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Edinburgh-Highlands in 3-4 nights, need advice

Detroit
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Edinburgh-Highlands in 3-4 nights, need advice

We are heading to London and Scotland, Saturday June 8- Sunday June 16, flying in/out of Heathrow. Primary reason for travel to London at this time is to see the David Bowie Exhibition at the V&A. We have been to London many times and thought of spending just 3- 4 nights in London, then 3-4 nights in Scotland.

Thinking of 2 options.:

Option 1) Arrive London Heathrow Saturday morning June 8, then fly directly to Edinburgh. Stay overnight and see sights in Edinburgh, then head out to see some of Highlands via car for 3 days. Then drive back to London if there is a scenic route with somewhere to stop on the way. Then spend last few nights in London. Or if driving Scotland to London is not recommended, fly back to London.

Option 2) Arrive London on Saturday June 8 and stay in London 3-4 nights. Fly to Edinburgh on Tuesday night or Wednesday morning. Then proceed as above, driving or flying back to London on Saturday June 15 for flight home on Sunday June 16.

We are interested in seeing beautiful countryside, mountains or falls, hiking. Also in seeing castles or ruins. Plan to see the castle in Edinburgh and other sights there.

Have spent hours pouring over previous posts with similar questions about where to go in the Highlands for a short trip like this. We are very seasoned travelers, always drive (we're from Detroit, the Motor City, after all) and are physically fit so no problem hiking or climbing.

Places recommended to us were St. Andrews, Glencoe, Inverness, Loch Lomond, Skye. Obviously we cannot do all of them. Looking for guidance on best highlights to do in a short time for most impressive scenery/hiking/castles.

Also, need advice on whether to drive from Edinburgh/Scotland to London one way, or fly roundtrip. Definitely planning to fly one way to save time. Thinking of driving one way partly to save cost of 2 flights, and also because we enjoy it, but only if it's scenic and there is somewhere easy to stop along the way.

Appreciate any advice.

Glasgow, United...
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1. Re: Edinburgh-Highlands in 3-4 nights, need advice

Driving from the highlands to London would probably be a bit much in one day, you could maybe stay over a night in the Lake District to break up the drive? Inverness to London is 560miles, although that would be possible to do in a day I wouldn't fancy it!

East Neuk of Fife...
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2. Re: Edinburgh-Highlands in 3-4 nights, need advice

Its a bore! Fly and save time or take the overnight sleeper from London Kings X to Inverness

http://www.scotrail.co.uk/dreamtickets

The above link may help - it just popped up beside this thread - coincidence or what!!

Edited: 01 June 2013, 14:07
Georgia
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3. Re: Edinburgh-Highlands in 3-4 nights, need advice

Hi Detroit,

For the best scenery you would head toward to west coast, but you are tight on timeframe to get to and spend much time in Isle of Skye. You could easily do GlenCoe, Loch Lomond, etc... As for castles, Stirling is on the way and a great castle, but similiar to Edinburgh Castle. After Stirling, not as much in terms of castles.

I just posted some castle suggestions and route on another thread, so I'll just cut and paste it. Basically, Royal Deeside! Many castles there and several on the way to/from.

Now that's if you want castles! The good thing about castles is that they down get "rained out" like scenery might.

----------------

"I'd give Balmoral a big pass.

Glamis is very nice and only 17m away.

YOu might consider Falkland Palace, which is 32m away. Beautiful castle and situated in the middle of a medieval town. South of Dundee, so might be a good stop on the way from/to Edinburgh (assuming that's where you are coming from).

Blair castle is also 32m in the opposite direction. North of Pitlochry.

My favorite is Crathes Castle in Banchory. Great castle and absolutely magnificent garden!!! West of Aberdeen, it's 71m. 64m if you take the Cairn o'Mount Road thru Fettercairn. If you go to Crathes, you could also visit Drum Castle which is just a mile or 2 down the road, and/or Craigievar or Frasier Castles. These are all in The "Royal Deeside". Lovely area. Makes a very nice loop ride using Cairn O'Mount and returning to Blairgowrie via A93. BTW, that 71m route takes you thru Stonehaven on the coast, which is the home of Dunnotar Castle. Many really love this castle. It's an excellent ruin, but just a little too infested with seagulls for my liking."

--------------------------------

OK, is you map this out, leaving Edinburgh and making a counter clockwise loop, I'd plan on hitting...

Falkland Palace, Glamis, Dunnotar in Stonehaven, Crathes/Drum in Banchory, maybe Craigievar and/or Frasier, maybe Lochlevin Castle in Kinross on the way back.

In addition to Banchory, there are several really nice little towns along the way like Ballater and Breamar. From appx Ballater, you could head north and back on A939/Lecht Rd over the mountain into Speyside. Speyside is home to dozens of distilleries. Nice hiking at Loch Muick south of Ballater and at the Linn of Dee/Linn of Quich on Bar Mar Estate west of Breamar.

