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travel04 Feb 6th, 2013 06:10 PM

Scotland and 1 more country
Hi folks,

I'll be going to Scotland in July with some families and am wondering how to arrange my itinerary:

There are a couple of men in the group (40s) who want to do a whiskey tour. Should they arrive in Edinburg and then rent a car to drive to Speyside to do the tour? Is it a day tour? So they stay one night? or do they stay there 2 nights?

Then they drive back to Edinburg. Drop off car. The women in the group join them (no they won't want to drink whiskey) and then everyone sightsees Edinburg for 3 days. Then perhaps a day trip to the highlands by mini coach perhaps to see Glencoe area and surrounding. (any recommendations on best tour to take to catch the prettiest of the highlands?)

After this we'd like to stay in a castle for 2 nights somewhere....any suggestions? moderately priced castle from where we can maybe do some hiking - light hiking as there will be children as well.

After Scotland, could we hop over to see Stonehenge perhaps or see Ireland? The trip should not be more than 2 weeks.

Any recommendations? Definitely whiskey trail, castle stay, Edinburgh, and one of the ladies really wants to see Ireland - anything spectacular that can be covered in 3-5 days or is it better to combine Scotland with England for Stonehenge?


Gardyloo Feb 6th, 2013 06:26 PM

I'll start with a couple of friendly spelling corrections. First, there's no "e" in whisky if you're referring to Scotch whisky. "Whisk<b>e</b>y generally refers to Irish whiskey.

Second, it's Edinburg<b>h</b>, pronounced "Edin-borough" or "Edin-bruh," not like Pittsburg.

I think you should do some homework and maybe consult Fodor's Scotland travel guide, here:

For example, touring the whisky areas like Speyside takes several days; by no means is it a day tour.

"Seeing" Ireland in 3-5 days is not really practical. While it's easy to get around, it's a big country and many roads are not suitable for fast travel.

If you really need to visit someplace else for that short a time, I'd say the south of England is your best bet. Stay in London and take day trips by train to other places, or just enjoy the city.

bankbabe Feb 6th, 2013 06:28 PM

I am interested to hear replies too. Thanks for starting this thread. We are planning on a trip to St.Andrews this summer so DH can play golf there. It's won his bucket list. We also want to see Ireland too. Is this poss bile in 10 days?

bankbabe Feb 6th, 2013 06:30 PM

Thanks Gardyloo. I am at the beginning planning stages.

janisj Feb 6th, 2013 06:43 PM

"<i>After Scotland, could we hop over to see Stonehenge perhaps or see Ireland?</i>"

Hard to give advice when the two options you give us are 1) a single historical site that is 450 miles from Edinburgh or 2) an entire country that is across a body of water and at least one other country from Edinburgh. Stonehenge is not a 'hop' from Scotland.

I think you first need some guidebooks and a <i>map</i>.

How many of you? What is your budget for the castle - and how many rooms do you need??

travel04 Feb 6th, 2013 08:36 PM

:) Thanks folks! Yes I read about the 'whisky' vs 'whiskey' right after I posted this on some thread :)

if it were up to me i'd do just scotland for 2 weeks but it's not...

and one of the ladies wants to combine Stonehenge with Scotland so I have to see how that is possible - understood it's not a 'hop' but I'm looking at perhaps 7 days in Scotland and another 7 perhaps in England for two weeks...(however I don't see how just based on the itinerary Im starting out with below)

The speyside whisky trail seems to be a 3 day trip from what i've read. So here's what I've got so far:

Fly into Edinburgh (yes im aware how to pronounce it as i've been there before thank you :)), drive or take a tour to Speyside and do the 3 day whisky trail. Then back to Edinburgh and meet the ladies who will have arrived by now.

3 days in Edinburgh is all they can afford.

After that, ideally, I think we should head to a castle stay in the highlands from where we can experience the highlands - either a walk or drive...I"m thinking Glencoe/the moors...but not sure if there are any castles where we can stay in that area? Has anyone stayed in a castle before? This would be another 3 day stay to get a taste of the Highlands. That's about 9 days total for the men. I believe castle budget should be between $100-$150 a night.

From here if they insist then we would go across to London. Base ourselves there. and see Stonehenge. I don't know. I have to read up on this part a bit more.


travel04 Feb 6th, 2013 08:38 PM

Thank you Gardyloo - will use that link to read up further - i don't know why the laughing icon shows up above when I simply meant to smile!!

historytraveler Feb 6th, 2013 09:37 PM

A quick thought on your castle budget. I think it'll be very difficult to find a castle hotel (assuming you're thinking real castle ?) for $150 a night. Change that to GBPs and just maybe.

Ackislander Feb 7th, 2013 02:54 AM

Your castle budget is unrealistic if you are thinking a castle hotel. The Landmark Trust (google them) have some apartments in castles, one notably not far from Edinburgh in Rosslyn that might meet your needs. Dalhousie Castle, also near Edinburgh in Bonnyrigg, is a castle hotel in the same general area. Both of these are close enough to the city that you _could_ use them to tour the city, but you need to be aware that traffic in the center of the city is horrible owing to a major construction project. You would want to go in by bus or train.

