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Overwhelmed by all the options in Scotland.Need Help Please.

Palos Verdes, CA
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Overwhelmed by all the options in Scotland.Need Help Please.

We have 5 nights to spend in Scotland in September as a result of a business trip and this is our first trip to the area. We plan on leaving Bath, England on a Thursday and arriving in Edinburgh that afternoon. We wanted to make Edinburgh our base for at least the first 2-3 nights of the trip. This will likely be our last trip to Scotland for many years so we want to make this count. I am overwhelmed by the many options and was hoping to get some itinerary assistance.

We have to be in Glasgow for business for most of the day on Friday (just taking a train) so this leaves all day Saturday, Sunday and Monday for exploring before we return to London on Tuesday. We have many questions: 1) How should we get from Bath to Edinburgh? Is there direct train service or do we have to return to London? How long should it take?; 2) Should we stay in Edinburgh for the whole 5 nights and do day trips (I have no concept of the distance to the other interesting cities); 3) If we go to other areas, should we rent a car or just hire a car service? (I admit to some intimidation to driving on the “correct” side of the road); 4) What is the best area in Edinburgh to seek accommodations? We’d like something central as we love to walk but in an area that is considered “nice”.

We really want to see areas that are considered “quintessential Scotland”. We are in our 40’s, active and like to pack in a lot into our vacations (figure we can relax when we get home). We’d love to see the cities but also want to see a lot of the beautiful countryside. Finding a great restaurant is not a goal but finding a fabulous hotel/B&B is considered a big treat. Any advice would be much appreciated.

Aberdeen, Scotland
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1. Re: Overwhelmed by all the options in Scotland.Need Help Please.

You can fly cheaply from Bristol Airport to Edinburgh with www.easyjet.com or www.ba.com.

Trains are possible from Bath via Bristol or London but it is a long journey of 6.5 hours www.thetrainline.com

I would plan to stay a three nights in Edinburgh and then base yourself further north to see the highlands. Inverness is a good base or further west - Oban. Both are reachable by train in a few hours from Edinburgh (the Trainline website gives details of times and fares.

Edinburgh has plenty of good areas to stay - central Edinburgh has some lower cost motel accomodation (www.travelodge.co.uk or www.premiertravelinn.co.uk that is basic but functional) also there are numerous Bed and Breakfasts - look at the visitscotland website. It is quite a compact city so you should have no difficulty getting around.

A good general website is www.visitscotland.com or www.travelscotland.co.uk, but there are many others you can Google.

To return to London you can go back by train or look at low cost flights from Edinburgh, Inverness or Glasgow (www.skyscanner.net).

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2. Re: Overwhelmed by all the options in Scotland.Need Help Please.

Hamburger Man gave you some excellent advice. If you want to see the countryside, I'd suggest take the train from Bath to Edinburgh instead of flying, and you don't have to go through London. You can see train routes on this link: nationalrail.co.uk/tocs_maps/maps/network_ra…

United Kingdom
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for South Ayrshire, Glasgow
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3. Re: Overwhelmed by all the options in Scotland.Need Help Please.

I would suggest a two night stay in Edinburgh then hire a car and explore the Highlands for another two nights, then head down to Ayrshire on the West Coast perhaps staying another night here or heading up to Glasgow for the night before heading home.

Have a peek at my inside pages that will tell yo a bit about South Ayrshire's Culzean Castle, Alloway, Ayr and Robert Burns Heritage Park.

Its a bit of a dilemma, but once you've made a plan I'm sure it will be a good trip.

Edinburgh is very compact, so much can be acheived in just a couple of days.

Hope this helps

Portland, Oregon
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4. Re: Overwhelmed by all the options in Scotland.Need Help Please.

I have been to Scotland a few times in the past and find its hard to go wrong with a tourist map and a car.

I always "hire" a car. This involves driving on the left and, usually, using a stick shift. The only way to go.

The road to Peebles along the Tweed is quite nice. Some historic stuff there. If your into the Da Vinci Code thing, Rosslee Chapel is just south of Edinburgh. Probably swamped with toursts these days.

Of often take other first time visitors on a drive to Aberfoyle, through the Trossachs and back through Callendar. Back past Drum Castle (I'm going by memory but I think its along the way. Very stripped but largely intact castle.) then on to Stirling Castle. William Wallace, Braveheart and all that.

Further north, I love Nairn, just a quaint little place with Cawdor Castle of Macbeth fame somewhere around there.

I would spend at lest one night up north between Inverness and Aberdeen to explore that region because its a long drive back. A number of castles up there.

You should be able to do it all in 3 days.

5. Re: Overwhelmed by all the options in Scotland.Need Help Please.

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