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Third visit in 2017...suggestions for touring

My husband and I have been to Scotland three times. We're coming back in 2017, July 22-August 8. Our trip will end with a night at the Tattoo in Edinburgh.

Our previous time has been spent mostly in the Stirling/Skye area. We'll still visit those as Stirling is a great "home base", and there's still more to see on Skye.

I'm particularly interested in checking out the Highlands north of where we cross to Skye. We've been to Culloden and part of Inverness. I know there have to be things to see/do in the Northwest. We'll also take suggestions for the Borders and the eastern part of the country.

One thing I'm very interested is places that have live music. I'm not talking about the larger venues, but rather towns where locals congregate in a pub and enjoy playing traditional music.

I know that's a lot, but any tips will be most welcome!!!


  • HorizonsHorizons Member, VisitScotland Ambassador ✭✭✭✭
    Hey @MaicaKid

    Firstly good on you for planning your 3rd trip to Scotland. It's quite a flight from the East Coast but you clearly love visiting Scotland enough to not mind :smile:

    My recommendation for you is the NC 500 route, a circle covering Inverness - John o groats - Durness - Ullapool - Applecross - Strathcarron - Inverness. Its one of the most beautiful parts of Scotland (scenery near Torridon below) and you'll not return disappointed. The music question is a hard one to answer as it depends on the schedule of the local pubs but that route is home to Britain's remotest pubs so any experience will be one of a kind!

    My other suggestion would have been to attend the HebCelt festival in Stornoway and then spend some time seeing the Outer Hebrides. Unfortuntely, HebCelt ends on 22nd July, the date you're planning to arrive in Scotland. The Outer Hebrides are stunning as well!

    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)

  • YourScotlandTourYourScotlandTour Member ✭✭✭
    I'd second the NC500, but do leave 7-8 days for it in or it may feel like you have just spent all the time driving. The live music you're talking about are often referred to as 'sessions' in pubs. An example of a Facebook group which may be helpful;

    This is is based on the east coast city of Aberdeen, which you could easily spend a day touring in, its home to some beautiful granite architecture and gives easy access into 'Royal Deeside' and also Speyside which for whisky lovers is a well known area! Which could then lead you nicely into Inverness and the rest of the NC500.

    These music 'sessions' are clap along type events, if you'd like to do some traditional type dancing then you're looking for ceilidh (pronounced cay-lee).

    These are often held in village or town halls and advertised very locally, often on a village Facebook page. Once you've decided on an itinerary you may be able to then find a dance one night (fridays and saturdays are most likely). Whilst these are local events they're always very friendly and you will dance :-) Don't worry about not knowing the 'moves' they are repetitive dances like line dancing, so easy to pick up. And getting lost and doing it wrong is part of the fun! Some Highland games have evening dances too. Often now they are 'disco' style rather than Scottish country dancing.
    Bespoke tours.
    Whisky, Castles and Food a speciality.
  • MaicaKidMaicaKid Member ✭✭
    We're definitely going to revisit Skye a bit, so hitting the NC500, or at least part of it, shouldn't be difficult. 

    A "clap along" session in a pub is just what we're looking for.

    Thanks for the suggestions!
  • MaicaKidMaicaKid Member ✭✭
    Oh, and I "misspoke"...2017 will be our FOURTH trip to Scotland! We love the country and the people.
  • YourScotlandTourYourScotlandTour Member ✭✭✭
    Asking round the local pubs, or looking online (facebook is really good for this) will help you find sessions :smile:
    Bespoke tours.
    Whisky, Castles and Food a speciality.
  • ccactorccactor Member
    Any live music sessions or ceilidh in Inverness in late April or other "can't miss" activities? 2nd visit to Inverness...can't wait!
  • fishyprofishypro Member ✭✭✭
    Hi @MaicaKid try Pitlochry for live music, every Friday & Saturday the pubs have live music and sometimes the open mic sessions. If not then travel further north to the Cairngorm National Park. Aviemore for example has lots of local pubs with great atmosphere & live music.
    Best regards
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