Family Trip to Scotland

Old Jun 13th, 2017, 08:31 AM
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Family Trip to Scotland

Hi All,

Need some advice on planning a trip to Scotland for 7-9 days next summer. We are traveling with another family. Adults are in our early 40s and active, 5 kids between us will be ages 9-14 by then. Looking at early June as this works best with our kids' summer schedules, and appears to be shoulder season which is a bonus.

So please go easy on me, as I've only started researching, and feeling a bit overwhelmed. I would love your seasoned advice as far as suggested itinerary. At this point, our options are wide open.

Some of the things we want to include: hiking, castles; lochs (Loch Ness - is this a worthwhile stop?), exploring some craggy cliffs, scotch / whiskey tasting, Isle of Skye (fairy pools!), obviously the many sights of Edinburgh (Royal Mile, E Castle, maybe a Ghost Tour?)... Glenfinnen for the "Hogwarts" train. I could go on I'm sure but this hits a lot of the highlights and would fill our time . We are not really into museums or art but are up for any adventure .

Is it reasonable to hit most of this with just two bases? I.e, spend most of our time in Edinburgh, doing some day trips? Both moms want to stay in a castle for a night or two, where would you suggest we do that (Inverness near Loch Ness , or Isle of Skye, or is there another "hub" location that would be ideal or our nights away from Edinburgh ? We would prefer to use public transportation if possible.
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Old Jun 13th, 2017, 09:59 AM
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7 - 9 days is not all that long and Scotland is a big place. You need to think of nights on-the-ground. A 9 day trip total home to home will net you 7 nights and about 6.5 days to play with. A 7 day day trip = 5 nights/4.5 days so very short. And the first day or two some or all of you will be jet lagged.

If you end up w/ nine days total then you would have enough time for Edinburgh and a quick visit to one or two other nearby regions. If you could manage a 2 week trip (so 11.5 days free) you could squeeze in more/farther.

I'd pick up a guidebook or two and have the kids also study them to see what REALLY interests them because you will have to be selective what you can manage w/ a group of nine which will make everything even slower.

Loch Ness is certainly OK and most foreign visitors want to see it -- but I suspect mostly because it is the only one of the hundreds of Lochs they have heard of. As lochs go - for scenery - it isn't in the top tier . . . ah but the others don't have Nessie

Rea the whiskey (no 'e' ) you don't have to make a special detour -- there are distilleries all over and the Scotch Whisky Center practically next door to Edinburgh Castle

Re Skye -- terrific place. Gorgeous. But all the way over on the opposite side of the country and travel to/on the Isle is slow to VERY slow. Again if you have maybe 2 weeks it would be much easier to fit it in.

There are castles EVERYWHERE so not an issue.

Hubs don't really work well. Say you stayed in Edinburgh and on Skye -- you could then see Edinburgh (and maybe a day trip to Stirling or St Andrews) and Skye and not much else.

Remember in your initial planning; 7 people on different body clocks will slow things down, and when driving through the scenic bits you will average maybe 35 mph (no car IN Edinburgh of course, but you will want a car out in the countryside)

Now -- get down to the book shop and get those guide books
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Old Jun 13th, 2017, 10:02 AM
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>>Rea the whiskey (no 'e' ) >Re the whiskey (no 'e' ) Whisky
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Old Jun 13th, 2017, 12:09 PM
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Janisj, you're cute even without trying.

Also, note that the party is nine people on different body clocks..
Good luck to all!
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Old Jun 13th, 2017, 12:23 PM
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Hi janisj - I saw your replies to other posts on this forum during my searches so I was hoping you would weigh in!

Yeah I understand that the 7 days is going to be tight. We will try to make it 9 days but most likely can't go longer than that. We'll just have to take what we can get, if that means cutting something out, so be it .

So, Edinburgh for the bulk of the trip, and perhaps 2or 3 nights elsewhere? Would you eliminate Isle of Skye for the distance and if so, where else would you recommend staying ?

I will be honest, its not just the kids, but my husband and I get twitchy after about 3 days somewhere. Anywhere. So the idea is to spend half the time doing the "city" type stuff in Edinburgh, and the other half would be more leisurely - stop where we want, absorb the culture.
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Old Jun 13th, 2017, 12:24 PM
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Oh and the whisky ! Thanks for the note .
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Old Jun 13th, 2017, 04:42 PM
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OK -- let's work w/ a best case scenario of a 9 day trip. That gives you basically a week for Scotland.

I'd seriously consider something like 3 nights in Edinburgh (the first day/night will be a 'throw away' what w/ all the travel/formalities/logistics). That will give you 2 full day for Edinburgh.

And then - You'd go out to EDI and pick up your two cars and have 4 days to play with. Trying to go all the way to Skye would eat up a full day each way leaving you little time to see anything else. I'd maybe consider 2 nights in Fife to visit St Andrews, the fishing villages, maybe Glamis Castle. Then maybe 2 nights in/near Callander to visit Stirling, Doune Casle, Inchmahome Priory, Loch Lomond. Then drive back to EDI (or GLA) drop the car and fly out.

OR - because there are nine of you I might contact Rabbies to work out a personalized 3 or 4 day tour just for your group.

https://www.rabbies.com/en

Here are examples of their regular 4 day small group tours to give you some idea https://www.rabbies.com/en/tour-sear...e=Any&length=4

You notice some of those do go as far as Skye -- but that is a driver who does this every day and knows the route like the back of their hand and isn't driving two cars trying to keep together . . .

If you only have a week total -- then I'd probably do Edinburgh and the Callander area.
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Old Jun 13th, 2017, 04:47 PM
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I definitely do not want to spend a day traveling to skye. Ok. Thanks so much! Once I get a few minutes tonight I'll dig into your suggestions. I'm getting excited! It's actually helpful and a relief to hear that something is too much to tackle on this trip - pares it down.
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Old Jun 15th, 2017, 01:11 PM
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I know you said you aren't into museums, but the http://www.nms.ac.uk/national-museum-of-scotland/ in Edinburgh is really quite amazing. It will give you some context for seeing everything else in Scotland.

And pay attention to janisj: 3 nights in one place is really only two days. Each time you move you have to pack up, check out, travel, check in...and everything will take longer than you think. Also, Callander is surrounded by more beautiful lochs than you can imagine.
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Old Jun 16th, 2017, 06:17 AM
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Personally, I think 9 days is long enough to see Edinburgh and Skye. I would not bother with Loch Ness - stick to Skye and the area across from it on the mainland within an hour or two's drive from the island. Btw, driving is relatively easy as the roads are usually quiet once clear of the cities, and June is particularly ideal, being outside school holiday time for most of the UK, plus you will have long hours of daylight. No-one in your party is elderly so energy levels should be fine. Go for it.

Arrive day 1
Explore city: day 2
Explore city: day 3
Drive to skye: day 4
Explore Skye: day 5
Explore Skye: day 6
Explore Skye - day 7
Drive to Edinburgh - day 8
Fly home - day 9

Btw click on my ID for Trip Reports to both the Skye area and Edinburgh.
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