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One night, two days in Scotland

I will be in Edinburgh Easter Weekend 2020. I plan to leave Edinburgh on Easter Sunday to spend all day Sunday, Sunday night and all day Monday in the Scottish Highlands. My tentative plans are to stay the night in Glencoe/Fort Williams area. With that in mind, I'm considering either taking a train from Edinburgh to Inverness, renting a car and driving down to Glencoe....stopping at points-of-interest along the way. Another option I'm considering is simply renting a car in Edinburgh and driving straight to Glencoe....again stopping a points-of-interest along the way. Once I arrive in Glencoe I will drive to points-of-interest north of Glencoe (Eilean Dorian Castle, Glenfinnan, etc.) Finally driving to Glasgow Monday night. Which option is the best?

Posted by
6404 posts

Check to see if rental car concessions are open on Easter Sunday.

Posted by
25587 posts

The Easter bank holiday weekend is often a time when trains are cancelled for engineering work. You may find getting around by train on Easter weekend tricky.

Posted by
593 posts

Hi Kevin, you may not be interested in this at all, but, FWIW, we took a day trip with Rabbie’s this fall and really enjoyed it. It was an efficient way to get some sightseeing done. If you end of having difficulties with public transportation/rental car due to the Easter weekend timing, you may want to look into it.

Posted by
18746 posts

You can use ViaMichelin.com to check estimated driving times. Remember that they do not include stopping, getting lost, looking for parking, walking from the parking lot to the sight you want to see or the actual sightseeing. I see that the estimate for Glencoe - Eilean Donan - Glasgow is nearly 6 hours.

Posted by
1177 posts

Edinburgh and near environs are worthy of 2 days. We went to Glencoe in April and it was fogged in; we also had snow flurries at higher elevations. There are several historic castles close by Edinburgh such as Stirling, Falkirk and Linlithgow, etc.

Posted by
940 posts

Hi, Kevin,

You definitely want to rent a car. I'm assuming that you have a very specific reason for wanting to visit Glencoe. Don't let anyone talk you out of it. Be prepared for some early closing of shops on Easter Sunday. Restaurants are going to be either closed or packed out. But if you're overnighting in Fort William(no "s"), you should be able to find something open, especially at one of the hotels.

You should try to get as early a start out of Edinburgh as you can. Count on a good six hours to Glencoe, and make sure that you have your lodging sorted out before you leave Edinburgh.

If you're staying in Fort William, it's an easy drive along the A830 to Glenfinnan. However, getting to Eilean Donan Castle will take a bit more effort. You have two choices. The first would be to drive out to the end of the A830, and take the ferry to Armadale on Skye. You'd then drive north to the A87 at Skulamus, and follow the A87 east across the Skye Bridge to Eilean Donan. Then you'd follow the A87 to the A82 at Invergarry, and back south on the A82 all the way to Glasgow. If you go that way, best to cross the Clyde at the Erskine Bridge, and follow the M8 to Glasgow Airport, thereby avoiding city traffic. Assuming, that is, that you're heading for the airport. If not, stay on the A82, which becomes Great Western Road, and will take you right in to town.

Your second option would be, after visiting Glenfinnan, to follow the A82 north out of Fort William, and pick up the A87 at Invergarry. However, that would involve backtracking. With only the better part of two full days, though, you'll probably have to backtrack at some point. As acraven noted, it's about six hours from Eilean Donan/Kyle of Lochalsh back to Glasgow. I'd give it seven or eight, to be on the safe side.

If you do take the ferry out of Mallaig, be sure to book ahead. Easter Monday is a minor holiday in Scotland, and services may be curtailed.

Very best wishes for your travels. I hope that you get decent weather for your time in Glencoe.

Slainte!

Mike (Auchterless)

p.s.: If you're hoping to see the Jacobite crossing the Glenfinnan Viaduct, you'd need to get an early start. There's only one train out at that time of year. It leaves Fort William at 10:15 a.m.