10 days in Scotland. Kelso vs Stirling

We have 10 days to see Scotland but want to stay in one location to do day trips.
Which would be the best area to be based out of to see the most of Scotland but still has a nice feel to it?

Posted by Miss B
Oregon, USA
525 posts

I can't speak on Scotland but my husband and I traveled with my sister-in-law and husband and based in France for 7 days in one town then moved to other locations for the rest of our trip. We found that it was too long of a time to be based and do day trips because it was always at least an hour out from our B&B. We would have split up the time and stayed in one place for 4 days then move to another location to be closer to the sights we wanted to visit. I haven't been to Scotland and maybe you can do a circle (like spokes) out from one location but you may give it some thought to break it up into two locations.

Posted by Katherine
Macon, Ga, USA
11 posts

I am also traveling to Edinburgh the first week in April and will be spending 10 days. I will be curious to read the responses that you receive. I am traveling by myself and have reservations at the Carlton on North Bridge Street. It is in the heart of the city so I am hoping to be able to walk most everywhere. I have concerns about the hotel though, some of the reviews haven't been very flattering even though it is posted as a 4 star hotel. Check out the RS Great Britian book, that plus the Frommer's guide book as they may be of some help.

Posted by Iain
Edmonton, AB, Canada
668 posts

Stirling is much more central for seeing "most" of Scotland, though you are not going to see a great part of Scotland in 10 days as many parts ar quite remote. Kelso is in the borders and is very scenic, but does not enjoy the network of faster roads around it that Stirling has. If you are choosing between these two and want to see any of teh highlands, then Stirling is the netter choice. If you do as someone suggested and split your time, then I suggest you stay a few days in Stirling and a few in Inverness. I am assuming you have a car.

Posted by Toni
Charlotte, NC, USA
3014 posts

Inverness is a wonderful place to base yourself. Though I agree that 10 days is a bit much. I'd suggest 1 or 2 nights in Edinburgh, 5 or 6 nights in Inverness, and 1 or 2 in Glasgow. From Inverness you can do day trips to Orkney(long one), Isle of Sky and Eliean Donnan castle, Great Glen and/or Glen Coe. You can also do "whisky" tours from any of the three.

Posted by Pamela
New York City, NY, USA
4069 posts

I too would recommend breaking this trip into two stops. Part of the reason is the geography. It may look like a small country, but there are a lot of mountains and more winding roads than freeways. If you're avoiding Edinburgh for some reason, then I would recommend staying in Stirling. You can do a day trip into Edinburgh from there on the train. Personally, I like to have a car in Scotland. Yes, you can take the train to Inverness and take day tours from there, but I like the freedom that the car gives me to explore the countryside. From Stirling in addition to Edinburgh, you can easily see Perthshire, the Trossachs, go east to St. Andrews and the Kingdom of Fife or down to the Borders. If you're Monty Python fans check out Doune Castle. From Inverness, Toni has already spelled out many of the day trips from there. I would also recommend exporing the Black Isle, going west to Ullapool or north to Dornoch and possibly Dunrobin Castle. You can go east to Elgin and the Spey Valley.

Feel free to PM me as well. I've traveled quite a bit in Scotland inlcuding some walking tours based out of Strathpeffer near Inverness.


Posted by Jeff
Carlsbad, CA, USA
1 posts

This is a good topic as I am hoping to take my family to Scotland next Spring or Summer. I like the idea of multiple bases to explore from. A friend of mine has traveled extensively in Scotland and spends most of his time visiting castles. He has captured a lot of good info on his web site darkisle.com. Cheers!

Posted by Joel
Tempe, AZ, USA
945 posts

Philip - This past summer our family spent 6 days in Scotland. 3 in Inverness and 3 in Edinburgh. While in Inverness we took a day trip to the Isle of Skye and Loch Ness. In Edinburgh while I went golfing for a day my wife an kids did a day trip to Stirling Castle and Loch Lomond.

I can also recommend 2 nice B&B's to stay in.

Posted by Toni
Charlotte, NC, USA
3014 posts

If I had to choose ONE place to stay in Scotland it would probably be Inverness. There are lots of day trips available- Great Glen, Glen Coe, Ft. William, Isle of Skye and Eliean Donnan Castle, Amandale Gardens and ruins and other gardens, Orkney, etc.--- and lots to see and do in the immediate area- Clava Cairns, Culloden, Loch Ness and Castle Urquart, the Firth, whisky distilleries, etc. Aviemore is a small village, just a short train ride away that has lots of "adventrue" stuff- hikes up the Caringorms, horseback riding, canoeing, etc. and other things- restored steam train, more distilleries, etc. It is well worth all or most of your trip. Edinburgh is also worth a day or two. Glasgow is nice, but you could skip it this time.