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Scotland 6 nights

My husband and I will be doing 10 night visit to England and Scotland starting September 23. Since we have visited London previously, we will be flying into Manchester and renting a car. Our first stop will be the Lake District - looking at B&B in Penrith or Pooley Bridge instead of Keswick. After two nights we are planning to drive to Oban, to pick up tickets to go to Mull and Iona the next day - should we book a tour or take the ferry, bus, ferry on our own? We plan to return to the same B&B that evening. Any recommendations for lodging in Oban would be appreciated. Hope to tour the Oban Distillery as well.
After Oban, we are planning to drive to Edinburgh going through Glencoe to Balquhidder (my husband is a McGregor), then through Callandar to Doune (maybe stop at the castle), then on to Edinburgh.
We are planning to do two day trips with Heart of Scotland Tours - one to Loch Lomond, stopping at Stirling Castle, and one to the Viking Coast and Alnwick Castle.

For Edinburgh, we are planning to visit the Castle, walk the Royal Mile, and visit the Scotland Museum. Any recommendations for B&B close with parking, places to eat.
From Edinburgh we will go to York to spend one night and spend our last night in Manchester before our am flight.

Posted by
552 posts

Are you planning on taking the car onto the ferry to Mull? I left my car in Oban and did a bus tour to Mull and Iona. It was cheaper and easier. Finding a B&B with parking in Edinburgh might be challenging. I did not have the car while in Edinburgh. You might want to look for places a little further out, but close to a train station. I found it a challenge pretty much everywhere to find parking so once I found a spot I just left the car there and walked everywhere. I remember in Oban my B&B was up the hill, and I had a hard time figuring out how to get to it because I would almost get there and then confront a dead end street, even though on the map it looked like it went all the way through. I managed to get the last available parking spot on the street up the hill from the B&B, squeezed up against a stone wall, so I just left the car there for the duration of my stay.

Posted by
2121 posts

When you are in Oban, consider the three isles tour which goes to Staffa in addition to Mull and Iona. Staffa was my favorite of the three islands. We stayed in Kilchrenan House and really liked it. This was in 2008, so check the reviews on Trip Advisor to make sure they are still positive.

Posted by
46 posts

We are planning to leave the car in Oban. I will look for a tour from Oban for us - any tour group better than another?
For tours - do you recommend Taste of Scotland (Rick's recommendation) or Rabbies? I haven't seen much in the forum for Taste of Scotland.

Posted by
5559 posts

If you are not planning on spending the night on Mull then you should do the tour. If you had more time, I would suggest staying on Mull and driving down to the boats that take you to Staffa and on Iona.

When you are driving up from the Lake District to Oban, consider taking a side trip to Housesteads. Then drive north through the Debatable Lands and stop briefly at The Hermitage Castle. It's very stark and impressive and representative of what was needed in the Borders during the 14th through early 17th centuries. Use Via Michelin to plot your driving.

Pam

Posted by
46 posts

Thank you, Pamela. My goal is to see Iona - is it better to do the three island tour to see Staffa, or to take a regular bus across Mull to the ferry and only go to Iona? I don't want to miss what Staffa has to offer if the tour will give us a 2-3 hours to see Iona.

Posted by
5559 posts

Staff was really great, but if all you want to do is see Iona then I think I would take the car. Then you can either spend more time on Iona or explore one of the castles on Mull on the way back. Duart Castle is really interesting. You go past it on the ferry and it is very strategically placed! Bear in mind that it is a long drive from the ferry port, Craignure to Fionnphort where you can catch a ferry to Iona. You don't need a car on Iona. You can take a passenger ferry.

If you want a painless way to learn about Scottish history try Nigel Tranter's books. The Islesman is about Mull and The Lord of the Isles is about Somerled and older period.

Posted by
46 posts

Sorry - it's not Taste of Scotland Tours, but Heart of Scotland Tours.

Posted by
823 posts

When I visited Edinburgh a few years ago (without a car), I stayed at the Kew House B&B just down the street from Haymarket Station. It's up on the higher end of things (5 Star) but well worth it and they have private off-street parking. It's a longish walk to the center of things in Edinburgh but you can easily catch a bus out front or walk the two blocks to Haymarket and pick up the tram.

Todd

Posted by
4740 posts

Do not drive from Manchester to the Lakes just off a transatlantic flight (if this is what you are doing). Spend a night in Manchester and visit The Imperial War Museum North and the Lowry Museum (and if interested, Old Trafford Football Club nearby).

Oban - a must is the chocolate shop/cafe where you can see them being made and have a very tasty coffee with a selection of chocolates and they have great gift boxes to take home.

Do not do a tour from Edinburgh down to Alnwick - you can drive this route on the way to York and it is not necessary to take a tour as it is easily done yourself rather than doubling back on yourself. If the tides permit, you could do a short detour to Holy Island.

For bed and breakfasts, check out Alistair Sawday's recommendations as they are usually very good.

Posted by
46 posts

Jennifer,
Do you have a recommendation for a B & B in Manchester?

Posted by
4957 posts

If you're in Doune (mind the speed bumps going down the main street), definitely visit the castle. It's a pleasant and interesting 90 minutes or so, and has very nice restrooms in the building adjacent to the parking lot (welcome after the drive).