Scotland Trip in August

Mar 28th, 2006, 11:36 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 8
Scotland Trip in August

Hello Fellow Travellers!

My husband and I are traveling to Scotland for our first time this coming August.We're going to be their for two weeks (8/6 to 8/19) and we're renting a car to make getting around easier for us. I have a couple of questions to the people who have be before.
-How much should we budget for lunch and dinner while were there?
-How much was the price of gas?
-Does anyone have any recommendations for places to go and see?
-Are the midges that bad in August?
-Any comments on driving in europe for first-timers?
-Any recommedations on the fringefest?
-Is rugby games played in August?
Currently, we're staying in various B&B,while we're there and I have the entire 2-weeks booked already because I heard that August is a busy month. Here's our scheduled trip.
August 7,8,9 Edinburgh
August 10,11 Huntly
August 12,13 Drummadrochit
August 14,15,16 Isle of the Skye
August 17th Oban
August 18th Sterling
August 19th Edinburgh
August 20th fly home
If anyone has any suggestions,thoughts or places we should stop, please feel welcome! I'm open to any advice!


Rachelle2 is offline  
Mar 29th, 2006, 04:26 AM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 6,282
What sort of eating are you likely to do ? A main course in a pub will normally be between £5 and £10, as a starting point. Either side of that you have sandwiches from c.32 to meals at Michelin starred restaurants for up to £80 per head without wine.

I believe petrol is currently c.92.9p per litre from supermarkets (the cheapest).

The midges are only a problem in the north & west & then it depends on the weather.

The Fringe programme doesn't come out until 8 June (; the book festival programme comes out on 16 June ( & the film festival programme some timwe in July I think (

The International Festival programme is however already out (

What sort of stuff do you like ? The Fringe runs the gamut from comedians (well known to unknown) to experimental theatre, dance, kids' shows...

Rugby is not played in August as far as I'm aware - it's a winter game.

Don't hire a car until you leave Edinburgh. Where are you staying ?

Any other specific questions, please ask.
caroline_edinburgh is offline  
Mar 29th, 2006, 04:27 AM
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Oops, that should of course be sandwiches from c.£2 !
caroline_edinburgh is offline  
Mar 29th, 2006, 06:54 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 8
Dear Caroline:

Thanks so much for responsing! I was worried that I might not get any responses. As far as food, my husband and I are pretty simply people, pub food and sandwiches is what we'll probably eat most of the time.. And maybe we'll catch a really nice dinner a few times while we're there.

This may sound like a crazy question, but what should we except of the fringe festival? I've been to the website and its kinda confusing.. Do you buy tickets to the whole fringe fest or just select shows?
As far as what we like to do.. well..we both like to the outdoors, music, gardens, history and places that are off the beaten path..We're hoping to get to know the scottish culture while were there.
At the moment we're planning on picking up our rental car at the airport and drive it to our first B&B in Edinburgh..and then parking it on the street for the next three days.. I've heard the downtown isn't a good place to drive around, right? and we're staying at the Mcdonalds B&B, off of Mcdonald street and Leith road. The website said that its a 10-15 min walk to Princess street. (Hopefully it is)

As far as other questions.. are there alot of ATMs/cashpoints in Scotland? I've heard that there hard to find. Also, any recommedations on things to do? We're both 27, and have no kids, we have no restrictions on where to go or what to do. Hope to hear back from you soon.


p.s. Do you know any slang, used in scotland,that would help out an American?

