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Suggestions for 10 days in Scotland

My husband and I will be traveling to the UK for the first time in May, we have mostly planned out the England portion of the trip but are not quite sure what we want to do (or how long it will take to do it) in Scotland, even thought this is the portion of the trip we are most excited for, ha ha.
Here is what we DO know:
-We have 10 (possibly 11) full days in Scotland.
-We will have a car. (Except in Edinburgh)
-We want to make loop up the West Coast and down the East, ending in Ediburgh, spending 2 full days there before we fly out.
-We hope to hike, not everyday but here and there throughout the trip.
-We want to see castles ( in all conditions) allong the way.
-We like to get off the beaten path.
-We are both 27 and fit, so lots of walking/long days aren't much of issue for us.
-We want to see lots of great things, but not so much that we are rushed and don't enjoy what we do see.

Any suggestions on things to see/places to go and a rough estimate of how much time to give those places would be so helpful! Thank you!

Posted by
7 posts

Hello! We spent last year touring Scotland, and for us, active outdoor types, certain highlights in retrospect stand out. First, we climbed Ben Nevis. It is so different from other hiking experiences, as there are no trees, lots of people, and temperature changes galore!. Second, Oban is a charming city, and gateway to Staffa Island, home of Puffins! They are adorable, and well worth the trip. The tour of the Oban Distillery was great, and the alcoholic haze made the day slide by lovely (I'm not much of a drinker!). The seafood is amazing, as well. The people were so nice, and they really love Scotland! Edinbourgh stands out as well for a funky city. Enjoy!

Posted by
552 posts

I had a car for 10 days when I was in Scotland, but I had already spent 6 days in Edinburgh, and I ended my drive in Glasgow where I spent another 4 days. With only ten days total you won't be able to cover as much ground as I did. Were you planning on going all the way up to Inverness? I also liked Oban, but if you want to get out to an Island it would require spending at least two nights in Oban in order to have one whole day for a ferry trip out to an island (I did the one to Mull). On my drive down from the Isle of Skye I did the drive out to Applecross. Not for the faint of heart if you are not used the a single track road with plenty of switchbacks due to the steep incline. Worth it, though, for the spectacular scenery if it's not pouring rain. If you do get all the way up to the Isle of Skye I would recommend at least two nights there, also, so you can spend at least one whole day touring the island. Glencoe is an area known for hiking, but there are many others. Eileen Donan castle is one of the most photographed in the world, and I stopped here on my way down from Portree. The iron age forts Glenbelg Brochs are also in the area if you are looking for off the beaten path history. As you leave Edinburgh you can make a stop at Glamis castle, then you can probably also get to Scone on the same day, and possibly even Blair castle as you head north. Check open and closing times, and keep in mind some places stop admitting people an hour before they close. You may want to check out Secret-Scotland's web site as they will do a driving route for you for a fee, but it helped me tremendously as I had no idea how long it was going to take me to get to various places.

Posted by
916 posts

I love castles too. On your drive back down the Eastern side you could spend some extra days just South of Edinburgh to see the castles of Tantellon and Dirleton, or as a day trip out of Edinburgh. Both ruined but both spectacular. And near Stonehaven is Dunottar Castle, one of the best ruined one's I've seen in a very dramatic setting. Near Edinburgh, only 3 miles from city center, is Craigmillar Castle which is also worth a look.