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Home bases for 16 days in Sept

Hi. My husband and I will have 16 glorious days for our first trip to Scotland this September. I am wondering first if I need to reserve all my lodging ahead of time? We are flying in and out of Glasgow, which I will reserve, but after that, we kind of like to be flexible. We like B&Bs and wouldn't mind staying in a castle, if possible. I read that Skye will probably need a reservation. I am curious what are good home bases. We have no problem staying at different places every couple nights, but was thinking of finding a few towns that we could home base from.

So far we want to see things around Glasgow (Dunoon - his father was stationed there in the US Navy when he was a baby), Glasgow Cathedral, maybe a couple gin/whisky distilleries, Edinburgh and it's sights, Outlander sites (Midhope House, Blackwell Castle, Falkland, Inverness, Clava Cairns, Glencoe, Castle Doune, etc.), Fort William, Loch Lomond, Glenfinnian viaduct, Skye, Malliag and who knows what else we find along the way.

We may also be doing Kiltwalk Edinburgh on the 17th (day before we fly out) so we'll be coming back to Edinburgh and then probably driving to the airport the next day.

Are we cramming too much into this time period? I love photography and being outdoors so we definitely want to have time to do some walking/hiking and photographing. We will have a car and have no issue driving to locations.

Oh, and one last question are most places closed on Sundays? I know a lot of Europe is that way.

Thanks in advance.

I like the TripPlanner on this website. Only suggestion would be to make it so I could rearrange the order of sites. It puts them in order of when you add them.


  • VisitScotlandJulieVisitScotlandJulie Member, Moderator, VisitScotland Staff
    Hello @lagirlinsomd1

    It is always recommended to book in advance to avoid disappointment. However, if you are used to a more flexible approach, it should be fine for you. Just be aware that in the more isolated areas, just one event can book out a whole village for several days. Also, you will find everything closed on a Sunday in the Western Isles (including public transport) but also in the less populated areas of the North Highlands. If you have your heart set on staying in Skye, then definitely book ahead.

    You can visit us in the VisitScotland iCentres all around Scotland to find out availability for the days ahead or book any last minute accommodation.

    You can certainly get a lot done in 16 days. It's best to prioritise the sights, locations and attractions you really want to see the most and see what time you have left for the others. 

    Some great accommodation hubs to consider on your trip will be Oban (for day trips to the isles), Glencoe/Ballachullish, Fort William, Inverness. I'm sure you will get some great tips from those who know these areas really well.
  • Iagirlinsomd1Iagirlinsomd1 Member ✭✭
  • HorizonsHorizons Member, VisitScotland Ambassador ✭✭✭✭
    Hey @Iagirlinsomd1, do make Dunoon itself you home base for alteast an overnight stay instead of a day trip from Glasgow. I deem Dunoon to be the most underrated place in Scotland and have detailed my reasons in this discussion:

    Other bases I like are Oban (visit Staffa), Fort William / Arisaig, Portree on Skye, Tarbert on Harris & Stromness on Orkney. Am not an Outlander fanboy but here is VisitScotland's Outlander filming locations page which should help.

    One tip is that the weather is unpredictable so keep an option open to switch coasts if needed (a flexible plan helps a lot in those cases). Skye is unmissable though in any weather.
    I'm Anirudh, an Indian travel blogger who has explored a lot of Scotland by public transport. My blog. Find me on Facebook | Instagram

    Best of Scotland in 1 week itinerary (fully by public transport)

    My Scotland travels (includes EdinburghSkye, HarrisMullArranOrkneyLoch Lomond, Islay, Oban, DunoonSpeyside)

  • Iagirlinsomd1Iagirlinsomd1 Member ✭✭
    Thank you, @Horizons  Great suggestions. I will check out the piece on Dunoon. We are hoping to be as flexible as possible since we like the option of staying longer in one place or venturing to a recommended place on the fly. I did end up booking 3 nights in Glasgow. I might change that and also booked 2 nights on Skye halfway through the trip. I think that should allow plenty of time to get to all the other places we're thinking of and then ending up in Edinburgh. Much like our two weeks in Ireland, we saw a good portion of the West Coast but not much of the East; good reason to go back!
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