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10 day itinerary-too much driving?

california
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10 day itinerary-too much driving?

My husband and I are planning our first trip to Scotland in May 2012. We fly into Edinburgh from Dublin and plan to stay at least 2 days in Edinburgh. We would also like to see Stirling Castle, the Isle of Mull and Iona, some of the Trossachs and Loch Lomond,as well as Culzean Castle and Glasgow.

My tentative itinerary is:

Fly into Edinburgh in the morning, spend the afternoon and all the next day in Edinburgh.

Drive from Edinburgh to Melrose Abbey, return to Edinburgh.

Drive from Edinburgh to Falkland Palace, then to Stirling Castle, then

to Glasgow.

Spend 1 full day in Glasgow.

Drive from Glasgow to Culzean Castle, possibly DrumLanrig Castle, back to Glasgow.

Glasgow to Loch Lomond to Oban. Stay in Oban.

Drive to Mull and Iona, stay in Mull?

Return to Edinburgh, stay the night.

Fly home to California.

I know this seems like a lot of driving, but we are used to driving a couple of hours, no problem. Doing that every single day may become tiresome though.

Edinburgh, Stirling Castle and Mull are our top priorities thus far. We like castles, beautifully crafted churches, gardens, scenery, and wildlife. I like to take photos, so architecture and scenery are

important too.

Sorry, I know this is a lengthy post, but there are so many interesting things to see and it's so difficult to choose.

Thank you for any suggestions.

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1. Re: 10 day itinerary-too much driving?

Its hard to understand how much driving you actually have, if you could break it into a day by day that would help rather than sentences.

My gut reaction simply reading the places is its doable, but I would caution on your sentence "I know this seems like a lot of driving, but we are used to driving a couple of hours, no problem.". That is a typical American/Aussie idea, but its not relevant or accurate, as Scottish roads are so different to a mindless Americian cruise. The roads are narrow, twisty, with traffic and you have to focus rather than switch off.

As I said, gut reaction says its ok, but a day by day break down would help give an accurate answer

Manchester, United...
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2. Re: 10 day itinerary-too much driving?

So Mull is a 'top prioriy'' and yet you are going to drive all that way just for one night!

I'd be imclined to stay longer in Edinburgh, withe a couple of day trips, e.g. To Stirling, Falkland Palace or Glasgow. Then drive straight to Oban via Loch Lomond and give yourselves three nights (two clear days) to do Mull and Iona.

Crathie
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3. Re: 10 day itinerary-too much driving?

You do not need a car in Edinburgh and you can reach Glasgow and Stirling very easily by public transport from Edinburgh, so I am inclined to agree with Dhmellor. Stay a little longer in Edinburgh and do day trips. Then begin your longer trip and use a car. IMHO Mull is worth a two night stay at least. Cars are not allowed on Iona so you must cross as foot passengers on the ferry.

I have seen Californian roads for myself and they are not like UK ones at all. Just as US B&B's are not like UK B&B's. You will undoubtedly need more time than you think to drive from A to B in Scotland. This is a useful site for estimating drive times.

http://www.theaa.com/route-planner/index.jsp

Edinburgh, Scotland
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4. Re: 10 day itinerary-too much driving?

All the above responses make very sound points.

I would like to emphasize the point about cars, driving and Edinburgh and Glasgow. It is possible to go to the places you mention - Melrose, Falkland, Culzean etc (all good choices!) - by bus, but having a hire car is much more convenient. However, if you are staying in Edinburgh or Glasgow, you need to think through where you are going to put it overnight or whilst you are visiting these cities. In both cases, but especially Edinburgh, a car in the centre is an expensive millstone. There is an excellent bus service within both which will get you to exactly where you want quickly and at prices a lot lower than the cost of parking for an hour or two.

One solution is to stay somewhere outside the city centre where the hotel either has parking, or where nearby on-street parking is free. There are plenty of places, at all price levels and standards. The "parkopedia" site is useful for evaluating the situation in any given area, any hotel you are considering should be able to answer a direct question, or of course you can always ask here!

Edinburgh, United...
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5. Re: 10 day itinerary-too much driving?

Hi and welcome to the forum.

I agree with the previous replies- doable but definitely a big driving undertaking. Do you intend to drive from Mull all the way back to Edinburgh in a single journey? That is at least 4 hrs of driving, if the roads are clear of tourist traffic.

I agree that Edinburgh and Glasgow do not lend themselves to driving- complex street systems and a lack of affordable parking.

If you are looking to make more time for Mull/Iona, Culzean Castle would seem the obvious place to cut from your plan. It is a lovely setting, and Ayrshire isn't given the attention it deserves by most visitors, but it is somewhat out of the way and by your own admission, not one of your must sees.

I think you'll have a great trip, after some of these little things have been smoothed out!

Abs

Edinburgh, Scotland
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6. Re: 10 day itinerary-too much driving?

Oops. Hit "back" button. Sigh.

Edited: 22 August 2011, 09:49
Oakham, United...
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7. Re: 10 day itinerary-too much driving?

Do you really like Cities , or do you want to see hills and countryside? If you want to go into the Highlands, I'd delete Glasgow from yrou destination list, and give yoruself more time to relax on Mull, or around Oba - or a night somewhere between Edinburgh & Oban.

Stanley, Falkland...
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8. Re: 10 day itinerary-too much driving?

Yes, it would be helpful to know the exact number of days you have.

How about.....?

See Edinburgh, then, when leaving, drive to Melrose (1 hr, roughly); drive to Culzean, with lunch on the way (4 hours). Night in Ayr.

Drive to Oban (4 hours), ferry to Mull. Stay 2 nights.

Return to east, eg Fife, via Stirling. (3 hours driving + ferry)

Return to Edinburgh (1 hour).

california
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9. Re: 10 day itinerary-too much driving?

@GEJP - Sorry, each sentence represents one day. :)

Thank you everyone for your advice and insight! I did wonder about parking problems in Edinburgh, so it seems Melrose and Falkland will be day trips. Could Falkland and Stirling be combined into a day trip by bus from Edinburgh?

When we are ready to leave Edinburgh, should we perhaps take a bus or train to Glasgow and stay there for a night? Or just pick up a rental car there and head to Oban? Or do as Martin C suggests and just drive straight from Edinburgh to Oban? That would bascially eliminate Glasgow from our trip.

@Abs- Culzean looks beautiful, but so far from these other areas. :(

@Martin C- do you have a suggestion as to where we could stay on the drive between Edinburgh and Oban?

What about peterscot's suggested itinerary? It seems there are 2 lengthy drives back-to-back, but it does incorporate the places we would like to see.

Sorry to ask sooo very many questions, but there are so many choices and beautiful things to see.

Thank you all! :)

Stanley, Falkland...
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10. Re: 10 day itinerary-too much driving?

Well, I'm biased, but I do think my route has its merits!

# day 1 driving - you break the journey in Melrose, Moffat (or wherever for lunch) and Culzean. So not 4 hours solid driving.

Next day, the logical half-way point is around Loch Lomond, so it is easy and good to break up your drive there. And it is motorway most of the way from Ayr to Loch Lomond, so none of the narrow, twisty roads as elsewhere.