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Scotland in February - what to see?

Toowoomba, Australia
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Scotland in February - what to see?

I'm bringing my family to Britain in February next year, that's us parents and two children who'll be 7 and almost 4. None of us have been to Scotland before so we'd like to try to get a reasonable glimpse but can probably only spare a week as there are tonnes of rellies to visit in other places. We're open to all modes of transport but we're not really sure if car hire/self-drive would offer us any more than the trains in winter. I have visions of half of the country being out of bounds in winter!

We'll be leaving the north Queensland summer for Scotland so it's fair to say we don't have much in the way of warm clothing even. We'll rectify that with charity shops on arrival I think. A half-Scottish friend assures me waterproofs are essential. Is there a cheap way to do that rather than buying the best that will never get used again?

So, where do we go and how do we get there? We don't really need to find children's attractions as they've got family to amuse them for the other two weeks. We really want a scenic glimpse of Scotland, we want SCOTLAND, not stuff that you can find anywhere else (science museums, theme parks yadda yadda). I'm starting to think we should spend time in a couple of places rather than try to travel everything. I know someone in the south west who I'd kinda like to drop in on, which apparently begs a visit to the Isle of Arran.

Any suggestions at all? We'll probably be coming from York and haven't decided on trains or car from there. Unsure which is cheapest or easiest. Thanks in advance.

Scotland
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1. Re: Scotland in February - what to see?

Hi

I know this is a huge generalisation, but February often has the worst weather here. If you're unlucky we could have freezing temperatures, snow, sleet, ice - anything, so I would plan for that and you won't be disappointed.

It's going to be dark from 4.30 or 5.30 depending what date in February you arrive.

Given all that, how about spending some of your days based in Edinburgh? You could get a direct train from York and you would not need a car. Edinburgh is small and best seen on foot or on public transport.

Arran is a beautiful place and a reasonable drive from Edinburgh. There is always the risk that the ferry would not sail due to weather but you would be VERY unlucky for that to happen.

Timetables etc here

www.calmac.co.uk

You could hire a car on leaving Edinburgh, thus saving a bit of money.

Layers are the way to go. Fleece tops with waterproofs on top mean you can peel off if you go indoors. Decent walking shoes/boots are useful.

Look at shops like Milletts or Trespass for reasonably cheap outdoors stuff.

Manchester, United...
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for The Hebrides
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2. Re: Scotland in February - what to see?

As goodwitch says, the weather and the short-ish daylight hours are an issue in February. At least the hours of daylight are predictable, but the weather could be OK, or terrible!

You don't need a car in Edinburgh, and it's an easy train journey from York. So one plan might be to head for Edinburgh first, maybe booking, say, three nights accommodation in advance. Then see how the weather is. If it's OK, hire a car and take off towards the west, including Arran. If it's bad, then you can stay on in Edinburgh and use the train to make day trips to places like Glasgow and Stirling.

Perth, United...
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3. Re: Scotland in February - what to see?

What to see February? Well apart from seeing me sobbing into my drink as I reach a particular birthday milestone!!!LOL

February can be a bad month - you could also get azure blue skies and sunshine. You will feel it very cold and I think it's a great idea to visit a charity shop to kit yourself out. You will find loads of them on any High Street. The secret with our weather is to layer your clothes - warm under layers and a good wind and water proof top layer.

Driving in bad weather might not be a good idea for you so I would recommend the train. The train trip from Edinburgh to Pitlochry or Inverness never fails to impress me and takes you through some pretty spectacular scenery and someone else does the driving.

Whisky distilleries are quintessentially Scottish and I can recommend the one in Pitlochry - Edradour. It's Scotland's smallest and has an excellent tour. Go on a weekday when everything will be warm and cosy and working. Train to Pitlochry and either walk the couple of miles or arrange a taxi. Nothing like a warming dram to set you up in cold weather.

Fife, United Kingdom
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4. Re: Scotland in February - what to see?

Agree with Fofoma (and well done on your accolade old gal!) Edinburgh for a few days and then the train to Inverness where you could base yourself for another few days - it is a lovely (scenic)train journey and you could hop off at Pitlochry and maybe stay the night and then hop on again next day and head north. That way you don't need to use the A9 (main road to the north from the south)in what might be horrible weather. From Inverness you could visit Loch Ness, a nice little boat trip and you can sit inside and enjoy the scenery....there is also Culloden Battlefield (a bit exposed in Feb I know!)

What about the other stop off at Aviemore for great scenery and lovely walks. Its certainly the REAL Scottish Highlands. If any of these suggestions interest you let me know and I can try to be more specific.

If you stay in Pitlochry you can visit the distillery as was mentioned - then you could maybe go the short journey (Bus? taxi?) to Blair Atholl Castle which is beautiful. The weather is uncertain, but the short days are a definite, so you need to be up and about early to make the most of the daylight hours.

Good luck!

Woody x

Toowoomba, Australia
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5. Re: Scotland in February - what to see?

I should confess that I am English, and thus not afraid of driving in horrible conditions, but it has admittedly been a few years since I had any shockers in the UK! I can't see me driving with food, water, a shovel and all the other stuff that is recommended though so I need to take that in to consideration. I imagine that you can only see the best bits in a car/on foot (not the trains) so I see driving as a bit of a necessity. I just don't want the roads to be cut off if I've planned on driving them :-( I do have rellies in Edinburgh too so we had planned to visit there anyway. I'm told it's chaos at the moment, and for the next couple of years ;-) bummer....

Toowoomba, Australia
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6. Re: Scotland in February - what to see?

P.S. I am very much expecting the worst possible weather. I realise it is probably the worst month to visit but unfortunately it was the best break that I have between uni holidays for the foreseable future and it was also A$2000 cheaper than it would be at christmas (to fly a family of four) :-O I certainly remember it being dark when I used to get off the school bus at 4pm in central England so there wont be any surprises for me, even if they are distant memories. I reckon it might blow my children's sleep habits though!

We're planning to pack light and buy woolies/footwear from the charity shops, then redonate them when we leave. No sense in us buying the best and bringing it back here.

7. Re: Scotland in February - what to see?

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