Rachelle2 is offline  
Mar 29th, 2006, 06:58 AM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 6,282
Hi Rachelle. I'm just off home now but I'll get back to you tomorrow.
caroline_edinburgh is offline  
Mar 29th, 2006, 07:03 AM
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Thanks so much!
Rachelle2 is offline  
Mar 29th, 2006, 10:44 AM
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 2
Sounds like you are well on your way to planning your trip. You will absolutely love Edinburgh, but you may want to rethink the car rental idea. It really isn't necessary in Edinburgh. We used the bus the whole time we were there to get around town, and a taxi to and from the airport. Gas is expensive (generally, I'd guess about $4/gallon or more now), and the whole driving on the wrong side of the road thing causes allot of tourists problems. There are nice bus tours that you can take around the Highlands and the rest of Scotland, and leave the driving to someone else. Just my opinion.
Are you planning on attending the Tattoo ceremonies? They are held in August and it's a major big thing for Edinburgh. That's why you've heard that August is busy there.
The castle has great historical value and I found it very fascinating, as well as the Crowned Jewels of Scotland. It's been 3 years since I was there and I can't remember exactly about the cost of food. I don't think it was outrageously expensive, but remember the rate is different there. Also, one thing I would keep in mind is that there are 2 types of Scottish Bank currency. If you have one of the kinds left over, it may be hard to convert back to dollars outside of Scotland. That happened to someone that lived in Germany when I was there, and she was stuck with over $1,000 worth of Scottish money. So, if it hasn't changed, I'd try to spend all of the money, or make sure not to have the currency from the one Bank that isn't exchangeable.
Hope you have a great trip!
europeanshopper is offline  
Mar 30th, 2006, 03:13 AM
Join Date: Jul 2004
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Hello again Rachelle.

For the Fringe festival, and indeed for all the festivals, you just buy tickets for individual performances. You'll be able to see the full Fringe programme online from 8 June & buy tickets then if you want. There's generally no need to book anything in advance; although since the programme is so extensive (generally c.1250 separate productions !), it may help to have a browse through & see what you fancy. The only things which may sell out in advance are occasional shows by famour comedians & the odd show which may involve one or more famous actors - but even they don't sell out for the full run until the festival has got going.

I don't know if you're interested in the International Festival ? Friends' booking opened last week & I already have my tickets ! Public booking opens on 8 April & a few things, e.g. the Berlin Phil, will sell out quickly.

Some events in the Book Fest will also sell out quickly since they are mainly one-offs.

Unless your car hire deal makes it no more expensive to hire for the full period, why hire for 3 days when you don't need it ? Has your B&B confirmed that there is unrestricted parking on McDonald Road ? I'm not sure. You also have to drive through the city centre to get there. There are 2 car hire places just on the next street up, Annandale Street - Ford & Good News - plus Hertz not far away at Picardy Place.

BTW it's Princes Street, not Princess. It would probably take me 20-25 mins to walk but Leith Walk is a good bus route.

There are lots of ATMs in the cities & you can always find one somewhere, wherever you are (well, OK, not on top of a mountain - but in any town or village). Watch out, though, for the ones which aren't owned by banks & which charge you.

Regarding what Melissa said about money. There are actually 3 Scottish banks which issue bank notes - Bank of Scotland, Royal Bank of Scotland and Clydesdale. I've never had any difficulty changing Scottish notes anywhere but I've seen other posters here claiming that they have. These are perfectly legal bank notes & should be exchangeable by any bank. But in any case, I can't imagine why anyone would end up with an unused $1000 in local currency. Just withdraw what you need each day, or enough for 2-3 days if you feel more comfortable with that.

The Tattoo is on at the same time as the other festivals & I'd dispute Melissa's claim that it's the main draw - the Fringe is much bigger - but many people only seem to have heard of the Tattoo. Although I generally go to about 50 festival shows each year I've never had the slightest desire to go to the Tattoo which IMO is a celebration of militarism aimed at elderly tourists. It's sold out now, anyway.

A good starting point for exploring Edinburgh is to get the open top bus tour - Guide Friday is the best. It goes round all the main sights & you can get on & off as often as you like. Do a full circuit first to get an overview of the Old & New Towns. Then travel to the stop nearest the Castle, get off & tour the Castle, walk down the Royal Mile, tour the Palace & get back on the bus.

Any good guidebook should give you ideas for other attractions you might like. The Royal Yacht is quite interesting - one of the tourist buses goes there but you'd save money by getting the normal 22 bus from Leith Walk to Ocean Terminal, where it is berthed.

