Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Going to Scotland in March - Advice??

Usually we head to sunny St. John USVI for spring break but this year we're up for an entirely different kind of vacation - we're going to Iceland and Scotland.  Do you have any advice for us?  (myself, Dan and our 9th grader)

We'll be landing in Iceland on a Sat. 6:30 am  for a one day/night visit and then we'll leave Sunday am, arriving into Glasgow by 10 am.  We pick up a rental car and head to Edinburgh where we'll be staying for three nights in a 2 bedroom flat located on the Royal Mile.  We'll leave Edinburgh Wednesday am and don't have to be back to Glasgow for our departing flight until Sunday afternoon (5 days/4 nights).  I'm a huge fan of Aspiring Kennedy and have made notes of her suggestions for Stirling, St. Andrews, Portree and the little village of Luss.   My friend Anne also recommended Oban.  We definitely want to head up to the Highlands and don't mind the idea of inclement weather, in some ways I find myself hoping it will even snow!

Is there a grand country manor or castle you stayed in that you'd recommend?  Any sights we shouldn't miss?  Thanks for any and all ideas.  Michele xo



30 comments:

Francine Gardner said...

I am dreaming of going to Scotland! You are going to have such a fabulous time.

TSL said...

I've never been but I am so excited you and your family will be going! I can't wait for your posts! Oh the inspiration you will receive, please send some back to me!

Hartwood Roses said...

I know you must be jumping up and down with excitement! No advice to offer, tho. No matter where you go while you are there, you will have a great time.

Lois said...

I spent a summer in Scotland! Lived in the Cameron Toll area. I was going to say don't bother with the Castle, but your son might really like it. Walking around Holyrood Park and climbing Arthur's seat is really incredible - Arthur's seat takes a while but is totally worth it! Unless it's really windy, in which case may not want to go to the tip top. The grassmarket area has great food and fun shops. The botanical gardens are incredible (even on a rainy day, there's so much indoors), and if you enjoy art museums, there are loads of free galleries worth checking out. If you're going outside Edinburgh, Rosslyn Chapel is beautiful, and for the best fish and chips ever head to Dunbar's Central Cafe (I believe it's called) and the little city center is charming. Also if you can time it with the tides, Holy Isle is beautiful! Oh Scotland, you just can't go wrong.

littlewow said...

I lived in Scotland for two years and loved every minute of it. The most beautiful place ever. Definitely try to make your way to the Isle of Skye, which is just the jewel in the crown of the Hebridean islands. And St Andrews is a great day trip from Edinburgh. Also gorgeous and history rich and the sunniest city in Scotland.
In Edinburgh, eat at Oink, The Witchery or Iglu. Go to Demijohns on Victoria Street and FabHatrix, this amazing hat store in the grassmarket.

littlewow said...

For more fun suggestions, the whole thing is documented on my blog, http://fergieinfife.blogspot.com

Tricia Rose Rough Linen said...

I had a wonderful time with my niece on the island of Arran, showing her where our people came from, so I suggest a little homage to your roots if you know of any. Nothing like that sense of connection!

pve design said...

You must get in touch with Lauren at Aspiring Kennedy.
She has all the best travel advice - she lives in London but travels all over and has some great posts on Scotland.
pve

Sol said...

loch ness? take some wellies it will rain, at somepoint. Just come back from Hogmanay in Edinburgh, cold and wet.

the galleries on Prince st in Edinburgh are free, except for special exhibits. The elephant house coffee shop is where some of Harry Potter was written (very busy). The Grassmarket area (old Town). Royal Yacht Britannia, Holyrood, Calton hill, Edinburgh Castle (go for the 1 oclock gun).

west coast, is stunning. Fort William, you can get to Skye from there, take the train that is featured in the Harry Potter film.

What about the Cairngorns, if you like walking.

You are going to have a great time. I cant wait to go back

A.J.Barnes said...

