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First timers

My husband and I are travelling to Scotland in August for 10 days - neither of us has ever been, and neither of us knows anything about it besides haggis, sheep, Macbeth and kilts (sad, I know!) so we have NO IDEA what to do or how to plan what to do.  We'll be staying in Falkirk (renting a flat) and want to see as much of the 'real' Scotland as we can, not just tourist destinations and hot spots.  We love nature (outdoor walking/mild hiking/biking), want to see the countryside, castles and scenic landscapes.  It seems like organizing something to include all those activities is mind-bending with all the different options, not mention figuring out how to get from point A to B and C all the way to Q!  Is there any way to narrow it down or know how to get things together (bikes, for example, or if it's better to rent a car and drive ourselves around or book a tour).  We appreciate any help we can get! 


  • VisitScotlandAngelaVisitScotlandAngela Member, Administrator, Moderator, VisitScotland Staff
    Hi @MPH and welcome to the community! :)

    There are so many wonderful things to see and do in Scotland so I can understand why it is difficult to decide what to do.  You might find this section of our website of use in planning your provides useful information about self drive tours, organised trips and routes by public transport.

    Falkirk is a great place to be based being on the railway line between Glasgow and Edinburgh.  It is also on the Forth and Clyde Canal with Sustrans Cycle Route 754 from Bowling (in the West) to Edinburgh (in the East) passing though.  This information about cycling in Scotland  may also be of interest to you.  

    I'm sure you will also get lots of great suggestions from our community to help you plan a fantastic holiday!  :)

  • VisitScotlandMurielVisitScotlandMuriel Member, Moderator, VisitScotland Staff
    There is a very friendly website for all things related to public transport namely Traveline Scotland. If you'd like to rent bikes in Falkirk here are the results of a search on Google.
    I would highly recommend going to Glen Lyon in Perthshire if you want beauty but not somewhere too busy. There are hikes there and if you are feeling energetic, you could tackle Ben Lawers - the 10th highest Munro in Scotland!! I tried to go up with some friends at the weekend but we had to abandon and turn round fairly near the summit due to bad weather unfortunately  :'( 
    Don't forget to go to either Killin or Kenmore at either end of Loch Tay - both very beautiful places and a bit busier with tourists.
    Have a great time in Scotland!! 
  • YourScotlandTourYourScotlandTour Member ✭✭✭
    Hi @MPH, great name :-) You may find a combination of different transport options works well. For example cycling after 6 whiskies on a distillery tour or 2 would probably be a little wobbly.... using a hire car may not be best either! Depending on the distillery, you can use public transport or use a tour guide. 

    For walking; you could use public transport to drop you at your start and take you home from your walks finish location or if you're really going remote; you could use a taxi or other driver.

    Bespoke tours.
    Whisky, Castles and Food a speciality.
  • VisitScotlandAlisonVisitScotlandAlison Member, Moderator, VisitScotland Staff
    The Kelpies are on your doorstep, and trains into Stirling, Edinburgh and Glasgow are plentiful.  You might want to consider a Spirit of Scotland rail explorer pass which gives you the option of either 4 days travel out of 8, or 8 days travel out of 15 consecutive days.  From Edinburgh you could take the new Borders Railway to Melrose or travel west to Mallaig, 2 very different regions historically and geographically and both have great walking opportunities.  There are bikes for hire at Fort William and a dedicated cycle route down to Oban past some stunning scenery (and eateries).  There are many guide books out there but at the moment I am using Scotland the Best by Peter Irvine (12th Ed.)  Happy travelling!
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