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Trip in June

Hello all,

My boyfriend and I will be in Scotland for two and a half weeks in June and are really looking forward to it. Our itinerary is: Edinburgh (1 week, with daytrip to Glasgow), Dunblane/Stirling (2 nights), Speyside (2 nights) Loch Ness (2 nights) Orkney (4 nights). We've already booked accommodation, rental cars etc. We're staying in an apartment in Edinburgh, a treehouse near Dunblane, and B&Bs for the rest of the trip.

I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions for things to see along this route (we'll be driving) or things we shouldn't miss. We have some ideas but are always looking for more! My boyfriend is very into whisky - I know there are a lot of distilleries in Speyside - are there any that anyone would particularaly recommend? 

Also, are these all areas that will be attacked by midges in June? We've heard good things about smidge but will need all the help we can get as mosquitoes already find us delicious. Avon skin so soft has also been recommended but I've heard that they've changed the formula and that it no longer works.

Thanks so much! I'm looking forward to any suggestions about things to see along the way. 


  • fishyprofishypro Member ✭✭✭
    Hi @cmillar, sounds like you have evrything under control for your trip. The question regarding Avon so soft I can answer with as far as I am aware the product is still the best thing against the midges. Smidge is a close second. Just outside of Grantown on Spey is Ballindalloch Castle. They have recently opened their new Distillery next to their own golf course. This is new and very impressive indeed. The best distillery tour that you can do in Speyside is The Glenlivet "The Legacy Tasting Experience". This is a must for every whisky fan that has done lots of distillery tours already. This one blows your mind.
    Regarding the other matter of what you can see and visit on your travels, this is a tough one. You would need to give us more information on what you like seeing or doing, otherwise we can go on for ever offering you lots of ideas that make no sense to you personally.
    Hope this helps for now. I am looking forward to offering you more ideas.
    Best regards
  • cmillarcmillar Member ✭✭
    Thanks so much! I'm interested in lots of things really but I would like to see some castles (as cliched as that is), churches and old villages etc. I love history so that's my main interest. I'd also like to go on a few walks and see the scenery - nothing too extreme as to need special equipment or anything though. I've seen some breathtaking pictures of the coast and the hills. I've only been to Edinburgh before and my boyfriend hasn't been at all. In Orkney we're hoping to see puffins and some of the neolithic sites. We thought we might check out Urquart castle when we're in Loch Ness but haven't got much beyond that really. I think the area I know least about is between Stirling/Dunblane and Speyside so recommendations for things to see there (castles, old sites, nature) would be particularaly welcome.

    Thanks so much for the distillery recommendation - I'll check it out! You said that it's great for people who've already done lots - is it still good as a first tour or is it best to start somewhere else?

    Also good to know about avon skin so soft!

    Thanks again!
  • HorizonsHorizons Member, VisitScotland Ambassador ✭✭✭✭
    I have a few recommendations for you.

    - Do not miss the Botanical garden when in Edinburgh, I think it is a really cool place to visit. You can also consider taking a day trip to the Scottish Borders if you have time (which may be unlikely because the museums are free & good!)
    - In the Speyside region, visit the packhorse bridge near the Bridgend of Glenlivet, it is an enchantingly beautiful spot built in the 16th century.
    - I haven't had a chance to try the Balvenie tour but I've heard the best things about it, you must book ahead for the tour (and it is accessible by bus from Dufftown / Aberlour so drinking is possible).
    - My favourite place in Orkney (apart from all the Neolithic sites) is the Isle of Hoy where I did one of my favourite day trips of all time. Do not miss walking up to the Old Man of Hoy, it is just stunning.
    - Everybody goes to the Highland Park distillery while in Orkney but I highly recommend checking out the Scapa distillery. Orkney is also home to one of my favourite Scottish beers called Swannay (better than Orkney brewery IMO), do try one or two of their beers while on the island.

    I have my Edinburgh, Speyside & Orkney experiences & full set of recommendations written up on my blog. Feel free to ask any specific questions that I may be able to help with.
    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)

  • cmillarcmillar Member ✭✭
    Thanks so much! That's all really helpful - I'll make sure to check out your blog!
  • fishyprofishypro Member ✭✭✭
    @cmillar, for all of your walking needs then check out Walkhighlands. They have thousands of walks listed and at all levels. As for the distilleries I would recommend Cragganmore as a starting block. The distillery is just down the road from Ballindalloch castle. This is certainly one of my favourite castles as it is still lived in and feels very homely. Blair castle is a wonderful day out with lovely gardens. You can also visit the Blair Atholl Watermill where they sell the best Carrot Cake in Scotland. Visit Pitlochry, my home town, on your way up to Speyside. Pitlochry is really a lovely place to stay & explore. Check out website for further info or even Torrdarach House which has a great Whats on page.
    If you are an Outlander fan then there is also a route that you can do:
    Let me know if you need anything else.

    Best regards
  • cmillarcmillar Member ✭✭
    Wonderful! @fishypro thanks so much for all your help. 
  • JasonstryJasonstry Member
    I am not a Scot except by marriage to a lady who was born in Edinburgh. If you are in that neck of the woods and love castles, if you drive along the coast south of the Forth through North Berwick, you will find a wonderful old castle by the name of Tantallon. If you google it the photos will tell you a lot but it is perched on top of cliffs away from houses and is an incredibly peaceful place. It has some history as well and the ruins still show the damage caused by Cromwell's canon as well as rooms filled up with rubble where the inhabitants tried to strengthen the walls. You will find many photos on Google

    I don't know if it will fit in with your plans as it is getting close to Aberdeen but on the coast road there is another wonderful castle called Dunottar. Again, you will find it on Google and it really is worth the visit.

    Hope that helps!

  • VisitScotlandAmandaVisitScotlandAmanda Member, Administrator, Moderator, VisitScotland Staff

    @Jasonstry here's a pic of Tantallon! I went recently and absolutely loved it :)
    Kiwi gal, relocated to Scotland. 
  • cmillarcmillar Member ✭✭
    Thanks again, everyone! Will definitely check out all the suggestions.
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