Sorry, I have no advice - except you are welcome to take me with you...however my mother visited Scotland a few years ago and had a wonderful time. Loved it.

AnneHH said...

Hi, I did a little more research and Cawdor Castle is the one that we loved and it is near Culloden. Only go to Oban if you are in the area. We were there to go to some Highland games nearby but with limited time, we much preferred being away from cities (except Edinburgh). So excited for you! You will LOVE it!

Teresa at Splendid Sass said...

Michele-
You are going to a beautiful place, and I know that you will love every minute, lucky lady.
I can't wait to hear all about it.
Happy Wednesday.
Teresa
xoxo

Iris said...

I have been to Scotland on a holiday myself and can recommend a fantabulicious restaurant in Edinburgh. It was sooooo good that we went there twice. You do have to make a reservation. It is located at 267 Canon Gate (thats right on the Royal Mile on the right side if you are walking uphill). Have a look at it on Tripadvisor. It is soooo good. I envy you tremendously because I would love to go back to Scotland

Iris said...

Dang! I got so excited that I forgot to tell you the name of the restaurant. It is called 'Wedgwood'.

Iris said...

I have been to Scotland on a holiday myself and can recommend a fantabulicious restaurant in Edinburgh. It was sooooo good that we went there twice. You do have to make a reservation. It is located at 267 Canon Gate (thats right on the Royal Mile on the right side if you are walking uphill). Have a look at it on Tripadvisor. It is soooo good. I envy you tremendously because I would love to go back to Scotland

Not Scarlett said...

Oban is a must for you especially after Glasgow and Edinburgh. You will appreciate the slower pace and easy, non-crowded walking distance to many delightful places. Great hotels, museums, etc. And the waterfront is colorful and gorgeous. We usually head to the Isle of Mull from Oban via the ferry, but I am not sure March is the best time to head over. Enjoy!

Carla Aston said...

You should contact Deb at Dumbwit Tellher. She's at the bottom of your blogroll and lives there now in Aberdeen. I know she'd love to hear from a blog sistah!

columnist said...

I note you're picking up a rental in Glasgow to drive to Edinburgh, but I'm not sure what arrangements you have for parking in Edinburgh, but it's not easy to do, especially on the Royal Mile. If you're just visiting Edinburgh whilst you're staying there you will not really need a car if you're fit, and enjoy walking. Edinburgh is a fantastic city for walking, and as I said, parking in the city is difficult.

That said, there are a lot of things to see and do for a couple of days, some of them already mentioned - castle, galleries, Holyrood Palace and the Queen's Gallery, walking along Princes Street for the castle views, exploring the New Town, (Georgian, and a World Heritage Site). I can be more specific if you like; we lived there for 3 1/2 years.

Sarahew88 said...

I highly recommend going via train from Lonson. But not the straight shot. That would e a 12 hour train ride or more. Do it, with "lay-overs" like in Salisbury. Salisbury is the sweetest town and the cathedral is overwhelmingly beautiful. There are other places to pudde jump on your way to Scotland, you will SOOOO enjoy this! Jealous as I am stuck in Afghanistan and cant travel till re-deployment.

FergusonsVA said...

So happy to see this post - we are going to Scotland in May and I'm overwhelmed with planning. A few top picks that seem to be coming up to us are Eilean Donan Castle and the Isle of Skye. I hope you'll post more on your your final destinations!

Kwana said...

Lucky you! Have a wonderful time.

Elizabeth@ Pine Cones and Acorns said...

Oh this is exciting, I have been many times and love it more each time. I agree with Lois, visit Holyrood Park, climb Arthurs seat, I personally loved the castle, I know some have said not to visit.

There are so many great restaurants, but the Witchery is a favorite. St. Andrews is fabulous, and while you are driving from Edinburgh there are lots of casles along the way to Feif. You will not run out of things to do.

Enjoy the trip!

pretty pink tulips said...

