5 Days next week with Edinburgh as base

May 11th, 2008, 02:24 PM
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5 Days next week with Edinburgh as base

I'd like to take two day trips during my five days in Edinburgh next week. What are your favorites? Trying to decide between: St Andrews, York (2.5 hour train ride each way is OK with me), Newcastle, Glasgow, and an all day bus tour to the Highland and Loch Ness (I hate tours but this may be the easiest way for me to see these spots.) Open to other suggestions.

I like churches, walking around interesting places, just general ambience I guess! Will not be a heavy museum-goer on this trip.

In Edinburgh-- where is the best place to see bagpipers?
vivi is offline  
May 11th, 2008, 02:33 PM
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Where will you be before and after Edinburgh? Makes a difference re recommending places like York.

But in general - if I had 2 day trips and had not been to Scotland before, I'd take one trip up to the Highlands/Loch Ness. I cannot believe I'm saying that since I hate coach tours and Loch Ness is definitely not the be all and end all many think.

But the day tour from Edinburgh to Inverness and back do go through some terrific scenery - and you might see Nessie

The other tour could be:

- Glasgow -- if you are more into cities than countryside,

- St Andrews is you are more into beaches/small towns/villages and of course the Old Course

Or - Stirling and Loch Lomond for the Castle (very similar to Edinburgh Castle) and more pretty scenery.
janisj is offline  
May 11th, 2008, 02:37 PM
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BTW - just about every coach tour manages stop somewhere to hear a lone piper. Isn't it amazing how all those bagpipers just happen to be standing by the side of the road when the coach pulls up

And there is usually a piper at Urquhart Castle on Loch Ness.
janisj is offline  
May 11th, 2008, 02:57 PM
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We have been in Edinburgh 3 or 4 times. We have always seen a piper on Princess Street near Jenners. Perhaps he will be there next week. I would recommend a trip to St Andrews.
DDA is offline  
May 11th, 2008, 09:57 PM
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There are several pipers by the Scott Monument (think Gothic Thunderbird 3).

I suspect they have a shift system.

There was an interesting variation outside Jenners recently - a piper with an African drummer as backing
alanRow is offline  
May 12th, 2008, 02:49 AM
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There's usually a piper near teh top of the Mile too.
sheila is offline  
May 12th, 2008, 03:16 AM
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Hi Vivi!
We had a few days in Edinburgh in June last year and did the day trip to the hightland , Loch Ness and Back to Edinburgh via Pitlochry. It was a wonderful day and our driver was the real deal in his kilt and with a great accent and passion for his country. I would recommend this as a great way to get a taste of Scotland and you, like us, will want to return and see more!
have a blast!
RosieinOz is offline  
May 12th, 2008, 03:19 AM
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The highlands are gorgeous and definitely worth seeing. I'm assuming you don't want to rent a car? I'm actually looking at that tour for my mom when she visits me in Edinburgh this summer - she really wants to see the countryside and definately won't drive here. It sounds like a nice day.

I absolutely love St Andrews - I actually went there twice, with each of my parents. The beach is gorgeous and there is a lovely ruined castle and ruined abbey. I have some of my favourite pictures of Scotland in St Andrews. There is a really nice tea shop there as well where my mom and I had lunch. It's really easy to get there by train/bus as well.

There are almost always bagpipers somewhere along Princes Street, I haven't seen the one with the African drummer yet - have to keep my eyes open, it sounds interesting!
pittpurple is offline  
May 12th, 2008, 07:24 AM
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Hi vivi,

I based myself in Edinburgh for a week in April. I took the St. Andrews trip with Rabbies, http://www.rabbies.com/, and the Rosslyn and Roman Border tour from Heart of Scotland, http://www.heartofscotlandtours.co.uk/

Both tours were great. I wrote more about them in my trip report. I frequently appreciated not attempting to drive, but that's just my own feelings.

Another traveler at the guest house where I stayed loved the highlands trip. I think she went with Heart of Scotland, but you probably can't go wrong with the Rabbies' version.

I do remember pipers in the places mentioned: by the Scott Memorial/Jenners, and the top of the Royal Mile.

scotlib is offline  
May 12th, 2008, 11:36 AM
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I love the countryside, so I would definitely skip Glascow. Other than that, it is all good.

Aloha, beatofhawaii.com
beatofhawaii_com is offline  
May 12th, 2008, 02:34 PM
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OK--Thanks for the replies! St Andres and the Highlands it will probably be.

Edinburgh is my only foreign stop! I have been to Europe many times but never to Scotland (and I am from the Clan MacDonald!) I am actually tacking on these 5 days in Edinburgh to a long-planned 5 days in NYC (I leave tonight from Calif.) I have a Delta pass and always find the European departure gates at JFK so enticing, this time I am going to jump on one of the flights; the 'available seats' to Edinburgh look the most promising for standby.

vivi is offline  
May 12th, 2008, 08:30 PM
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Hope you get a chance to see this before you leave.

If you are a McDonald, do try very, VERY hard to visit Glencoe. It would be a must if it were me. There is also the Clan Donald Center on Skye but you really don't have time for that.
janisj is offline  
May 13th, 2008, 02:12 PM
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"The Highlands" is a BIG place with as much variety as some whole countries. Some parts are not feasible in a day trip from Edinburgh.
As an alternative to organised bus tours, there are several places within a couple of hours train ride from Edinburgh that are definitely Highland. Dunkeld & Birnam with its totally fictitious links to Macbeth (Birnam Wood and all that nonsense)has some magnificent scenery at The Hermitage where you'll see one of hte claimants to be the tallest tree (and threfore the tallest living thing) in the country.
Or Pitlochry, the town itself is a bit touristy but again there are some fabulous walks to be done. On a clear day Beinn Vrackie (about 2,750 feet) is one of the best viewpoints in Scotland, unfortunately to get there from the station you have to pass the unmissable Moulin Inn with its own brewery next door!
St Andrews is simply unique, even if golf isn't your thing. If golf IS your thing and you can get there on a Sunday you can wander at will all over the Old Course becauase they don't allow golf on the Sabbath.
Craigellachie is offline  
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