2 days in scotland, what should i see?

Old Aug 14th, 2002, 11:45 AM
  #1  
ed02
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2 days in scotland, what should i see?

Hi
We will be in scotland for two days from sunday night (18 aug)arriving around 10.30pm to tuesday night(20 aug) departing around 9pm from glasgow prestwick. This is a last minute trip and i am finding out that accomodation in edinburgh at this time is almost impossible, well mainly because i am looking for a very basic (budget) deal. So i am thinking of flying into Prestwick (glasgow) and staying there.
Now, for monday i am thinking of going to stirling castle in the morning by citylink bus then onwards to edinburgh for the remainder of the day. planning to return to glasgow late in the evening by citylink. Tuesday is what i am wondering about. After reading the posts here i am thinking should i go to isle of skye on my own(is it doable?) or take the Oban,Glens&Castles tour with scottish tours. This is my first trip to scotland so i want to get a good and vaired mix.
And if anyone can recommend a budget accomodation in edinburgh that is available i would REALLY appreciate it
Any critique or suggestion would be great!
thanks
 
Old Aug 14th, 2002, 11:54 AM
  #2  
Karl
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You will have a great day seeing Sterling Castle and Edinburgh. Edinburgh is a full day in itself. You will probably wish you had an extra day. I don't know about the particual tour you mentioned but I would be inclined to do that. While the Isle of Skye is beautiful, as is all the highlands, there really isn't anything to "do" once you get there other than take in the scenery. If you where spending a week or two I would say see the Isle of Skye. But since you're on such a limited time crunch do the tour imho.

Have a great time. Scotland is a great place to visit and given your two days this will only make you want to go back when you have more time to really experience it.
 
Old Aug 14th, 2002, 12:17 PM
  #3  
ed02
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Karl,
Thanks. The sad part is i do have a couple of extra days that i am spending in london. Although i have been there many times, my wife has not seen a lot in London and my own interest is perked up by Buckingham Palace and besides I have some family to visit as well. I just hope I that I am making the right choice. I would not mind skipping london as the family is my in-laws but like most other men I do what my wife tells me to do
 
Old Aug 14th, 2002, 12:36 PM
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Karl
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Hey at least you get to go to London to visit the in-laws. I had to go camping in Nashville, TN in the middle of July for the "in-law reunion."

As you know London is a great place. We will be there for a week over Thanksgiving. Really looking forward to it.

Have a great trip.
 
Old Aug 14th, 2002, 12:52 PM
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janis
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ed02 - I know you are enthusiastic, But look at a map. You have less than 2 full days and you want to see Edinburgh, Stirling and Skye from Glasgow. Think of a trip to San Francisco including LA and Las Vegas in 2 days.

Just not doable. You will not find a B&B in Edinburgh - budget or 4 star - in August. Every place will be full and if not they will have a 3 day minimum because of the festivals and Tattoo.

And Prestwick airport in not in Glasgow. it is 30 miles SW near the town of Ayr. So as I see it you have a couple of choices.

1) Stay in Ayrshire. Ayr, Culzean Castle, Robert Burns connections, Crossraguel Abbey, maybe a day trip on the ferry over to the Isle of Arran.

2) Take the train to Glasgow and spend the whole time exploring the museums, cathedral, Mackintosh connections, etc OR stay in Glasgow and on Monday take the train to Edinburgh and back to Glasgow for the night.

From Prestwick it would be impossible (without a car - and even then it would be hard) to get to Stirling and Edinburgh and back with any time to see anything either place.
 
Old Aug 14th, 2002, 12:56 PM
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janis
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I meant impossible to do Prestwick > Stirling > Edinburgh > Prestwick in ONE day.

And I should have added - no, you cannot do Prestwick > Skye and back to Prestwick by 7 PM to check in for your flight.
 
Old Aug 14th, 2002, 01:45 PM
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Mitch
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It's not quite like doing Las Vegas and LA on a trip to San Fran. Las Vegas is about a 9 or 10 hour drive from SF. Los Angeles is about a 5 or 6 hour drive from SF. I thought that Edinburgh and Glasgow were only about an hour or so apart? Maybe I'm wrong. I do agree, however, with the premise of Janis' post, which is that you should probably pare down your trip a bit.
 
