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Need Scotland Road Trip Advice

We are planning a pretty extensive road trip through Scotland and would like advice on interesting and beautiful places to visit. We have all our reservations and want to know what there is to see around where we will be. Also if any of our ideas of things to do can be improved upon or skipped. .This is the itinerary we have so far. I'll list the towns we'll be staying in...in order. Glasgow for 4 nights...we'll leave Glasgow and visit Peebles, Abbotsford House and Melrose Abbey, then spend the night in Musselburgh. From Musselburgh, we plan to visit Loch Leven, Falkland Palace, St Andrew's, and then to Dunkeld to do the Hermitage Woodland's Walk and spend the night in Pitlochrie. From there we visit Balmoral Castle and drive to Strathpeffer for 2 nights. Then to the Isle of Skye for 3 nights and back to Glasgow. We want to visit Glen Affric, Dunrobin Castle, Nethy Bridge, Dunvegan Castle, Eileen Donan Castle, Glenfinnan Monument, Jacobite Steam Train. Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much!!

Posted by
223 posts

One of the highlights of our trips to Scotland was a Highland games. We planned our trip around being in Pitlochry on the Saturday of their games.

Posted by
150 posts

You don't say when you plan to visit, so I'm going to ask if you are aware that Balmoral Castle only has one room of the castle proper which is open to the public and that it will close to visitors on 31 July until next season?

To get the best out of Balmoral I'd say you need at least three hours there to see what is available to you and take a walk in the grounds. It is a mainly outdoors visitor attraction and may not appeal to you if the weather is poor. Should that be the case Braemar Castle which you will pass on the way is an alternative. www.braemarcastle.co.uk

I've been shot down in flames before for saying I felt Eilean Donan castle wasn't worth visiting but I still hold to that. I was there in August 2014 and the place was mobbed. No real chance to stand and stare and take anything in. Earlier or later in the season may be a different matter where crowds are concerned. Much of the castle isn't really authentic although I did know about the re-build before I went, so wasn't worried. It's certainly worth taking photographs of it from outside because it really is in the perfect location.

Glenfinnan Monument is also in a stunning location and as a member of the NTS I was allowed to climb up to the top. When there I found two small boys with their parents intrigued to know what the Bonnie Prince wore under his kilt! That's to say, the boys were interested, but not their parents! You have to cross a busy road to get to the monument from the car park, so do take care there.

Posted by
16 posts

Dont forget to visit a Scotch distillery - even if you dont like it. Edradour in Pitlochrie is a tiny quaint place with an intimate tour. Talisker on Skye is nice too.

Posted by
2565 posts

In St. Andrews, are you interested in golf, or other sights such as the university, cathedral, castle?

If you're seriously into golf, take the walking tour of the Old Course to hear plenty of golf jargon and anecdotes about famous players. More appealing to the casual golf fan is the British Golf Museum, which has a nice cafeteria upstairs with a commanding view of the 1st/18th holes. You can also play mini golf on the Ladies' Putting Green ("Himalayas") for a very low price. Be aware there are no lockers or other facilities to hold your belongings while you play. You don't have to wear golf shoes, but high heels are not allowed.

Posted by
688 posts

Have not been yet as we only go in October but I'm interested in your responses. Sounds like a wonderful trip.

Posted by
15 posts

Thank you all so much. I wasn't aware only one room of Balmoral was open to tour. We will be there before July 31...around the first part of July...so I guess we would be able to go inside? Hopefully the weather will cooperate, as would love to walk around the grounds. I've always been interested in Princess Diana and have a book with pictures of she and Prince Charles on the grounds of Balmoral on their honeymoon. I love those pictures...she looked so happy.

As for St Andrew's...we are not golfers, were more interested in the Cathedral. Is there anything else noteworthy there?

Posted by
150 posts

Yes, you will be able to go Balmoral during your visit if you wish. As I say it is mainly outdoors although there are exhibitions in the castle ballroom and stables area to look at. You can take an audio guide around with you to learn more about the history of Balmoral and the modern estate which it has become. The grounds and gardens are fully open to the public and there are some lovely walks to take if you have the time. My favourite is the blue walk (The Three Cairns) but it's mainly uphill and downhill and will not suit everyone.

Apart from the Ballroom the rest of the castle is closed to the public for reasons of privacy and security, so it's really up to you as to whether you think the visit is worthwhile.

Here's the website to tell you more www.balmoralcastle.com

It is true that Diana spent part of her honeymoon there and the famous photographs of Charles and Diana at that time were taken near the old Invercauld Bridge on the Balmoral estate. You will see this bridge from the new Invercauld bridge which you will drive over to reach Balmoral from Pitlochry via Braemar (the A93 road).

Posted by
15 posts

Thank you for sharing your favorite walk. We will definitely check into it. Our party will consist of 2 young people, one middle aged, and my mom, who is 75. She's pretty active, so we'll see if she is able to handle this particular walk. So nice to know we may be able to see where the Charles and Diana pictures were taken. Wonderful to get this information from a local! Feel free to give any other recommendations.