for fellow travellers

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Visit Scotland - planning a trip

Planning a trip to Scotland has turned into a daunting task, with so many inputs from so many forums and the wish to see as much as possible. Expectations are high as we have been told that it is the most beautiful place in the world. I got this map from a truly great site.
The best car rental site is Arnold Clark rental.
I found a tour appropriate for us at Globus.

Day1 Hull – Edinburgh, Scotland.
This morning a magnificent highlight visit to see the lavish ALNWICK GARDEN, where the fountains and waterfalls are a breathtaking feature. Take your photos of the castle, ancestral home of the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland, setting for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the recent Harry Potter films. In the afternoon, distant views of Holy Island and Lindisfarne, then cross the border at Berwick-on-Tweed and head for Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital city. Optional Scottish evening with Highland dancers, bagpipers, and the Ceremony of the Haggis

Day 2 At Leisure in Edinburgh.
Morning city sightseeing of the 200-year-old “New Town” and famous scientists, inventors, and novelists. In the “Old Town,” drive up the narrow Royal Mile to EDINBURGH CASTLE to admire Scotland’s Crown Jewels, then explore HOLYROOD PALACE (except when the Queen is in residence). The afternoon is free to enjoy this “Prince of Cities” at your own pace. Later, a unique optional experience: board the former Royal Yacht Britannia, once the perfect royal residence for the Queen’s glittering state visits and family holidays. Tour five decks and see how the Royal Family and crew of 240 lived and worked on board. Dinner rounds off this optional evening.
Day 3 Edinburgh–Pitlochry–Braemar–Inverness.
Over the elegant Forth Road Bridge and into the Highlands. Stop at the Victorian mountain resort of Pitlochry, then head for Deeside with its royal connections and visit pretty Braemar, home of the Royal Highland Games for over 900 years. Cross heather-clad moors for a visit to a WHISKY DISTILLERY, see the ancient art of converting barley, water, and yeast into a heart-warming liquor. Spend the night at Inverness, the Highland capital.

Edinburgh–St. Andrews–Braemar–Inverness. (Wed.) Over the elegant Forth Road Bridge and through Fife to St. Andrews, whose Royal and Ancient Golf Club, founded in 1754, has given us the rules of golfing. Cross the Firth of Tay and from Dundee head into the Highlands with a lunch stop in pretty Braemar, home of the Royal Highland Games for over 900 years. Drive through the Grampian Mountains, following the River Dee in the area where the Royal Family spends their summer holidays. Later, visit a WHISKY DISTILLERY, see the ancient art of converting barley, water, and yeast into a heart-warming liquor. The next two nights are spent in the Highland capital.

Day 4 Inverness–Isle of Skye.
A leisurely day with a stop first at CULLODEN VISITOR CENTRE, which sets the scene of the crushing Hanoverian victory over Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Scottish clans. Plenty to focus your camera on as you follow the shores of Loch Ness, keeping a lookout for the mysterious monster.
Then call at CAWDOR CASTLE, setting for Shakespeare’s Macbeth and for over 600 years home to the Thanes of Cawdor. View the castle rooms and take a stroll through the gardens. Back in Inverness, the rest of the day is free to explore this compact city. We can have the Loch Ness Experience excursion including a cruise on the loch followed by supper at a local inn.
After a lunch stop in Fort Augustus, cross onto the Inner Hebridean Isle of Skye, the relaxing setting for tonight’s stay. Before dinner an optional excursion to spectacular Eilean Donan Castle.

Day 5 Isle of Skye–Fort William–Glasgow.
Call at the Clan Donald Centre for a visit to its MUSEUM OF THE ISLES and an insight into 13 centuries of clan history before boarding your FERRY at Armadale to sail across the Sound of Sleat. Rejoin the mainland at Mallaig and follow the “Road to the Isles,” pausing at Glenfinnan, the site where Bonnie Prince Charlie’s standard was raised in 1745. More scenic highlights this afternoon: Fort William beneath Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest mountain; the shores of lovely Loch Linnhe; the mountain pass known as Glen Coe, where the MacDonald Clan was treacherously massacred by the Campbells; wild Rannoch Moor; and the “Bonnie Banks” of Loch Lomond. On arrival in Glasgow, your orientation drive takes in the 12th-century cathedral, imposing university buildings, and elegant Georgian squares built by the wealthy tobacco barons.

If possible
Glasgow. Excursion to the Isle of Bute.
A worthwhile last day’s excursion out of Glasgow with a short drive and FERRY crossing to the picturesque Isle of Bute. The highlight is a visit to the Marquess of Bute’s MOUNT STUART HOUSE, Britain’s most spectacular Victorian gothic stately home, built in the 1880s in breathtakingly grand proportions. Here you’ll be welcomed in the family’s private sitting rooms for morning coffee, see this amazing house. Back in Glasgow, the rest of the afternoon is free for last-minute shopping before enjoying a farewell dinner at your hotel.

CITY: Edinburgh

Scottish Evening April 1 - October 31
No visit to Scotland's capital city would be complete without joining a Scottish evening with dinner, wine and a show featuring singers, dancers, bagpipers and the Ceremony of the Haggis.
Approximate value: GBP £50 per person

Rosslyn Chapel
Take a short trip from Edinburgh to visit Rosslyn Chapel, featured in the best selling novel The Da Vinci Code.
Approximate value: GBP £18 per person

Royal Yacht Britannia and Dinner
A visit on board the Royal Yacht Britannia, now moored at Leith docks, is followed by dinner with wine and coffee at a local restaurant.
Approximate value: GBP £47 per person

CITY: Isle of Skye

Eilean Donan Castle and Pub Visit
Enjoy a visit to spectacular Eilean Donan Castle followed by a drink of your choice at a local inn.
Approximate value: GBP £19 per person

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