Anniversary Trip to Scotland - 5 days

Aug 17th, 2011, 05:29 AM
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Anniversary Trip to Scotland - 5 days

My husband and I will be arriving in Edinburgh via train on September 13th and staying through the 17th. Not as much time as we'd like, but we are very much looking forward to it. I've been searching the forums for advice and tips on how to best use our time and resources while there. I had mentioned in a previous post that are current plan is to stay at the Dalmahoy which we realize isn't especially convenient to Edinburgh for public transport. I was unsure about renting a car but based on some of the other posts I've read, we will likely reconsider that. We certainly plan to spend at least the first couple of days in Edinburgh but we would really love to see more of Scotland including an Isle or two and my husband is particularly fond of castles and the like. Any recommendations for what we could hope to do in the amount of time we have?
Sojourner_M is offline  
Aug 17th, 2011, 07:28 AM
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I always suggest getting a guidebook. I can't imagine going to a new destination without checking a guidebook for suggestions for sights, transportation, and restaurants.
Pegontheroad is offline  
Aug 17th, 2011, 07:41 AM
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Thanks, Pegontheroad. I actually have three, but to be honest, it's a little too much information and not enough personal input for me. The guideboooks pretty much cover everything that's a possibility - and the ones that I have do give recommended itineraries but they are for longer periods of time than I have. Obviously, we can just pick and choose based on the guidebooks but I was hoping some Fodorites might have first-hand experience that was helpful.
Sojourner_M is offline  
Aug 17th, 2011, 08:07 AM
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you only have 4+ days total--right?

Are you staying at the Dalmahoy the whole time? Castles are no problem at all, they are everywhere.

But except for a few very small islands/rocks (Isle of May, Incholm, etc) -- the Islands are on the complete opposite side of the country.

If you are tied to the Dalmahoy, even for just the majority of your stay, then you really need to focus on Edinburgh/the Borders/Stirling/Fife. You can't squeeze all of these in --but maybe two of the above. You'll have to leave the west coast /islands/Highlands for another trip.
janisj is offline  
Aug 17th, 2011, 09:29 AM
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Janis is correct about the islands being on the west coast, so generally not convenient for day trips from the Edinburgh area. It probably is best to leave this for a future trip... but... if your heart is set on this and you have your own car, you could just about squeeze in a day trip to Arran which lies in the Firth of Clyde. It's a very scenic island (nearly always ignored totally on this forum) and is known as "Scotland in miniature". It'll take about 75 mins to reach the ferry at Ardrossan followed by a 55 minute CalMac ferry to Brodick (which is part of the fun). Once there you could see the wonderful Brodick Castle and gardens before returning to the mainland.
Gordon_R is offline  
Aug 17th, 2011, 09:51 AM
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Gordon is right about Arran. I've only been once, but it's on my Hasten Ye Back list. It certainly wouldn't be my first choice with such a limited time frame, but it's the only feasible alternative for the west coast, and the only place I'd recommend aside from janisj's suggestions of the area around Stirling, the Borders and Fife.
historytraveler is offline  
Aug 17th, 2011, 01:32 PM
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If you want an island without the long trek, check out Inchmahome Priory - it's on an island in the only Lake in Scotland, Lake of Mentieth (the others are Lochs). A lovely, serene place!
GreenDragon is offline  
Aug 17th, 2011, 01:35 PM
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Agree with janisj. We did a trip to Edinburgh, Stirling, Trossachs and Isle of Skye and felt like we did too much driving -- and we had 8 days!
steviegene is offline  
Aug 17th, 2011, 03:01 PM
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Inchmahome is my favorite picnic spot in just about the entire country. I've been on the island probably 15-20 times over the years.

And yes, it is an island, but my guess it isn't what you meant by >>including an Isle or two<<

It is a very small uninhabited island in the middle of a small lake w/ a ruined priory on it. You can walk around the entire island in 10 minutes. If you are driving through the Trossachs or near Stirling -- definitely take the launch out to the island.

But it isn't a "Scottish Isle" like Skye, or Mull, or Arran.
janisj is offline  
Aug 18th, 2011, 11:13 AM
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Thanks so much everyone. I am not necessarily tied to staying at the Dalmahoy the entire time, and if it's feasible to do Edinburgh and then also get to the west coast in the time frame we have, we're certainly willing to try. I'm not sure when we might be able to get back to Scotland after this trip so if we can do both it would be fabulous, but if not, I'm sure we could be content focusing on Edinburgh/the Borders/Stirling/Fife as recommended. Would it be feasible to arrive in Edinburgh Tuesday morning, focus on the local Edinburgh sites Tuesday afternoon, all day Wednesday, and then travel to Arran on Thursday, stay the night somewhere near there? and then come back to Edinburgh area Friday afternoon?
Sojourner_M is offline  
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