You don't get the absolute majesty of the mountains of the west coast, but nearly as good in the Cairngowns, plus all those castles.

Kevin

Edinburgh
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4. Re: Edinburgh-Highlands in 3-4 nights, need advice

The other issue about driving all that way is the one way drop off charge for the hire car and the very high cost of fuel here compared to what you are used to . If you factor all that in plus an extra overnight stay for the journey to get off the motorway then you get better value for your time and money by flying (or even taking the train Edinburgh- London in less than 5 hours)

London, United...
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5. Re: Edinburgh-Highlands in 3-4 nights, need advice

If you do still want to drive from Edinburgh to London and take 2 days to do it then I suggest that you take the A68 route which is very interesting in many parts and on the way if you wish you could do the Hadrians Wall Roman attractions at Housesteads and /or Vindolanda.

http://www.vindolanda.com/

Or divert towards the east to Alnwick

http://www.alnwickcastle.com/

An attractive and historic town to stay overnight would be York. That is more or less half way between Edinburgh and London

Detroit
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6. Re: Edinburgh-Highlands in 3-4 nights, need advice

Thank you for all of the good advice. Very helpful . My sister had recommended Alnwick, and i am interested n the Roman sites, so maybe we will try to map out a route for a one way drive. But will check the car rental and fuel prices as suggested. Perhaps we will save that for a future driving trip when we have more time, and fly or take the train as many of you have recommended.

After reading these posts, we are leaning towards the western route, GlenCoe, Loch Lomond. Stifling and some of the other castles. What about including Mull?

Also, my husband wonders if you would recommend that we start in Glasgow, circle around counterclockwise and then end at Edinburgh, instead of beginning and ending in Edinburgh.

Detroit
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7. Re: Edinburgh-Highlands in 3-4 nights, need advice

Sorry for bad typing, meant Stirling. Darn autocorrect.

Detroit
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8. Re: Edinburgh-Highlands in 3-4 nights, need advice

Hi Kevin from Georgia, I assume that is georgia in the states, not Russia? Thank you for all of the castle info. I think we will likely go to the west side, and do GlenCoe, Loch Lomond, but also Stirling and maybe Glamis? If I am looking at the map correctly, most of the other castle route is on the east side? What do you think about the areas I've listed plus Mull/Tobermory? I'd like to include Edinburgh still for a day, but maybe start in Glasgow , end in Edinburgh. Sorry to sound like a complete dolt, but there is a lot to digest here and trying to plan this on the fly at the last minute. Looks like we will head to Scotland via air on the night of June 11 or morning of june 12, and then return to London Heathrow area and stay at hotel near airport night of June 15.

Georgia
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9. Re: Edinburgh-Highlands in 3-4 nights, need advice

Hi Detroit,

Yes, Georgia US.

re: Glasgow

We never got over there. We had 11 or 12 nights in Scotland, 3 in Edinburgh and the rest in the Highlands. We came thru GlenCoe and spent the best part of a day there, also Oban, but that was it for the west coast. Next trip... Never got to Mull, but everything about it sounds good. There are a couple castles over there. Names escape me right now. We spent 4 nights in Ballater and the Royal Deeside and loved it. We also were on a castle quest, something on the order of 28 castles (some great, some a piles of ruins).

THis is just me, but unless there is something specific in Glasgow that you want to see, I'd skip it and spend more time in Edinburgh, given the short timeframe. Fact is, you could spend the whole time in Edinburgh and day trip to Stirling, maybe St. Andrews or Glasgow.

re: your route

Looks good. I'd definately go to Stirling Castle, plan on about 2-3 hrs anyway. Just to the west (<.5hrs) is a place called Inchmahome Priory. It's an ancient ruin, out on an island and very atmospheric. From there you can go to Loch Lomond. Maybe at Tarbet, head west on A83 over to Inveraray. Didn't go this way but understand its a very picturesque road. There is also a castle in Inveraray. In fact it was feature on Downton Abbey this year if you watch that show. From there, take A819 to Loch Awe and then west on A85. Right there at the head of the Loch is the excellent ruined Kilchurn Castle - very pictureque. BTW, no fee and open dawn to dusk, so good for a late stop before catching a hotel in Oban - maybe? Then continue to Oban.

From Oban, of course, you can head over to Mull. Or head north along Loch Linnhe and then down thru Glen Coe. From there, you might want to follow A85 east this time to Creiff. Just south of Creiff is Drummond Castle Gardens. You can't tour the castle(s) but they have a fantastic garden. If you've seen the movie Rob Roy, several scenes were filmed here.

Now by the time you do all this, or most of it, probably no time left for Glamis, which is a great castle. Maybe a visit to Falkland Castle give you a similiar experience with a little less mileage.

Anyway, that's a clockwise loop, beginning and ending in Edinburgh or just as easily Glasgow.

Hope this helps,

Kevin

10. Re: Edinburgh-Highlands in 3-4 nights, need advice

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