Please sign in to post.

tour advice

We will be going to Edinburgh by train in June and will have 5 nights. Will stay 2 nights in edinburgh then would like to go by train to the Highlands, Sterling, Oban and Iona.

Is this doable in this time frame and what would be the most logical itinerary?

Posted by
3597 posts

Three nights after Edinburgh really only gives you two full days -- and some of one will be spent going from one place to the other. Going to Iona will consume the better part of a day. Doable? Yes. Practical? Personally I wouldn't try it.

Posted by
5668 posts

You can do this. You should plot it out a bit. Obviously it's a quick train ride to Stirling (note it's with an i and not like the money. :) ) You could catch a morning train....and 8 AM gets you to Stirling prior to 9 AM. The only problem is that there is no place to store your luggage at the train station and rumors of one at the bus station. Try emailing the tourist centre at Stirling. Or post on the Tripadvisor Stirling forum. The post on this topic is quite old and I wouldn't trust it. There is a 5:30 train that gets you into Oban at 9:30 or so. So, you can do this. The next day you would do the three island tour--Mull, Iona and Staffa. And the next day travel back to Edinburgh or Glasgow or whatever.

Pam

My advice is stay in Edinburgh and take Rabbie's day trips around Scotland, including Stirling Castle. This will be less stressful and a better use of time. It takes the better part of the day just to train from Edinburgh to Oban. Once in Oban, the Iona/Mull trip is all that you will have time to do. It takes a full day to get from Oban to Iona and back. So, if you spend two nights in Edinburgh - this gives you one full day. Then, train to Oban and check-in for night 3. Next day, go to Iona. night four. Then, back to wherever to catch your flight and spend your last night. (Night 5). Doable - yes. Relaxing - no. Seriously, I think you could benefit from Rabbie's tours. Check out their website.

Posted by
5668 posts

Sun-baked, where are you seeing that it takes a day to go from Edinburgh to Oban? I just went to Scottrail, plugged in next Monday, leaving after 8 AM and I was in Oban by 2 PM. That was with a 9:30 departure. You can leave bright and early at 7:15 and arrive before noon. Or you can do what I suggested which was travel to Stirling for the day and travel on in late afternoon--and still be there before 9 PM. Here is the link to Scotrail. Some people prefer trains to buses.

Pam

Posted by
556 posts

I also think it would be best to just stay in Edinburgh and do day tours from there. You will maximise your touring time this way. Getting all the way to Oban by train will waste more than half a day, but if you stay in Edinburgh you can do a day trip that will take you Lock Lomond/Stirling, another one that would take you to Rosslyn Chapel/Hadrian's wall, and others that would go up into the highlands. Staying in Edinburgh will also allow you to experience some night time activities such as touring Mary King's Close, or doing a ghost and torture tour and others. Rabbies offers many different tours so check their web site before making any decision to spend valuable vacation time sitting on a train for too long.

Posted by
5668 posts

I have one more point to make about the train vs tours. On the train your travel the same countryside but have more flexibility than you do on a bus. It's not "wasting a day" when you take the train to Oban. This is a beautiful train ride and one to be savored. Also, please someone, provide a link to a one day tour from Edinburgh that includes a visit to Iona. I don't think it's possible, but would be glad to be proved wrong for this traveler.

So in the end, you need to decide what you style of travel is. I agree that your time is tight, and I might not try to get to Iona, but I figure you have reasons for your travel dreams. You can do it.

Pam

Hi Pamela,
I remember taking the train from Edinburgh to Oban. It's listed as one of the top ten beautiful train rides. I am a "relaxed" travel type. If I am taking a train someplace - I don't plan much else that day. I like to check - in to my room and stroll around in a new place for fun. The next day is when I will launch into another adventure involving more travel. It's not possible to travel from Edinburgh to Iona in one day. The ferries from Oban leave in the morning, then the bus trip across Mull to another boat to Iona, and reverse back to Oban late afternoon.

Posted by
5668 posts

I traveled to Mull on afternoon ferry. I checked the schedule and I still see some summer departures up until 9:45. I absolutely view that a train ride is part of the vacation. I would completely agree that it's not possible to travel to Iona from Edinburgh in one day. But you can do it in two days. And the OP wanted to go to Iona.

Pam