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Visit castles without a car?

Hello - I'm planning a solo trip to Scotland in May, 2022, with Edinburgh as my home-base. I'm thinking of doing a day trip to visit Stirling castle, and then would like to visit Inveraray castle that same day. Any way to do that without a car?

Dan

Posted by
2801 posts

It would be difficult to visit both on the same day without a car. Inveraray is on the main bus line from Glasgow and the castle is quite near town and the tourist info office. It’s a charming town, well worth an overnight stay. The castle has lots to see inside and out in the gardens. I’ve been there twice in May and it’s lovely.

Stirling is on the main route between Edinburgh and Glasgow. I’m thinking you could leave Edinburgh one morning, see Stirling Castle and some of the town, then connect up with transport to Inveraray to arrive that evening and sleep in Inveraray. Next morning, see the castle and then return to Edinburgh.

If you decide on an overnight stay, I highly recommend Brambles. There is also the George Hotel. Both are right in town, easily walkable.

Posted by
19375 posts

Inveraray is well northwest of Glasgow but can be treated as a daytrip from Glasgow by bus. Stirling is northeast of Glasgow, and I don't know of any reason why there'd be public transportation running directly from Stirling to Inveraray. Almost certainly you'd have to travel Edinburgh-Stirling-Glasgow-Inveraray-Edinburgh. I'd be stunned if it was possible to see Stirling and Inveraray on the same day via public transportation from Edinburgh. Even if you had a car at your disposal, I'd consider it questionable. ViaMichelin estimates the round-trip drive at about 5 hours, which doesn't include stopping, traffic tie-ups, looking for parking, navigational errors or visiting castles. Or lunch.

TravelineScotland.com is the source I used for bus schedules for a 2019 trip to Scotland. It purports to cover rail service as well, but I saw a few discrepancies between TravelineScotland's train information and what I found on nationalrail.co.uk, which I think is the official source for train info.

The gardens at Inveraray Castle are very nice; I spent my time there. My travel mate enjoyed the castle interior. I don't think it's the sort of place where you'd be in and out in an hour. It is true that the castle is walkable from the bus stop, but it's not just a block or two, so that would take extra time.

Posted by
10238 posts

Have you checked our Rabbies?

They offer one and multi-day tours of Scotland in 16 passenger coaches. They are highly rated on this board. I've taken a few with them and will do so again when I return to Scotland.

Posted by
2903 posts

We went on a great Rabbies one-day tour of the Highlands from Glasgow, but there wasn't enough time to go into the castle-I think it was Inveraray.

Posted by
97 posts

We never need to rent a car in Scotland.

Like Frank says, Rabbies is great. We use them all the time. https://www.rabbies.com/en/scotland-tours/from-edinburgh

Buses and trains out of city is very helpful.

Stay in New Town for easy access to those stations (saves you from lugging baggage UPHILL into the old town). Also easy access to tram (to and from airport) in New Town.

Have fun! Our first trip was 5 years ago today!