Author Topic: Planning a June trip to Scotland...advice on where to stay, what to do?  (Read 4708 times)

laufen

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All I know so far is that we are going in June for around 5 days. Maybe Inverness? We are completely flexible on where we stay and how we get around. We are also flexible on the dates...have been waiting to see when flights are the cheapest. While we don't mind a museum now and then, we're more into scenery and food.
Any advice on
-non-camping accommodations for 2 people
-good day hikes
-bike rentals / trails (trekking or easy mountain biking ok- no white knuckle single track please!)
-what to avoid, such as tourist traps

Thanks!
« Last Edit: January 26, 2015, 08:25:31 AM by laufen »

KCM5

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Re: Planning a June trip to Scotland...advice on where to stay, what to do?
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2015, 11:19:02 AM »
I stayed in a hostel in Inverness that let you work for your stay, if you're interested in such things. This was in 2008, so things may have changed. But it was called Bazpackers and you worked for about an hour (change beds, sweep floors or the like).

We rented a car for a day and drove up to Skye. If you're into scenery that was gorgeous.

Also, there's a very flat trail that leaves directly from Inverness that follows the river Ness and the Caledonian canal. Renting bikes could get you quite far along that trail and all the way over to Loch Ness easily. I walked it in a day and it was quite pleasant.

I pretty much spent no money while there with the exception of the car rental, which was twenty pounds (I had none to spend!) so I can't tell you what to avoid or anything.

My other advice is - if you haven't been, go to Edinburgh!

ShortInSeattle

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Re: Planning a June trip to Scotland...advice on where to stay, what to do?
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2015, 11:21:50 AM »
Edinburgh and Skye are my top two recommendations as well.

If you have a car, Niest Point on Skye is hauntingly beautiful.


frugledoc

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Re: Planning a June trip to Scotland...advice on where to stay, what to do?
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2015, 11:43:25 AM »
Only 5 days to enjoy the best and most beautiful country in the world!

Here is a quick list of things to do off the top of my head:
1) Haggis supper from the fish and chip shop (or restuarant if you want to spend more money)
2) Aviemore - Bunkhouse is a hostel if you want that.  Loads of walks and beautiful scenerey
3) I'm from Glasgow and it's great but probably Edinburgh is more interesting for tourism. Go up Aurthur's seat.
4) Arran if you have time.  Get Ferry from adrossan. Can do a day trip. Beautiful island.
5) Skye, I'm not really a fan as the weather is almost always a miss for the best view but lots of people like it.
6) Fish supper from a good chippy.

Make sure you bring very warm clothes.  Weather may be great but in Scotland you could get anything!


deborah

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Re: Planning a June trip to Scotland...advice on where to stay, what to do?
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2015, 04:18:05 PM »
I went to Scotland many years ago to participate in the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. At the end we hired a car and circumnavigated Scotland in five days - Edinburgh to Edinburgh via John O' Groats and Skye all around the coast. It was stunning, and we rarely went on the motorways! We had already seen a lot of Edinburgh, being there for over a month, and I would recommend spending some time in Edinburgh. Depends on what you are interested in - the birth of golfing, the little fishing towns at the bottom of cliffs, highland games, castles perched on the tops of cliffs, heather, Glasgow garden festival (we performed there, and it was worth a visit). Nothing is far from one another - even John O' Groats is only a day trip from Edinburgh if you take the relatively uninteresting motorways. I visited the Antonine Wall (a northern version of Hadrian's Wall), and the border lands are also worth a visit. I managed to see a lot even though we were performing 6 nights a week, plus an extra performance on Saturdays, plus seven other performances. However, Skye is quite big, and you need a day just to go around it, so I didn't go to most places on Skye I wanted to see.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2015, 02:50:55 PM by deborah »

Annf

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Re: Planning a June trip to Scotland...advice on where to stay, what to do?
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2015, 05:06:08 PM »
My favorite things were the Eilean Donan Castle, tingle creek inn (a hotel 5 minutes from isle of Skye, and several distilleries. If you can, allow a day to look around in any of the little towns you happen upon. We are going back in September with a less planned out trip. It's so beautiful and the people are soooo nice!  You will live it.

frugaldrummer

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Re: Planning a June trip to Scotland...advice on where to stay, what to do?
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2015, 11:30:52 PM »
I had a fantastic time in Edinburgh last year and the art museum there is a jewel....don't miss the fantastic painting of Niagara Falls by the American painter Church.

