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Scotland for the first time

I have read the tips for Europe on here and am just trying to get a little more advice or suggestions. I go to Scotland at the end of August and I will be around Edinburgh, Inverness, Glasgow, Stiriling and my question is if you have traveled around here if you know any must stops for food and attractions that aren't already planned for (such as castles and Loch Ness.) Also, I know the pound is more than American money, but where is a good money point to have for souvenirs? Nothing too overboard just thinking like a scarf, but I don't know how expensive or inexpensive things are there. Thanks so much in advance!

First timer on a solo adventure in another country.

Posted by
4 posts

Hello First Timer! Some ideas for you: 1) the British pound is currently at $1.30 US Dollar which is the lowest in some time (good news for the Dollar), so you should be able to buy souvenirs for a pretty good price. I've spent maybe $20 on a nice woolen scarf in Inverness and $20-40 on various things like whiskey, jams, cookies, calendars. I'd plan to have at least $200-$250 to spend on souvenirs. Remember you have to pack the liquids in your checked baggage and don't make the mistake I did in 2008 and try to board the plane with a package of single malt scotch minis (each one was less than 4 oz, but there were six of them, so I had to go and repack them in checked luggage). 2) Depending on how many days you have to sightsee on your trip, the points of interest NOT to miss, IMHO, are: a) Edinburgh castle and the Royal Mile to the Palace of Holyroodhouse; b) St. Andrews ruins of the cathedral and the golf course with the view out to the North Sea; c) Loch Lomond and a visit to the picturesque village of Luss (one of the prettiest I've seen); d) Stirling Castle tour and visit to the William Wallace monument; e) Eileen Donan castle (most photographed), Loch Duich in Glen Shiel, which offers a really interesting tour and the caretakers have a wonderful Facebook page; f) taking the "Harry Potter" train (Scottrail) from Ft. William to Maillaig and the CalMac ferry to Skye, and if possible to Iona (the abbey); g) Inveraray Castle, Argyll & Bute (family home of Clan Campbell since 1701, open to tours and extremely well-preserved Gothic palace with gorgeous gardens; h) Inverness & Culloden Moor Battlefield & Visitor Center re: Battle of 1746. And, if you like Diana Gabaldon's series, Outlander, sign up for an Outlander Tour by one of the local guides.

Posted by
2 posts

Thank you so much!
I have booked a ticket for the Jacobite train! You have given me a great amount to look up!
(Also thanks for the pricing reference I wasn't sure if saving 400-600 for souvenirs was too much, I will use that extra for trying different foods instead!)

Posted by
3052 posts

I agree with much of the advice by the previous poster. I would add that on the north shore of Loch Ness, it's worth stopping to see Urquhart Castle (they have walking tours included in the entry fee a few times a day, and costumed interpreters all along) and, a couple of miles away, the Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition (fairly scientific & factual immersion in the history of "Nessie" sightings). Also, slightly to the east of Inverness is the town of Nairn -- very close to Cawdor Castle. It is more attractive than Inverness, IMO.

Posted by
5204 posts

Near Peebles are a number of Woolen Mills. My wife bought some nice items (good quality) at one of them. Consider researching where they are and stopping for a visit if you want a scarf.