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Old 12-05-2012, 06:36 PM   #1
packofjedis
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anyone live in Scotland? help...

We're taking a 2 week trip to Britain in 2013. 1 week in Scotland, 1 week in Wales/bits of England. We're a group of DH, me, 2 teen boys - 14 & 16.

The Scotland part has me thrown for a loop. I found an awesome place to stay in Ayr, but don't know if I'd rather be north of Edinburgh/Glasgow? North I've found places near Perth and south of St Andrews. We're interested in all the normal tourist things - castles, cathedrals, villages, football, but want to mix it up with some different things. We'll have a car, but want to stay in one place, taking day trips our from there.

So would you stay north or south of Edinburgh? I feel like crossing through Glasgow/Edinburgh to go up north from Ayr seems so daunting and long....so we want to make sure there's enough stuff to keep us busy for a week whichever we pick.

(I'm not opposed to driving south from Ayr for a day trip either - is the lake district too far for a day trip?) Thanks so much for any light you can shed on this.
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Old 12-07-2012, 02:34 PM   #2
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I live in Glasgow. I think if you want to do day trips in Scotland you'd be better staying in the central belt (in/around Glasgow or Edinburgh). From there you could travel further north, maybe to Stirling for the castle, or up the west coast to Oban. You could also travel south to Ayrshire or go a bit further south and visit the Lake District (quite a long drive but it could be done in a day).

If you make Ayrshire your base, you'll have an hours drive just to get to Glasgow and then the extra time to get to Edinburgh, Stirling or wherever else you wanted to go.

There's plenty of castles, and other places to visit within easy driving distance of the central belt.

Hope that helps!
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Old 12-07-2012, 05:11 PM   #3
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I think the lakes is probably too far to aim for in a day. We live just outside Edinburgh and would only heady to the lakes for a weekend trip. As a base I'd suggest somewhere near the M8/M9 so maybe Queensferry or thereabouts. from there it's about an hours travel or less to Glasgow /Perth /Stirling and even closer to Edinburgh. or stop in Ayr on your way up , travel to Glasgow for the day then head through to Edinburgh and make somewhere near there a base.
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Old 12-07-2012, 07:56 PM   #4
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I would suggest Stirling as a good base. 30 minutes to both Edinburgh and Glasgow, 40 mins to Perth, 1 hour to St Andrews. Lots to see in and around Stirling too. An hours drive will take you to Loch Lomond which is lovely. Stirling is on the main motorways too which makes getting there so easy. Pretty town with beautiful castle sitting on the hill in the centre.
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Old 12-09-2012, 01:43 PM   #5
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Perfect!! Thanks SOOOOOO much for all of your help. This is exactly what I needed to know.

Off to search around those areas. Thanks!!!!!!
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Old 12-09-2012, 06:10 PM   #6
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Good luck! If you want any further help or advice on any places you are considering just let me know. Would be happy to help!
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Old 12-10-2012, 07:17 PM   #7
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Have you considered Aviemore? You could have a few nights in Edinburgh to see the city and then a few nights to a week in Aviemore. You are central to lots of activities and restaurants and the scenery is stunning. The Cairngorm National Park is on your doorstep and absolutely stunning. Lots of varied things to do and such stunning scenery! Loch Ness is about forty minutes away too, which we absolutely love. It's a great base for seeing more natural Scotland. (a must IMO!)

Perth is nice but quite small. I think there is more offered for a one time trip elsewhere. My grandmother lives in Dundee which is pretty close to Perth and it's really only a day trip on it's own. Scone Palace is worth a visit... Lived in by the great Murray clan (we are in it... Can you guess? ) and absolutely beautiful castle.

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Old 12-11-2012, 08:19 AM   #8
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My original plan had been to book a place from either Landmark Trust or National Trust. They have some cool buildings you can stay in, plus the cost is good for 4 of us staying a week. So I'm somewhat limited as to where they have locations.

I'm hesitant to use just any rental property since I'm scared I'll get a dud, whether the owners or quality/cleanliness, etc.

I'm not as concerned with the actual village we're in, since we'll be leaving daily anyhow. It would be nice to have a village that has shops or restaurants in it, but we have a car, so I'm not that worried.

We're not keen on B&Bs. I considered hotels, but the holiday cottages from Landmark and National Trust are cheaper and provide us with a kitchen and laundry.

Thanks for everyone's help, though. I'm writing down all your ideas as to what's nice to see. This will be our first time to Scotland, but not to UK. My dad was born in Chesterfield, so we went alot when I was younger and my DH and I visited my aunt in Northern Wales when we were first married. It's my kids first time, though. My oldest is off to college in a couple of years, so this is my big hurrah before they start leaving me! It's got to be a GREAT trip!
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Old 12-11-2012, 02:25 PM   #9
meggiebeth
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When we stayed in the Highlands, we found the best place was the Macdonald Resort in Aviemore. They have luxury woodland lodges well equipped with kitchen facilities and a minute's stroll away from the leisure centre and big resort pool, plus the big gift store and several restaurants.

