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Day Trips from Edinburgh

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Sandy Springs...
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Day Trips from Edinburgh

Hello,

My husband and I will be in Edinburgh from 14 December to 18 December. We'd like to take a day tour out of the city on either the 15, 16 or 17 (Sun-Tues). I'd be happy for suggestions. I am interested in seeing Loch Ness (just because...maybe I'll see Nessie....), but I know my husband is entranced at the idea of seeing castles. It is his first trip to the UK, and castles will be totally new territory for him.

I guess I have two questions.... Any recommended companies for the tours? Any recommended itineraries? I'm not sure what to expect for the weather (other than cold and wet), and I am not sure if that should be a factor in our choice. We're both young and healthy enough to do any walking or moving about at any of the locations, but not sure if the weather will cooperate with spending a lot of time outside.

We could do two separate day tours, but I want to make sure that we leave enough time for the "biggies" actually in Edinburgh.

Please advise!

Thanks!

Scotland
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1. Re: Day Trips from Edinburgh

It's not really practical to take a day trip to Loch Ness at that time of year. It's light by 8.30 but starts to get dark again by 3.30.

It would take me 4 hours non stop to drive to Loch Ness. On a tour bus with a rest stop added on you wouldn't get there till the afternoon, and that's if the weather is kind. It could be icy or we could have snow, and the A9 isn't a pleasant drive even in good weather.

You won't see 'Nessie' either.

Rabbies is a well respected company but their Loch Ness day trip leaves at 8 and gets back at 8. It's a long time sitting on a bus for a look at a body of water. Most of your return journey will be in the dark.

Consider Stirling if you are into castles. It's an easy short train journey from Edinburgh and the trains are less likely to be disrupted by bad weather than the roads.

Fife, Scotland
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2. Re: Day Trips from Edinburgh

At that time of year the weather could be anything except warm but you will have the Christmas atmosphere and lights in Edinburgh plus the castle of course.

With only a few days in Edinburgh perhaps one day trip is enough and good advice in last post re train to Stirling.

Scotland, United...
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3. Re: Day Trips from Edinburgh

Weather could be bad, it could snow and you could be stuck for hours in a bus. Stay around Edinburgh and make short journeys. It's great in Edinburgh near Christmas and would probably take 2 weeks to see and do everything and Edinburgh does have a Castle. Enjoy the Christmas Markets and go Ice Skating in the Park.

Forget Loch Ness, there are much nicer Lochs in Scotland. However, there are monsters, lots of plastic ones made in China all the in tacky tourists shops, you can jostle with all the other tourists to get one, they are the only monsters around the Loch.

California
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4. Re: Day Trips from Edinburgh

Do take your water proofs - jackets, pants, & shoes. It could be quite cold but it all contributes to the experience.

Do not go to Loch Ness on a day trip. I've done it. We took the trip as far as Inverness. It was almost evening when we arrived. The rest of the people still had a long trip back to Edinburgh. Also take into consideration that days are very short during the winter.

I do highly recommend Rabbies day tours. I been on several. They are personal and fun. The limit of 16 people gives you a chance to meet people and the guide. Check out their itineraries. There's lots to see in and outside the city.

Sandy Springs...
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5. Re: Day Trips from Edinburgh

Thanks for help.... Now for my follow up questions....

If we do Stirling, should we just take a train ourselves or go on a "tour?"

I'm at a loss for waterproof clothing. I'd planned jeans, sneakers, coat, etc. with probably a poncho or something? What will I be missing? And, is it something I can buy when I get there or need to bring with me?

Scotland, United...
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6. Re: Day Trips from Edinburgh

If you wish you can buy your clothes in Edinburgh, lots of shops. Sneakers would not be good in December, I would recommend a pair of comfy boots.. A warm jacket and gloves also a hat may be necessary. Jeans are fine, but wool trousers with a lining are better.

If you have been to New York in December, take the same clothes you would wear there to Edinburgh.

Transport to Stirling is easy 1 hour on the train, there are buses too.

Edinburgh...
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7. Re: Day Trips from Edinburgh

Ponchos are fine in wet still conditions. But if the wind blows, you have a problem. And the wind often does, when it rains.

You asked about other companies. Timberbush gets a lot of mentions on these forums. Both specialise in small group tours using large minibuses, and they stop frequently. There are larger companies running full size (50+ seats) coaches.

It's late October; people are already scurrying around wearing thick jackets, scarves, hats. On the other hand, last night people were sitting at tables outside a couple of local restaurants, looking very relaxed at 10 o'clock at night.

Another weather comparison might be against Seattle. Don't lose any sleep over it.

Georgia
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8. Re: Day Trips from Edinburgh

Definitely just take the train to Stirling and plan to spend a good 3 hrs at Stirling Castle. You don't need a tour. It will be everything your husband expects in a castle. Of course, you'll visit Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood which are great. You've got Craigmiller Castle which is also in Edinburgh.

A hooded poncho will be all you need, along with layers. Bring your Braves cap to keep the rain off your face and an umbrella.

9. Re: Day Trips from Edinburgh

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