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Places to stop between Oban/Edinburgh and best Pubs Edinburgh

Hello! I'm surprising my husband with a 30th birthday long weekend to Scotland (hooray for Norwegian Air!). His favorite Scottish Whisky is Oban, so upon our arrival (9:30AM) we are renting a car and driving to Oban. We already have a distillery tour set up for that day, but I am looking for recommendations for dinner/other things to do or see! The next day we are driving back to Edinburgh. Are there any good small towns to stop in and see/landmarks we shouldn't miss (excluding Glasgow).

Additionally, what are the must see sights/pubs in Edinburgh? I was thinking about making our "own" pub crawl, but am open to ideas! We both enjoy history, great food and great beer/cider.

Thanks in advance!

Posted by
12533 posts

If you haven't already booked lodging, I highly recommend Greystones B and B.

http://www.greystonesoban.co.uk

It is up on the hill (with a private car park) and the views are stunning. The rooms are large and the bathrooms ( with rainshower) are huge. Everything is very modern and tasteful, and breakfast was superb.

For dinner we loved Coast down on the Main Street.

Posted by
63 posts

I found Stirling Castle to be fascinating, much more interesting then Edinburgh Castle. You can see the living quarters and the history of the castle is tied in with the history of the kings of Scotland. Stirling itself is a cute little town with several nice places to eat...I can recommend Brea, which is a few blocks from the Castle.

Posted by
652 posts

Wife and I liked Doune castle (not far from Stirling) a lot. She lived in Edinburgh for three years, and recommends the Southern Pub (I do too). For other attractions, the Whisky experience is great for a Scotch lover, and Arthur's Seat offers nice walking trails out in nature, with great views of the city. The Sheep Heid Inn is a good pub that has been in business since the 1300s I think.

Posted by
21 posts

Thanks, everyone! We will definitely be checking out both castles on our way back from Oban-Edinburgh. The pub selections looks excellent.

Posted by
100 posts

I can vouch for The Whisky Experience, especially if that's a personal interest. There's lots to see in Edinburgh if you have 2-3 days. Primarily, tour the castle, then walk down the Royal Mile (including The Whisky Experience), ending at Holyrod House. The former royal yacht, Britannia, is easy to get to and interesting to see. I did bus daytrips with local companies, one to Stirling (trip included a distillery) and another to St Andrews. As for pubs in Edinburgh, here's my thoughts...in the "New Town" area....The Standing Order on George....Royal Cafe..and for a great burger, Cambridge Bar on Young Street, a small place. As for food you might not expect, for Thai, "Time 4 Thai" was great, and La Lantera for Italian. Enjoy!

Posted by
2519 posts

I was given a gift of the Platinum tour of the Whisky experience for my 60th birthday last year, went with my brother and had a great time,It is not cheap but worth every penny, great tour, nice tasting session of whiskies you wont get anywhere else, a tour of the biggest whisky collection in the world with several additional samples and a really fantastic meal(tasting menu) to finish with.Oh and you get a small bottle of their special blended whisky, a tasting glass and very nice certificate.

Posted by
2519 posts

this thread is a bad influence on me,I have just poured myself a nice big measure of Strathisla 12 year old.................... it is 5.30 pm here.
there are numerous pubs on the Royal mile you could do a pub crawl of, start at the top at the Ensign Ewart right opposite the Whisky exprience and just head down hill stopping in all the pubs that take your fancy there are quite a few. I must admit I am seldom in these pubs these days as they are more of a tourist haunt with prices to match but you should enjoy them. my last stop would be the Worlds End on the corner of the Royal mile (high street section) and St Mary's street.

Posted by
108 posts

In Oban we enjoyed a nice dinner with beer and cider at The Lorne pub. It's a block or 2 off the water with no view or anything, but much better food and experience than the popular pub on the water that our host recommended.

Unclegus, you just gave me a great idea of what to ask for for my 60th birthday ; ) !

Posted by
21 posts

And JC - the Hanging Bat is making both my husband and I VERY excited! We're going to a Mikkeller beer festival here in Boston in September, so I was stoked to see that they're pretty heavily featured in the rotation.

