Help with Scotland trip plans for July!

Old May 24th, 2006, 06:51 AM
  #1  
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Help with Scotland trip plans for July!

Hi fellow Fodorites!

I started planning our 2 week July trip to Scotland ealier this year but got diverted and now am trying to get it figured out! We have 18 days (July 1 - 18)and will arrive in London from Dallas on the morning of July 2. I am looking for help with several areas of the trip. Please advise me - I sure need help as you will see!

Tentative ideas

July 1 - Fly to London

2 - Arrive and Do London

3 - Do London

4 - Do London A.M. Take afternoon train to Edinburgh. Stay overnight in Edinburgh.

5 - Do Edinburgh. Overnight.

6 - Do Edinburgh. Overnight.

7 - Get a car. Go to Borders - Melrose, Jedburgh, few other sites. Plan to stay overnight down there closeby.

8 - Go to Stirling area. Do Stirling Castle and Bannockburn area. Culross. Stay somewhere east of Stirling, central to the Fife area.

9 - Drive thru fishing villages to ST. Andrew and see it. See other sites near Perth and Dundee. Stay in same place.

10 - Want to see Dunottar Castle near Stonehaven. Is it worth it? Do other castles near Aberdeen. Stay somewhere on the way to Inverness? (Not sure if we should go north via Aberdeen or Pitlochry. Need help here.)

11 - Inverness area. See Culloden Battlefield, Fort George, do Loch Ness short cruise, drive along Loch Ness and see castle, etc. Stay along the area.

12 - Go to Skye via the bridge. Do Skye in afternoon. Stay in Skye.

13 - Do Skye. Stay in Skye.

14 - Go to Ben Nevis and Glen coe areas. Stay in or near Oban?

15 - Head to Trossachs and Lake Lomond. See area. Stay in area.

16 - What to do here? Spend more time elsewhere?

17 - Get to Glascow airport in afternoon and fly to London in late afternoon. Stay at Gatwick.

18 - Fly home from Gatwick in morning.

Need help with time planning and advise on areas to overnight. If you have suggestions for nice places to stay, please suggest. We like nice older places with character and gardens, etc.

Any Help, Please! Thanks!!

Ginny
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Old May 24th, 2006, 07:34 AM
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Just adding a couple of notes to my post above. We are a couple in our early 50's. We are not interested the Malt Whisky trail. We like castles, museums, scenery, historical sites. My husband loves good forts and lighthouses. We like fine dining (not every night!). We are not interested in seeing Glascow. (I am sure it is very nice but not at the end of long trip. Maybe next time.)

I know my plans are too rushed so any suggestions would be much appreciated!

Ginny
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Old May 24th, 2006, 07:41 AM
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It looks like you have a decent plan -- not to fast, staying in one place every couple of days.

What are your interests? Evidently some history, as you list castles and battlefields. On your way to Skye, I'd see Eilan Donan Castle. Also, don't miss Urquhart on Loch Ness.

I will recommend the B&B I stayed at on Skye, www.visitskye.com. It's called Tir Alainn (Beautiful Country) and it's clean, friendly, and a great view. Ron even sang for us as he served us breakfast

Definitely consider Oban as a stay -- it's a delightful town. Another option might be Croabh Haven Village, a seaside village near the Lunga Estate (http://www.lunga.com/). We stayed at this manor house -turned-B&B and it was one of the best stays we had.

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Old May 24th, 2006, 07:57 AM
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A little more rushed than I like but a LOT better than many potential itineraries we see here.

Just a couple of short comments:

Dunottar is one hundred % "worth it". If the weather is decent it may be one of the highlights of the whole trip.

Your days 8, 9 and 10 are a bit to-ing and fro-ing. Stirling is very close to the Trossachs. So I might do it this way -- After Edinburgh, visit Culross, then head to St Andrews/the fishing villages. Stay Fife.

Then head up the coast to Dunottar and the "Castle Trail". And then follow the rest of your itinerary -- You will have gained a day which you can add to the end to cover the Trossachs/Stirling/Loch Lomond.
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Old May 24th, 2006, 12:46 PM
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Day 9's a bit iffy. Too much, really

Day 10 also fraught. If you start further north, more doable, but how any castles near Aberdeen do you plan to see? And if you go up the A9, that would be "none"
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Old May 24th, 2006, 01:49 PM
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Janis,

Where is the Castle Trail, anyway? I guess I will look online to see if I can find it. I like the idea of going to Fife from Edinburgh and doing Stirling and Loch Lomond toward the end of the trip!

Other questions for anyone:

Does it make sense with our amount of time to go to the Borders after Edinburgh for a day? Those ruins down there sounds so interesting and the area sounds lovely in the guidebooks.

About how much driving time from Aberdeen to the Inverness area along the A95? That seems like a long stretch. Anything else along that route we should see?

After Skye, would you recommend we take the ferry from Sleat or go back across the bridge? Any time saved by taking the ferry or perhaps the scenery is worth it?

I guess that is enough questions for now!! Thanks again for all your help.

Ginny

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Old May 24th, 2006, 02:22 PM
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I would take the ferry from Skye (taking the bridge to Skye). We did this, and the scenery really is beautiful, and the ferry enjoyable as well. Plus, you come out a lot closer to Glen Coe and Ben Nevis. You will pass Glenfinnan, which would be worth a stop.

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Old May 24th, 2006, 03:20 PM
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gopack: There are castles everywhere, but the "Castle Trail" are all the Aberdeenshire castles -- which are not far from Stonehaven/Dunottar -- Crathes, Fraser, Craigevar, Drum, Huntly, Fyvie, Kildrummy, etc. etc, etc.
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Old May 25th, 2006, 01:08 AM
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"If you have suggestions for nice places to stay, please suggest." What is your budget ? Are we talking B&Bs or castle hotels ?
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Old May 25th, 2006, 06:08 AM
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I found the all the castles in Aberdeenshire at the National Trust website. I went to the Map section and there are interactive regional maps available that have all the sites on them.

http://www.nts.org.uk/web/site/home/...08&NavPage=274

It's a great website.

Caroline,

We like staying very nice B&B's or old manor homes. We don't want to stay in a traditional "castle" hotel, with the stone walls, etc. I find those scary and spooky! (Not sure about what you meant by castle hotel.)

Greendragon,

Thanks for the idea of staying in Oban. I will look into it.

Noe847,

I think we will take the ferry back from Skye and hopefully have a great day for scenery.

There are so many great places to see, it's hard to narrow things down. Yikes!

Ginny






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Old May 25th, 2006, 07:13 AM
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If you are looking for a place in the Borders, I can highly recommend Ellistrin House in Hawick. The website seems to be a little persnickety, but don't let that put you off. Ron was very prompt in answering e-mails. I can assure you that the rooms are as nice in real life as they look on the website, and the hosts are great and very helpful.

www.ellistrin.co.uk
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Old Jun 13th, 2006, 07:00 PM
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GoAway,

Just want to say thanks for the link but we have sinced decided to skip the Borders area on this trip. I definitely want to see it and hope that when we return to see England, we can see that area at that time. (Fingers crossed.)

Ginny
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