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Need help planning a Self Drive Tour of Scotland from Edinburgh

Hi: I am a big fan of Outlanders which has increased my desire to visit Scotland for the first time with my husband. Nothing written in stone yet as I am acquiring info. We want to land in Edinburgh and I am thinking of the Raeburn as I like the appeal of the quaintness and neighborhood feeling. We will stay two nights in Edinburgh and do some touring. We may just stroll on our own but I am open to a Small-Private tour guide for a half day tour of Edinburgh city.
From there, we would like to make our way to Inverness and I am "thinking" about Culloden House for 2 nights (again because I am a huge Outlanders fan) but I am open to other suggestions in Inverness. I wanted suggestions on an overnight between Edinburgh and Inverness. I want to take in all the castles featured in the movie and don't know if I can hit one on the way from Edinburgh to Inverness and then take day trips from Inverness..................once this is accomplished, I want to make my way to the Isle of Skye for two nights before heading back to Edinburgh......Any tips?????
I want to not be going all day from tourist trap to tourist trap, but take in our desired sights with time to stroll through towns and eat at local pubs and relax.

Posted by
908 posts

In order for people to help you constructively we need to know how much time you are going to have. If you haven't determined how much time yet, then I can tell you I spent three weeks. I stayed the first six days in Edinburgh, the last four in Glasgow, and ten day in between doing a driving tour from Edinburgh then first to St. Andrew's, then up through Ballater (ancestors from there) then on to Inverness, across to Isle of Skye, down to Mull and then to Glasgow. I stopped at a lot of castles while doing this, seven or eight I think, and by the time I saw the last one I had seen enough of castles for a while. I have read many of the Outlander books, but have only watched the first season so I'm not familiar with all of the castles they used. I suggest you take a look at the Secret Scotland web site, I had them do my driving route for me and they did a great job.

Posted by
1599 posts

Rick has various self drive itineraries for Scotland in the Explore Europe, Scotland, Plan page.

Posted by
1890 posts

I'm just back from Scotland. We hiked for 10 days, then rented a car and drove around for another week.
I'm a big Outlander fan, but honestly, the filming sights didn't interest me that much. I did make an effort when I was in Edinburgh to get to Bakehouse Close...they used that for the Carfax Close and the print shop. I have photos of where Claire walked in to the close, but didn't know about the steps where the "print shop" was located, since episode 306 hadn't aired yet, so I was "guessing" about the print shop door, and didn't capture the step where Claire (and then Jamie) walked up to the shop.

My daughter and I were in Edinburgh in March, we took a Rabbies tour and went to Doune Castle, so did see Castle Leoch....
Doune Castle is easy to get to, as it's close to Edinburgh. Really it's just Doune Castle that is in Outlander so far.

If they aren't filming at Midhope can visit "Lollybroch" That is also not far from Edinburgh.

The most interesting thing we saw was Colloden and Clava Cairns. (by Inverness)

Isle of Skye is beautiful,but extremely busy with tourists. If you plan to stay on the island, you better get your hotel/B&B reservation done 10-12 months in advance. We stayed in Portree, the largest "city" on the island, easy access to see all the main sights. We drove all the way up to see Flora McDonald's grave site, and down around to the Fairy Pools. ( took 2 days to do all that)

To me, it's the REAL history of the Jacobite Revolt, rather than the make believe places they filmed/ are filming Outlander... Just my opinion. We just got to see the limited time exhibit of Bonnie Prince Charlie at the Edinburgh Natural History Museum... that was interesting.

If you do NOTHING ELSE, make sure you get to Colloden. The exhibit in the building, and the walk in the field will fill you with sadness, and with history...

Happy to discuss more of Outlander and the places to see that are in the books, just PM me.

Posted by
2 posts

Thanks so much for the input...I appreciate the tips. I am still reading and researching and will reach out again when I have more specifics...We were thinking roughly May 31-beginning of June 2018 for 7-10 days. Ideally we would like to start in Edinburgh and then make our way to Inverness (stopping in Fife) and across to Isle of Skye. Trying to figure out how we can do "self-drive tour" along with picking up some day tours along the way. I was hoping to get a tour company out of Inverness to tour that area and stay there 2 nights.
Again, Appreciate the feedback.....

Posted by
1890 posts

Here you go... info on a tour out of Inverness to see some Outlander related sights.

Did this with my daughter in March this year. We took the one day tour and saw Culloden, Clava Cairns, and some other interesting sights around Inverness.

Or just check out Diana's page with HERSELF recommended Outlander tours.

Posted by
19 posts

My husband and I are heading to Scotland May 23 thru June 2. I went to Scotland 3 years with my sister and had to return with hubby! We will be in Edinburgh 3 nights. Our first full day in Edinburgh we have a Rabbis day trip planned to St. Andrews and 2 fishing villages. Will take in lots of sites the next couple of days in the city then hit the road to Ft. William for 3 nights (hit Glen Coe in route to Ft. William. While there, we will do a morning trip on the Jacobite steam train. Go to Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle and take in Glen Nevis over the next couple of days. We will then take the ferry to Isle of Skye where we have lodging booked at in Portree for 3 nights. Then back to Edinburgh for one night, flying home next. So excited!!!! I've had lodging booked for a while now. Have also reserved days trip and car hire. Best wishes!!

Posted by
4 posts

My daughter and I, also big Outlander fans, were in Scotland at the end of August for that very reason. Stayed in Edinburgh 2 nights, then rented a car and went to the Highlands for 5 nights. We stayed in a B and B outside of Inverness and did daily driving trips. We basically planned our own route with the use of a good map and Rick Steve's travel book. Definitely get GPS in the was included in our rental unexpectedly and made driving much easier. It was better than phone GPS. Go to Culloden. References to Outlander are everywhere, even at Doune Castle as part of the audio tour. We had a great time and we followed a loose plan, put over 800 miles on the car. We did a day trip to Isle of Skye, but I think staying overnight there would be a good idea. Drive through Glencoe, it was beautiful and used in some of the Outlander scenes.

Posted by
18 posts

My husband and I will be doing a 3 week self drive tour in April/May 2018. I researched extensively checking lodging, car rentals etc.
We had planned to wing it and not use a travel agent because we travel often and felt confident in doing that. I eventually booked through Nordic Visitor. It actually came out about the same price as I had added up for nightly lodging and car rental but it saved me all of the hassle of finding lodging in places I wasn't familiar with not knowing distances and things of that nature. It also includes ferry passes, breakfast every morning, and passes to most of the castles and a few other attractions, They were also very willing and able to add a couple of days to the package in addition to totally customizing my trip to accommodate my personal itinerary. All in all, I am really glad that I chose to do it this way. I told them what I wanted...hiking, few tourist attractions, lots of outdoors, islands, a slower paced trip and I wanted to add Northumberland to the package. They understood my desires and made a package that we are totally happy with. If you email the agents and tell them you what you want, they will make it happen.

You may still choose to do your own self drive tour without an agent to help you. I think it is totally doable but I don't believe it will be quite as relaxing. It will just require a bit of research. It seems like you have a plan. Just be sure you research enough and keep posting questions! Happy travels!

Posted by
8651 posts

Places in Southern Scotland I really enjoyed: St Andrews (play on the Himalayas putting course), Falkirk Wheel, Stirling Castle (liked more than Edinbourgh Castle), Glasgow, Oban (!), 3 island tour out of Oban....

Places I could have skipped: Loch Lommond