Ednburgh Hotel & things to do

Old Dec 20th, 2021, 03:43 AM
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Ednburgh Hotel & things to do

Hi Fodorites. Planning a trip to Ireland and Scotland late August 2022. Spent our honeymoon in Scotland in 1986 (!), going with another couple who have never been to Scotland. First week in Ireland. Fly Dublin to Glasgow and picking up a rental car Aug 28. One night in Oban; 3 nights in Portree, Skye; 2 nights in St. Andrews; 2 nights in Edinburgh Sept. 3 & 4 (after the Tattoo). I have read several threads and comments about how busy it will be in August (pent up demand, etc.) and suggestions for places other than Skye, but we're pretty locked into this itinerary. Boys are golfing in St. Andrews and we will do several hikes on Skye. Researching hotels in Edinburgh, it seems that there is a cluster of chains around the Royal Mile (Hilton, etc.) and more boutique hotels northwest of the castle, near Kimpton Charlotte Square. (My friend picked The Raeburn, Eden Locke, Tiger Lily, and The Rutland.) We can stay at the Hilton with points, which is attractive because this is going to be an expensive trip. But I'm curious about location. I remember when we were in Edinburgh so many years ago we stayed in a large hotel virtually over the train station. (Not that it was a problem.) This was before internet, etc., we were kids, and knew nothing. With only a day and a half to sightsee, I'm wondering which location is preferred, and recommended attractions in addition to the castle. This is going to be the end of a long trip and I don't want to cram in too much. I think we will be ready to relax a but by then. Can you hike up to Author's Seat? (We will have turned in our car.)
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Old Dec 20th, 2021, 04:23 AM
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Along the mile is a good place to stay but get a room high up or away from the mile to reduce room noise. Arthur's seat (no books involved), an easy walk rather than a hike, bash or yomp.

You do know the festival and the alternative festival could be going strong by then, so pent up demand is not the issue, August is the issue and it makes the place very noisy at all hours and crowded.

Last edited by bilboburgler; Dec 20th, 2021 at 04:29 AM.
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Old Dec 20th, 2021, 06:03 AM
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I thought the Tattoo ended Aug. 27. Is there another event we should be aware of? We're in Edinburgh Sept. 3-5.
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Old Dec 20th, 2021, 06:23 AM
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https://www.eif.co.uk/
https://www.edfringe.com/

probably Europes two greatest festivals finish on the 29th August
The tattoo is a tiny thing in comparison
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Old Dec 20th, 2021, 07:22 AM
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Those drives are reallly long... even with lots of daylight hours in August. Portree to St. Andrews in one day!! I guess you don't plan an interesting stops along the way....

FWIW, we had a great stay at The George in Edinburgh.
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Old Dec 20th, 2021, 10:03 AM
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OK just a few comments because I'm on my way out.

1) Do consider other places than Skye. With the pressure of 'stay-cations' my guess is Skye might be slammed. The island is vast . . . the roads aren't. Of course Sept is better than August for sure. Maybe look at Mull instead -- especially since you are already planning on Oban for one night (Curious why Oban - just as a stop off en route to Skye? )

2) Portree to Edinburgh is a huge slog and I wouldn't try in in one day with 4 in the car for sure. It will be close to a 7 hour drive plus stops. Plus you'll miss soooooo much in between. Maybe look at something like driving from GLA to Oban and staying 2 nights on Mull (not staying over in Oban itself) and 2 nights near Callander or Stirling so you can see Glencoe, Stirling Castle, Doune Castle, Inchmahome, etc. The Roman Camp hotel in Callander or the Lake Hotel in Port of Menteith are excellent.

3) The hotel on top of Waverly station is the very grand Balmoral. Would still be a good choice but there are so many other options -- if the Balmoral is in your price range I'd consider the Scotsman. Glasshouse, Caledonian, and the George . . . but most of these will be eye wateringly expensive. The Caledonian is a Hilton property (WA) and is a wonderful hotel so if you have enough Hilton points that would be great. The Carlton would likely be a lot less points and is in a very convenient location. Other Hilton properties aren't that well located.
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Old Dec 20th, 2021, 10:10 AM
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" Can you hike up to Author's Arthur's Seat? (We will have turned in our car.)"

Sure. You can walk down the Royal Mile and past Holyrood and all the way up to he top. Would probably take an 45 mins to hour-ish walking from say the Carlton, but there are also buses you can take part way.
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Old Dec 21st, 2021, 03:40 AM
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Thank you all for input. Our itinerary is pretty fixed now. We are set on Skye and opted to spend more time there and do the long drive to St. Andrews in one day. We prefer to stay longer in one place rather than move every day or two. That said, our plan isn't perfect with only 2 nights in St. Andrews and Edinburgh, but that's how it goes. We opted to skip Inverness and surrounds, and further points north this trip. Our group really likes to hike, and we went to Skye on our honeymoon 35 years ago. (But only stayed one night and did no hiking!) Sorry for the "Author" typo.
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Old Dec 21st, 2021, 03:41 AM
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LOL, I don't remember our honeymoon hotel being 'very grand' but it was many years ago! Thanks for confirming that the Hilton Carlton is a good location.
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Old Dec 22nd, 2021, 10:28 AM
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Holyrood House at the bottom of the Royal Mile is worth a visit. We did a couple of excellent walking tours, one shorter one was maybe a couple of hours. I think it may have been this one - https://edinburghfreetour.com/
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Old Dec 22nd, 2021, 12:57 PM
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Since you're not interested in Mull, let me comment on Oban vs. someplace else.