Old Aug 14th, 2002, 02:01 PM
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ed02
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Mitch,
Thanks

Janis,
I did not know that prestwick was that out of glasgow any way what i meant was i will stay in central glasgow for the two nights probably near the train station or buchanan bus station (are they close by?). i checked the travel times from scotrail for glasgow-stirling which is 25min in early morning and stirling-edinburgh which is around an hour. in stirling i only want to see the castle and in edingburgh i just want to see the castle and holyrood house(if time permits).
And, i would like to know what you think of taking the tour. do you think oban,glensandcastles is good tour?
and ofcourse thank you for your insights.
 
Old Aug 14th, 2002, 02:22 PM
  #9  
ed02
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Mitch,
Thanks

Janis,
I did not know that prestwick was that out of glasgow any way what i meant was i will stay in central glasgow for the two nights probably near the train station or buchanan bus station (are they close by?). i checked the travel times from scotrail for glasgow-stirling which is 25min in early morning and stirling-edinburgh which is around an hour. in stirling i only want to see the castle and in edingburgh i just want to see the castle and holyrood house(if time permits).
And, i would like to know what you think of taking the tour. do you think oban,glensandcastles is good tour?
and ofcourse thank you for your insights.
 
Old Aug 14th, 2002, 02:34 PM
  #10  
???
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Dear ed02,

Stick with Janis's suggestions and you'll be just fine.

Hope the weather improves for you. At the moment in central Scotland, it's wet, uniformly grey, and humid, and has been ALL DAY. Still, it's common to experience four seasons in one day here. Just come prepared, ie bring a decent umbrella!

Whatever you end up doing, hope you enjoy your holiday here.
 
Old Aug 14th, 2002, 04:26 PM
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janis
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Mitch - I didn't mean literally the same distances and times. More that ed02's original itinerary made about as much sense.

ed02: train connections from Glasgow to Stirling and Edinburgh are easy and fast. But it will take a MINIMUM of 4 hours to see Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace/Abbey. Stirling Castle takes a minimum of 2 hours. Add in the waiting times at the stations - the trains are frequent but you will unlikely arrive at the station exactly on schedule. As you can see it will be a very full day. Stirling Castle opens at 9:30 AM so plan on being at the gate then. Spend a couple of hours, eat a quick lunch at the castle cafe and run to the station. You will get to Edinburgh by about 1PM. Go straight to the Castle from Waverly station. After the castle hustle down the Royal Mile (it is down hill all the way) to Holyrood. Alson the way you can peek into St Giles Cathedral. the palace closes at 5PM so keep that in mind.
 
Old Aug 14th, 2002, 04:35 PM
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Mark
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Janis, what a wonderful response - 'the if its noon, this must be Edinburgh' tour of Scotland. Or perhaps, 'I've never been to Scotland so I'm going to make it as miserable as possible' tour.
 
Old Aug 14th, 2002, 06:04 PM
  #13  
ed02
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Janis,
Regardless of your disapproving tone your reply is appreciated.
Mark,
Your critique (well, ok sarcasm!)would be more helpful if you can suggest some alternative itinerary at the same time.
Thanks anyway

 
Old Aug 14th, 2002, 06:32 PM
  #14  
Lauren
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For budget accomodation in Edinburgh, you might try the University of Edinburgh. The city will be crowded because you will arrive smack dab in the middle of the Festivals. If you can get something in Edinburgh, I would stay there. In two days, I would do Edinburgh Castle & The Museum of Scotland. I would try to pick up some last minute tickets to the Tattoo at the Castle in the evening. It probably will be sold out, but you might get lucky and get some returned tickets. If the Tattoo is not doable, you could take in a couple of The Fringe performances. Perfomances at The Observer Assembly rooms are usually pretty good. The larger venues get the performers with a track record.
 
Old Aug 14th, 2002, 07:52 PM
  #15  
janis
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Excuse me - I have re-read my comments several times and do not see any "tone" or sarcasm. I was totally serious. My suggestion was the only way you will manage to hit Stirling Castle, Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace in one day from glasgow via public transport.

