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Scotland in August - 8 days, which region?

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We are a family of four with 6-year old twins who enjoy exploring and adventures ready to give our kids their first Europe experience via Scotland to see lush greenery/geography, harbor towns, a few castles/ruins, a train or boat excursion on/near a loch or isle, and connect with local folks. We are all avid travelers but not so much to Europe. At the moment we are leaning less towards barren landscape as it feels similar to our desert region here in Phoenix, AZ where we live.

We arrive early into Glasgow 8/5 & pick up a car to head out across the country. The only certain stopoff during that week is Stirling Castle/town. On the 6th and 7th day we are in Edinburgh and our last day in Glasgow. During the week we wonder if Loch Lomond, or Argyll Southern Hebrides (Arisaig, Isle of Mull, Oban, Arran) might be a good match for our areas of interests? Or would we be better to head towards Aberdeen or ? My husband would like to see Loch Ness (the only real touristy thing he's ever requested) if it isn't too far from where we are going though wonder how far north we should drive. Thoughts? Once we learn more of the general areas to visit (Highlands? we can be easily swayed if you suggest our desires might be better met in another area), I will seek unique accommodations (i.e. castle, farmhouse, B&B, etc) in 2 different towns. As for the kids, they enjoy family togetherness where ever us parents go though it would be helpful to sprinkle a few "activities" like a football (or Highland?) game, boat or train trip, etc to break up the driving, scenery watching and historic experiences...

While I know this will include a lot of car time, I admit I was the sole driver in a manual-transmission car during a July trip across Ireland a couple years ago which was hair-raising with the narrow roads, rain, and minimal road signage. Hopefully my selection of automatic car this time will lessen the stress (I'm likely the driver again...) as I know not what the Scottish roads are like.

Once done with the countryside/coast/islands, we have secured 2 nights in Edinburgh, then head to Glasgow for the final night before our plane departs the next morning. While in Edinburgh we're hoping to get a glimpse of the military tattoo (bag pipes) performing, see the underground vaults/city, and walk the royal mile. If we are lucky enough we want to also secure a babysitter for a couple hours when kids are in bed so that my husband and I can have an authentic pub experience including live music (he hopes to find a Guinness on tap that tastes the same as in Ireland...).

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