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Going to Scotland

Cochrane, Canada
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Going to Scotland

My husband and i are planning on trip to Scotland, but when i tried to start planning where to go and what to see, i realized i know very little about Scotland.

So that being said, what time of year is best to go to Scotland?

Where should we base ourselves?

And in your opinion what are must sees and must do's?

We are moderately active, enjoy things like hikes and such, but my hubby is terrified of water so no intense rafting or anything, but big ferry type boats should be fine.

Also, we are into history, so museums, castles, landmarks etc would be great!

Thanks in advance for your help!

Lakeside, Montana
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1. Re: Going to Scotland

Go on the second week in Sept. Hit all the popular spots as soon as they open and you will have them to yourselves. Eat lots of haggis and drink lots of beer.

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2. Re: Going to Scotland

Statistics say that May is Scotland's sunniest month, and given the spectacular scenery I'd say that would be the best month to visit as you have most chance of clear days. (Warning- this is the UK, while May is most likely to be the sunniest month that is not guaranteed!). Also later in the summer you get midges- tiny little gnat like insects that bite- while they are generally harmless the bites are unpleasant.

I'm bound to offend someone now, so before I do let me say that Scotland is fabulous for scenery, almost everywhere

If I could only visit one city it would be Edinburgh.. although other cities run it close. For scenery I'd head North and West from Glasgow- Loch Lomond, Oban, Loch Marie, The Great Glen (with Loch Ness in it) Fort William ( for Ben Nevis), Glen Coe, The Isle of Skye (which you can drive to by bridge), Applecross, and Ullapool are all worth trying to get to, as much because of what you will see on the way there, as the places themselves

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3. Re: Going to Scotland


So much to see and do. Do your homework and enjoy it!!!

2 questions:

- how long are you planning to visit? The longer the better, you could literally fill a month if you wanted. How long you stay will determine how far and a field you can travel.

- what type of tranport are you planning? We traveled by car, give you great flexibility. Public transport is available, but limits you and there are group tours if you like.

Any trip to Scotland would not be complete without a visit to Edinburgh. 2- 3 days is a minimum. I would start my trip there, so that you have a chance to adjust to the time change. You've got a castle and a palace that are must visits. Other castles near by via bus or train. You've got several museums, most are free. You've got a big hill to climb, takes 2 hrs anyway. And a smaller one. Both are right in town and both give great views. Great resturants and pubs galore!!! Mostly tacky shopping (but not all tacky) and many sites to visit on the Royal Mile (1m between the castle and the palace). You've got upscale shopping if you like that in Prince's St and Newtown.

Edinburgh is very compact!!! Appx 1 mile by 1.5 miles to get to most everything.

Stay in Edinburgh, again at the beginning. You won't need a car - you don't want a car while there. You can visit Glasgow for a day trip, lots of things to see there. You can also take a day trip to Stirling or St. Andrews, while keeping a base in Edinburgh. When done, pick up a car and go.

TIme of year is up to you, but remember May through Sept, you'll have nice long daylight hours.

The month of August is the big festival time in Edinburgh, crazy and crowded and fun. We visited in June so missed it, but one thing we really want to return to see is the "Military Tattoo". That would really be a treat to see. One other thing that we did do and really enjoyed was attending a Highland Games. THey are scheduled most Sat and Sun between May and Sept. Once you figure out the when's and where's of your trip, you should be able to find a Games to attend.

OK, if you or your husband enjoy Scotch then by all means plan to visit a distillery or 2 and lots of pubs. Distilleries are sort of all over, so plan the areas you want to see (Loch Lomond, Isle of Skye, etc..., then figure out distilleries that are in that area or on the way. Many dozens to choose from.

Same can be said for castles. THey are all over Scotland. Some big, some small, some in towns, some out in the middle of ruralo nowhere, some beautiful palaces, some in many different stages of decay. All (mostly) with a charm of their own. Obviously Edinburgh Castle is a musst see, probably Stirling, then there are dozens to choose from.

That's just some random thought about how to think about it. Answer the first 2 questions and that will help!

Here are several websites that we found useful:





Depending on how long you are visiting and what you plan to see, there are some discount passes that might save you some money. We can get to that later.

Good luck and enjoy your planning.


Scunthorpe, United...
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4. Re: Going to Scotland

May is a popular choice as you will have very long evenings. The further north you go the more daylight. You will also get the wild flowers.

September has shorter days. Heather will be in flower. Towards the end of the month trees may be beginning to change colour.

Avoid Edinburgh in August unless you want to see the Tattoo or the Festival. July and August tend to be the busiest months. Scottish schools are on holiday July-mid August. English schools from end of July to start of September.

I'm not going to try and give you an itinerary at this stage as my choice of must sees/does could be very different to yours. Instead here are some ideas to help you answer your questions and begin to plan your own special itinerary.

First of all get yourself a good guide book with a lot of pictures. Eyewitness Scotland is a good choice:


There is a new edition being published in March 2012. Basic information will be the same but suggestions for accommodation and eating will have been updated.

Read and look at the pictures and decide what areas you want to visit and what you might want to see and do. You may find you have to be fairly ruthless at cutting things out to keep the itinerary manageable. This initial research will pay dividends as you can begin to identify places which appeal to you.

Have a look at this website which will give you ideas of what you can do in the time you have available.


Use Google maps or AA to work out routes and journey times. Remember these are minimum times so you will need to add in plenty of time for stops.


Finally once you have decide what areas you want to visit, this is a marvellous source of ideas of places to visit, things to see and do. Start with the map pages and follow the links to the text pages with photos and information.


5. Re: Going to Scotland

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