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Scotland problem - too many choices!

San Diego...
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Scotland problem - too many choices!

My husband and I will be in Scotland for just four days in early September. We fly into Edinburgh and plan to stay a day and a half, then will have one full free day before we take a final day to arrive in and explore Glasgow, where we fly out the next morning.

What to do with that day in between? Hubby likes castles and we both like scenery, so we want to see as much as possible without driving crazy amounts of miles (we will have just completed 8 days driving around Ireland). After reading all the great posts I'm thinking we can get an early start and drive out of Edinburgh to Fife, come back through Stirling (or vice versa?) and make our way to Glasgow. We can stay in either place overnight or go somewhere else close by if that's better - perhaps up to Glencoe. Am I missing anything huge or should I shift my plans entirely?

Also, I'm assuming we should rent a car...yes??

Would love feedback - thanks for your help!

Scotland
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1. Re: Scotland problem - too many choices!

With such a short amount of time I would sacrifice Glasgow and spend that extra night in the highlands.

If your thing is scenery and castles you're not going to get that in Glasgow and 3 out of 4 days in a city seems too much.

I would head north west from Edinburgh via Callander. This will take you an hour and you are then into fabulous scenery.

Than on to Glencoe - a must in my opinion - and you can either head towards Oban or to the Fort William area.

Thre are any amount of castles - depending on your route. A few you could google would be Kilchurn, Eilean Donan, Urquhart, Castle Stalker.

Haddington, United...
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2. Re: Scotland problem - too many choices!

While in Edinburgh don't rent a car, stick to public transport. but for the rest of your trip make sure you ask the rental company for an automatic as a 'Stick shift' is the normal in the UK and can be a problem for someone from the US. Lots of Castles to both the east [East Lothian]& south of Edinburgh [Scottish Borders] which would not be too long a drive. Fife has some great places to visit like Falkland Palace and the village of Culross which has been preserved as it was around the early 1700's. For something a bit more unusual if you are heading Stirling direction stop in and have a look at the Falklirk Wheel and also Linlithgow Palace is a must in the same area, where Mary Queen of Scots was born.

Edinburgh, Scotland
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3. Re: Scotland problem - too many choices!

I'm with thegoodwitch in feeling that devoting a whole day of this schedule to Glasgow is probably too much given your interests. Whereas Edinburgh, Stirling and St Andrews are relatively compact, and offer plenty of attractive views and sights just walking around, Glasgow is much more spread out and the street scenes are relatively ordinary. The big stars in Glasgow are the museums, but they are spread across the city.

But you say you don't want to spend too much of your time driving, and I'm afraid that if you head into the highlands, that's exactly what you will land up doing.

So I'm with Mike in suggesting that you spend a day and a half making a circuit between Edinburgh and Glasgow. I would go for Fife - pick up a car from the airport, across the Forth Bridge and take the A92 to the east of Kirkcaldy; then follow the coast to St Andrews stopping at as many of the harbour villages as take your fancy; then back through Fife to Falkland, Loch Leven, Perth, Crieff and Stirling, staying somewhere along that track. Make your way to Glasgow via the south of Loch Lomond or, if you decide to abandon time in Glasgow completely, you could go a little way into the highlands via Callander and return down the west of Loch Lomond. You could even stay the night in that area, since Glasgow airport is really in Paisley, well to the west of the city and just the other side of the Erskine Bridge.

Glasgow, United...
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4. Re: Scotland problem - too many choices!

Glasgow has much to offer though not scenery and castles. But then you didn't say these were your only or main interests. Is there anything you particularly wanted to see in Glasgow?

San Diego...
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5. Re: Scotland problem - too many choices!

Thanks, everyone, for your fantastic comments! In answer to the last question, I'm not sure at this point. I guess I just want to see...Glasgow. We've heard it's much more up-and-coming then it used to be and it seems odd not to explore it and get a taste of its culture. Though I also know that Scotland is a grand, beautiful place and so we're now thinking of spending a short period of time exploring it in the evening before our flight the next morning...thoughts?

Loch Lomond
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6. Re: Scotland problem - too many choices!

"Glasgow is much more spread out and the street scenes are relatively ordinary"

This is a joke, right? Glasgow is Scotland's most interesting city from an architectural point of view and one of the best in the UK

I was in town yesterday for the Merchant City festival and it was full of tourists admiring the buildings. We have a saying, "When in Glasgow, look up". It is easy to miss the amazing architecture when you are walking along at street level.

I understand that Glasgow, "Dear Green Place", is also endowed with more park land than any other city in the UK. It's parks include Pollok park which was voted Europe's best in 2008.

glasgow.gov.uk/en/Residents/Parks_Outdoors/P…

Edinburgh is fine and well worth a visit but it's centre is a bit like a big Scottish theme park. You cannot get away from the tourist trail in the centre and it is very commercialised. Glasgow is more of a real Scottish city.

Let the debate commence. :o)

Edited: 25 July 2011, 11:23
Glasgow, United...
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7. Re: Scotland problem - too many choices!

Glasgow has an abundance of terrific architecture, a legacy of it's Victorian Hey-day when it was second city of the British Empire, industrial powerhouse and one of the wealthiest cities on the planet. You won't do it justice in one evening, try and take a full day on the hop on hop off bus tour if possible.

Glasgow, United...
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8. Re: Scotland problem - too many choices!

I think your idea of driving through Fife and then on to Stirling is a good bet for the time you have available.

Glasgow has much to offer the tourist from excellent museums, Kelvingrove Art Gallery, The Burrell collection and Riverside to name a few (all free entry) to beautiful parks (as mentioned) and wonderful shopping. I think it deserves more than an evening. Where are you staying in Glasgow?

Edinburgh
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9. Re: Scotland problem - too many choices!

In the short time you have, i think the suggested Edinburgh, Fife ,Stirling ,Glasgow trip sounds good

I will not get into the Edinburgh v Glasgow debate .Only to say i visit Glasgow a lot and i enjoy the architecture, museums, people and the pubs!! I have never heard Edinburgh being described as a "big Scottish theme park" though!

The Old Town,Castle ,Palace,Gardens etc predate Disney by maybe a thousand years or more!

Mick

Edited: 31 July 2011, 11:11
Loch Lomond
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10. Re: Scotland problem - too many choices!

Who mentioned Disney? ;o)