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11 Days in Scotland - Thoughts?

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Jan 26th, 2016, 01:45 AM
  #1
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11 Days in Scotland - Thoughts?

Hello, we'll be taking our first trip to Scotland (with my husband and 2 year old daughter). We have a rough itinerary, now I'm trying to research more specific areas where we should stay/visit, and would particularly appreciate B&B or hotel recommendations and must-see sights.

We are trying to keep driving distances per day minimal (aiming for 2 hours, but can do up to 4), we enjoy the outdoors but are not anticipating long hikes or activities with our daughter. We want a leisurely trip, see some sights and enjoy the country. Any input or thoughts would be appreciated!

Day 1: Arrive in Edinburgh
Day 2: Edinburgh - Royal Mile, National Museum, Castle, Arthur's Seat (not expecting to do it all, just ideas)
Day 3: Drive to Stirling, have lunch, continue on to Loch Lomond, overnight there
Day 4: Drive to Oban
Day 5: Oban, possible boat tour?
Day 6: Drive to Isle of Skye - Stopping at Eilean Donan castle on the way. Where to stay? What do we want to be near? We have talked about the fairy pools and not much else.
Day 7: Isle of Skye
Day 8: Drive to Loch Ness, possible boat tour. Drive to Iverness, overnight there.
Day 9: Iverness
Day 10: Return to Edinburgh
Day 11: Depart Scotland.
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Jan 26th, 2016, 01:55 AM
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Not sure if I can edit, but to add a bit more information: We'll be traveling in May, coming from Eastern Europe so hoping for minimal jet lag, and we have a car rental for our whole trip.
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Jan 26th, 2016, 02:08 AM
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If you do the Loch Ness boat tour, do the one that leaves across the street from the Clansman Hotel -- it will save you some time.
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Jan 26th, 2016, 02:33 AM
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Thanks for the tip. Is that the side of the Lock we want to stay/travel on? I'm looking at AirBnB accommodations and it would be nice to be on that side, it might give us some more options of places to stay outside of the city.
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Jan 26th, 2016, 02:38 AM
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The road is only on that side of the Loch. You'll be based in Inverness so you might as well drive from Skye to Inverness and spend 2-3 nights in Inverness. The Loch Ness cruise will only take a few hours.

We stayed at a great B&B on Loch Ness But I don't know if they are still open or not: http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Hotel_R..._Scotland.html
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Jan 26th, 2016, 02:52 AM
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When in Oban, you may want to go to Mull and Iona for the day. We saw very little of Mull, because we went straight to Iona and didn't want to leave. I don't know if it's just me, but it was truly an enchanting place.

Otherwise, there are various nature tours by boat from Oban and Mull. It seems to me that more of them departed from Mull than from Oban, but that could be faulty memory. We had planned to stay longer on Mull, so maybe I didn't look for departures from Oban. There's not a lot to see in Oban itself, although a walk along the waterfront, especially early in the morning, is very nice. We found an excellent restaurant in Oban, called Coast.

I put a trip report on TripAdvisor, which you can see here:

http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTop...-Scotland.html
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Jan 26th, 2016, 03:58 AM
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Thanks for the link to your trip report. I made a note about Coast, and I'm looking up your B&B in Oban right now. I'm surprised to learn many B&Bs don't allow young children, so that's taken quite a few options off our list. We're looking at Grove House, about 10 minutes outside Oban right now.
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Jan 26th, 2016, 04:07 AM
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Our B&B, whose name escapes me just now, was right on the waterfront, although we were in the rear. Parking is a problem in Oban, but the proprietor let us park in the driveway if we left the key with him when we were out, so he could move it to let other people out. All in all, it was fine, although not as nice as our hotel in Glasgow. By the way, we loved Glasgow, more than Edinburgh, to be honest.

Places that don't allow young children are almost certainly too stuffy for me anyway.
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Jan 26th, 2016, 04:33 AM
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Bvlenci is very correct.

Mull and Skye are truly magical places, much of this down the the rapidly changing landscapes with the way the large tides and small islands effect the light and weather.

This is purely a personal view but I think a tour of the highlands misses the point. One of you will be driving and even our A roads take some concentration. It's easy to miss the magic in mile after mile of tick boxing.

I would spend time in Edinburgh then rent a cottage for a week in either the Mull or Skye area. Look to the area around Glenelg or near Iona.

I would warn you that the road system on Mull is truly basic. Much is single travel, although paved, with passing points every half mile. In summer patience is a prerequisite.