Using ITA. it appears that on 28 August a one-way flight from Dublin to Glasgow via Heathrow comes in at 124 or a nonstop at 220. However, a nonstop on Loganair from Dublin to Inverness is only 87.Generally, one-way rental cars in the UK don't come with a drop-off penalty, so you could pick up your vehicle at INV and drop it in Edinburgh days later. If you want to head straight to Portree from Inverness (maybe with a stop to see Eilean Donan Castle) you could do so easily that same day, which would give you almost two additional days on Skye (counting the longish driving day from Oban in the current plan. Alternatively, you could stop someplace enroute to Skye for the "Oban night" - such as drop-dead gorgeous Plockton, a short drive from the Kyle bridge to the island. Map - https://goo.gl/maps/5VnFaNPZEttSRY3f6

This could possibly save money on airfare, and definitely save a lot of hours driving, with (IMO) no reduction whatsoever in the scenic or historic content of the drive. Maybe worth considering?

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Old Dec 22nd, 2021, 01:48 PM
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Assuming Skye is non-negotiable, Gardyloo's suggestion to fly to Inverness would make it soooooo much more doable.

And with the extra time to play with you could break the journey from Portree to the East Coast.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2021, 03:29 AM
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Thank you for the alternative suggestion of flying into Inverness. We haven't made these flight reservations yet as they aren't available that far ahead. We went to Inverness and Eilean Donan Castle on our honeymoon on the drive to Skye. Basically we're negotiating plans with another couple and they son has been to Scotland several times. He recommended Oban.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2021, 03:30 AM
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Since I have some knowledgeable folks engaged here, what's your recommendation on taking the ferry to Skye from Mallaig vs. the Kyle bridge? Remember that we're coming from Oban.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2021, 07:55 AM
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You have to go TO Skye and return FROM Skye so do both. Drive time is essentially the same - so take the ferry one direction and the bridge the other. There are things to see on both routes.

Oban is fine for maybe seeing some of Kilmartin, or if you arrive in town too late to catch a ferry to Mull. But you won't be breaking a long journey. Main thing there (other than the Ferry terminal) is some very good seafood. It only takes 2-ish hours longer to drive from GLA to Portree than GLA to Oban -- with your short time frame I personally would not build in an 'artificial' stopover in Oban (Assuming you can't convince the others to fly in to INV instead)
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Old Dec 23rd, 2021, 08:02 AM
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Originally Posted by cindyj View Post
...We haven't made these flight reservations yet as they aren't available that far ahead.
Yes they are; you can buy the Dublin-Inverness tickets today on Expedia for US$99.

Originally Posted by cindyj View Post
We went to Inverness and Eilean Donan Castle on our honeymoon on the drive to Skye. Basically we're negotiating plans with another couple and they son has been to Scotland several times. He recommended Oban.
Oban is okay; a bit touristy and far from the most scenic place in the west, but if that has to stand, so be it. I'd recommend you investigate a couple of other places (use Undiscovered Scotland - a terrific resource - Undiscovered Scotland: Home Page ) as possible alternatives and/or as stops along the way.

1.Inveraray: Inveraray is a beautiful "planned" village on the bank of Loch Fyne. Inveraray Castle, home of the Campbells (and also Cousin Shrimpy in Downton Abbey) is a remarkable pile well worth a visit. Unless you're a MacDonald, I suppose.

2. Kilmartin: This tiny village sits above a flat valley (Kilmartin Glen) that is littered with prehistoric sites and ruins - standing stones, stone circles, etc. It's very beautiful and very atmospheric.

Here's a map showing their locations relative to Oban and Glasgow airport. https://goo.gl/maps/U4iZRYUtLfBiYAi76 . Standard disclaimer: Google's drive times tend to be fictitious; I'd add a good 30% to them and call yourselves lucky if that's all it is..

Originally Posted by cindyj View Post
Since I have some knowledgeable folks engaged here, what's your recommendation on taking the ferry to Skye from Mallaig vs. the Kyle bridge? Remember that we're coming from Oban.
It would be my route of choice, but between the roads (both on the mainland and on Skye) and ferry waits, it's going to be a longish drive. Glenfinnan is worthy of a stop, to see the Jacobite monument and the Harry Potter railway viaduct; it's also one of the most beautiful places in the Highlands IMO.

If you swapped Glencoe village for Oban for your overnight, you could stop at Glen Etive and Glen Coe en route, then the next day (via the ferry) would be a bit shorter. Drop-dead gorgeous, too. Map - https://goo.gl/maps/QydadXperT4uXfnc6

Crossing Rannoch Moor en route to Glen Etive



Buachaille Etive Mr at the top of Glen Etive



In Glen Coe (viewable from the main bridge at Hogwarts, by the way)


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Old Dec 23rd, 2021, 01:19 PM
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Gardyloo Your photos are enough to make this trapped-in-Chicago Fodorite weep. (And also enough to make my 'no rental car' rule.) Beautiful.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2021, 03:14 PM
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correction: I meant BREAK my 'no rental car' rule. Don't think I'd see these sites easily from a bus.
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Old Dec 25th, 2021, 07:22 AM
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Originally Posted by janisj View Post
" Can you hike up to Author's Arthur's Seat? (We will have turned in our car.)"

Sure. You can walk down the Royal Mile and past Holyrood and all the way up to he top. Would probably take an 45 mins to hour-ish walking from say the Carlton, but there are also buses you can take part way.
Access by way of Pollock Halls of Residence is the best imo

Also: Edinburgh's Camera Obscura https://www.camera-obscura.co.uk/?ut...gn=GMB_Website
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