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Not to miss spots on my first trip to Scotland

This discussion was created from comments split from: Just one place.....


  • AnnapccAnnapcc Member ✭✭
    Hallo, I'm Anna next June I'm going to Scotland for the first time, I've already realized that there are many amazing places to visit, for example a lot of castles, which of them can't I miss? My journey begins from Edinburgh, then St.  Andrews, Inverness, John o' Groats (just for a daily tour to Orkney), my travel plan forsees Loch Ness,  Skye, while Fort William and Stirling are on my way to come back to Edinburgh, if I had enough time I would like to visit them.
  • VisitScotlandAmandaVisitScotlandAmanda Member, Administrator, Moderator, VisitScotland Staff
    Hi @Annapcc I've just moved your discussion to its own thread so that it gets better visibility and our community members can assist you better.

    I'll let other people jump in with their faves but just wanted to say you'll have a blast in Edinburgh - my fave spots are Victoria Street near the castle for independent stores, Greyfriars Kirkyard for the Harry Potter fan in me, Leith for great pubs and food, Portobello for a lovely beach walk (and plenty of dog spotting) and I always enjoy the walk and view on top of Arthur's Seat and Scot Monument. Hope that's a good starter for you!
    Kiwi gal, relocated to Scotland. 
  • HorizonsHorizons Member, VisitScotland Ambassador ✭✭✭✭
    My recommendation would be to try to stay in Skye for atleast 2 days. It is just so beautiful (The fairy pools are my favourite). Visit Eilean Donan castle on the way. I am guessing you will be driving as Fort William to Stirling by public transport is a small nightmare. If so, do stopover at Glencoe.

    If you do have a day to spare in Skye, take a day trip to the Isle of Harris to be transported to a tropical country (almost). The beaches there are unbelievable (see below). This is hardly a first timer thing but the rewards are very high.

    Make sure you book all your ferries before hand from the CalMac website if you're driving. Also note that the Orkney day trip from Inverness mostly consists of sitting in a bus or a ferry and I got a little motion-sick. Be prepared for that. However Orkney is one of the most fascinating places in Scotland so it will be worth it.

    Hope you have a wonderful trip/
    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)

  • AnnapccAnnapcc Member ✭✭
    Thanks for your useful tips. At first I planned 1 day in Skye, but now I'm changing my mind, I'll stay at least 2 days, I've seen amazing photos and videos about this island, I can't miss It! Unfortunately I won' t be able to stay 1 day in Glasgow before to finish my trip in Edinburgh, where I'll stay almost 3 days. Regarding Orkney, I'm considering a daily tour from John o' Groats  (ferry + bus).
  • HorizonsHorizons Member, VisitScotland Ambassador ✭✭✭✭
    @Annapcc If you're staying overnight at John O' Groats then yeah you wont be in much of bus motion sickness pain. Will you be driving to John O'Groats? If so, may I suggest creating your own day trip by taking the Northlink ferry from Scrabster to Stromness (2 hrs) or the Pentland ferry from Gills bay (1 hr). That'll give you the flexibility to decide how much time you want to spend at each spot.

    For instance the bus did not take us to Maeshowe and Highland Park distillery, 2 places that I visited later & quite liked. And I'd be happy to suggest a driving route around Orkney (I am working on that precise blogpost to be completed in the next week). I should reiterate that I've found Orkney more fascinating than even Skye because 5000 year old history isnt this accessible anywhere else. :smile:
    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)

  • ParsmanParsman Member ✭✭✭
    If you are going from Edinburgh through Fife to ST Andrews, think about visiting places like Dunfermline or the East Neuk of Fife. Fife is known within Scotland as the Kingdom and until the building of the Forth and Tay Road bridges in the 1960's really was almost a world apart. Dunfermline is the ancient Royal Capital of Scotland and has a wealth of history and culture. Kirkcaldy has a fantastic sea front and a great art gallery, and the East Neuk has a number of beautiful villages including the home of the original Robinson Crusoe. You already have St Andrews on your list of places to visit and for the golf and for the history it is very hard to beat. Then on the way to Inverness you should think about spending some time in Dundee, the nation's fourth city and a creative hub with a great heritage.
  • FraserMFraserM Member ✭✭
    If you have time I would recommend two days on the Isle of Skye and visit as many of the following places as possible!

    Fairy Pools
    Talisker Distillery
    Dunvegan Castle
    Coral Beach
    Neist Point
    Fairy Glen
    Staffin Beach
    Kilt Rock/Mealt Falls
    Old Man of Storr

    As said Orkney is also a wonderful place.
  • AnnapccAnnapcc Member ✭✭
    Thanks to everyone,  I'm already looking for the places on the Map!  Thanks to Google maps as well!

  • Hello @Annapcc!

    Fantastic to hear you are visiting Scotland for the first time, really hope you enjoy it when it comes around.

    If you are near St Andrews, I would certainly suggest spending a bit of time in the City of Dundee, probably one of the best-situated of all Scotland's cities, on the banks of the River Tay. It is a city on the up and in 2014 it was awarded UNESCO City of Design status, the first in the UK. It is a very creative city with a visit to Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA) in the city's cultural quarter, well worth doing. It hosts various art exhibitions throughout the year and has a fantastic bar and cafe! Dundee Waterfront is going through and major redevelopment and the Victoria and Albert museum (V&A) Dundee Museum of Design is due to open in 2018 which will further enhance Dundee's creative offerings. More information on the city from  the website.

    Also, the city has plenty of history and a rich heritage which is worth experiencing during our Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017! Verdant Works tells the story of Dundee's weaving heritage and has recently undergone a major restoration and extension project which has really added to the experience. Please find more information on the museum and their sister attraction, RRS Discovery, at the Dundee Heritage Trust website.

    One of my favourite museums in the city is the McManus Galleries, which tells you the story of Dundee between past and current industries along with other elements about the city. The attraction has a pleasant cafe and shop. It is free to visit and open every day

    Please do pop into Dundee ICentre in the City Square to you pop into the city. The staff there will give you an amazing overview of the city!

    If you are over on the west coast of Scotland, definitely visit the Glencoe area. I was there back in 2012 and it is one of the most stunning journeys I have done so far in Scotland! The area is well-known for its history as much as its scenery. Glencoe was the area where clan feuds led to the massacre of Glencoe. The scenery has been inspirational for a number of film directors and most recently, it starred in Skyfall with Daniel Craig and Dame Judi Dench! More inspiration on the area can be found from the VisitScotland website:

    Once again, I hope you enjoy your visit to Scotland when it comes around!
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