We are spending May on Mull again this year, it's packed with seals, dolphins, otters, eagles and all. There also some of the clearest sea on earth and beautiful sandy beaches for hikes.
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Jan 26th, 2016, 10:21 AM
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I totally agree w/ BritishCaicos that a whirlwind driving tour -- ESPECIALLY w/ a toddler strapped in the back seat won't be all that much fun. Sure you'd see a lot - but mostly through you car windows and at the child's schedule.

Edinburgh, a couple of days in the Trossachs and a cottage rental on Skye or Mull for the rest would be much more enjoyable.

Re B&Bs not allowing young children -- has nothing at all to do w/ being stuffy- at least in most cases. Most B&Bs are quite small w/ just 2 or 3 rooms to let -- and having fussy or even screaming little ones is not fair to the other guests.
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Jan 26th, 2016, 10:25 AM
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oops - didn't mean to submit yet. . .

Having a toddler along makes a cottage rental even that much more desirable. Having a washer, a kitchen/fridge is a godsend if she is a picky eater, lots of space including a separate bedroom to put her down earlier than the adults want to sleep.

B&Bs really aren't appropriate for really young children - unless you have a large enough family to rent out the whole place.
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Jan 26th, 2016, 11:30 AM
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I agree with janisj that B& B's might not be your best option. Look at hotels especially in Oban and/ or Inverness. I think they would better serve a young family than a B&B. A cottage rental would be your best bet. You should have another look at drive time for your current itinerary, seems a bit much with a toddler and a large portion falls into your maximum time limit.
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Jan 26th, 2016, 11:32 AM
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Currently feeling very Scottish at the moment Janis. I've re-read "Ring of Bright Water" for the first time in 30 years. If you leave the text in the context it's written, it's beautiful. You just have to ignore the true Maxwell.
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Jan 26th, 2016, 11:34 AM
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You know, I read that years and years ago and I may need to hit it again . . .
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Jan 26th, 2016, 11:56 AM
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Polo

If you are interested, I can dig up the details of a cottage we rented on Mull a few years ago. It's in Ffionphort , on the beach and a two minute walk to the Iona ferry.

Alternatively, if you are interested in luxury Campervans , we are renting one on Mull this May. You just pay as cheap foot passangers on the ferry from Oban then pick up the Camper on Mull.
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Jan 26th, 2016, 12:15 PM
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I've been disturbed by raucous students and drunken adults far more often in B&Bs than by babies. I've twice had drunken adults awaken me at night and insist on trying to enter my room, once in a B&B in Germany, and once in a hotel in China.

The same is true on flights. The planes are full of annoying adults, but everyone complains about the babies. At least babies don't recline their seats into your lap.
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Jan 26th, 2016, 12:33 PM
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This forum used to be so much fun.

It's sssssooooo long since we had a good child hater thread.
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Jan 27th, 2016, 04:58 AM
  #19
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BritishCaicos - I would be interested in the name of where you stayed!

historytraveler - Maybe I'm not giving us enough time? Here's what we calculated as the driving time:
1 hour to Stirling, and then 1 hour to Loch Lomond (broken up by lunch, sight seeing)
2 hour drive to Oban
Oban to Skye - 3 hours. This one I'm having the most difficulty with - do we actually want to stay on Skye? What makes the most sense? I appreciate the suggestion of having a base area and branching out from there.
Skye to Loch Ness - 3 hours. Then I had us visiting Loch Ness and making our way to Iverness, but now I'm looking at airbnb rentals closer to Loch Ness instead.
Return to Edinburgh - 3-4 hours. This could be a beast of a day!

It's harder than I expected, I need to do some more research on my own so I understand the towns and drive times a bit better!
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Jan 27th, 2016, 08:12 AM
  #20
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With regard to driving times, we did an early train from London to Edinburgh, picked up a rental car, drove to Stirling and toured the castle, then drove on to Inveraray arriving late afternoon or early evening. If you are starting out from Edinburgh, it would certainly be possible to go from Edinburgh to Oban in one day, stopping to see the castle in Stirling along the way. There are things along the way that you could see and stretch that trip out if you want, or not.

When you go from Oban to Skye, you might consider going to Mallaig and taking the ferry on your way to Skye, rather than going up to Eilean Donnan, as you would go past that on your way to Inverness (why cover the same ground twice?). If you do that, there is a single track road that turns off the main road a couple of miles from Armadale that will take you to the other side of the peninsula, through Tarskavaig and Tokvaig which will give you some excellent views.
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