I'm looking for day excursions and a two day overnight trip to do while in Edinburgh next July. I'll be in the city for a component of an MBA program and bringing my wife with me. Please share any ideas you have with specificity. Thanks.
Inverness or Aviemore would make great overnighters. Both are easy to reach by train from Edinburgh. Inverness- cruise on Loch Ness, Urquhart Castle, cruise on firth for dolphin and whale and puffin watches, Culloden Battlefield, decent shopping (good jewelry stores). Aviemore- take funicular up Mt. Cairngorm (or hike it), restored steam train ride along Spey River, several excellent distilleries to tour (easy to get to by train or bus), local microbrewery gives tours and samples, reindeer preserve, heather center, Blair Atholl castle within short train ride.
In Inverness we've stayed at the Royal Highlander Hotel (attached to rail station)(it's stairway was the model for the one on the Titanic and part of movie shot there). In Aviemore we stay at the Cairngorm Hotel(across street from rail station and looks like a mini castle on outside a Scottish hunting lodge inside- WONDERFUL food in restaurant and piper plays on porch each night before supper).
Day trips out of Edingburgh- Highlands (long time on bus, but beautiful scenery and you get a nice taste of several villages/towns). Haven't done these but have seen recommended- Roslyn Chapel, St. Andrews, Sterling Castle.
You might want to be flexible and be able to go with the weather. I would agree that Inverness and Aviemore are good weekend (2-day) get aways. You might also think about a trip to the west. Get to Oban and spend a couple of Days on Mull. Will you be renting a car? That gives you some additional flexibility. You can then go to Aberdeenshire for a couple of days of castle exploration. Pitlochry is a town reachable by train. The Festival Theatre might have something playing that would combo with some walks, distillery tours, and a visit to the Explorer's garden for a nice trip.
There are lots of day trips.
- The Trossachs
- The abbey's in the Borders
- St. Andrew's
And many more.
My favorite guide book is the Footprint Guide. (I like Rick's books, but he is not comprehensive enough for me.)
Again Pam beats me to it! Everything she has suggested should be on your list. For day trips either by car or public transport, worth checking if they are on the railways, is get a map, a pair of compasses and draw a circle roughly 50 miles / 80 km from Edinburgh. Depending on transport that is about an hour. In Scotland, based on Edinburgh, quite a lot of the central belt, down into the Borders, Perthshire, Angus etc ate all in that circle. I would add Dundee and the Discovery, and just north of Dundee is Glamis castle and just south via a free bridge is St Andrews.
Not to hijack your trail here, but perhaps of interest....I'm also in Edinburgh next July and wondering about daytrips...around London I've used the Evan/Evans company....what outfits like that could I consider for Scotland? Thanks.