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November Scotland itinerary

Assuming everything will be open and doable COVID-wise:

I am going to a wedding Nov. 1 in Glasgow, so planning a Scotland trip. I'd like to avoid renting a car and instead use public transit. Here are two possible itineraries:

ITINERARY A:
Oct. 31 - Nov. 3: Glasgow
Nov. 3 - Nov. 5: Oban/islands
Nov. 5 - Nov. 7: Inverness/surrounding area
Nov. 7 - Nov. 10: Edinburgh

ITINERARY B:
Oct. 31 - Nov. 3: Glasgow
Nov. 3 - Nov. 5: Oban/islands
Nov. 5 - Nov. 8: Edinburgh
Nov. 8 - 11: Dublin

Is Inverness too far north for November? Will everything be closed? Any other destinations we should consider? Open to all thoughts!

Posted by
1017 posts

Expect temperatures to be around the low to mid 40s if you go to Inverness in early Nov. This is a good time to see the fall foliage, however, many businesses shut down starting in mid-Oct.
You could take a direct train from Edinburgh to York (3h 15m) for a night or two and fly home from Manchester. Fortunately, there’s a direct train from York to the Manchester airport (2h).
Have you been to Ireland before? Consider going when you can see more than just Dublin. Have you been to England yet? York is one of England’s top sights and you’re pretty darn close to it from Edinburgh.

Posted by
4741 posts

At present, I would suggest sticking to the U.K., as it’s difficult to predict what will happen to the Irish border Covid wise. The U.K. scientific experts are predicting a winter Covid surge.

There isn’t much to Oban and it can be seen in a couple of hours. The Scottish ferries are currently running at a much reduced capacity due to Covid and November could mean choppy seas and possibly cancelled sailings. It wouldn’t be the time of year that I would head to the islands. Businesses on the islands may start winding down in October, but businesses in the major cities are open year round.

Inverness is rather boring but is close to some great countryside, but again - in November? Cold, wet and shorter daylight hours.

I would add another night to Glasgow, as allowing for day 1 jet lag and the wedding, you only have 1 day there. There’s lots to see.

I would drop Oban/islands as it will be over 5 hours travel door to door by train from Glasgow, then you only have 1 day there before another 6+ hour train journey to Edinburgh. Edinburgh can easily fill 3 full days plus day trips such as Stirling.

York is an easy train journey from Edinburgh and has plenty of indoor attractions suitable for a winter visit.

Posted by
2149 posts

I agree with Jennifer about Inverness, it is not that interesting. But the location is great for exploring the countryside, on the other hand the weather in November will probably not be that great for outdoor activities, and it will get dark early.

Posted by
228 posts

Scrap the idea of Dublin and stay in the UK.

Why have you selected Oban/Islands and Inverness? What are your expectations of both and what are you hoping to do/see while there?

As already pointed out, November isn't the best times. I'd be inclined to concentrate on the Glasgow/Edinburgh area. There is lots to see and public transport is good. The two cities are very different.

Some ideas - and there are plenty more if you start to research the places....

Glasgow - Macintosh connections (don't miss the Willow Tea Rooms or the Macintosh collection in the Hunterian) St Mungo's Cathedral and Necropolis, Kelvingrove Museum, People's Palace, Fabulous Transport Museum. Take the train to Helensburgh for the Hill House (one of the best examples of Macintosh's work). Weather permitting, take the train to Ardrossan and the ferry across to Aran.

Edinburgh - Castle, Holyrood Palace, Royal Mile, Georgian New Town, Walk up Arthur's seat, Botanic Gardens, Zoo, Royal Yacht Britannia. Get the bus to Rosslyn Chapel. Catch the train and then bus to St Andrews (or bus from Edinburgh) a university town with ruined castle and cathedral. Catch the train to Dundee (V&A have a museum there, Verdant works is one of the best industrial museums, visit Discovery, the ship that took Scott to the Antarctic...) Catch the train to Linlithgow and visit the ruined Linlithgow Palace and birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots.

Visit Stirling - doable by train from either Glasgow or Scotland, with its castle.

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks, all. I picked Oban/Inverness because I wanted to get into the highlands and they seemed somewhat easily connectable to each other and the other cities. I have been to England before (though not York), have not been to Ireland. It might be tricky at this point to add another night to Glasgow, as the UN climate summit is going to be there at the same time and hotels are already quite picked over.

Posted by
9785 posts

I have been to Scotland numerous times and Inverness twice. A great jumping off place for the Highlands. Stick with Scotland on this trip as there is much to see. I agree that you need more time in Ireland as the best of the country is outside of Dublin.

If you want to stick to public transportation, I'm going to suggest an alternative:

Rabbie's Tours

They have everything from one day to multiple day tours in 16 passenger vans. I have taken numerous one day tours with them in Scotland and have never been disappointed.

One tour I took with them left Inverness in the morning and went to the Isle of Skye with numerous stops in between. It was great especially since the sun was shining all day with hardly a cloud in the sky. Another tour I liked was out of Glasgow visiting Oban and Glencoe among other points.

Posted by
4 posts

This has been really helpful! Here's a revised itinerary:

Oct. 31 - Nov. 3: Glasgow
Nov. 3 - Nov. 4: Stirling
Nov. 4 - Nov. 8/9: Edinburgh with 1-3 day trips

Thoughts??

Posted by
2745 posts

I think your revised itinerary is excellent for November! There is plenty to see and do in Glasgow, Stirling, and Edinburgh. With the short days (gets dark around 3-4 PM) the indoor opportunities in the cities will work out well.

As an earlier comment pointed out, if you want to get a taste of the highlands you can take a day tour with Rabbie's (or Wee Red Bus or other operator). From Viator you can get an idea of what's available, but I would book directly with the specific tour operator you prefer.

https://www.viator.com/Edinburgh-tours/Day-Trips-and-Excursions/d739-g5

Posted by
5559 posts

I agree that this itinerary is better. An interesting day trip from Edinburgh might be to take the train to Birnam if the weather is fine. Perthshire can give you a good for what the highlands are like. You can take the train and back in a day. Have lunch at the local pub in Dunkeld over Wade bridge that crosses the Tay.

Pam

Posted by
1283 posts

Another one, which would take you over the two famous railway bridges is Dundee. Right by the railway station is part of the V&A museum and the Discovery Centre.