Anniversary in Scotland

Old Jan 24th, 2006, 12:15 PM
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Anniversary in Scotland

I'm helping my dad plan a surprise 25th anniversary trip to Scotland. My mom has always wanted to go to Scotland. She has Scottish heritage (Colquhoun clan). The trip needs to be as inexpensive as possible and will be in late July.
I have several questions...
What is the cheapest day of the week to fly in and out of Scotland? What airport should they fly into? Should they take a guided tour or venture out on their own? Suggestions of tours?
What are some must see places? Suggestions for saving money? Best places to stay? Anything you've learned while in Scotland that every traveler should know? Helpful web sites?

Please answer any question(s) you can. Feel free to add anything as well.

Thank you so much for your help.
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Old Jan 24th, 2006, 01:33 PM
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As far as airfare, usual rules apply: weekdays are generally cheaper than weekends, search the major sites, be ready to buy when you see a good price. If money is top priority, you can also look to travel in the shoulder seasons rather than summer. For us, it was cheaper to fly into Glasgow than Edinburgh, but that depends on where you are coming from. Also, you can fly into London and take RyanAir or Easyjet over to Scotland (but know that your luggage allowance will be limited.)

Tour or venture out on their own depends on their travel style. IMO, Scotland is at it's best on the west coast, and really needs a car to be enjoyed. Are your parents willing to drive "on the wrong side"? There will be fixed costs with a tour-- less opportunity to "save" money, but the costs will be planned for. On your own is probably cheaper, but less "known."

I would recommend deciding where in Scotland they want to visit-- what are their "not to be missed" sites? From there, and knowing how much time is available, you can begin to plan a route and places to stay (I would always choose small B&Bs).

HTH.
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Old Jan 24th, 2006, 03:21 PM
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Fly into Edinburgh or Glasgow. Whilst the cheapest would be good, don't make them add unnecessary connections.

If they do it themselves, even with car hire, they'll be cheaper than a tour; and we can write a tour plan for them.

What do they like?

Save money? Bring a picnic ack and make picnic food instead of eating in cafes and restaurants. Most B&Bs will fill a flask for them in the mornings

Stay in B&Bs for cheapness. Have alook at the Internet Guide to Scotland Onine and Undiscovered Scotland and Scotland the Best
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Old Jan 26th, 2006, 10:06 AM
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So far I know... they are going to fly into Glasgow or Edinburgh (but that was probably pretty obvious). The trip will be about 2 weeks long including July 25 (their anniversary). I also think I've talked my dad into renting a car as opposed to taking a tour. Best car rental place?

Loch Lomond is definitely on the itinerary since that is the ancestral home of Clan Colquhoun. I have e-mailed the Clan Colquhoun Society to learn about what to see/do related to the clan. I think I will be able to set up a tour of the Loch Lomond Golf Club which was home to the clan. How many days in Loch Lomond?

They would also like to go to some Highland games (Inverness maybe?)

Touring Edinburgh is also on the list (walk the Royal Mile possibly?). I was also looking at buying some tickets to the tattoo on ebay, preferably for Aug. 4 or 5. The prices are kind of high though, but I didn't know about it until it was pretty much sold out. How many days in Edinburgh?

Loch Ness should probably be on the itinerary as well since this might be a once in a lifetime trip, and I think anyone who's been to Scotland should be able to say they've been there. How long will this take?

Stirling seems like a good option. I think my dad would like Stirling because of the ties to William Wallace. Is it worth a visit? How many days here?

Where should they visit on the west coast?

What is Perth like?

That's all I have so far. Thank you for all your input.
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Old Jan 26th, 2006, 11:41 AM
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Your dad will be visiting Edingurgh during festival season. Your dad needs to get a hotel reservation for the Edinburgh portion of his trip NOW - I'm not exaggerating. And, unfortunately, hotel rates in Edinburgh for the time your dad will be there will be higher than at any other time of year. Don't expect any discounts. On a positive note, it's a GREAT time to be there. Very cool.

http://www.edinburgh-festivals.com/festivals.cfm
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Old Jan 26th, 2006, 11:47 AM
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Also: if the Tattoo is happening during his visit, then he shouldn't miss it. Tickets are on sale now and sell out well before August. Consider getting tickets early (why not now?) or face E-bay prices later in the summer.
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Old Jan 26th, 2006, 12:07 PM
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I went to purchase tickets on-line at the tattoo site and it is already sold out. At least for any 2 seats together.
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Old Jan 26th, 2006, 12:27 PM
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Sorry to hear that. Silly me. I thought that 8 months out would be enough advance planning!! Maybe this is can be a heads up for someone planning an Aug. 2007 visit!
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Old Jan 26th, 2006, 12:58 PM
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1 day for Loch Lomond over and above the family stuff.

Highland Games- Luss (on Loch Lomond) will be the Thursday before the 25th July; Balquhidder- sort of east of Loch Lomond but close, with be the Saturday before, Kilmore (Oban) will be the Saturday after, and Dornoch (north of Inverness)Bridge of Allan (near Stirling) and Aboyne (Deeside), the weekend after that.

2 or 3 days in Edinburgh. They could maybe do that at the start of the holiday, and get decent priced accommodation, then stay in Stirling (or somewhere else on the railway) at Tattoo time, and train in and out.

You CAN do Loch Ness in a day. Personally, I wouldn't bother, but if you must... take as part of a 3 or 4 day loop.

A day in Stirling,for Bannockburn, and the castle plus the trip to the Tattoo would be enough.

Oban would be a good west coat hit. But it depends on what they like.

Perth is nice, pretty and bite sized. Not to die for. Scone Palace, just outside, seems to please.
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Old Jan 27th, 2006, 08:24 AM
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I think you should have another look at a bus tour. Despite what Sheila says, there is little difference in the cost, and the convenience of being driven around is huge. A typical bus tour would cost around 600GBP for two people. This would include breakfast and dinner in almost all cases and would be for five or six days. Bed and breakfast in the height of the sumeer will cost about 60GBP for two per night and five nights dinner would run to about150GBP for two,(the cost of eating out in the UK is horrendous), making the total cost so far at 450GBP. The car rental for a week would be about 120GBP if you are lucky. Gas would be about 3.5GBP per US gallon and if you did 1000 miles, that cost would be another 100GBP. Thus, by my accounting, the bus tour is cheaper. I have no doubt what I would do, especially if your parents have no experience of driving on the left.
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