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Maybe Scotland Fall 2025 - thoughts on how many days per location

Maybe Scotland Fall 2025 - thoughts on how many days per location

Old May 13th, 2024, 03:12 PM
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Maybe Scotland Fall 2025 - thoughts on how many days per location

I'm being optimistic and hoping we'll be able to travel and leave our 2 pups home with a house sitter.

I am thinking about Scotland and we'd go in Fall. My husband loves cooler weather and my birthday is in October. We haven't been to Scotland. We don't like to change locations frequently. We are thinking about Edinburgh for a few days, then on to St Andrews and then spend our remaining time in Auchterarder. We are not the type to pack our days and want a few planned things and then uncommitted time to leave to choice (especially if something is weather dependent).

In and around Edinburgh thinking about visiting....Holyrood Palace, St Giles Cathedral, Rosslyn Chapel, Edinburgh Castle. Considering The Balmoral Hotel.

We are both golf fans so St Andrews is a bit of a dream. I am sure we'll want to visit the R&A world golf museum, St Andrews walking tour and the cathedral ruins. We'd like to visit Dunnotar Castle from there. Probably Rusacks Hotel in St Andrews.

From Auchterarder (planning Gleneagles Hotel) , we're considering Drummond Castle Gardens, Doune Castle, Scone Palace and hopefully some scenic Lochs/waterfalls (recommendations needed)....is Loch Lomond to die for or just famous but there are others that are more beautiful (and less known). Finnich Glen looks beautiful.

In terms of sight seeing....nothing is an absolute requirement (yet) . Food and drink is always a focus for us and while I am not a huge Scotch fan, we'd do a tasting or visit a distillery that's smaller. We would not visit a big operation like Johnny Walker. We love a pub as much as fine dining.

I am thinking St Andrews is 2 nights. Edinburgh 4 nights and Auchterarder 6 nights...thoughts on the time division? Should St Andrews be 3 nights?

OK, Scotland experts (JanisJ - looking at you) - what are your thoughts, suggestions?
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Old May 13th, 2024, 05:43 PM
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Reporting for duty

All three hotels are really special so big yes for those. (I've stayed a Rusacks twice but not for years, and at Gleneagles once even longer ago). I've never stayed at the Balmoral but I've been there bunches of times for afternoon teas, cocktails etc.

Personally, based on what you want to see and do I feel you are a bit light for Edinburgh and St Andrews and a bit long for staying at Gleneagles. If Edinburgh is your first destination after flying from the States, I'd plan on an extra night in Edinburgh simply for jet lag and getting acclimated.

I'd want a minimum of three nights in Fife -- if you can arrange things to be in St Andrews on a Sunday so much the better. There is no play on the Old Course and it becomes essentially a big city park and you can walk every hole. You can also try to play the Old Course any other day. The starter will take singles and try to fit them in with pre-booked doubles and triples. Or you can play any of the other St Andrews courses (some require pre-booking and a few don't). And there is always the Himalayas (The Ladies Putting Club - open ro anyone). You may also want to take a drive up the coast (maybe on the way to Dunnottar) and see Carnoustie. Lots of fine/good dining in and around St Andrews. Definitely 100% try to book a meal at the Peat Inn -- REALLY terrific and has kept up its Michelin standard for decades. https://www.thepeatinn.co.uk

While in Fife also try to visit Falkland Palace and the fishing villages (Crail, Anstrurther, Pittenweem, etc),. And about a 45 minute drive north of St Andrews is Glamis Castle.

Re Loch Lomomd -- it is very pretty but it really isn't a must since you will be seeing a ton of other pretty lochs. Instead of spending the time driving down to Loch Lomond and/or Finnich Glen I'd go the other direction as a day trip to Killin/Falls of Dochart and explore Loch Tay/Fortingall.

Last edited by janisj; May 13th, 2024 at 06:24 PM. Reason: cleaned up some typos
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Old May 13th, 2024, 05:52 PM
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Never having even heard of Auchterarder, I’m absolutely not your target advisor and my only thought would be to suggest The Royal Yacht Britannia as an Edinburgh addition. On two visits to Edinburgh, we were so enchanted and content we didn’t venture very far from The Royal Mile. (We did ask a taxi driver to take us to Bute House, official residence of Scotland’s First Minister, as our trip was just after Nicola Sturgeon ran into difficulty.)
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Old May 13th, 2024, 05:54 PM
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Meant to add that Tullibardine Distillery is less than 5 miles from Gleneagles.
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Old May 13th, 2024, 07:35 PM
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jeeze louise, 'double and triples'??! Don't know where that came from - I meant twosomes and threesomes
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Old May 14th, 2024, 01:59 AM
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Whilst your husband likes cooler weather October can be perhaps cooler than he might like and also quite possible a lot wetter and windier. Although, like all of the UK, trying to predict the weather in any given month is a fool's errand and you could get glorious weather in October the odds are considerably less likely than if you were going in May/June or September. You would be seriously "unlucky" to get very hot weather in any of those months but the chances of better weather are much greater. As an example the weather in Edinburgh this week is forecast to be around 16 degrees. That sounds pretty much exactly what you would be looking for.
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Old May 14th, 2024, 03:18 AM
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Thank you! Off to a good start and I’m so appreciative of the responses and information.

