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  • Writer's pictureLauren

Our 7-Day Scotland Itinerary: Exploring the Best of Highlands and Lowlands

Hey everyone! I recently traveled to Scotland during April school vacation. Here is my day by day itinerary. Shoutout to my mom for doing the planning and writing the itinerary for this trip!

For our flights we flew in and out of Inverness because the flights were cheaper. Our flight was scheduled to leave Boston 7:20pm, arrive in London, Heathrow at 6:55, leave Heathrow 8:50 to Inverness landing at 10:25. I read that Heathrow is notorious for delays and that people should have at least a 3 hour layover. We were nervous with only a 2 hour layover, but our flight from Boston left early and we had sufficient time to go through passport control and through security to get to our next gate. Our flight from Heathrow to Inverness was delayed by 40 minutes, but somehow we arrived on time. Inverness airport was very small and easy to navigate (In and out).

We rented a car from Celtic Legend (who is Arnold Clark’s largest vendor) Arnold Clark picked us up and brought us to their location outside the airport. They were fantastic and we would rent from them again.

Our first accommodation was Tulloch Castle in Dingwall. Before heading to the hotel we went to Culloden Battlefield and Clava Cairns. Then we went to the hotel, checked in and took a short nap. The hotel has a pub so we ate there (no drinking and driving).

Our first wake-up we arranged for a private driver to pick us up and drive us to Torridon and Applecross (Highlands). My mom wanted to see that section, but didn’t want to drive it. I’m glad we made that choice! It was a nice relaxing day. Someone else was driving, we all got to enjoy the landscape, and it gave us the chance to acclimate ourselves to being on the left side of the road. We drove up into the mountain range, which meant we needed to come down the mountain range, and that’s when we really appreciated that somebody else was driving! There aren’t many guard rails, and the roads are single lane roads with passing places. If someone is coming up the mountain, that means that you have to reverse up the mountain into the nearest passing place. We hired Donald MacDonald (DM Highland Tours). We really enjoyed our day with him! Our tour was 9-5. We ate dinner again at the hotel. (Our Hotel was okay, not spectacular, but in a nice location).

Day 3 (second wake-up) we had breakfast in Dingwall, looked around, then drove to Urquart Castle on Loch Ness. Definitely worth doing if you’re into ruins, and it has spectacular views of Loch Ness. From there we drove to Invermoriston Falls for a brief stop (less than an hour). We walked a little trail, found a rope swing (lots of laughs). Then onto Fort Augustus. We walked around the town, admired the scenery and view of Loch Ness. There are lock gates that work like a water elevator for boats. We got lucky. A boat came through while we were there and we watched it pass through 2 locks. Our last stop, Fort Williams, where we stayed the night.

Day 4, probably everyones favorite day. We checked out and drove to Glenfinnan Viaduct (Harry Potter rail -Jacobite Steam train) passes over the viaduct. We took a short walk up the hill (with about 100 other people) to watch the steam train come across. Then we admired the scenery. From there we went to Nevis Range Scenic Mountain Gondola, took the gondola up the mountain and walked the scenic paths (felt like a hike). If we didn’t do that we would have hiked to Steal Falls in Glencoe. The Gondola ride gave us the hike, beautiful views from top of the mountain, and the ride up a gondola. From there we drove to Edinburgh stopping along the way for photo opps.

Day 5, Edinburgh. We started our day at Edinburgh Castle, walked part of the Royal Mile, walked to Scott Monument, St. Giles cathedral, Greyfrairs Kirkyard, Cockburn Street, and Victoria Street (not quite in that order, but almost).

Day 6, we traveled back to Inverness. Along the way we visited Stirling Castle, then to Highland Folk Museum (open air museum a mile long) then to our accommodation across the street from Hootananny’s (Scottish music).

Day 7, we flew out of Inverness at 11:20. You don’t need more than an hour before your flight. I returned the car at 8:00, we took the courtesy transport to the airport, arriving by 9:00, counter wasn’t open yet we were the first in line!

Our trip was confined to April vacation. If we could have stayed longer we would have added 2 days in Skye between Inverness and Fort Williams. We also would have added a second day to Edinburgh.

I loved our apartment in Edinburgh. We were just under the castle on one side. The other side of the apartment overlooks Victoria St. If I had more time in and around Inverness I would have added Working Dogs. One place wasn’t giving demonstrations because it was lambing season, the other wasn’t giving demonstrations during the days we were passing through. There’s so much more I would like to see, which gives me a reason to return!

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