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Scotland Itinerary help needed

I was in Edinburgh many years ago and I am now trying to help my parents plan a trip to Scotland for next summer
we are thinking of about 10-12 days starting in Edinburgh for a couple of nights and then self driving. I am not clear on the best route for drive (I have ordered Rick's book) we would like to go to Drum Castle for sure, thinking of a couple of nights Isle of Skye, of course Loch Ness and maybe St Andrews (for the history not the golf)
primarily interested in castles, scenery and history, not interested in distilleries at all. Maybe Stirling castle too? Which route makes the most sense as to break up any long drives and make the most of time in Scotland?
Thanks for any and all input.

Posted by
5678 posts

Here are some thoughts. I would spend an extra night or two in Edinburgh and do St. Andrew's as a day trip. Alternatively, you could do Stirling as a day trip.

I would leave Edinburgh and visit Stirling and then head a bit further north, to Dunkeld or Perth depending on if you want a smaller town or a bigger town. Scone Castle between Perth and Dunkeld is interesting historically. If you want to do some walking then Dunkeld has some nice trails.

I would leave the next day and drive up to Aberdeenshire via the A93. This will take you right past Balmoral. (There is a great gallery if you bear left after the castle and then go right up the hill.) Ballater might be a good base. You could spend of couple of days here see some castles including Drum Caslte. There are also stone circles.

I would then go to Inverness for a couple of nights exploring the area including Loch Ness.

Then down to Skye go the northern route for beautiful scenery. Take the ferry to Mallaig and down to Glasgow for the last night.

Do check out other guides beside Rick Steves. I like the Footprint guides if you can find them. Also, there are wonderful magazines on Scotland at Borders that you might want to check out. Feel free to PM if you have questions. This is just one of many ways that you could spend the time.


Posted by
993 posts

Toni, The first things I would do is buy a good map, have a some notion of where I want to go (which you have)and with the help of, start plotting my course. I enjoyed Stirling very much and Dunnottar Castle (near Stonehaven)is a beautiful ruin. I'd also try to go to battlefield at Culloden. Frommer's has books of best-loved drivng tours, Scotland among them.

Posted by
473 posts

Check out for driving times. Add about 25% to their times, and you'll be pretty much spot on. We found it very valuable when figuring out our trip.

Posted by
95 posts

Stirling is beautiful. This would include the castle, Wallace Monument and all the surroundings. I can't recall the name of the walk, but it is a back from town towards the castle, which takes you through a graveyard. It's not far from Edinburgh, and would be a shame to miss if your interest is indeed Castles and history! I've made two trips to Scotland, and both trips included Stirling and its castle. You won't be disappointed.

Posted by
3428 posts

We haven't driven in Scotland, but I am certain that you could easily drive the area we love. Edinburgh to Aviemore /Caringorms area- lot to see and do. Then to Inverness- again LOTS to do. You could then go to Isle of Skye via Elliean Donnan or do that as a day trip from Inverness including some of the lovely glens on the way. Then maybe down to Glasgow. Pamela loves the "wee roads" of Scotland - and some are very wee- single lane for much of the time. Her advice is one I'd put alot of stock in.

Posted by
16 posts

I personally love Glasgow. The city has an entirely different feeling than Edinburgh. A beautiful cathedral, Glasgow School of Art, Kelvingrove Museum, Charles Rennie Macintosh houses and exhibits, Burrell Collection for art.

The Borders are beautiful and full of ruined abbeys and castles and lovely countryside, a good contrast to the Highlands.