to me, makes a visit to Aberdeenshire truly memorable.

The best thing about going to Aberdeen is the wealth of beautiful places out in the countryside — Dunnottar Castle, Craigievar Castle, Pitmedden Gardens, Fowlsheugh nature Preserve for the puffins, etc. These are some of my favorite places in all of Scotland, but you need a car to get to them.

Posted by
940 posts

Hi, Love2travl,

Much as I love Aberdeen, you really need a car to get around. The train station is in a very unattractive part of the city. Public transportation within the city is excellent, however. Also, it's a good walking city. Old Aberdeen, the area around King's College, is very attractive, as are many of the parks. Duthie Park, in particular, has one of the most beautiful gardens in Britain. The Winter Garden is a misnomer, as it's open all year. Union Terrace Gardens are getting a facelift, and should look quite good by September.

If you'd like to visit Dunnottar Castle, as Troxstar recommended, you could get off the train at Stonehaven, and hike or take a taxi out to the castle. The location is stunning!. You'd need to take your luggage with you, though, as there's no left luggage facility at Stonehaven. You could return to Stonehaven as a day trip, however, once you've settled in in Aberdeen.

Aberdeen has a long beachfront, and the ice cream at the Inversnecky Cafe, on the beachfront, can't be beat. Ask for a single nougat, with Scottish tablet ice cream. Like West Virginia, it's almost heaven!

There's a dolphin watch at the Torry Battery. If you're lucky, you may get to to see the Dons play a home match at Pittodrie, or you could see Caley Thistle play while you're in Inverness. As Troxstar noted, there are many castles in the Aberdeen area. The easiest to reach by public transportation are along Royal Deeside (Crathes, Drum, Balmoral, Braemar).

There's a lot to see and do in Aberdeen,once you get away from the train/bus station area. There are a couple of decent hotels within walking distance of the train station, and one of the best pubs in Aberdeen, the Prince of Wales, is also a short distance away.

Is your train travel limited to the cities you've mentioned, or can you travel to Kyle of Lochalsh out of Inverness? That would be a train journey worth taking. You could get off the train and explore places like Plockton along the way.

Anyway, good luck with your plans. Very best wishes for the New Year!

Mike (Auchterless)

Posted by
2732 posts

Given the total nights involved, I like your idea of skipping Aberdeen and increasing the other locations to 3 nights each. A 3-night stay gives you 2 days to see the place, which is really the minimum for any destination you want to experience in any depth.

So, is your flight open jaw, arriving in Edinburgh and departing from Glasgow? I ask because having to return to Edinburgh for the flight home would cut down your time in Glasgow. But, OTOH, it could give you a chance to stop off in Stirling if that interests you. See https://www.scotrail.co.uk/scotland-by-rail/destinations/stirling

Posted by
44 posts

Wow, thank you so much for the recommendations! Upon reviewing them and your feedback, I believe that I will skip Aberdeen this time, but instead include some additional scenic rail trips that look simply amazing. It seems there is never enough time to see all that can be seen, and instead to limit the focus a bit to fully enjoy and try to absorb experiences in fewer places. Deeper, not wider, I guess. Thank you again; I will keep record of these recommendations for future trips.

Love2travl

Posted by
940 posts

Hi again, Love2travl,

Good choice! If you have time to do it while you're in Inverness, the train trip from Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh, on the West Highland (Kyle) Line, is absolutely stunning. I'd highly recommend getting off at Plockton, as it's one of the prettiest villages anywhere. If you time it right, you could get off at Plockton, wander around the village, then catch the next ongoing train to Kyle, explore the town, and catch the last train back to Inverness.

Another adventure would be to take the bus to Fort William, train to Mallaig, ferry to Armadale on Skye, bus or taxi to Kyle of Lochalsh, then the train back to Inverness.

Whatever you end up doing, you're going to love Scotland!

Best wishes,

Mike (Auchterless)

Posted by
18746 posts

The station at Plockton seems to be unstaffed, and it's a good walk from there into town. I wouldn't want to do it with luggage. I day-tripped from Kyle, so I didn't look to see whether there were coin-operated lockers available, but it seems unlikely.

Posted by
940 posts

Hi, acraven,

It's definitely unstaffed, and there are no luggage storage facilities. I was thinking of it as a day trip out of Inverness, as opposed to an overnight stay. There are several places to eat in the village, ranging from pricey to inexpensive. I can't comment on the pricey, as I always go for the inexpensive. The inexpensive is very good! It's downhill from the train station in to town, but uphill on the way back.

Happy New Year to you!

Mike (Auchterless)

Posted by
44 posts

Great idea for day trip out of Inverness; ordered RS. Guide, now planning begins in earnest: mid- September 3 nights in Edinburgh, train to Inverness 3 nights, train to Glasgow, 3 nights and depart fromGlasgow; would love to hear more of your favorite experiences.

Posted by
940 posts

p.s.: If you want to get an idea of what Plockton looks like, it serves as the fictional village of Lochdubh in the television series Hamish MacBeth. The series is available on DVD, and may be available at your local library or through interlibrary loan. It's also available right now for download on Amazon Prime. No, they don't have Highland cows wandering the main street! The cows are over in Duirinish - they were imported for the show.

Slainte!

Mike (Auchterless)