My husband and I would like to spend 3-4 weeks in Scotland this August. We're looking for a base from which we might take some day trips and longer trips to other parts of Scotland on weekends. We're interested in golfing and touring the distilleries in particular. Any suggestions for towns to use as a base camp? Ideally a smaller town would be nice, something where you can walk to things easily and then have the option to rent a car when needing to travel. Thanks!
I suggest you decide on at least 2 bases one on west side and one east side . we stayed in St Andrews (play Old COurse @St Andrews), from here you can drive to Gleneagles and Carnoustie to play their courses. On West side stay nr Turnberry and play there and nearby Troon.
It canbe pricey to play you may want to check in advance.
St. Andrews would make a nice base camp. However, Inverness is a wonderful base for day trips. I don't know about golf there, but there are lots of distilleries in the area. Also you can see Culloden Battlefield,Clava Cairns, Eliean Donan Castle and Isle of Skye, the firth curises, a cruise on Loch Ness and to see Urquart Castle, Great Glen, Glen Coe, even the Orkneys can be done in a (logn) day trip. Aviemore is a great small village. It is in the Caringorm Mts. There is a local microbrewery and you can tour some of the (in my opinion) best distilleries from there by train or bus or with tour companies that do whisky day trips. From either, you can see lots of gardens, castles/ruins of castles, and have lots of wilderness/adventure options. Aviemore in particular has lots of hiking, horseback riding, etc.
I agree with Toni that Inverness area would be a super base. The beauty of this area is that you can get to the west in about an hour; you can get to the north in about an hour and you can get to some great sights to the south in about an hour! I would stay in Edinburgh for a few days. The central belt and the borders are interesting countryside and different than the north. You might want to consider an away trip to the Orkney's or the outer Hebrides. I would spend 3-4 days in either place. Do you want to try some walking? If you're interested in a guide who could help with that, PM me and I can recommend someone. I'm intensely jealous. ; ) Pam
Andrea - Here is a web site for golf in the Edinburgh area. www.golfeastlothian.com/home.asp
I would get a fold-out map of Scotland and put sticky-notes on all of the place you would like to go to. That would help you get a very realistic idea of where you'd want to base yourself. Certain areas you can easily get away from renting a car (cities, larger towns) but there are times when a car makes travel somewhat easier (islands, small towns).
If you'd be interested in meeting up sometime, I could help you out if you'd like. I'm in the Easton area - so you're not too far. PM me if you'd like.
When I was in Scotland, we flew to Glasgow, went north to Lossiemouth to stay with my friends family. Lossiemouth is a small village about 1.5 hrs northeast of Inverness along the Moray Firth. There is a Royal Air Base that has been there since world war II. It is near Elgin. there are the remains of the Elgin Cathedral there. The original residence remains of the Cardinal of the cathedral has been excavated and is a national park between Lossiemouth and Elgin. Elgin is on The River Spey which is near alot of the whiskey distilleries up in the hills. the drive north along the coast of Moray Firth has some cool castle ruins that are on the cliffs overlooking the Firth. If you follow the coast line it will eventually get you to Aberdeen.
We traveled south towards Edinburg on this trip from Lossiemouth and stopped at Balmoral(Queen of englands Scottish home) and actually got to see a couple of the rooms). We also stopped and saw Glamis Castle where the Queen Mum was born. Glamis was also the castle in one of Shakespeares plays(Macbeth or Othello?.
Edinburg was awsome to see. the Castle and then walking down the Royal mile street to Holyrood Palace was amazing. The history along that section of road is mind boggling to think about. A fun thing to do there is take the hop on/hop off bus tour.
We then went to Sterling Castle and stopped at the William Wallace memorial tower. You can climb to the top and see an incredible view of the country side and Sterling across the river sitting on a hill. We looped back towards Glasgow but didn't stay there and tour. We followed back across Scotland and the border area along Hadrians Wall and saw some very awsome Roman ruins of original fort and some still existing Wall that is still standing.
enjoy your travels in Scotland. You should read some about Mary Queen of Scotts and the Diana Gabaldon Outlander novels to get a good flavor of Scotland. Enjoy