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Itinerary Help! Overwhelmed!

I am kind of lost!  7 of us in our group, coming from the US, end of June 2019.  Booked our airfare and our Airbnbs.  Figured we would base ourselves in Inverness and Edinburgh so people in the group could branch off and do their own things if they want.

4 nights in Inverness: Want to see Inverness, Culloden Moor, ride the Jacobite train, and see the Isle of Skye.  Can't figure out how to get to the train/Fort William before 10:00am.  All 7 of us want to do this, and no one wants to rent a car.  None of the train/bus routes make it there on time.  Any other ways to get there on time?  Do not want to spend the night in Fort William as I already paid for the Airbnb.  

Then we are taking a train to Edinburgh for 5 nights.  I want to do a one day Outlander tour, see Alnwick Castle, and Stirling Castle.  My daughter likes "off the beaten path" things to do.  Any ideas?

We are then spending 3 nights in Liverpool and 5 more nights in Dublin.  I am excited, overwhelmed, and scared of screwing up everyone's dream trip!!  

Thanks for your help!

Comments

  • HorizonsHorizons Member, VisitScotland Ambassador ✭✭✭✭
    Can't figure out how to get to the train/Fort William before 10:00am.  All 7 of us want to do this, and no one wants to rent a car.  None of the train/bus routes make it there on time.  Any other ways to get there on time?
    Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but there are no Ft. William - Inverness buses in the AM. Hiring someone to drive you is the only alternative. Both Inverness to Mallaig (on the Jacobite) and back as well as Inverness-Skye are maddening long daytrips and you'll probably be spending more time travelling than feet on the ground but I don't see that as a problem in Scotland.

    Here's my only suggestion (and this isn't super practical due to luggage logistics but I can't compute any other way of making it work) - Do the Jacobite trip on the circuitous path from Edinburgh to Inverness with a very early start. You can reach Fort William at 9:32 AM if you take the 4:25 AM sleeper from Edinburgh or at 9:50 AM if taking two buses (Edinburgh - Glasgow and Glasgow - Skye getting off at Ft William). I've taken the morning bus to Ft. William and the 10 min connection is impossible with luggage so consider the sleeper. There is a luggage storage facility at Ft William. Do the Jacobite and catch the last bus to Inverness after a day on the Hogwarts express.

    I want to do a one day Outlander tour, see Alnwick Castle, and Stirling Castle.  My daughter likes "off the beaten path" things to do.  Any ideas?

    Again, Alnwick Castle seems like an odd choice due to the distance and the sheer number of castles such as Linlithgow and Tantallon easily reachable from Edinburgh (some noted in my favourite Scottish castles accessible by public transport post). Tonnes of off the beaten path possibilities in Edinburgh starting with the Surgeon's Hall Museum, ziplining in the Scottish borders, taking a boat trip around the Bass rock and 100K birds and taking a chocolate making class with one of the UK's top chocolatiers. As a local, I can go as off-the-beaten path as you'd want (or ask the hive mind for recommendations) but you'll need to provide some of her interests.

    Drop me a PM on Facebook / Instagram. If I am not super busy, I try to give snappy and relevant responses including when already on your 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)

  • therockmomtherockmom Member
    Thanks for your response!  I am taking the train out of the equation.  I think we are going to spend 3 nights in Inverness and 6 in Edinburgh.  I just have too much I want to see and do in and around Edinburgh!  I will be asking you for more advice the closer I get though haha.
  • HorizonsHorizons Member, VisitScotland Ambassador ✭✭✭✭
    @therockmom Sounds good! There is indeed a lot to do near Edinburgh.

    However, my personal opinion would be do devote some time to a Highland small town to truly experience the beauty of Scotland in a town like Pitlochry, Carrbridge or Newtonmore atleast for a night if not two. There are a number of holiday homes in the Cairngorms that should hold the 7 of you (subject to availability). There are very few places in the world as calm as the Scottish countryside which are this easily accessible. All 3 spots are on the Edinburgh - Inverness route. So my recommended breakdown would be 4 nights Edinburgh, 2 nights in a town and 3 nights Inverness.

    Some photos taken in striking distance of Pitlochry, Carrbridge and Newtonmore respectively






    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)

  • ArtravelistArtravelist Member ✭✭✭
    Hi @therockmom

    If you do have a strong urge to visit Alnwick Castle whilst you are in Edinburgh, Rabbies does a day trip to North England which includes Alnwick Castle and you will be passing through beautiful Scottish Borders landscapes. Rabbies also does an Outlander tour.

    Mary's Meanders are passionate Outlander fans and offer tours with a personal touch. Their tours start from Linlithgow - a short train ride from Edinburgh.

    Can I ask, what made you decide on Alnwick Castle?
  • VisitScotlandAmandaVisitScotlandAmanda Member, Administrator, Moderator, VisitScotland Staff
    Since I see Pitlochry being mentioned I'm just going to tag in our resident expert @fishypro in case he has any handy tips!
    Kiwi gal, relocated to Scotland. 
    Instagram
  • fishyprofishypro Member ✭✭✭
    Thanks for the tag @VisitScotlandAmanda, If you are visiting Pitlochry and you are an Outlander fan then it may be interesting to know that the original "Craig na Dun" is just outside of Pitlochry on the edge of Dunalistair Reservoir. It may also be interesting to know that Outlander season 4 has completed filming in Dunkeld and in Pitlochry. They have built a new village in Faskally Wood which is Georgia, US in the series. It is full of native Americans that look more like Apache Indians.
    That should get your juices flowing for now.
    Best regards
    fishypro
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