About a ten minute walk away is the centre of the town Aviemore, with many restaurants and bars. There is also a great fish and chip shop, plus a cute gift shop open until 9pm. There is also a Tesco superstore with all of your food needs covered.

Check out this link to see the lodges: http://www.macdonaldhotels.co.uk/our...-lodges-4star/

You can also get a cute steam train lunch, dinner or afternoon tea at the Aviemore station which I believe takes you to the Boat of Garten, where the train station has a little waiting room stopped in time- looks like something from the Victorian era!

Check out http://cairngorms.co.uk/ to read all about what you can do in the CairnGorm National Park. There is a funicular railway that takes you up to the top of a mountain to the highest cafe in the UK.

The Macdonald Aviemore resort is a short walking distance from the Rothiemurchus estate. There is an adorable little cafe and shop here and an abundance of activities to do. There is also Loch an Eilean, which is voted the UK's best picnic spot! It has an old, derelict castle in the middle of the loch which is pretty impressive. http://www.rothiemurchus.net/

At the nearby Loch Morlich, there are lots of watersports to try out, and a lovely beach and cafe. http://www.lochmorlich.com/

There is also Loch Ness 40 minutes away with Inverness. http://www.visitlochness.com/ It is pretty eery, but really good fun! There is also a Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition, which whilst was nice, we found a bit biased (they basically said 'Nessie isn't real and deal with it' ).

Sorry if I am rambling on about a place you aren't interested in! However, I wouldn't just limit yourself to looking at National Trust and the like, and would urge you to consider something like Hoseasons. We have used Hoseasons on numerous occasions and love it. They have lodges, holiday cottages, apartments and accommodations all over the UK and are worth considering for Scotland. http://www.hoseasons.co.uk/?gclid=CO...nXIAWQ&pid=123

The thing with Scotland is that the weather is often terrible... much worse than England. Wherever you stay, you want to make sure there are enough indoor activities to do just incase you do get several days of rain which is pretty common. We were lucky and had many days of sunshine and temperatures of 25 degrees celcius. That is what made the holiday for us. We did have one day of rain and it was horrible.

If it were me... I would have 2 nights in Edinburgh and 5 nights in the Highlands. It is worth looking at Aviemore as it is a very popular base for exploring the Highlands and there is so much to do.
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Old 12-11-2012, 04:35 PM   #10
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Scotland has so many wonderful sights and us Scots do tend to take them for granted! As a family we make sure we explore our own country during at least one week of the holidays every year - either at Easter or Autumn (or both!). We recently spent a wonderful week in Kenmore at the mouth of Loch Tay. We stayed at Mains of Taymouth which provides excellent accommodation. See http://www.taymouth.co.uk/

You may want to consider spending a few nights in Edinburgh - there is so much to see - and then a few nights in Kenmore, which has pretty easy access to the North (Aviemore/Inverness) and South (Perth/Glasgow) as well as the beautiful East and West coasts.

As others have said the weather can be wet - at times - but that is one of the reasons we have the fantastic scenery and landscapes.

Wherever you go I am sure you will enjoy!
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Old 12-11-2012, 05:56 PM   #11
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Ok for those of you recommending Aviemore or Kenmore, how much of a drive will it be to North Wales (sort of near Chester)? I don't want that drive to be so much that it's not doable in one day.

I'm going now to check out all of your links. Thank you so much for providing more suggestions. Like I said, the Wales portion I know what I want to do and where I want to stay. I'm basically taking my kids to all the places I remember loving, and staying near where my aunt lived. Scotland is a complete unknown. I'm no good at this....but want this trip to be memorable.

As far as the rain, we figured as much. We'll be bringing rain slickers and waterproof shoes for sure.
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Old 12-12-2012, 06:14 AM   #12
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It is two hours plus to drive from Avimore to Edinburgh. It is beautiful and worth seeing but would add a lot to your drive. I will second what others are saying about staying around the central belt. Queensferry was a great suggestion as it is so central. 15 mins from Edinburgh - 50 from Glasgow - 30 mins from Perth, 1hr 10 from Loch Lomond - 45 mis from Scottish borders - 1hr from Pitlochry.
Google the following South Queensferry Hotels: Orocco Pier, Dakota, The Hawes Inn. Both the Orocco Pier and the Hawes inn have fabulous view of the Forth Bridge.
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Old 12-12-2012, 10:13 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by packofjedis View Post
Ok for those of you recommending Aviemore or Kenmore, how much of a drive will it be to North Wales (sort of near Chester)? I don't want that drive to be so much that it's not doable in one day.
I'd say around 6-7 hours perhaps?
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Old 12-12-2012, 12:51 PM   #14
Balmacara
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Google map says just over 300 miles from Kenmore to North Wales - so 5-6 hours.
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Old 12-12-2012, 04:19 PM   #15
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We've driven home from Chester with a caravan in about 5 hours . So around 5-6 hours from North Wales to Edinburgh /Queensferry . Aviemore is around 2-2.5hrs further tan that.
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