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train logistics from Edinburgh to Dundee and beyond

I'm arriving in Edinburgh on a Sunday morning and will be traveling by train to Dundee for a conference. I will have 3-4 days after the conference is over before returning to Edinburgh. Suggested train routes and stops? Should I buy a Smartcard on ScotRail? I am over 50 and I see they have a discount for their "Over 50 Club." Also, I may have some time Sunday morning to venture into the city before my traveling companion arrives. Best to return to the airport and take the train to Dundee from there? Or take the train from Edinburgh city center to Dundee?
Mary

Posted by
901 posts

Hi, mgp91362,

The train for Dundee departs from Edinburgh Waverley, so you don't need to go back to the airport. As epitd pointed out, where you want to go from Dundee depends on your interests.

You could go north to Aberdeen and on to Inverness from there; west to Perth, and on to Dunkeld, Pitlochry, Aviemore, and Inverness; west to Glasgow, and possibly Oban; west to Glasgow, and north to Fort William, etc. The possibilities are limitless.

The wonderful thing about this forum is that everyone has excellent suggestions, based on their past experiences. Let us know what your interests are, and we can make suggestions.

There is enough to see in Dundee that you could quite comfortably spend a couple of days exploring the city and its wonderful museums.

Best wishes!

Mike (Auchterless)

Posted by
6 posts

Hi there,
Thanks for the info. We’ve had a slight change of plans and will be renting a car. Ideas for coastal towns and attractions, hikes, castles, islands reachable by ferry etc. Whiskey distilleries in cool places. We will return to Edinburgh either Sunday afternoon or Monday morning.

Mary

Posted by
901 posts

Hi, Mary,

Given your change in schedule/itinerary, how much actual time do you have outwith your time at the conference in Dundee, and how soon will you be travelling?

Now that you'll be driving, a whole new wonderful opportunity for discovery opens up!

Slainte!

Mike (Auchterless)

Posted by
6 posts

The conference ends Thursday around dinner time so we could drive a short distance Thursday or set out early Friday morning. We will have all day Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. We fly out of Edinburgh on Monday at 11:30 am so would either need to be back in Edinburgh Sunday night or a short travel distance from the airport on Monday morning. Our dates are July 9-15 (Thursday-Monday).
Mary

Posted by
901 posts

Hi again, Mary,

Three full days doesn't give you a whole lot of time to explore. There aren't a whole lot of islands off the East Coast, except for the Isle of May, off Anstruther, so if you want to visit any of the islands, you could do Mull, Skye, or Arran over a weekend. Keep in mind that traffic will be heavier at the weekend, and there will most likely be more competition for accommodation, and for places on the ferries.

If you do choose to visit one of the larger islands, you should make a beeline for the point of embarkation as early as you can Friday morning. You mentioned that you could leave Thursday evening after the conference ends. If your Thursday night lodging is not prepaid for the conference, I'd suggest that you go part of the way on Thursday.

If you don't want to travel that far, then you could travel up to Speyside via the A9, and visit some of the distilleries in that area. You could then return by way of Aberdeenshire, and take in one or more of the many castles in that area. From Stonehaven, where you'll probably want to visit Dunnottar Castle, you could backtrack to Banchory, visit the Falls of Feugh and Cairn o' Mount, and make your way down through Gibbon country (Howe o' the Mearns), and back to Edinburgh.

I'd give Loch Ness and Loch Lomond a miss, unless they're on your way to somewhere. Perth and Inverness as well. Nothing wrong with them, but they're cities that you don't need to visit on a weekend.

Given just three days, you don't want to push yourselves too much. See what you can, and haste ye back at another time where you have more time to explore and enjoy.

Safe travels!

Mike (Auchterless)