Nickyd£g

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Re: Planning a June trip to Scotland...advice on where to stay, what to do?
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2015, 05:03:46 AM »
If you want scenery, I would recommend Arran too - as Frugaldoc said, it's easy to get there, small enough to do in a day and very pretty.  The Highlands are amazing, though I don't have any specific recommendations.  Inverness itself I could take or leave - it's a bit grey for me. 

If you do decide to see a city I recommend Glasgow - but then I'm biased, I live there!  Fantastic museums, galleries, very walkable and the friendliest people in the world :)  Plus, it's 40 minutes from Loch Lomond and the trossachs and the West Highland Way, which is stunning (though can be a bit kitchy touristy in the high season).

Lots of layers, waterproofs and midge repellant will be required! (Avon so soft skin lotion is a great repellant).

If you do decide to visit Glasgow, feel free to PM me for any more info.

laufen

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Re: Planning a June trip to Scotland...advice on where to stay, what to do?
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2015, 04:56:59 AM »
Thanks for the replies. Sounds like Edinburgh or Glasgow should maybe be my base.

Worsted Skeins

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Re: Planning a June trip to Scotland...advice on where to stay, what to do?
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2015, 05:03:16 AM »
We stayed in Stirling and went into Edinburgh as a day trip.  This was maybe a decade ago.  There is a really nice YHA in Stirling with private rooms.  At the time, I was traveling with my then twelve year old son.  Staying at the hostel, we took advantage of the communal kitchen which proved to be interesting--cooking around a number of international travelers.

The castle in Stirling is lovely.

NinetyFour

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Re: Planning a June trip to Scotland...advice on where to stay, what to do?
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2015, 05:41:05 AM »
Following...would like to get to the land of my ancestors one of these days!

worms

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Re: Planning a June trip to Scotland...advice on where to stay, what to do?
« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2015, 06:13:39 AM »
Thanks for the replies. Sounds like Edinburgh or Glasgow should maybe be my base.
Noooo!  You’re being lured over to the dark side!  Go North!

Early June is a great time to visit Scotland as this is (normally) before the wetter summer weather starts and before the midges. 

Follow the Wester Ross Coastal Trail! 

Day One, head south from Inverness down by Loch Ness to Invermoriston, then west through Glen Moriston and Glen Shiel, through Kintail (perhaps Cluanie Inn for lunch http://www.cluanieinn.com/) then on past Eilean Donan Castle and Kyle of Lochalsh (don’t miss the seafood sandwiches sold at the Buth Bheag on the old ferry slipway).  On across the Skye Bridge but turn left for the Skye ferry (http://www.skyeferry.co.uk/) and cross back over to Glenelg.  Overnight at the Glenelg Inn (http://www.glenelg-inn.com/ ) or at a local B&B (fined one from http://www.glenelgscotland.com/).  While in Glenelg visit the Brochs (http://www.lochalsh.co.uk/glenelg_broch.shtml  and/or walk down to Sandaig (http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/kintail/Sandaig.shtml).

Day Two.  Head out of Glenelg over the Mam Ratagan pass and pause at the view point on the hair-pin bend as you drop down the north side. Back along past Eilean Donan again and this time turn north at Auchtertyre and head for Lochcarron and on through Kishorn to turn left for Applecross at Tornapress.  Lunch at the Potting shed in Applecross Garden (http://www.applecrossgarden.co.uk/),  overnight and pub meal at the Applecross Inn (http://applecross.uk.com/inn/)  .  Walk up the glen or past Applecross House (http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/torridon/Applecrosshouse.shtml).

Day Three.  North out of Applecross to Shieldaig Village - buy your lunch from Nanny’s Shop http://www.nannysshop.co.uk ), then on through Torridon (if you didn’t get something at nanny’s in Shieldaig, then turn off into Torridon and all the way through the village to Torridon stores www.torridonstoresandcafe.co.uk/) and Kinlochewe (stop at the SNH Beinn Eighe visitor centre and then the view point).  On to Gairloch and overnight in either the Old Inn (http://www.theoldinn.net/) or Shieldaig Lodge (http://www.shieldaiglodge.com/).  Head out to Red Point and walk (http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/torridon/Redpoint.shtml ) to the furthest out beach for a swim (it barely gets dark in June so you can still do this in the evening!)

