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Itinerary/Transportation Advice July/August 2017

My husband and I along with our 17 year old son will be traveling to Scotland in late July for my Clan Hunter gathering in Ayrshire. I don't have flights nailed down yet. We live in SC and you can't get anywhere from here easily. Thinking of flying into London then taking train to Ayrshire. Might be able to fly into Glasgow but the price difference is a lot. Thinking of buying Britrail pass for traveling or if we will need car?

July 28-30 at Hunterston Castle in Ayrshire (rented farmhouse nearby so we can walk to Hunterston)

July 30-August 2? Not sure what to do...Inverness? Culloden? Ideas? 

August 3-7 at Edinburgh.....Holyrood....Brittania.....Rosslyn Chapel.....(Lallybroch) Midhope Castle....Blackness Castle? Have tickets for Tattoo on 8/5....Museum.....Looking for some music venues? great pubs? local shopping?

Our son plays the bagpipes and plays rugby so would like to hear about anything to do with either?

Comments

  • HorizonsHorizons Member, VisitScotland Ambassador ✭✭✭✭
    edited February 2017
    Hiya @Hunter2, I'll be happy to try to help (former FL native, Go Gators ;)). First off, if you do not plan your rail journey from London to Scotland, you may end up spending more than the flight ticket difference. UKs trains are super expensive if you buy the tickets on the day of travel and you need to know how to "work the system" to access the cheapest or even reasonable fares. Explaning this may take a while so I'll forward you to my blogpost on the UK transportation system that explains what the cheap "Advance" fares are and how to buy them. Atlanta isnt too far off from SC but you'll need a hop to reach Scotland anyway.

    The above is null & void if you are buying BritRail. However, I note that the area near Hunterston castle is not served too well by public transport (takes you to West Kilbride). Also, I personally think driving around is a much better way to see Scotland (even though I've gone far using public transport). My opinion is that you should hire a car on reaching Scotland.

    July 30 - Aug 2nd : In my mind, the answer is obvious, stay in the Isle of Arran all 4 days. You can drive up north and try to check off as much as possible but 3-4 days is too short a time IMHO. Plus Arran is rightly called "Scotland in miniature", it has valleys, coastline, hills, standing stones and what not.

    Aug 3-7 : Do take your son to the Murrayfield stadium. Some of rugby's biggest matches are played here and they do guided tours as well (the best case would be watching a game here). Also do not miss the Royal Botanical Gardens when in Edinburgh. Visit the Castle Terrace on Saturday or Stockbridge on Sunday for local farmer market shopping (these are quite small by US standards but worth it). This post elsewhere on this community has Edinburgh pub recommendations (including mine).

    Also, visit the North Berwick Highland Games (also on 5th Aug but in the daytime) for the pipe bands, highland flings and of course, the sports. I think your son will enjoy the local pipe bands that typically play in the Highland Games and may even pick up a thing or 2.

    Phew, sorry for the wall of text, let us know if you have any more questions!!
    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 fest)

  • Hunter2Hunter2 Member
    Thanks Horizons....great information! I need to nail down those flights in order to figure out transportation. We bought Britrail passes the last time we were there and never drove. Not sure about staying at the Isle of Arran. My husband and son get bored easily if there's not enough to do. I think they might be tired of the area after a weekend in Hunterston so wanted to move on but it looks lovely. My son would love to go to Murrayfield. That looks great!
  • HorizonsHorizons Member, VisitScotland Ambassador ✭✭✭✭
    My pleasure. I should really stress that even though Arran is in Ayrshire, it looks & feels nothing like the mainland. Goatfell on the island is almost a munro and one of the most spectacular hikes in the country. I personally would pick it over the Inverness - Culloden area. If you can tell me what you've seen and what you'd be interested in seeing, I can provide some recommendations for those 4 days.
    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 fest)

  • YourScotlandTourYourScotlandTour Member ✭✭✭
    Hiya, Horizons has left little out... just to add there is not likely to be any rugby games being played in the summer; it's a winter game. I was at murrayfield yesterday cheering Scotland on to a brilliant win over the Welsh. 
    Bespoke tours.
    Whisky, Castles and Food a speciality.
    yourscotlandtour.co.uk
  • HeartbeatHeartbeat Member
    edited February 2017
    Hi Hunter2,   
    Seeing your son is a bagpiper, are you still going to be there August 11 & 12th?
    That's when the World Pipeband Championships take place at Glasgow Green.
    I'm sure that should be something on your Itinerary!! 

    I 2nd North Berwick.. even if you can't make the Games.. it's a great wee Town to visit.   
  • Hunter2Hunter2 Member
    Ok, looks like North Berwick is a must do! We were planning on flying out 8/7 so will miss the World Pipeband Championships. Horizons to answer your question I have only been in Scotland once before about 15 years ago. My son and husband have never been there. I was in Ayrshire, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Inverness. Any recommendations are welcome. I'm into castles and history. Husband is into beer lol! Son rugby and bagpipes. 
  • HorizonsHorizons Member, VisitScotland Ambassador ✭✭✭✭
    @Hunter2 Ok I have 2 sets of recommendations, 1 mainstream and 1 hipster

    Mainstream : Glencoe, Fort William, Inverness + Culloden, Perthshire (Pitlochry). For beer : Visit the Cairngorms brewery, great wee tour and so many samples for only £5 (have a designated driver!) Their restaurant The Winking Owl in Aviemore has their excellent beer and top-class pub food!

    Hipster : Galloway Forest Park + Dumfries and Scottish Borders. Your husband will love this one because some of the best beer in Scotland is made at the Tempest Brewery in Tweedbank. For history lovers like yourself, there is a literature trail with Robert Burns house in Dumfries and Abbotsford house where Walter Scott lived. There is also Floors Castle, Melrose Abbey, Galashiels forest and much more.

    Hope this helps, give the links a good read through to see all the options available.
    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 fest)

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