Posted by
971 posts

I second Stirling and Doune Castle. I also found Stirling Castle more interesting, and a smidge less packed with tourists, than Edinburgh Castle. Architecturally and historically they are very similar. Doune Castle was a favourite of mine, it's a small, but very well preserved medieval castle and for that reason it has been used in tons of movies and tv shows, most notably Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Terry Jones from Monty Python narrates the audioguide.
Another nice castle ruin is Dunstaffnage Castle just north of Oban.
The most interesting distillery I visited is the Edradour Distillery in Pitlochry. It's one of the smallest distilleries in Scotland and very charming. Their Ballechin single malt is very peaty and similar to the Oban single malt. However It's a little detour on the route between Edinburgh and Oban.

Posted by
631 posts

Edinburgh Pub which has become a landmark and is noted for very good beer (micro brewery sourced usually). Limited food, amazing location (from a historic point of view)

Halfway House, 24 Fleshmarket Close (we can only guess how the address originated, hopefully something to do with butchers....). It is halfway up a narrow lane which is so steep it is stairs! Behind the main railway station. There is an exit from the station from the main pedestrian bridge near to the access to platform 8 . Almost directly across the road is an archway with stairs visible, go up there, the pub is on the right.

Posted by
631 posts

Landmark on way back. You haven't said date but there's 2 ways of seeing this. Plot your route back via the Forth Road Bridge, eg leave Stirling area via places like Alloa, Kincardine, Rosyth.

The old 1960's road bridge is about to be replaced by a new one nearby. Depending upon the date of your visit you can either be one of the last to use the old bridge or one of the first on the new bridge http://www.forth-bridges.co.uk/queensferry-crossing/latest-news-queens/250-queensferry-crossing-opening-date-announced.html
if you have time drop into the small town of South Queensferry below the old bridge. From the quayside you get a close view of the true star, The Forth Bridge (which carries the railway). Note the official terminolgy on the website, it is never described as the Forth Rail Bridge.

The new bridge (Queensferry Crossing) will not appear on Google Maps etc until it opens but is only a short distance to the west, the A90 road is being rerouted onto it and once that's all running smoothly the original road bridge will close to most traffic but will remain open to pedestrians for one the best free visits in the Edinburgh area (on a nice day). Passenger to have camera ready during the crossing!

Posted by
21 posts

Thanks again to everyone for their help! I finally surprised the husband and we're both so excited. We're planning on stopping in Stirling to break up the drive on the way to Edinburgh, and then Doune Castle the next day on our way back to drop off the car and head into Edinburgh city. Are there any other small towns between Oban and the airport that you recommend we stop in? We have the car until 17:00 on that Friday.

Posted by
2519 posts

there is a new pub just opened in Edinburgh called Brewhemia on Market street just opposite one of the enmtrances/exits of the train station.
https://brewhemia.co.uk/
head right through the back to the huge beer hall,great selection of beer and whisky even have tanked beer from the Czech republic and a tanked beer from the Edinburgh beer Factory ,was in last Saturday afternoon/evening and managed quite a few (well 6),beer was excellent as was service but prices are on the higher side.didn't try the food but from what I saw looked pretty good.

Posted by
631 posts

last stop before the airport? South Queensferry. It's only 8 miles to the airport so you can be fairly relaxed. Get there, have coffee, see the bridges, sit on the quayside, watch the world go by. Best approached over the A90 Queensferry Crossing. A few little shops, pubs and cafes. Robert Louis Stevenson wrote part of Kidnapped at the Hawes Inn, now the little white pub directly under the rail bridge.

Posted by
697 posts

Best pub we went to in Edinburgh was Sandy Bells. The music there was awesome, people friendly & pretty good beer too. (My husband liked the Tennants beer there and I enjoyed the Guinness since we had just left Ireland and I had developed a taste for it there. LOL) We also enjoyed a small pub called the Captains Bar and The Royal Mile pub for their haggis bon bons. Enjoy!!

Sites we really enjoyed were Royal Yacht Brittania, Calton Hill and its monuments, St Giles Cathedral & Edinburgh Castle.

Posted by
21 posts

Thanks again, everyone! We leave tonight and can't wait! I'll try and update on our eating/whisky/sighting-seeing/pub adventure.

-jordan