Two hub holiday in Scotland July 2023

Old Jan 9th, 2023, 07:35 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 298
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Two hub holiday in Scotland July 2023

We are traveling to Scotland following one week at the Cambridge Law Lectures in Cambridge this July. My grandmother was born in Scotland and used to tell stories about playing on the walls of Edinburgh Castle during her childhood. She is long since deceased, but I would like to trace some of my family history.

We have traveled extensively and usually prefer to be in a central hub for a few days and take day trips. We also like downtime to explore on our own. We are flexible as to the number of days:7-10. We thought we may like to fly to Dublin for 3 nights at the end before returning home.

We are looking for two central hubs which we could use as home base to explore. Our interests include historic sites,, castles and fortresses, cultural activities and DH wants to walk the old course at St Andrews.. Given that we have some of the most beautiful scenery in our own backyard, (west coast of Canada) hiking and outdoor activities and seeing Scotlandís highest peak do not hold much interest for us.

i have made a tentative list of places and activities of interest: city tour of Edinburgh and the castle, Stirling castle, Roslyn Chapel, Glencoe and perhaps a distillery or two. I am interested in Scottish woolens,: cashmere and tweed.

Can anyone suggest two home bases that we could use as a base to explore? We would like to arrange day trips from each location. We do not want to be escorted by the same driver/guide throughout. The method of exploring has worked well for us in multiple countries. We enjoy time on our own but recognize that guides enrich the overall experience.

This Is our first and possibly only trip to Scotland. I am open to any suggestions and recommendations for local guides.

Thank you in advance, the Fodorite community has never let me down!


pirouette is offline  
Old Jan 9th, 2023, 08:28 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 70,705
Likes: 0
Received 50 Likes on 7 Posts
Just a couple of quick comments because I'm taking a short break working on booking a couple of trips and I've got too many tabs open


1) if you want to walk the Old Course you will have to visit St Andrews on a Sunday. The Old Course is closed for play on Sundays and the whole course becomes essentially a big city park and you are free to walk anywhere.

2) please clarify if the 7 - 10 nights includes the possible 3 nights in Dublin??

It sounds like you don't plan on driving yourselves (reference to a driver/guide). Maybe Look at the offerings from Rabbies -- they do single and multi day small group tours and are a great company with really good customer service https://www.rabbies.com/en
janisj is online now  
Old Jan 10th, 2023, 09:22 AM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 298
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The 7-10 days does not include Dublin. At the moment, that is the time we have allotted for Scotland. Thanks Janisj for the information on St Andrews. We are still looking for two central bases in Scotland for touring. We prefer to remain in one place for 3-4 nights rather than packing and repacking every night.
pirouette is offline  
Old Jan 10th, 2023, 10:14 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,038
Received 79 Likes on 8 Posts
Choosing just a couple of places is a bit frustrating; we'd probably recommend "seeing it all," but so be it.

I'd choose Edinburgh itself as an obvious first base. I'd probably look for accommodation outside the city core in order to deal with having a car to use for day trips. These could include Fife (for St. Andrews and the East Neuk fishing villages) or the Borders including Roslyn but also possibly a glorious drive down the Northumberland coast to the Holy Island and Bamburgh, returning via the Lammermuir Hills. Google the places on this map - https://goo.gl/maps/NKddgwTcRR7DYhai6

My second choice would be Oban. From Oban you can day trip to Inveraray, to Glen Coe, to Kilmartin with its collection of prehistoric sites (standing stones, etc.) and especially to the islands of Mull, Iona and Staffa. This amazing part of Argyll is like the Highlands and Islands in compact form; there's more than enough to see to occupy any number of days you could make available. I'd even go so far as to suggest that between Edinburgh and Argyll you'd be occupied enough to skip the Irish portion of the trip altogether, and save it for a time when you can do justice to the emerald isle. https://goo.gl/maps/qEJzudeZ6vkinVDd7

Just my views, of course.

