I will have three days in Scotland, in the middle of August. Would you recommend Glasgow, Edinburgh, Stirling, etc.? I know I can't see them all, but want to see as much as I can. Thanks!
My grandmother would roll over in her grave if she knew I was writing this....but don't bother with Glasgow. Concentrate on Edinburgh, Stirling (Bannockburn) and even farther up to places like Pitlochry. If you have a car this is very do-able. As well, many companies offer all-day tours out of Edinburgh that'll take you up to Loch Ness with various stops along the way....a good way to get into the highlands on a limited time-frame, but avoids the hassles of driving your own car.
I agree on skipping Glasgow when your time is so limited. Edinburgh is a good base for your first taste of Scotland. You could do a day trip up to the Highlands and see Inverness, Loch Ness, Ft. William, etc. There are several companies that offer these, from large "coach" (read bus) trips of 20-45 people to small vans that take 7-15 people. You could also do a day trip by train to Inverness.
If you haven't booked accommodation in Edinburgh yet, you are pretty much out of luck. August is the festival month, so rooms are booked out 6 - 8 months in advance.
As to sightseeing, August in Edinburgh is pretty much about the Festivals. Military Tattoo tickets have been sold out for months, but there are plenty of tickets for the International, Fringe, Movie and Book Festivals still floating around. There are literally thousands of performances over the course of the month, so you should be able to find something you'll like. Prices go from £5 to up to £60 for prime International Festival event seats. Also lot of good exhibits at the various museums etc. http://www.edinburgh-festivals.com/
If you just have three days, probably want to skip either Glasgow or Stirling, as Edinburgh is worth two days. Glasgow has great shopping and museums. Stirling is an easy day trip from Edinburgh to see the castle & monument.
I forgot about festival when I recommended Edinburgh. Why not go directly to Inverness? There is LOTS to do there. Take a cruise up the River Ness to Loch Ness and see Urquart castle; go to see the battlefield at Culloden; take a cruise on the forth and possibly see dolphins, puffins, etc. Do a whiskey tour; there is also a great day trip over to Isle of Skye and on the way you get to see Elean Donan Castle and some beautiful gardens. Inverness is a really neat little city with great walks, good food and nice shopping. We stay at the Royal Highland hotel, next to the rail station.
I took the Macbackpackers 3 days Isle of Skye tour, and had a great time. http://www.macbackpackers.com/ It is a "budget" kinda tour. But I really liked it! You spend as much time off the bus they can make, though it was a bit hurried. I would have enjoyed staying at the sites far longer but i saw a different things than i would have otherwise. They have some great story tellers, and a bottle of whiskey to pass around once you reach the highlands. It is defenatily a tour geared around those in their 20s. There is some hiking, and it was real hiking. Which i like overall, I had a great time. I actually got a sunburn in scotland! So just goes to show you should pack some sun screen!
we were in scotland, england, and wales for 21 days and the absolute highlight of the whole thing was the great glen. if you are able to take a bus tour or whatever you have to do to include the great glen/rannoch moor/glencoe, into your trip, try to fit it in. it was breathtaking, mysterious, magnificent, awe-inspriring. when i got back home i found quotes from people throughout history who had the same reaction i had (queen victoria, dorothy wordsworth, etc.-oh! and rick steves, of course!)- julie
I just booked a B&B in Edinburgh for Aug 3 and 4. You have to do some looking but you can find them. I was freaked out by one of your posts that stated "Good luck finding reservations"! Whew, I am glad I found some and actually there were quite a few options for hotels and B&Bs. It gets tricky so do a broadcast query to see who is available and be sure to check multiple sites. I think the site I used was www.information-britian.co.uk .
Thanks to all! I found a reasonable looking hostel that was available, and booked a tour that takes me through Glencoe, Loch Ness, and parts of the Highlands. The other days I should have time to explore Edinburgh...many thanks again!