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Need help with our too short trip to Scotland!

My first trip out of the U.S., at the age of 65, and I am so excited to finally visit Great Britain! It has been my dream for decades. My sister and I are visiting May 2018. At this point we figure we will have a mere 8 days for Scotland. Alas, way too short for all I want to see and experience.

I will be asking many questions in further posts..but this is my first to hopefully get some help and ideas to start a plan.

We will be driving up from Holy Island probably Thursday May 24 and I am planning to stop to see Tantallon and Dirleton Castles before coming into the Edinburgh area. We fly out of Aberdeen to London to home on Friday June 1.

Aberdeen because one of my "must sees" are the neolithic sites on Mainland, Orkney and it made sense to do this at the end of our trip. Due to our too limited time, I think we will fly to and from Mainland on Thursday May 31. Meaning we will need to be in Aberdeen, or a town very close to Aberdeen Wednesday evening.

My other "must see".... I have decided Kilmartin, due its saturation of archaeological sites, to satisfy my need to see history, and the Loch Awe area for its beauty..and Kilchurn Castle. I think this trip would be more leisurely and enjoyable over 2 nights.

Now....for the" in between" time and there is not enough! Had thought we should see Edinburgh, Culross is nearby and looks inviting as well as up the coast to St Andrews. Doune Castle, because one of our family favorites is Monty Python and the Holy Grail and would love to take video for my son. Also was thinking about taking a tour of the Cairngorms.

Another very important thing I wanted to do was a pony trek; nice, leisurely with great views either of lochs or through woods. Any recommendations to the areas we will be?

Starting plan:
day 1) from Holy Island stop at Tantallon and Dirleton to Edinburgh area

day 2) Edinburgh

day 3) ??

day 4) head to Kilmartin

day 5) Loch Awe

day 6) leave Loch Awe area to??

day 7) be near Aberdeen p.m.

day 8) fly to Mainland, back to Aberdeen

day 9) fly from Aberdeen to home dismal...too little time

I will appreciate all your advice!

Happy New Year


Posted by
340 posts

Marna, could you please clarify your "fly to mainland" on day 8. It is a little confusing about why you are flying back and forth to Aberdeen and then to London to go home.

Posted by
52 posts

morrowbabette: ummm....maybe because we hadn't thought to look if we could fly from Kirkwall directly to London? As soon as I saw your reply I assumed this is what you may be hinting? So went to the Kirkwall airport site on the computer... Thanks! Exactly why I need help...never had to cover so many details before. And at my age! ha

Posted by
2139 posts

Mainland is the main island of the Orkneys so flying to and from Mainland makes sense. There are no flights from Kirkwall to London (would need to go via Aberdeen, Glasgow, Inverness or Edinburgh).

Posted by
714 posts

You are trying to do way too much in eight days. You will be zigzagging backwards and forwards through Scotland. Stick to the east coast. It makes sense as you plan on traveling to Edinburgh from Lindiesfarne. Forget Aberdeen, a long and unnecessary drive.

Spend a few days in Edinburgh and as you will have a car, day trip to St, Andrews and the other castles you mention or dump the car in Edinburgh and take day tours which will allow you to see the countryside, not just the road ahead of you.

Fly from Edinburgh to Kirkwall and do spend at least a couple of days visiting the sites on the Orkneys. Friends spent 2 nights, which was just about 2 days, doing the sites and said it wasn’t long enough. There are some interesting historic sites as well as the ancient ones.

On this trip you do not have time for pony trecks, tours of the Cairngorms etc. While I agree they are well worth a trip, Kilmartin and Loch Awe are on the west coast and you really don’t have time for them on this trip, unless you forgo Edinburgh, St Andrews etc. and fly to Orkney from Glasgow.

If you have not yet booked your flights look into flying into London and home from Edinburgh.

Google is your best friend to get information on flights, the sites you want to visit, and accommodation. Good luck with planning!

Posted by
2216 posts

Agree with Lesley. Trying to do too much in too short a time. Pick the top three most important and work your itinerary around those.