Normal buses are £1 for any single journey (excluding the Airbus) but a day ticket for unlimited use is only £2.30.

If you don't get a car straightaway, you can get the Airbus to Princes St for c.£3 then change to a normal bus to Leith Walk.
caroline_edinburgh is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2006, 05:43 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,156

1. Ditch the car till you leave Edinburgh.

2. Caroline has answered your food budget question.

3.In rural Scotland you may find your petrol is closer to £1 a litre- we were 98.something in Dumfriesshire this last week. Try to buy your petrol at supermarket fillings tations. You'll be doing little for the rural economy, but lots for yours.

4. Places to see

Edinburgh- no brainer
Huntly- Huntly Castle. That's it.

Joking apart, you can come south or go west into the Castle Trail, east to the fishing villages of the north east coast; or north west to the whisky trail. There's CCTV from a Forestry Commission place just north of Huntly to a peregrine nest and a falconry centre just outstide the town.
Drummadrochit- the Loch. That's it. Avoid the tourist nonsence of Nessie Experiences, and get out of there AFTER you've trawled round the Black Isle on the way down. See Culloden, and Castle Brodie
Isle of the Skye- the scenery. The Flora Macdonald birthplace. The scenery. Dunvegan castle. The scenery. Portree Harbour. The scenery.
Oban- the distillery; Glen Coe en route, Glenfinnan Monument and viaduct and scenery en route. Kilmartin Glen en route to Stirling (OK. It's a bit of a detour.)
Stirling- Castle. Bannockburn

5. Midges- yes. But only in the west.

6. Driving- This was posted here some years ago. I split my sides at it.

Tips on Driving in the U.K.

Tip #1

Stay Left

One of the responses I received to my map request beat me to Tip #1 which is: "It is the job of the navigator to constantly mutter (yelling when needed), 'stay left!'"
Corollary to Tip #1

The navigator must alternate "stay left!" chants, with regular agitated squeals of "Don't hit the curb/wall/hedge/parked car!!!"

Tip #2

Avoid 'B' Roads

'B' roads in U.K. are described charitably and with some overstatement as 'secondary roads.' Indeed. 'B' roads are VERY narrow. The first 150 times you meet a truck or bus bearing down on you at 70 miles an hour will cause cardiac paralysis; at the 151st time, you just close your eyes and grit your teeth.

Tip #3

The Primacy of Automatic Transmission

Do not fail to rent a car with automatic transmission. Natives usually drive a stick-shift and most rental firms require reservations well in advance for an automatic. And, you really do want an automatic. I drive a stick at home; I even drive a stick in San Francisco . . . and there's no way I could have managed driving a car with the stick-shift on the driver's LEFT side. All, mind you, at the same time one is trying to stay left, not hit the curb / wall / parked car and negotiate roundabouts, which leads to the next tip.

Tip #4

Approach Roundabouts Slowly and Be Prepared to Stop Instantly

Roundabouts are an interesting traffic control device invented (apparently) to save money on traffic lights and stop signs. In the U.K., it is believed Roundabouts keep traffic moving smartly because they obviate the need for a car to stop when making turns at an intersection. The first time you meet a Round About three things will happen: 1. You will be paralyzed. 2. when motion is recovered, you will go 'round and 'round the Roundabout a half dozen times before figuring out how to get off. 3. You then will get off on the wrong road.

Tip #5

You must have a navigator.

Although Jim and I never once got lost (a veritable miracle) it is abundantly clear I could not have managed the driving AND the navigating. A navigator also is needed to bolster driver morale. So, the dialog within the car sounds something like this:

Navigator: "Stay left, DON'T hit the parked car, there's a Round About coming up, you're going to go three-quarters around and head off on the A273, DON'T hit that car, you're doing fine, you're doing great, STAY LEFT, you're great, doing fine, NOOOOOOO, don't hit the wall, doing fine."

Driver: "oh geez, I AM LEFT, oh geez, I either hit the wall or that truck, oh geez, how can they drive this fast, please pass me another valium, oh geez

7.Mid-August is too early for rugby
sheila is offline  

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