Scottish MNers this way please! Holiday help needed...(36 Posts)
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DFiance and I have finally managed to convince his XW to let us take the kids on a plane for a holiday. We both would love to go to Scotland so thought this would be perfect - not too long a flight from Gatwick to Edinburgh, so the children should be OK! We've been looking at self-catering cottages and I have 2 questions for you lovely Scottish MNers. (and those with loads of Scottish experience, of course!)
1. If we're there for 7 days, with a hire car, where would be a good place to base ourselves? We've seen a lovely place (with a hot tub!) near the Trossachs park, which seems pretty central, would that be a good bet? If not, where's better? We would like to see Edinburgh, Roslin, Stirling Castle, go for a cruise on a Loch, eat some seafood, drink some whisky, and generally mooch around exploring beautiful countryside every day. Suggestions are most welcome!
2. Midges - how bad are they really? We'd be going at the end of July / August...
If there's anywhere else we absolutely HAVE to go, please let me know... my spreadsheet is ready for input!
You want to use your flights to go somewhere you could have driven to?
Sounds like an excellent base as the countryside is beautiful there. You're close to Loch Lomond, well within 90 mins from Edinburgh and handy for Stirling and Perth.
Unfortunately, the midges can be horrible at that time of year. I recommend Avon Skin so Soft. Smother yourselves with it and the midges basically can't get a grip to bite and drown on your skin. It's a bit grim but better than getting bitten. Watch out for tics too if you go walking.
I would drive that way you will save £££ on a hire car. I too would fly south instead - Scotland is best in the springtime imo!
If you can do the last week in August it might be cheaper as the Scottish schools will be back.
Its a crap flight though. As much time hanging about if not more than on the plane. Train?
Trossachs is lovely, and accessible to everywhere. What about getting the sleeper up to glasgow and hiring a car from there? It's only an hours drive.
I find Edinburgh vastly overpriced- especially during Fringe Festival season.
I'd say base yourself in Glasgow, your within easy reach of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, The Argyle Coast and Stirling.
The train through to Edinburgh is quite nice as it's super busy at that time of year and nice to have a bit of an escape from it.
My personal favourite place is Portavadie in Argyll for cruising, seafood, sea safari and a bit of rural bliss.
Just re-read and saw that you're thinking of staying in the trossachs. Definitely pack the midgie spray then!
If you register with skypicker they give you a £10 discount code off flights- I was looking earlier and a single from Glasgow to London was £33 plus £10 discount code off so £22.... that was in Feb though. Worth a look mind
I would rent one of the lodges at the Cruin in Loch Lomond for a week. It's pricey but beautiful and central enough to do day trips to Edinburgh and Glasgow while having loads of countryside/hills/the loch right on your doorstep.
Check out Arden lodges website. I'm biased because I'm getting married at the Cruin but there will be cheaper ways of doing it!
Thank you everyone! Lots to think about. We may save the Scotland trip for cooler weather with less midges and go south instead - Portugal or south of France are looking good!
I'm in Ayrshire. Depends on what you want to see. Castles, seaside, museums.
Loch Lomond is nice. Glencoe is stunning. Stirling castle has lots to see. Edinburgh castle is good.
In Ayrshire you can go to Arran, it's like stepping back in time. I love it!
In Ayr, go to burns museum.
Kilmarnock has a 13th century keep at Dean Castle country park. There is a guided tour. The grounds are gorgeous.
Glasgow has kelvingrove museum, with a real spitfire hanging from the ceiling.
The transport museum is cool too.
There is also M&Ds which is theme park.
Our preferred midge repellant is Smidge. (I'd heard that Avon changed the formula for Skin So Soft a few years ago. I was glad to stop using is as it was so oily! Horrible.)
At Loch Lomond, there is the Maid of the Loch - it has been a ferry, a floating cafe and restoration project and is now, I think, a working boat again.
Glasgow Science Centre was great. Glasgow also has lots of parks - Bellahouston Park, Pollock Park and more.
The Famous Grouse visitor centre does a kid-friendly whisky tour with tasting.
