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Scotland Itinerary advice

My wife and I are going to Scotland in March. We will arrive in Glasgow at about noon.
Day 1: Arrive in Glasgow about noon. We then will rent a car and go to Stirling.
Day 2: We head to Glencoe.
Day 3: Isle of Skye.
Day 4: Isle of Skye, then travel to Inverness.

Day 5: Inverness/Loch Ness
Day 6: travel to Glasgow and drop off the rental car. From there take a train to Edinburgh.
Day 7: Edinburgh and go to Glasgow in the evening.
Day 8: fly out of Glasgow in the morning.

We are interested in Art Museums, seeing the countryside, and some easy hiking.

Driving isn't a huge concern. We have driven all over Ireland with no issues.
What are everyone's thoughts? We do admit that we are packing in a lot for this trip. What do you think we should adjust? We appreciate all your experience and advice.
Thanks in advance and Happy Travels!

Posted by
5011 posts

Where are you flying in from when you land in Glasgow? The USA or someplace equally far away (= overnight redeye = you're exhausted and jetlagged), or someplace closer? If you arrive exhausted, please reconsider driving in that condition. If you want to push on to a destination on your arrival day that's one thing (do it by public transportation), getting behind the wheel is something else.

Although you're numbering your days "Day 1" thru "Day 8" you really only have 6 full days there. This is a pretty fast pace for the places you're trying to cover.

Posted by
100 posts

Although you're flying in/out of Glasgow, you're really not spending any time there. So why not fly in/out of Edinburgh, which will save you time and give you more time there? You could stay near the airport and take the tram into the city. The to-ing and fro-ing from Glasgow is eating up time.

I do think you are packing in a lot of locations and won't get to savor them because there's a lot of time in the car.. If you want to hike, adequate time for that will need to be built into your schedule.

Posted by
18387 posts

Yes, too many places, too few days. Changing hotels five times over the course of about 7 days means an awful lot of time spent on non-sightseeing activities. I agree that driving on your arrival day is ill-advised.

it seems you'll have only about 24 hours on Skye and barely more than that in Edinburgh. Both places are worth much longer visits, and Glasgow has many interesting sights.

Art museums:

Glasgow: The Burrell Collection is closed for refurbishment until spring 2021 (but dates like that sometimes slip). The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is worthwhile; it has some Charles Rennie Mackintosh-related design displays. The Hunterian Art Gallery is also good, and the Hunterian also has the Charles Rennie Mackintosh house. The city has other Mackintosh-related sights.

Edinburgh: the Scottish National Gallery is very good. I also liked the Royal Scottish Academy and the City Art Center. The Modern Art Museum is in two buildings near each other, not particularly near the center of town.

Posted by
2713 posts

Given your short time in Scotland, I'd say skip Stirling and Inverness. In other words, your focus will be Glasgow, Glencoe (via Loch Lomond), Isle of Skye, and back to Glasgow.

When you pick up your rental car at Glasgow airport, ask the agent who puts you into your car which signs to follow at the roundabouts leaving the airport campus to get onto the Motorway headed north to the Erskine Bridge and Loch Lomond. There are 2 or 3 roundabouts and the signs are not self-explanatory, IMO. If you find yourself headed to Glasgow, you're going the wrong way. (The airport is in Paisley, northwest [downriver on the Clyde] of Glasgow and thus nearer to the bridge.)

Posted by
194 posts

At this rate you will be seeing the countryside through teh car windscreen and you won;t have time for much if any walking., or art museums...

SLOW DOWN. Scotland may not look that big compared with the States but driving will take a lot longer than you might expect. Roads are often slow once off the motorways and trunk roads. If using Google maps add at least 25% to their drive times AND THEN ADD ON TIME FOR STOPS. Just finding somewhere to park and go for a comfort break can add on 10-15 minutes...

There is no point in driving all the way to Skye for just one night. It deserves at least 2 nights to even begin to see anything. Scrap Inverness and Loch Ness (not the best of teh Scottish Lochs anyway ) and add this night to Skye.

Also scrap Stirling and spend the first night in Glasgow. Use the afternoon to visit Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. This gives you a day to begin to recover from jet lag.

Pick up the car the next morning and drive to Glencoe on A82which takes you up Loch Lomond. Have stops at Balloch and Luss to enjoy the lake. Spend the night around Glencoe.

Next day drive to Skye - Take the Mallaig to Armadale Ferry . Spend two nights on Skye and leave by the bridge to Kyle of Lochalsh. It is going to be a full days drive back to either Glasgow or Edinburgh, so you might want to plan on another overnight break on the way.

Choose a reputable hire company. Avoid Green Motion a=or Easirent who get very bad reviews. They look cheap but then pack on all sorts of extra charges...

Posted by
73 posts

This itinerary gave me vertigo! ;). But to be constructive, yes, please slow it down, there is a lot to absorb in the remotest places in Scotland, it deserves your attention, it’s a pretty wonderful place. I suggest flying into Edinburgh, as the other person suggested, based on your preferences. — or fly into one city and out of the other, whatever makes sense. I agree about dropping Inverness and Loch Ness, Skye deserves more time, it actually demands more time.
Lastly please don’t pack so much stuff, dress in layers. In March, you will for sure experience some very wet and very cold windy weather at times (in addition to gloriously sunny days/hours)—weather changes on a dime. I suggest a waterproof outer shell jacket and waterproof hiking boots. If you are not doing serious hiking, and since you will have a car, waterproof layers over your pants are probably not necessary. Be prepared with the stuff that really matters, travel light, be familiar with your driving routes, be Mentally prepared for minor itinerary changes - that’s easier to do if you travel a little slower - sometimes unplanned changes are the highlight of your trip. Weather may/will slow your driving times. Rural highland roads are narrow and sometimes winding, and there may be unexpected domestic animals wandering here and there. Once in mid June, while hiking In the Highlands near Ft. William, we were delayed by a mini snow squall that lasted about an hour! Thats something you don’t forget. Anyway, don’t rush, please take time to enjoy yourselves, the land, and the experience.