What part of Be there early, move fast and walk down instead of up the Royal Mile is sarcastic? I fail to see it.

So far I seem to be the only one to offer you useful suggestions to see a couple of things in two days. If you don't like the recommendations, all well and good - but they were offered as help and the personal attack is unwarranted.

You have no idea how crowded Edinburgh is in August - it literally triples in size because of all the festivities. And this year the Tattoo sold out completely by early June (Mostly because the Queen attended this year)

 
Old Aug 14th, 2002, 10:56 PM
  #16  
ed02
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Laura,
I did not think of the university, thank you. And to be honest i have no idea as to what the tatoo is?

Janis,
Sorry, it was not my intention to attack you. As i mentioned before, your comments were and are meaningful and i do appreciate it. Ofcourse, you are right as well.
Thanks once again
 
Old Aug 15th, 2002, 12:07 AM
  #17  
ed02
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Lauren,
Sorry i mis-spelled!
 
Old Aug 15th, 2002, 02:46 AM
  #18  
charlene
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Hi, we just did the same trip (flew into Prestwick, for the weekend, to see the tattoo in Edinburgh. We were part of a tour group - the hotel was in Aberfoyle, 1 1/2 hours out of Edinburgh. We seemed to spend way to much timed on the bus. If i were you I would do the day in Edinburgh (a full day) and a full day in Sterling). The castle itself in Stirling will take a half day to do properly, then there is the wallace monument and lots of other things to see. Edinburgh is great - you will wish to spend more time there. we bought day tickets on the sightseeing bus, and just the tour without getting off anywhere takes an hour. Then you can hope off and on as you want. Keep in mind everything will take you longer ie even walking on the Royal mile as it is tattoo and festival and heaven knows what else, so edinburgh is jammed. And the weather is so changeable! And even though it doesn't look far on the map, the roads are windy and twisty and seem to take forever for the buses to go through! I have done the isle of sky on a different tour, it was great, but you won't have time!
 
Old Aug 15th, 2002, 04:34 AM
  #19  
Keith
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Local speaking!

Janis' suggestions are the best you're gonna get if you want to do Stirling and Edinburgh in one day. Skye has to be out of the question, though - it's about a three hour drive or train trip from Glasgow to Oban, and then you've got the ferry from there...

Lauren's suggestion about the University accomodation is pretty good, although you might find that it's pretty full already. My wife worked there when she was at Edinburgh Uni and they tended to fill up around Festival time with performers and tourists (Canadian pipe bands, apparently?!) Still worth trying, though.

If you base yourself in Glasgow, then Buchanan Bus Station and Queen St railway station are pretty close to one another. There is a Holiday Inn just across the road from the bus station which is OK, and a Holiday Inn Express next door which is cheaper.

A point, though. Trains from Prestwick to Glasgow arrive at Central Station, not Queen St. You need then to find your way from there to wherever you're staying. Also, a quick check of the Railtrack website shows that the last train from Prestwick to Glasgow leaves at 11.07 pm on a Sunday. This would probably be OK - just - if your plane arrives on time, but my personal experience with Ryanair suggests that it probably won't be, so I'd suggest that you might want to either check out other options (if there are any) of getting to Glasgow that night, or book yourself into a bed & breakfast in Troon (near Prestwick) for a night before going to Glasgow the next day.
 
Old Aug 15th, 2002, 05:10 AM
  #20  
jay
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Ed,
Stick with Janis and Keith. With a late arrival at Prestwick on a Sunday travel to Edinburgh will be near impossible that night. I would head for Glasgow and stay overnight. Use Glasgow as a base for your stay and head out early Monday morning Queen Street station for a train to Stirling. See the Castle and the other historical attractions on the way up the hill, and then back downhill for a train to Edinburgh. See the Castle and Holyrood House and catch a late night train back to base in Glasgow.

Tuesday, you may want to take the short train trip (45mins)to Balloch and Loch Lomond, or as Janis suggests visit the museums and galleries in Glasgow (city bus tours leave from George Square, and you can hop on and off these to visit the various places of interest). There are also opportunities for city centre shopping.
Mind the train times for your check-in at Prestwick. Enjoy your short break
 

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