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Edinburgh and Scotland experts—comments on itinerary (beta version!)

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DH and I will be in Edinburgh in October, arriving early Sunday and leaving early the following Sunday, so we have 7 full days (provided no issues with arrival!). We were able to use points so staying for $0.00/£0.00 at the Hilton Edinburgh Grosvenor which is right across from the Haymarket Station, it looks like. So hotel is a done deal.

DH does not want to rent a car except perhaps for one day trip, so we will be relying mostly on public transportation and will be spending each night in Edinburgh.

We are about 60, healthy but not used to walking hills, are not technically “foodies,” love to take photos, don’t care about extensive shopping, and will probably not want to be out very late. We love history and scenery; I have some Scottish ancestry, but I don’t know extensive details. I was in Edinburgh for one long, full day in 2013 with a group of students and can’t wait to revisit with DH what I saw then (plus lots more).

I’d appreciate comments on the schedule I’ve come up with so far.

Sunday—Arrival and settling in. Then depending on weather, our actual arrival time, and how we feel, we will walk as much as we can.

• I have a walk mapped out through Dean Village into the New Town area, perhaps a short visit inside the Georgian House, down Prince’s Street and then up Calton Hill. This is about 4 miles (if we take the tram or a bus back from around York Place), which is less than we’ve done on arrival in other cities like Frankfurt or London or Madrid, so it doesn’t sound like too much for us if all factors are fine.

Monday—Edinburgh Castle and the Royal Mile, with definite stops in St. Giles Cathedral and the Writers Museum, with other stops and shops along the way.

• I know there are tons of things to choose from and some side streets to explore; after the Castle, we’d explore the Royal Mile area as much as we felt like.

Tuesday—Timberbush Tour to the Highlands—8-8:30 so a long day.

• I compared this with Rabbies; Timberbush seems to actually stop at Urquhart Castle, which is a selling point and off-sets the possibility of having a bigger group than on a Rabbies tour. Rabbies to the Highlands would be an alternative. But this would be the long-bus-ride day—I really want to have a glimpse of the Highland area, and a tour group is the only way this year.

Wednesday—After our long day, we’d take it a bit easy and see what we could in Edinburgh.

• If we hadn’t yet made it to Calton Hill and/or Dean Village, they’d be priorities.
• I’d like to see the Museum of Scotland.
• And there are several walking tours that we might look into. This is a rather un-planned day, as it somewhat depends on what we didn’t get to Sunday and Monday.

Thursday—Rent a car and drive to Inveraray Castle, a drive that takes us on the banks of Loch Lomand and through part of the Trossachs

This was a castle we both wanted to visit as I have some Campbells in my background. (My cousin, who by his caber-tossing-prowess has won some American Highland Games competitions and thus competed in Scotland’s Highland games, told me to be careful to whom I admit Campbell connections—Ha!—but I’d like to see this castle anyway!)

Friday—Train ride to Stirling Castle

• Stirling Castle was high on my list this time, and I looked at Rabbies. But if we rent a car ourselves for the day trip to Inveraray, we could just do Stirling on our own. It would be a more leisurely day with a train about 9:30 or 10 with a return at 2 or 3.
• If there was something important we had not gotten to in Edinburgh, we’d try to be back by mid-afternoon.

Saturday—Train and then …bus? HOHO bus? Walk?...to Abbotsford House

• I like Sir Walter Scott’s work pretty well, and the house and grounds look pretty. Then when I realized that my relative, early 19th C. novelist Maria Edgeworth, had visited that House (Scott acknowledged her influence on his Waverly novels), I feel I really “have” to go!

Any comments about the sites, transport options, tour group companies, etc., would be most appreciated.

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