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Suggestions for 4 days after Rick Steves Scotland tour

I'm going on the Rick Steves tour that ends on Aug. 27. I won't be flying out of Edinburgh until Aug. 31. I'm planning on going to Glasgow for a couple days but unsure what to do after that. Not enough time to go to Isle of Skye but will have already covered Oban/Iona/Mull during the tour. I'm not planning on renting a car so public transport only. Any suggestions?

Posted by
1832 posts

So many great things to do between Glasgow and Edinburgh, but the most popular would be Stirling Castle. Also, you don't say, but there is lots to do in Edinburgh as well..........Roslyn Chapel, The Royal Mile, Arthurs Seat, Royal Brittania etc. If you could let us know, what you like to do, maybe we can suggest more.

Posted by
6 posts

I'm getting into Edinburgh 2 days before the tour starts so I plan on doing some sightseeing there before the tour. Stirling Castle is also covered in the tour. I'm interested in history, nature, but also shopping and eating. I really wanted to see the puffins on Staffa but it appears I have to do a boat ride to Iona and Mull to reach Staffa but I will have already visited Iona and Mull during the tour. Is it worth going again just to see Staffa? What about some of the other Inner Hebrides islands, like Arran?

Posted by
3518 posts

I don’t think that going to Staffa while on the Rick Steve’s Tour is totally out of the question. I’d call the tour office to see if you would have time to do the Staffa tour while the others spend more time on Iona. The Staffa tours boat leaves from the same location as the Iona ferry. It wouldn’t hurt to ask

Posted by
6 posts

Hi Carol, thanks for the suggestion. I already e-mailed the tour office and asked that same question. They said I likely would not have enough time to squeeze in a trip to Staffa during the tour. They suggested I plan my own trip there after the tour.

Posted by
3518 posts

I think that you could do Staffa while you were at Oban, here is how. Leave the Rick Steves group for the day. It will cost you extra 58 pounds each, but you can take the Early Bird Three Isles Tour with West Coast Tours. This will take you on the ferry from Oban to Mull where you board a waiting bus and travel across the island. You then board a boat with Staffa Tours that takes you to Staffa. This boat then returns you to Iona where you have time to explore. A quick ferry across, back on the bus, and then the ferry back to Oban.

It is quite possible that your Rick Steves tour group will catch up with you at Iona and you would have the option of rejoining them there, or just finish out the 3 island tour which will take you back to Oban and join your tour group at your hotel there. You spend the night before at Oban and that same night at Oban so it really doesn't interfere with any other aspects of your tour.

I realize that 58 pounds extra is an added expense, but you actually get to go where you want to go. In addition, you save all the time (and money) that you would spend backtracking to Oban and taking this tour later.

Here is the link for the Three Island Tour. There is also an interesting video on this site.
http://www.westcoasttours.co.uk/great-days-out/tour-mull,-iona-and-staffa/

Posted by
8391 posts

Oh Carol!! What a great idea! Going on the tour in June, so will have to contemplate this!

We've got a ton of things on the list for Edinburgh - Rosslyn Chapel, Royal Yacht Britannia, Holyroodhouse, Royal Botanic Garden, National Gallery. Back in another age, the last time I went to Edinburgh, the person with whom I was traveling walked up Arthur's Seat. I'll throw that out to my brother who might enjoy some outdoors stuff. Not sure if we'll need to go back to Edinburgh Castle or if we'll have enough time there during the tour.

Posted by
6 posts

That's a good idea, Carol. Or maybe I could just leave the group early that day to catch the boat. I would like to see the abbey on Iona though (that's what they're doing in the morning). But you're right, I really don't want to spend the money to backtrack there after the tour.

Posted by
123 posts

I think Edinburgh doesn’t get all the credit it deserves. There is so much to do if willing to dive in; rent a place in New Town, explore the surrounding areas, do day trips out of Edinburgh with Rabbies (pop down to York England or Hadrians Wall). If renting a car, why not check out Solway region or the fabulous coastline east of Edinburgh? Think Portabello and take the A1 to check out castles missed by masse crowds of tourists, locals only coastline destinations.
Edinburgh has so many museums, but the time of year you are going is a fun time to walk the city and enjoy the many neighborhood markets and festivals. Dive in, become a local.

Posted by
600 posts

From what I remember, on our Iona day on the tour we were escorted to Iona by our guide, but otherwise our time there was free and our time afterwards back in Oban was free, so if you choose to skip the tour that day and take the Staffa trip on your own, you wouldn't miss any guided portions. I loved our time on Iona and our bus ride across Mull, but I regret not getting to see Staffa and if I had it to do over again I may have chosen to strike out on my own. You will love your tour! Have fun!

Posted by
6 posts

Hi Tamara, thanks for the suggestion. I think I'm going to do that. I really want to see the puffins!