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2 weeks in Scotland

My wife and I will be taking our daughter to Edinburgh to start school in September. We will arrive a few days before she needs to start to set her up. After that time, we will have about 1 1/2 - 2 weeks to travel and then come back to Edinburgh to meet up with family and then leaving back to the States. Not sure what we want to do yet. We love exploring, finding different things, etc. Would love to go to find Nessie, visit St. Andrews, but not play. Saw that Scotland has good cheese, so finding dairies and Scotch plants will be included.
Big cities not always required unless there is something extra special. Love smaller out of the way places.

Posted by
3419 posts

I'd suggesst something like the following: While still in Edinburgh see St. Andrews and Sterling as day trips. Trai from Edinburgh to Aviemore-2 to 3 nights (restored steam train does round trips of about and hour lets you see the countrside along the Spey river; walks/hikes; funicular up Mt. Caringorm; reindeer preserve;heather center; local Micro-brewery gives tours and samples; lots of excellent whisky distilleries in the area) Train from Aviemore to Inverness- 4 to 7 nights (lots of great day trips (see the Tourist Info ceter)- Culloden Battlefield and Clava Cairnes; Isle of Skye and Elliean Donnan Castle with severl lovley glens included; curise up Loch Ness with stops at Urquart Caslte and the village of Drumnadrochit; Orkney (very long day but worth it), etc.) Train from Inverness to Glasgow-1 or 2 nights (art and architechture) You could add a night or two on Isle of Skye or go to Oban or Inona perhaps. Ft. William and Ft. Augustus are also possibilities. I've only listed a few of the possible things to do. Yes Scotland has good cheese, but I don't recall any large daries or factories- hubby loves cheese and mostly ate local "artisinal" cheese purchased at small stores. Whisky is the main "product"- and it is well worth it to tour one or more distilleries. AND ask a pub barman to arrange a whisky tasteing for you. They will help you learn about the various single malts (for example I prefer the Speyside whiskies as well as Dalhwhinnie (a highland whisky) but don't really enjoy the Islay whiskies). The lamb and seafood (fresh water and salt water) are also excellent.
We've been a great number of times- feel free to pm me about where we stay, etc.

Posted by
837 posts

Douglas, just returned from two weeks in Scotland. Much preferred Pitlochry to Aviemore. Would highly recommend Blair Castle. I would recommend renting a car instead of the train. Drive from Pitlochry to Glencoe. Very interesting volcanic/glacial area. In my opinion, far more interesting than the Cairagon mountain area. In Inverness, I would recommend Cawdor Castle. Found it more interesting than Clava Cairns, Culloden, and Urquhart. In the Stirling area, don't overlook Doune Castle. It has more the medieval feel than most I have seen. Good audio guide included. We went to St Andrews and I am not sure I would recommend it. Cathedral and Castle are complete ruins. The University buildings are very interesting. Even as a golf fan, I found the old course very underwhelming. We walked up to an extensive pasture and I finally realized that it was the 18th green, the Royal and Ancient building and "town buildings" along the 18th fairway. I would recommend heading south to the border abbeys and Lake District. Melrose and Jedburgh much more interesting than St Andrews. Rick's drive from Keswick more interesting than anything around Aviemore or on the Isle of Skye.

Posted by
1831 posts

It might be a good idae to get a guidebook for planning purposes then give it to your daughter when you leave Scotland. We have used "Scotland: The Rough Guide for years. It seems to have more detail than others.

Posted by
6 posts

The last time we were in Edinburgh we took a day trip out of the city to visit St. Michael's Parish Church and Linlithgow Palace, Stirling Castle, and Doune Castle. It was the perfect day... and we were back in the city by dinner time.

Posted by
5577 posts

I have to agree that St. Andrew's is not my favorite place in Scotland. I do like though, the villages in East Neuk in Fife which can be part of a lovely drive to St. Andrew's from Edinburgh. I also liked Falkland Palace which is in Fife. I love the north. I've stayed most recently in the small town of Fortrose at The Anderson. This is the Black Isle and not a bad base for exploring the area. I like Culloden and Cawdor Castle and Fort George. But then I like history and so really enjoyed the visitor center for Culloden. If you're not interested in history, then I can see where it might not be as appealing. If you want to really break out of the mold, catch a flight from Edinburgh to Orkney, spend a few days there and then take ferry and train or bus down to Inverness. From Inverness you can either head to the northwest or down to Aberdeenshire to see castles or head to the west coast to explore the islands. Alternatively you could head to Skye from Edinburgh and take the ferry to Tarbert and explore Harris and Lewis. Then you can take the Stornoway Ferry to Ullapool and then east to Inverness. Here's a link for Scottish Cheese. It does look as if several of these are in the Borders or in the southwest. So, you could explore Abbeys (Jedburgh, Kelso, Melrose, Drysdale), sir Walter Scott's house, Traquhair House and more in the Borders. Pam

Posted by
331 posts

With a name like Douglas you must be returning to your roots. For (shortish) day trips from Ednburgh: As mentioned, East Neuk of Fife is lovely, Anstruther, Crail, Lower Largo, Ely, most anywhere along this coast line. Cramond, on the outskirts of Edinburgh, with a walk out on the causeway at low tide to Cramond island. Dirleton south of Edinburgh, (lunch in the Open Arms hotel opposite the castle), wonderful beaches (bit of a walk) and on to North Berwick for icecream. Tantalon castle,(ruin) also on south coast from Edin. Linlithgow Castle, direction Glasgow, where Mary Queen of Scots lived as a child before being taken to better security at Stirling. Combine this with the Falkirk wheel the rotating boat lift connecting the Forth and Clyde canal with the union canal, have lunch in the restaurant (untested), then on to Stirling castle for the afternoon. And of course the Dean village/Water of Leith in Edinburgh are beautiful. A village within a city, a short stagger from Princes Street. If you like hillwalking get up into the Pentland hills at Swanston village (near the ski slope) and get a great view of Edinburgh and the Forth. Good views from the top of Arthurs Seat too, and a nice place for lunch is in the village of Duddingston (at the foot of Arthurs Seat) called the Sheep Heid Inn, (established 1360) supposedly the oldest Inn in Scotland. Great food and good beer. Must stop, could go on all day.

Posted by
11 posts

Thank all who responded.
I will take a look at all of the sugestions. Doug