Midgies - buy Avon skin so soft, they hate it and don't come near you. I use it on us and the horses and we never get bitten.
Our schools go back on 17th August so after that time it should be cheaper for accommodation.
Edinburgh is terribly overpriced. Stirling Castle is worth a visit but I'm unsure of entry prices. There's lots of lovely cottages around the area you're looking at and lots to see and do.
Trossachs would be a good central base, with loads to do.
Midges can be terrible, but only really at dusk, and particularly near water. So lochside dusk walks are out!
Well, we've gone and booked it! Seven nights in a cottage near Kirkcaldy, apparently midge-free, with an actual library room and a hot tub!! Sounds like paradise! Flights are also confirmed, so let's hope the Scottish summer is a cracker! SO excited... any must-see places? We'll have a rental car so can get pretty much anywhere!
Kirkcaldy is considerably free-er of midges than the Trossachs, and you've got all the east coast fishing villages nearby. They're lovely. Hope you have a great time.
Kirkcaldy's not particularly bonny but north of that the coast is lovely. Make sure you sample the chippy in Anstruther. Best fish and chips there is!
Are you there for August?
If so, you should go into Edinburgh for the festival at least one day. I went with the DS before and we had a great time.
How old are yours?
Stirling Castle is well worth a visit. The castle itself is stunning but also there are people walking around in character, who are excellent. 6yo DS spent ages
interrogating asking Mary Queen of Scots all sorts of random questions; she was great
Hah! I was just coming on to say come to Fife! Lovely beaches, hardly any midges, easy motorway access to Edinburgh, perth and Glasgow. Good choice!!
Go for a day out in Burntisland if the weather is nice, there's a nice beach there and a funfair that stays for the summer. There's also a good swimming pool with waves and flumes there in case the weather isn't so good.
Also, the kelpies near Falkirk is worth a visit, there's a nice park right next to them where you could take a picnic.
I've just been looking at your original wish list and have some suggestions for you based on that...
Cruise on a loch - loch Katrine nr Aberfoyle has a boat that cruises up and down twice a day. Or Loch Lomond. Or, go to Anstruther and sail out into the Firth of Forth to the Isle of May. Great for seabirds. Ooh, or take the Maid of the Forth from South Queensferry under the rail bridge to Inchcolm island.
There's a fab seafood restaurant in St Andrews, which is about 1/2 an hour drive from Kirkcaldy
Drink some whisky - any pub really....but the ship inn at Elie is lovely in the summer after a day on the beach
Beautiful scenery - a spin round the East Neuk villages is lovely. If you can bear the long drive a circuit of Dundee, Blairgowrie, Braemar, ballater, the Cairn o'Mount road over to Fettercairn and then back via Dundee will let you see some lovely lowland/highland scenery, stunning wee villages with lots of cafes and restaurants on the way (and a brief glimpse of Balmoral). That's an all day job though. Alternatively, head to Perth and go to Crieff and along Loch Earn, up to Killin then back along Loch Tay, aberfeldy and up over the Amulree road to Dunkeld, then home. That's another all-day job.
You don't say how old your DCs are - if they are under 10 then Cairnie Farm just n of Cupar is a great day out. Huge outdoor play area with trampolines, karts, maize maze etc.
Oh and Stirling Castle MUCH better than Edinburgh!
Hope this helps.
Another one here to recommend Fife- St Andrews in particular. Country park just outside of the town called Craigtoun with rides, a boating pond, zip wire, mini golf etc. Good for toddlers up to 8/10 year olds. Also, in town, there's a family friendly restaurant called Forgan's and if you visit on a Thursday afternoon there's often a free art/craft session run by a gorgeous lady called Roz. Depends how old the DCs are though.
If your near Kirkcaldy I'd take the train into Edinburgh. Don't even think of going by car especially if you don't know it traffic can be terrible and can take hours. Go on the train you will go across the forth railway bridge and see the other bridges too and be right in the middle of the city when you get into Waverly. you can also get a ticket which includes the busses and trams and a kids go free train ticket off peak.
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