Day Four: North out of Gairloch through Poolewe, Aultbea (take a detour out to the Perfume Studio at Mellon Charles http://www.perfume-studio.com/aroma-cafe/  if you want a really good morning coffee and chocolate cake!).  Stop at Gruinard Bay for a walk and a swim.  Stop at Corrieshalloch for a walk down to the gorge.  At Braemore junction, turn right if you need to head back to Inverness or left to visit Ullapool (overnight at the Ceilidh Place http://www.theceilidhplace.com/ ) or fish and chips from the Seaforth (http://www.theseaforth.com/).

Enjoy!

auntie_betty

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Re: Planning a June trip to Scotland...advice on where to stay, what to do?
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2015, 06:15:45 AM »
All great recommendations.

One I would add is http://www.thefalkirkwheel.co.uk/ which is an amazing feet of engineering. Not too far from Glasgow or Edinburgh.

If you fancy a train journey there are some spectacular journeys - Fort William to Mallaig (or go from Glasgow to Mallaig via Fort William) or on the East Coast anywhere north or south of Edinburgh - north in particular as it goes up the coast. Going over the Forth Railway Bridge is great - don't bother stopping in Dundee for long, though they do have a statue of Desperate Dan if you've ever come cross him! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desperate_Dan). Discovery Point http://www.visitscotland.com/info/see-do/rrs-discovery-p246431 which is across the road from the station is also worth a visit.

And as someone else said - mossie spray! The midges are fierce in the countryside if it's not raining :)

Oh and finally - it's John O'Groats, not Tom O'Groats ;)
« Last Edit: January 28, 2015, 06:18:23 AM by gallygirl »

NewMustachian

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Re: Planning a June trip to Scotland...advice on where to stay, what to do?
« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2015, 07:13:12 AM »
If you're looking for a guidebook we used Rick Steves - highly recommend. 

so.mpls

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Re: Planning a June trip to Scotland...advice on where to stay, what to do?
« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2015, 10:05:33 AM »
Thanks for the replies. Sounds like Edinburgh or Glasgow should maybe be my base.

First of all I'm very jealous of you.  I spent 6 months living in Scotland and it was the best place I've lived.

I would definitely recommend Glasgow over Edinburgh.  Both cities are nice but Glasgow has a much more authentic feel in my opinion.  Edinburgh felt very touristy to me - especially on the royal mile. Glasgow has great museums, food, a great music scene, etc.  The Glasgow School of Art, University of Glasgow, Necropolis, and the City Chambers are all building well worth visiting/touring if you like architecture.

As others have said the Isle of Arran is beautiful and a great place to spend a day or two.  Skye is very nice too but further away from the main cities.

Another great area if you like the outdoors is Loch Lomond.  We stayed there for a night... rented a canoe one day and did a nice long hike near Ben Lomond the second day.

laufen

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Re: Planning a June trip to Scotland...advice on where to stay, what to do?
« Reply #15 on: January 29, 2015, 12:55:50 AM »
Oh decisions, decisions!
Should I try to book accommodations ahead of time or can we just wing it? Do the less expensive places fill up quickly, in your experience?

cakie

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Re: Planning a June trip to Scotland...advice on where to stay, what to do?
« Reply #16 on: January 29, 2015, 05:15:06 AM »
I spent almost two months travelling around Scotland in 2013. My absolute favourite place was Orkney - the walks are amazing: crazy historic stuff + great scenery. Going in Summer should make it easy without a car, as there should be public transport. Plus you can watch the archaeological digs :) Accommodation recommendation: "Orcades Hostel" in Kirkwall has a bunch of lovely ensuite double rooms and a huge kitchen / dining area :)

Best driving scenery is without a doubt the north-west coast of Scotland (ie. the coast north of Skye).

If you do decide to just do a city trip instead, I'd recommend basing yourself in Edinburgh, but maybe checking out either Stirling or Glasgow as a day trip. Someone recommended Arthur's Seat, that's definitely a highlight!

Loch Lomond, as so.mpls mentioned, is super close to Glasgow and a pretty cool area. Though if you base yourself in Glasgow, you may as well try and go a *little* further afield. Maybe to either Kilmartin (history) or Islay (peated whisky galore!)??