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Scotland - Places to Go

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Need suggestions/recommendations for planning a trip for 4 of us to Scotland.
We are all fit and in our 60’s; have traveled extensively; we enjoy landscapes, old architecture; enjoyed most museums, castles and churches more from the outside opposed to the inside – there were some exceptions. Not fans of packing/unpacking every day.
So far, we have booked our airfare into/out of London and plan to spend a few days at the start and the end of the trip to Scotland in and around London. Excluding the days that we fly in/out, we have 17 days. The first 3 days are allocated to London; then plan to go directly to Edinburgh from London and use Edinburgh as a hub for the 6 or 7 days – we feel that there is at least 2 days just for Edinburgh sites, maybe 3 – then we can do some day trips from there. Assuming that we find enough to do/go and see from Edinburgh, we will have 1 week to go to other Scottish cities/towns and then make our way back to London.
Another part of our plan so far is to buy a Brit Rail pass – once we start penciling in where we will be going, we’ll figure out whether we get a Flex Pass or Consecutive Pass. We have also talked about renting a car for a few days for going north of Edinburgh – another factor when figuring out our rail pass.
So …. the questions are:
- Recommended day trips from Edinburgh – 2 that we are thinking of is Glasgow, Stirling and St. Andrews (may stop in St. Andrews in route to another town);
- Aberdeen or Inverness, both/neither or? – somewhere we can stay for a couple of days;
- Travel north of Edinburgh by car or train --- rent a car in Edinburgh or Aberdeen for driving along the coast?
- Stops on the way back to London – is Liverpool a good option to spend 2 nights?
Any suggestions/recommendations are welcome!

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