I’m actually thrilled to know St Andrews is worth a longer stay and the Sunday information is very welcome. I am a golf fan but don’t play but Mr Starbucks does and definitely considering playing since he didn’t get to play in Ireland and all and well St Andrews is mecca.

nyse—-Auchterarder is where Gleneagles is located otherwise I’d never heard of it. 😉

Not surprised at the stay in Edinburgh longer suggestion, as well—noted. And absolutely get that UK weather is a crap shoot. We typically don’t travel in summer as we hate crowds more than I can say. While we don’t want a rainy vaca we don’t get too upset with rain…it has rarely had a negative impact on a trip (maybe the worst was Cliffs of Moher a few years ago and if we had been there an hour or two earlier or later we would’ve missed it).

I feel like I’m off to a pretty good start here but always looking for additional advice and suggestions.

this destination may be written in the stars..as I started a new book last night (part of a series I’ve been reading) and it’s set in Scotland. Coincidence? I think not and maybe I’ll find a Scotch that I love.
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Old May 14th, 2024, 06:22 AM
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Re the weather - one thing I was going to mention but thought my first post was already getting on the long side

Autumn is a glorious time to visit Scotland but the earlier in the Fall the better chance for good or good-ish weather would be earlier. So if dates are flexible I'd plan on Sept through early October rather than say late October. However it is a total crap shoot. September could have fabulous weather and late Oct. could be dreck. Or it could be vise versa - or both could be great or horrible or some of both. Often on the same day. One thing in your favor/favour is that the east/central parts of the country where your itinerary covers tend to be a bit drier than the west coast.

IF the length of the trip is fungible something like 5 nights Edinburgh, 5 nights St Andrews (not just for St Andrews but to fit in day trips around Fife and to Glamis and Dunnottar, and 5 nights for Gleneagles would be pretty perfect. But if not , your original 12 nights is totally doable.reasonable. 4 nights Edinburgh, 3 (or even 4) nights in St Andrews, and 5 (or 5) nights at Gleneagles.

I've not been to Drummond Castle Garden as late as October but was once there in early September and if anything it was even prettier than in high season. Some of the bedding plants may have been pulled up but at the time you visit the variation in the tree foliage will be even more dramatic.
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Old May 14th, 2024, 06:55 AM
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Originally Posted by janisj
Re the weather - one thing I was going to mention but thought my first post was already getting on the long side

Autumn is a glorious time to visit Scotland but the earlier in the Fall the better chance for good or good-ish weather would be earlier. So if dates are flexible I'd plan on Sept through early October rather than say late October. However it is a total crap shoot. September could have fabulous weather and late Oct. could be dreck.
Or to use the good Scots word it could be dreich.
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Old May 14th, 2024, 07:22 AM
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Originally Posted by hetismij2
or to use the good scots word it could be dreich.
👍
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Old May 14th, 2024, 07:44 AM
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Originally Posted by janisj
I'd go the other direction as a day trip to Killin/Falls of Dochart and explore Loch Tay/Fortingall.
I was going to make a similar suggestion. Given the time of year I'd REALLY try to take a day to drive up Glen Lyon - all the way to Loch Lyon (it's basically a cul-de-sac.) In the autumn Glen Lyon is beyond stunning - simply magnificent. I know you don't want to bounce around too much, but you might even consider booking a room at the marvelous Fortingall Hotel for a night - it's pretty much an ideal country hotel, set in an historic and drop-dead picturesque village, and minutes from the glories of Glen Lyon.

Glen Lyon Feature Page on Undiscovered Scotland
Fortingall Feature Page on Undiscovered Scotland



Map - https://maps.app.goo.gl/jknqLrjaEDhQkFMBA



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Old May 14th, 2024, 11:10 AM
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From the standpoint of playing golf in and around St Andrews, of course the Old Course is full of history, and playing it was one of my life's bucket list activities. But I needed to sleep outside the starter's shack starting at 6 pm the night before my game to get a tee time, joining another group who had a cancellation. It was worth it, but not for someone who demands ease.

