3-4 days in Scotland- what to do??

My husband and I will be in Ireland for 3 weeks but at the end of our trip we have an extra 4 days. We wanted to just see something else before heading home. Scotland seemed to be easiest to see but I have no idea what or where to start. We are also open to going anywhere else that would be economical. We considered London but since we have never been to England figured to save it for later when we had more time. Any help is appreciated!

Posted by Cynthia
Gig Harbor, Washington, USA
1274 posts

Having been to both several times, I would choose Scotland with four days left over for Ireland!..... Anyway, with just four days for Scotland, you might want to spend them all on Skye. How's your budget? We really liked Flodigarry Hotel; a more economical option is Ben Tianavaig in Portree. Another idea is to base yourself just west of Fort William (Huntingtower Lodge was lovely) and explore Glencoe and the area of Loch Ness around Urquhart Castle......You might also consider trimming some time off Dublin and exploring Edinburgh, far more interesting IMHO......One more idea - catch a cheap flight to Paris if you haven't been there. We did that as dessert after our last trip to Scotland = we used Easy Jet but I don't know if they are an option from Dublin.

Posted by Ed
9110 posts

You can't scratch the surface of Scotland in four days. You can knock off a good percentage of Wales in that amount of time. If you're half-interested in great castles, better beer than Ireland, more varied scenery ........... What about Northern Ireland, was that already in the mix?

Posted by Kira
Seattle, WA, USA
1019 posts

WALES!!!!!!!! Oh my yes. Wales. Have been both places, and just adore Wales. I could witter on like a schoolgirl with a crush, but instead, here are a couple of links to start with: http://www.talktalk.co.uk/travel/uk_breaks/features/top-10-wales.html and http://www.fodors.com/news/10-unexpected-things-to-do-in-wales-5858.html Snowdonia is glorious. St. David's is a picture perfect delight. Welsh men's choirs sound like a piece of heaven. The coastline is magnificent, north and south. The castles are superb, whether you like perfectly preserved magnificence or rugged shambolic ruins. Portmeirion is fantabulous. Coasteering looks like a heck of a lot of fun (although I am too old and fat to indulge). The Ruthin Craft Centre in Denbighshire really does live up to the hype. I could go on. :-)

Posted by Sarah
Monrovia, CA, USA
23 posts

I think we will cover Northern Ireland while we are there. Any suggestions on how to get to wales? We were going to fly Ryanair to Scotland. I do hate to leave a country so quickly but do u think it would be completely worthless to give it a shot & at least get a taste of it if I'm not back in this region for a while??

Posted by Keith
United Kingdom
931 posts

Where in your Ireland plan will you end up? Going to Scotland makes sense if you finish in Larne, a lot less if you are in Baltimore, for instance. It is fairly straightforward to get from Dublin to Wales, and I would agree with the above comment that with 4 days you can see most of the top sights of the principality.

Posted by Kacie
13 posts

Hi Sarah, My husband and I got our first "taste" of Scotland in a similar situationwe were in Ireland and wanted to just see something else. So we flew to Edinburgh from Dublin via RyanAir. If you've never flown RyanAir, just make sure you read all of the fine print. Carry-on sizes are slightly smaller and you cannot fly with both a personal item and carry-on. We've flown with the. Several times because it's just so darn cheap and have never had any problems, so just make sure you know their rules. That being said, while you obviously can't scratch the surface of Scotland in 4 days, I think this would make a wonderful Edinburgh trip and you could possibly take a day trip to the coast. Just know that you will fall in love with Scotland and will want to return to explore more! I wouldn't attempt to spend my time in Skye with only 4 days in Scotland. It's beautiful, the logistics would be more difficultdo you want to rent a car or be able to do think by foot and public transportation? We did something similar with London and when we went back to England found that it had worked wellthere were so many other places that we wanted to see in England that we skipped London the second time (flew into Heathrow and rented a car and immediately drove west). Also, if you don't want to spend all 4 days in London there are several day trips that you could take via public transportation. We were in London for 3 days (flew there from Dublin via RyanAir), saw the sites, took in a show, and spent at afternoon at Camden Market by accident, but fell in love with it! I would stick to exploring a city and save the countryside for another trip.

Posted by Pamela
New York City, NY, USA
4370 posts

I would agree with Kacie that for this short amount of time, I wouldn't try to squeeze in Skye. Besides there are so many places that are closer that will give you the flavor of Scotland. And, as she points out, you'll find that you need to come back. So, what are the closer sites. It depends a bit on what your interests are and if you are getting a car, even for a day. I would definitely spend two days exploring Edinburgh. The Castle and The Royal Mile and then over to New Town to see Georgian Edinburgh. The Museum of Scotland is very good and gives you a good intro to Scottish history right up through the 21st century with some fascinating exhibits. Also on the Royal Mile, is Gladstone's Land which will show you what it was like to live the first "skyscrapers." I enjoy Holyrood Palace and the garden is nice if the weather is good. The Georgian House is very interesting. If you are interested in the Royals, or yachting or contemporary history, The Royal Yacht Britannia has a good tour. And if you are in need of an outdoor break, then try either the Royal Botanic Gardens or do Leith Walk and stroll Stockton. Stirling is an excellent day trip. The Castle is really good. And it's the gate way to the Highlands and the geography will show you why it was crucial. Other suggestions for day trips: Train to Dunkeld, enjoy the town, the pub and the walks. For die hard golfers go to Saint Andrews by train and by bus. If you want to see some inland lochs and hills with a wee bit of the romantic, rent a car for a day and go to the Trossachs. If you want abbey's and castles go to the Borders. There are some tours, but you could also rent a car. PM me for more ideas. If you like history check out Historic Scotland. Also this webisite is helpful.

Posted by Sarah
Monrovia, CA, USA
23 posts

Thank you you all so much for your help. I think that we will wait for more time to see Skye. We are mostly interested in the landscape and natural beauty. Not too big on museums or tours. We will rent a car. Any suggestions on a place to spend 2 nights exploring outside of Edinburg? Thanks so much!