The railway journey on the West Highland line from Glasgow to Mallaig is one of the great rail journeys in the world and a terrific way to see Highland scenery in comfort. Yu can take a ferry to Skye from Mallaig through spectacular scenery and spend a couple of days on Skye rather than trying to go to Ireland. The gents could go to the Talisker distillery and drink some REAL single malt while the ladies could enjoy Portree.

bilboburgler Feb 7th, 2013 06:13 AM

Loads of options
1) Go to the North and visit the Orkney Isles (home of the British Fleet in two world wars and now home to seals and puffins). Some of their ancient buildings make Stonehenge look relatively modern.
1b) Go to Isla, while I don't drink whisky, if I did I would drink from Isla.
2) Ian Banks (the sci fi writer) has an excellent whisky guide book which is worth digging out.
3) Go south, though why you would go to the south of England when you have the whole of the north of England to pass through is beyond me.
4) Hadrian's wall is worth a tour, and York (a walled cathedral city is a three day visit)
5) The various monestries in the north are so pretty and many can be reached easily from the motorway system or by car or bus from York.

zippo Feb 7th, 2013 06:35 AM

Make sure your friend understands that access to the stones at Stonehenge is limited unless special arrangements are made.
If the Northwest (Skye or Ullapool) ends up on the itinerary then the Isle of Lewis is not far - the stones at Callanish are spectacular and accessible and the journey is beautiful.

travel04 Feb 7th, 2013 09:53 AM

thank you all so much - i will read up some more on everything you have mentioned and come back to this thread shortly!!

janisj Feb 7th, 2013 10:58 AM

Dor you mean $100-$150 per room -- or per person?

There are few (like basically none) Castle hotels costing £60 ($100). You <i>might</i> find something castle-ish around £95 ($150) but it would be tough.

Not quite sure what you mean that 3 days is all they can 'afford' in Edinburgh,yet they they think they can afford staying in a Castle.

I'd forget about staying a castle and just visit a few of them.

You are over complicating things. But the 'by then the ladies will arrive' bit seems to be a fly in the ointment.

Speyside is up north and the Highlands/Glencoe are up north. So it is easy to combine everything. 2 or 3 days on Speyside for the distilleries/central Highlands, and 2 or 3 days west of there to cover Glencoe/western Highlands/maybe as far as Skye.

Maybe if you clarify - will the Ladies be flying in separately? They could fly (or take the train) into Inverness and the Guys could pick them up there, travel through the western Highlands/Glencoe. End up in Edinburgh for a few days, then fly or take the train down to London.

I'd consider just doing 7-9 days in Scotland and the rest in London. You can do Stonehenge as a day trip from London.

re the emoticons - You probably typed : ) ) w/ no spaces. That missing space changes it from :) ) to :))

travel04 Feb 7th, 2013 05:40 PM

agreed with your London suggestion - few days in London combined with a day trip to Stonehenge seems doable for now.

So back to Scotland...ok so from what I know so far the ladies want to fly in separately after the guys finish their Whisky trail. So they would want to see Edinburgh as well.

Second these are all families. So they will have kids (meaning the ladies will bring the kids) and meet the men and everyone continue on after Speyside. So there are these mini coach buses run by Rabies and Highland Experience - they start the HIghlands tour from Edinburgh.

So if the women fly in from the US - and the men finish the speyside up north everyone can meet up at Edinburgh (I understand the men will be backtracking) and then continue on by mini coach to the highlands after staying in Edinburgh for 3 days.

As to how the men will do speyside...again I think they should fly in from the US to Edinburgh and from there....if they are comfortable rent a car and drive to Speyside and back (3 day trail tour on their own ???). If they don't want to drive then perhaps another mini coach option for them.

They are still unsure how many people etc that's why I don't have all the details yet other than them wanting my help on how to best do this :)

As far as castles, point taken, and I can't seem to find a castle, forget the budget, anywhere in Glencoe and surrounding areas.

travel04 Feb 7th, 2013 05:48 PM

Thank you Ackislander - I'm checking on the castles you mentioned and the railway journey...

janisj Feb 7th, 2013 06:58 PM

"<i>So back to Scotland...ok so from what I know so far the ladies want to fly in separately after the guys finish their Whisky trail. So they would want to see Edinburgh as well.</i>"

So apparently you aren't part of the group -right?

They are really REALLY over complicating things by not traveling together. This is like a golf trip where the guys have their fun and the wife/kids come over later, as though the golf courses are in some sort of male enclave w/ nothing else interesting nearby.

Speyside distilleries are near sooooo many other interesting things, Culloden, Cawdor Castle, Bridie Castle, Loch Ness, Dolphins, Ft George, the Cairngorms . . .

Why don't they all travel together???

travel04 Feb 14th, 2013 11:52 AM

:) i don't know why - but i'm hoping to find out more! Thanks again for all your suggestions!

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