This is every traveler’s dream and I was lucky to experience it with my girls! I have kept this blog informative and have added my recommendations..plan it and get on with it! Do it the Scottish way!
My travel dates– 21st July- 26th July, 6 days
Route- Newcastle- Edinburg- Inverness- Fort Williams – Glasgow – Edinburg
After spending some quality time with my friends at New Castle (a nice change from bustling London), after 4 relaxing days, we took a train from New Castle to Edinburg which took us 1.5 hours.
Day 1: Beginning of our unforgettable Road trip: Edinburgh – Inverness
My friend had her car, we took like 10 hours, but blame us on our excitement, we did lot of stops for our impromptu photo shoots!
We had rented out a 2-bedroom duplex in Inverness which was for 200 pounds for 4 of us. We wanted to rent out a place in fort Williams but we couldn’t because places were full, so a Tip: stay at the nearby towns for a more economical stay!
Day 2: Inverness – Fort William (Lochness & Glen Affric)
Must See in Fort Williams:
- Lochness and Urquhart Castle tour – Loch Ness is a large, deep, freshwater loch (lake) in the Scottish Highlands extending for approximately 37 kilometres southwest of Inverness. We booked a tour including a cruise and a castle visit. Cost- 14 pounds per person. Most known for of course, the mouth of river monster. You can pick a cute ‘Lochness souvenir’ for your friends back home!
2. Glen Affric is a enchanted native wood with loch and lot of pinewoods. Perfect for hiking, and can easily take a day if you want to complete 15 miles hike. You can wander amongst the pine trees accompanied by the chirpy calls of woodland birds. Better to go in a group. In fact, we got lost and this magical forest started to look haunted after a while. With weak signals, we got pretty scared too! Carry a map, flashlights, snacks, water and a first aid kit! Once prepared, enjoy the exciting Scottish wilderness which will give you real sense of wilderness!
Day 3: Fort William (Ben Nevis) & Glasgow- Scotland’s western Lowlands.
Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in the British Isles, located in Scotland. Known for skiing in winters and mountain biking in summers. A gandola (cable car) takes you up, its quite slow but then the view of the complete valley is so worth it. Gandola will leave you at a base, after which you will have to climb uphill for 15-20 minutes to reach at the top. When we reached at the top, the weather which welcomed us, dense fog along with the view of the valley, reminded me of our very own Mussorie (Indian Hill station). So, next time you go Mussorie, enjoy the feel of Ben Navis.
Tip: Enjoy a cuppa of Baileys Hot chocolate with marshmallows..when you will order it, bartender will guide you on how to make it at home (at lest, I got that guidance). There is also a section for adventure lovers at the base with a host of activities like rope climbing, bunjee jumping etc which you can enjoy in case you have the time. Will cost you 40-50 pounds for all the activities.
DAY 4: Glasgow – Edinburg
Stayed: At Marriot. After a satisfying journey at Ben Navis, we moved on for our next stop- Glasgow. Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland, and third largest in the United Kingdom. We reached on Sunday evening, and hence we found it pretty deserted. British definitely likes to be indoors for their Sundays and they prepare for their Mondays! This place has modern architecture along with historic ancient structures. Glasgow hosted the 2014 Commonwealth games and which lies next to the university is a good place to explore. Do visit the Ashton Lane– gorgeous cobbled streets for the finest of music and food scene- ask any local, and they would be happy to guide you there! If anyone craving for authentic Indian food (which we did), do visit Ashoka at Ashton lane. Their chilly paneer is perfect for a spice lover!
Day 5 and 6: Exploring Edinburg
Edinburg- Next stop, post Glasgow was Edinburg which was an over an hour drive. Perfect sunny weather, it looked like the entire city stepped out of their homes to enjoy that bright sunny day.
If you are tired of staying in hotels, I highly recommend- B&B ‘My Edinburgh Life’ which was very cosy and had homely vibes with all the facilities. The hostess was also very warm n cooperative.
Café Nomad is an amazing place for breakfast which has great selection of breads, sandwiches, teas and coffees in a very cosy seating. Sit next to the large windows and watch the city pass by as you sip your English tea. I recommend- Chocolate croissants and their egg sandwiches. Ps: You will also be able to view the tramp up close from this café as well!
Edinburgh has lots to offer- be you are a literary lover, a shopaholic or fond of architecture. The main spots which you have to see are:
- The Royal Mile- An eclectic mix of shops, restaurants, pubs and visitor attractions.
- Writer’s museum- Located in a little alleyway, this place celebrates the life and works of three of Scotland’s most famous writers – Robert Burns, Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson. Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, plan your visit accordingly. One can easily relate Edinburgh as a literature capital, as you will come across lot of literary quotes and graffiti.
- Arthur’s Hill- When you are in Edinburgh you should absolutely hike up Arthur’s Seat. Arthur’s Seat is a small mountain of volcanic origin and only 20 minutes away from the city center. Best to come early in the morning when it is not too full yet, or early evening and watch the sun set behind the city. You can either hike up to Arthur’s Seat’s peak which takes around 30 minutes or leaving Edinburgh you head left up the Salisbury Crags. This place is less run over and the view is just as good
- The Scott Monument– This is a chance for seeing this magnificent city through a bird’s eye view. Looking at it from outside, one can hardly guess that one can climb it all the way to its top, as it is very old and narrow tower. But fortunately, it was open for climbing and what a climb it was! Imagine urself climbing flights & flights of round stairs in which are getting narrower & narrower as you get to the top !!! One has to be really focused on their steps for this climb, as one slip of step & one would have a serious fall down disrupting the balance of the people behind and causing a log jam. but as you keep climbing the storeys, you will see the city from different heights, which keep getting more & more majestic with each storey.
P.S: Those who are not comfortable of heights & closed or small settings may want to think this through before climbing this monument.
- Princes Street– This is one of those main stretch of roads in Edinburgh which goes through most of main attractions viz. The Scott monument, Calton hill, city observatory, Princes street gardens, high end fashion stores etc. One can experience Edinburgh’s buzzing city life all over this street.
- The Scottish National Portrait Gallery
- Scottish national museum
- Scottish national gallery of modern art
- Edinburgh castle
- Giles Cathedral
- Greyfriars Kirkyard Church
- Greyfriars Kirkyard cemetry
- Palace of Holyroodhouse
- Camera Obscura
- The city is also famous for its haunted tours, graveyard and cemeteries- definitely worth paying a visit- Apart from being very sophisticated in literary world, Edinburgh also has a reputation of hosting numerous haunted tours in its underground valleys & dungeons. You can see the flyers & posters all over the city offering haunted tours of underground cells, dungeons & cemeteries.
On a whole I would say with all my heart, Edinburgh was the highlight of my entire UK trip. It stole my heart within an instant & I am glad it did. This place has something for everyone, be it history or literature or adventure or modern fast pace lifestyle or great food or high end or low key & yet very interesting outletson and on..I can go on and on…If you are planning a trip to UK, you must include Edinburgh in your itinerary, else your UK trip would be in complete.
In case you want to know anything to plan your trip here, please connect with me at firstname.lastname@example.org