Wife and I will visit for eight days in late September. We will train in from London to Edinburgh and then back to London. We will hire a car if needed to see what we wish to see. We prefer two home-bases of roughly four days in length each to avoid the hassle of constant packing and moving and checking in/out. We would deeply appreciate recommendations for locations that would make great home bases. Our priorities are in this rough order:
1) Coastal and mountain scenery
2) Small arts and crafts vendors
4) Historical sites of the past 400 years or so
5) Decent eating options
6) Communities under say 50,000 residents
7) Museums of any sort
7) Locally owned shopping opportunities
8) Modest hiking no more than two hours
We are not interested in spending much time in Edinburgh or Glasgow. Have seen them on a previous trip. Ditto with Stirling. We will do Skye in 2021. Rural locations are fine if day trips are handy and there is some town nearby where we can spend a cold rainy day browsing, eating, and reading. We can be in the north, east or west. Very flexible.
Would love to hear advice. Reading many of the forums we are reading good comments on Oban as a base, and mixed views on Inverness and Glencoe as a base.
I hope the info I have provided will help you with tips and suggestions.