For purely the best golf course in the region, most Scots would say to play Kingsbarns. It's expensive, but it's spectacular. Returning to Scotland, I'd eagerly play Kingsbarns again. The Old Course? Done that, don't need to do it again.
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Old May 14th, 2024, 11:38 AM
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Instead of the (very) expensive and fairly exclusive KingsBarns -- there are the eight other courses in St Andrews itself, plus Crail, Leven Links, Lundin, Elie, Ladybank and about 30 other great courses within 20 miles or less from St Andrews. But since only one of you would be playing I'd maybe stick with trying to get on the Old Course, or doing the Jubilee Course, or maybe Crail.

I assume a round or two are planned at Gleneagles since you are staying at the hotel??
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Old May 14th, 2024, 12:13 PM
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We were in Glasgow and Edinburgh in early October last year. The weather was mixed as we did have several days of torrential rain as well as some sunny days - the sunny days were the first part of the trip as we spent two nights in Glasgow before taking the train to Edinburgh where we spent 5 nights before taking the train to London. We had planned to go to St Andrews for a day trip on the Sunday we were there but there was such torrential rainstorms north of Edinburgh all the roads and rail were closed. We really enjoyed Edinburgh and on one of the days we did a tour that went to Stirling Castle, Dunferline Abbey and Rosslyn Chapel. It was good to go to three different destinations and we had enough time in each place to see and do. The tour van also stopped at the monument on the battlefield for the Scottish War for Independence. You can go on your own by train to Stirliing which is a sweet town or to Rosslyn Chapel by bus but this was efficient and not too expensive. Among our favorite sites in Edinburgh were the Palace at Holyrood, St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh Castle (primarily for the dramatic sitng, especially as you walk up to it), the National Museum of Scotland, the National Gallery of Art and the Royal Yacht Britannia. Very easy to get around by walking although pretty hilly. We stayed in St Andrews Square and easy to take the tram to the Royal Yacht Britannias. Lots of nice restaurants and you do need to make advance reservations especially for the weekend. We really enjoyed Fishers in the City and Dusit (best Thai food I think I've had) and we were never able to get a reservation at Harvey Nichols. There are lots of pubs on Rose Street as well as branches of The Ivy and Dishoom.
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Old May 14th, 2024, 02:12 PM
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Looking at the green fees at Gleneagles, let me just say if you can afford to play there, you ought to go ahead and play Kingsbarns as well.
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Old May 14th, 2024, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by jeffhullinger3220
Looking at the green fees at Gleneagles, let me just say if you can afford to play there, you ought to go ahead and play Kingsbarns as well.
But it is only the husband playing - Taking the full situation into account IMO/IME there is a lot for a non-playing spouse to do in St Andrews, Gleneagles, even Crail while the golf nut is playing a round. There is nothing around Kingsbarns other than the course.

(Surprisingly green fees for Gleneagles in October are downright reasonable for hotel guests - only £180. Kingsbarns is £418! )
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Old May 14th, 2024, 05:48 PM
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Gardyloo-Glen Lyon sounds amazing. Thank you.

jeffhullinger and janisj- great golf clearly won’t be an issue—appreciate the suggestions — St Andrews is definitely a bucket list for golf but great to have multiple spots.

I have to ask Jeff—-are you in the Atlanta area by chance?
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Old May 14th, 2024, 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by denisea
Gardyloo-Glen Lyon sounds amazing. Thank you.

jeffhullinger and janisj- great golf clearly won’t be an issue—appreciate the suggestions — St Andrews is definitely a bucket list for golf but great to have multiple spots.

I have to ask Jeff—-are you in the Atlanta area by chance?
Ha! No, I'm not. But I have a funny story along those lines.

About 40 years ago I was traveling to ATL for business and wanted to eat at a popular restaurant that didn't take reservations. So I called them and gave them my name and asked if they might have a table for me and my friends. They quickly responded "Yes!" and hooked me up with a great table pronto.

Only after I showed up did they realize I was not the local celebrity they expected. They were chagrined that they'd allocated a primo table to a nonentity rather than the handsome local sportscaster. (Full disclosure: I was actually much more handsome than he.)
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Old May 15th, 2024, 11:00 AM
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Great story- I had a feeling you had been asked that question before Jeff!!! Well done on snagging that reservation!
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Old May 16th, 2024, 04:21 PM
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Thanks Madame397…missed your post previously. Didn’t know there is Dishoom in Edinburgh. I really want to go to The Witchery.

Good info on your tour van to Stirling Castle and Rosslyn Chapel. I know we won’t see it all but want to make the most of our time and we’ll definitely be hitting some pubs!
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