That sounds like a fantastic vacation!! I've never been...so I look forward to hearing what others suggest and hope you share some photos with us when you return!!

xoxo Elizabeth

Loi Thai, Tone on Tone said...

Hi, Michele - I've never been to either. Scotland is definitely on my list. And I see lots of suggestions here from others. I love that about blogging :) Take lots of notes / photos if you can.
Have a great weekend!!

Pat said...

Michelle, sounds great, but can I take your place in St. John's ?

Darina Sleziak said...

I see you're stopping briefly in Iceland -- an incredibly beautiful place. I spent two weeks there this summer. I've posted highlights of my visit on my blog, "textilu." On my recommended short list: a stop at the Blue Lagoon (heavenly), dinner at the Hamburger Factory (organic fare made to order despite the name and a short walk from the heart of Reykjavik; favoured by the locals, and across the street from Hofdi, the site of the famous meeting between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev), and either a short guided hike in the hills around Reykjavik or a visit to a stable to ride the Icelandic horse (tours abound with hotel pick-up).

Looking forward to hearing of the details of your trip.

Valorie Hart - The Visual Vamp said...

Get in touch with Deborah Peterson Miline. She lives there and had the blog Dumwit Telher. You'll find her on Facebook.
xo xo

Dumbwit Tellher said...

I"m thrilled for you and your family that you are visiting Iceland and Scotland.

There are too many wonder spots in Scotland and Aspiring Kennedy gave some terrific suggestions. The fact you embrace inclement weather means you'll love your adventures.
Mar Lodge is a place we'd love to stay. The smallest accommodations they have is a 4 person apt., but it's set in the Cairngorms National Park and the surroundings are stunning. To get there you pass Ballater, Balmoral Castle and Braemar. The Royal Deeside is truly picturesque.
http://www.nts.org.uk/Property/Mar-Lodge-Estate/Holiday-Accommodation/

In Edinburgh if you feel like getting some brief hiking in, a climb to the top Arthur's Seat is a view worth climbing for. The Royal yacht Britannia is mored in Edinburgh and can be toured. It was the ship where Diana and Charles spent their honeymoon. I've heard that the ghost tours are quite fun too & something your daughter my enjoy? Jenner's Dept. store is a fun stop downtown. It has existed on Princes St. since 1838 and has a lovely tea room/cafe upstairs with a view of Princes Street Garden.

St. Andrew's is truly wonderful and has been one of our favourite spots to visit as well. You can spend a day there and not be bored.
There are so many castles along the Royal Deeside and all so special. One our favorties was Glamis (the Queen mother's family home), Dunotter, located near picture perfect Stonehaven, & Crathes Castle. This website is the best for ideas and opening times as many are closed until the end of March.
http://www.nts.org.uk/Home/

In my opinion, Edinburgh and Stirling Castles are not to be missed. I think I've inundated you enough. I am excited to read how you like it here? It truly is a magical place to visit.

Safe travels Michele :)

Aspiring Kennedy said...

I'm wayyyy behind in blog land- but this post got me so excited!! What adventures you have in store. :) Iceland AND Scotland? You guys are doing spring break right! Good luck with all the planning prep and, of course, email me if I can help with any questions!!! ;)

Judy said...

I've been 3 times, most recently in October. Edinburgh is a fantastic city, but I agree about the parking nightmare. You can walk the whole city or easily bus places. They're putting in a tram line and the city is torn up in places. The Highlands are gorgeous; we stayed 5 nights at the base of the Highlands in Balbegno Castle. Expensive but what a gorgeous house, and you save money by being able to cook your own meals. This past time we saw a lot of the east coast (North Sea). Saint Cyrus is breathtaking with its vast expanse of beach that is usually pretty deserted off season. Try to see Dunnottar Castle -has to be seen to be believed. I am envious of you and know once you go, you will want to return. My only regret is that we didn't go to the Isle of Sky-yet!

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