Last edited by Gardyloo; Jan 10th, 2023 at 10:20 AM.
Gardyloo is offline  
Old Jan 11th, 2023, 11:47 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 832
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I'd also pick Edinburgh for the first base. Many of the oplacces you want to see can be visited from there on day trips (either by bus or train). Hawick Mill may be a good place to look for cashmere. Hawick is about 50 miles south of Edinburgh in the Borders and was traditionall a very important wool town.

The second base I would choose would either be somewhere between Oban and Glencoe. As well as the places listed by Gardyloo, there is also the Isle of Mull along with Iona and Staffa. Catch the train from Fort William to Mallaig (don't need to fork out for the Jacobite and the 'ordinary' service runs along the same route.) There is Oban Distillery as well as Ben Nevis Distillery.
wasleys is offline  
Old Jan 11th, 2023, 01:21 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 70,705
Likes: 0
Received 50 Likes on 7 Posts
Still need to know -- are you planning on driving yourself, or trying to use public transport and/or hired drivers?

re taking the train or bus to Mallaig - that only allows one to either get back on the train and return back to Ft William - OR - cross over to Skye and then rely on very slow/sporadic bus service or pre-booking a local driver.

As for cashmere -- going to local mills (mostly in the Borders) can be interesting. But the best assortment will be found in the posh shops in Edinburgh and St Andrews

If I had to choose 2 bases -- one would be Edinburgh for sure. Besides all the sites in the city, from there you can do day trips via train or train & bus to Stirling, St Andrews, the Borders, and other places.

the 2nd base - sooooo many options but it partly depends on IF you will have a car or not.
janisj is online now  
Old Jan 12th, 2023, 08:01 AM
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 298
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We will not be driving ourselves. We will likely use taxi-chauffeur services or a form of public transport to connect to our second hub.

We will start in Edinburgh and do day trips from there. I have just learned how expensive a private day tour is from Edinburgh. I was quoted a starting price of £840 per day for a private driver guide with car by Rabbie’s That seems very expensive, particularly when converted into Canadian dollars.

I had initially thought that Inverness may be a good second hub. Several have suggested Oban. Which would be a better location as a springboard for day trips given that we will not have a car?

pirouette is offline  
Old Jan 12th, 2023, 08:29 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 70,705
Likes: 0
Received 50 Likes on 7 Posts
I was not recommending a private tour with Rabbie's - but their regular scheduled tours. They use small vans -- with an absolute maximum of 16 passengers but typically much fewer -- they will still run if only a handful book a specific tour.

Private drivers used to be a practical possibility in some smaller towns/cities with local one-car taxi drivers picking up the odd job. But prices have increased a LOT in the last decade or so -- understandable because 1) petrol/commercial insurance/business rates (taxes) are very expensive, 2) average wages in the UK have increased to US-type levels so a driver will expect a reasonable return, and 3) the vast majority of those using private guides tend to be high end travelers -- think golfing foursomes, etc. So it is easy to charge what the traffic will bear.

Trains do not serve many of the rural towns / villages and almost none of the scenic icons. And local buses are not aimed at tourists -- they are mostly for the school run, or local commute patterns.

Sooooooo You really can't get very far off the beaten path without driving. Unless you want to spend major US$$$/CAN$$$/£££ you should consider group tours and Rabbie's are the best and just about the cheapest. They have tours out of Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Inverness so you could base in Edinburgh and one of the other cities and see a lot.
janisj is online now  
Old Jan 12th, 2023, 08:47 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,038
Received 79 Likes on 8 Posts
You could still include Oban as a possible base. It's served by a very scenic train line, and there are bus/boat tours to the various islands from the town. I also believe there are local tour guides who will offer escorted tours to other destinations, such as Inveraray, Kilmartin, Glen Coe, etc. Some googling should reveal their identities.
Gardyloo is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
RajatMakar
Europe
24
Feb 6th, 2023 11:10 PM
mocha_dolce
Europe
18
Nov 2nd, 2022 04:47 AM
Poppysmom
Europe
3
Sep 20th, 2022 11:54 AM
craigcash6760
Europe
6
Aug 1st, 2022 03:34 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -