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First time travelling to Scotland

Hi . We are travelling to Scotland the last 2 weeks of June. Options to fly into London or into Glasgow. Places we do want to see are: Einborough, Inverness, Isle of Sky. Would like to spend a couple of days in London. Would like to take a train from Edinburgh to London. We feel that it would make the most sense to fly into Glasgow rent a car and travel to Edinburgh and then North. Returning back to Edinburgh and then the train to London and fly out of London to return home. Is it easy to drive around to get to these places? Do we reserve hotels and B&B now? What other places would you recommend for us to see along our route. Our time is limited unfortunately but we are so excited we can get this time to see our families homeland. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Also how easy is it to get train tickets or passes for hop on hop off buses in Edinburgh and London. Thank-you in advance. 

Best Answer

  • PJlovesscotlandPJlovesscotland Member ✭✭
    Accepted Answer
    Thank-you so much for your reply!!! We are flying from Canada. Looking at flights via West Jet it was more economical to fly into Glasgow and London. That is our reasoning. Does that change your recommendations at all. I will discuss your excellent response with my husband and daughter. It really does help as this is a short trip and there is so much to see and do. We really do not want to waste time wandering around not knowing what to do. Thank-you again for taking the time to help us we really do appreciate it!

Answers

  • MandersManders Member
    edited February 2017
    First, may I ask where you are traveling FROM?  That can make a HUGE difference in where you should plan on flying in to.   From my experience though, it's typically a bit cheaper to fly in to Glasgow than Edinburgh.  

     I do not recommend renting a car in Glasgow just to drive to Edinburgh - It's far more economical to hop on the train into Edin. It's less than an hour ride and parking in Edinburgh isn't too easy or cheap.  However if you have a lot of luggage, then renting a car would be sensible only if you need someplace to put it until you check in at your hotel.  

    With that, let me give you my suggestion for a more ideal itinerary (I'll give you two), since your time is limited and you'll want to see as much as possible.  

    #1 Unless you really want to see Glasgow, just go ahead and fly direct in to Edinburgh. Time your flight in so you can take a tram or bus or taxi direct to your lodgings and check in your bags.  After your stay in Edin., hop on the train to Inverness, THEN rent your car. From there you can branch out to other areas like Skye, Loch Ness, Ft. William etc.  Return your car in Glasgow and take the train to London from there. 

    #2  Fly in to Glasgow and rent your car and directly head up to Inverness.  It's about a 3 hour drive but there is lots to see on the way, so you can make a day of it!  From there you can branch out to your other destinations.  From there, you can either return your car in Inverness and take the train down to Edin. or drive to Edin.  If you drive, I suggest returning the car right away. Edin. is a very easy city to navigate on the public transport, so really no need for a car.  Then hop on the train form Edin to London.

    As for reserving spots, DEFINITELY start booking your reservations now.  You are going in peak season and you don't want to be left without lodgings/flights because they are all booked!  Scotland is very alive with festivals and gatherings in the summer.  

    As for busses and trains in Edinburgh, you can go to the Lothian Bus website (for busses and look at your options there.  They have unlimited passes as well as one-trip passes that you can purchase right on your phone, and they are pretty cheap. There is also the big double-decker tour bus that circles the city and has unlimited on/off's for your day pass. For trains, there is National Rail, Scotrail and VirginTrains (I recommend Virgin personally.) I recommend purchasing tickets in advance but you can also purchase at the station. Easy peasy.

    London, using an oyster card is the way to go.  You can purchase ahead of time and you just cary it with you all the time.  It can also get you discounts into sights/monuments.  It's one card per person.  I think you can use ApplePay now too, but not sure about that one.  

    Hope this helps!









  • HorizonsHorizons Member, VisitScotland Ambassador ✭✭✭✭
    Unless London is a major part of your trip, I too would recommend flying into Edinburgh or Glasgow. @Manders has put in a lot of useful info, the only thing I can add is you should stay atleast 1 night on the stunning Isle of Skye if not more. Also come prepared for wind & rain as the weather can become wet on short notice (especially on Skye) :smile:

    Do post if you have specific questions and we'll try to answer them for you.
    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, Speyside)

  • MandersManders Member
    edited February 2017
    Thank-you so much for your reply!!! We are flying from Canada. Looking at flights via West Jet it was more economical to fly into Glasgow and London. That is our reasoning. Does that change your recommendations at all. I will discuss your excellent response with my husband and daughter. It really does help as this is a short trip and there is so much to see and do. We really do not want to waste time wandering around not knowing what to do. Thank-you again for taking the time to help us we really do appreciate it!
    Hi again PJ, WestJet has good fares in to Glasgow but I would also look at Iceland Air (fantastic) and Aer Lingus as well to see who has the better rate. Also read up on blogs when each airline has flash sales, because you could really bag a great deal!  Sounds to me like some version of itinerary #2 might be the better route.  You could even go from Glasgow straight to Skye!  What fun that would be! :D
  • Elsee82Elsee82 Member
    I would recommend driving up to Skye from Glasgow. The scenery is spectacular! It would give you the opportunity to see Glen Coe (great visitors centre at the northern end, good place for a rest stop) and Glen Finnan with its famous viaduct. You can take the ferry from Mallaig across to Skye but you will need to book your crossings ASAP. Alternatively you can drive further north and cross via the bridge but this will increase your journey time quite significantly. Skye is stunning; I would highly recommend Fairy Pools as a place to visit. Kyleleakin is a nice base on the island with views of the bridge.  You might also want to check out the Calmac website; they offer some great deals on island hopping tickets which would give you a chance to see a bit more of the Inner Hebrides. 

    Allow plenty of time for journeys, the major routes through the Highlands can be quite slow in peak season. This usually clears northwards of Fort William.
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