7 Days road trip to Scottish Highlands

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We travel to Scotland once a year and it has now become a family ritual . The ritual is established because we fell head over heels in love with Scotland back in 2009. And I doubt there is anyone who has visited Scotland once and never went back.

Lately I have been seeing a lot of queries for sample itinerary/suggestions/recommendations for Scotland travel. So I took this as an opportunity to write a couple of blog post to help people planning their epic road trip to Scotland.

We are a big fan of road trips, and feel self drive makes your journey memorable and gives you more time to explore different places. If you are one of those who stay in Scotland or closer to Scotland border, well I envy you 🙂 For those who stay a bit far like us, let’s get started 🙂

Trip to Scotland include Scottish highlands by default. So if you are driving from far, I will recommend you to break your journey at Edinburgh for couple of days.

  1. Edinburgh

Things to do in Edinburgh:

  1. Edinburgh Castle – Worth a visit and will take half of your day.
  2. Walk on the Royal Mile Road – We have done it several times, and still enjoy this walk exploring different pubs, street shows, restaurants.
  3. Camera Obscura – It is a world of illusions, mirror maze etc and if you are travelling with kids they will enjoy it too.
  4. A stroll in Holyrood park and a gorgeous hike to Arthur Seat giving you panoramic view of Edinburgh.
  5. A small hike via steps to Calton Hill and a gorgeous view of old & new Edinburgh from the top. There is an unfinished monument at the top, a beautiful photo spot.
  6. Dynamic Earth – another interesting attraction to know more about earth and sciences.

2. Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park

Afterwards you can start your journey towards Scottish highlands. Drive to Loch Lomond & The Troassachs National Park and stop over in various villages of the national park. Take a cruise from one of these villages: Luss Village , Balloch or Tarbet.

Even a simple stroll is beautiful & quaint in these villages. To read more, check out our blog post on Luss(Herb) Village Walk, Argyll

3. Inverary, Argyll

This little beautiful coastal town is home to Live Inveraray Jail, Inveraray Castle, Loch and beautiful cottages. You can easily spend a day or two here.

To read more, check out our blog post – Beautiful Inveraray, Argyll

4. Glencoe

Driving in the valleys of Glencoe is awe-inspiring. It is majestically beautiful yet quietly boasting different mountain ranges in it’s vicinity. We can spend weeks here and still not get bored of it. But if you have only a week, stay over a night , go for a hill walk and in night lie down outside for star gazing. Believe me it will not get any more beautiful.

5. Fort Williams

Town of fort Williams is no far from Glencoe and it is home to the highest mountain of the UK – Ben Nevis. If you are fit and up for a hike, do the hike to Ben Nevis. It is challenging but views all the way is a reward to the eyes & soul. More about the hike on this post Hike to Ben Nevis- Britain’s Highest Mountain

Do not worry, those who want to take it a bit easy. You can still get to the top of Nevis Range by visiting Nevis Range Gondola Centre 

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If you have interests in gems, fossils & crystals, a visit to Treasures of Earth will be worth it. May be bookmark it for a rainy Scottish day . More of it on the post Treasures of the Earth

Shout out for Whisky lovers, a must visit to Ben Nevis Distillery, you can take a guided tour and at the end of the tour treat yourself with real Scottish whisky while sitting in Scotland 🙂

6. Lochshiel, Glenfinnan

Not far from Fort Williams is a little hamlet of Glenfinnan.

Shout out for Harry Potter fans, the very famous The Hogwarts Express rides over the Glenfinnan Viaduct Bridge, which is closely visible by a long walk from here or you can see it from far distant from station museum.

Loch Shiel is the location of the fictional Black Lake near Hogwarts in the film versions of the Harry Potter series. To read more, check out our blog post Lochshiel, Glenfinnan

So this was our list for 7 days in Scotland. You can customize the number of days you would like to spend in each place. Hopefully it gives you an overall idea on what can you do for 7 days in the beautiful highlands.

 

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Back to Scotland!!!

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I guess sometimes the greatest memories are made in the most unlikely of places, further proof that spontaneity is more rewarding than a meticulously planned life

It is going to be a long post as opposed to my normal way of writing small ones, So bear with me my people 🙂

It was the Christmas eve, we had a yummy, rich and heavy lunch of roasted lamb, gravy, baked parsnips & carrots, potatoes, veggie balls, prawn cocktail, champagne and Christmas pudding!!! I am already salivated with the thought of that drooly food 🙂 After this heavy meal, we cleaned up and sat to listen and groove.

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Well the post is not about what I ate for Christmas celebration, instead the story starts now.

My Husband (Ash) says all of a sudden – Let’s have breakfast in Scotland tomorrow, to be specific Edinburgh, at 11.30PM. And taking it as a joke we said Yes in uniformity and wore the jacket, put the shoe and headed out to our car. We sat, Ash started driving and what was racing in our mind- Aaah It’s the brandy in pudding speaking and after 30 mins we will be back home. But that did not happen and Ash kept on driving , it is then we realised Man we are going to Scotland, a 800 miles drive without any hotel booking, no extra clothing, no tooth brushes. Literally what we had- what we wore, a couple of us had their wallet (thank god)

I got super excited, a spontaneous & unplanned trip. I wanted to see how we will be managing all this in the season of bitterly winters and when we are on a real tight budget. The excitement gave everyone a high and we were already on this amazing trip.

Toddy & Hot Chocolate were a must for Minus Temp :)

Toddy & Hot Chocolate were a must for Minus Temp 🙂

Around 4AM, all of us started feeling sleepy (after effects of heavy meal and champagne), with no accomodation booked and everything pricey due to Christmas season, we stopped over York to stay in a YHA dorm room for £13 pp/night. Can you believe it? God Bless the guy at reception who entertained us at 4.30am in the morning and allotted us a room. We went In and slept like a log for next 4 hours. Got up early morning, with no brushes or facewash, we had to skip those rituals and replace it with a rinse. We had to have breakfast at Edinburgh as per the plan so had a coffee and went on driving to Edinburgh.

Coffee at YHA, York

Coffee at YHA, York

After driving for next 5 hours, Yey we reached Edinburgh- not for breakfast but for Brunch, Well who cares!! As long as it is a good meal in a beautiful historical city, all is well 🙂 Then we booked another hostel for the night and started to venture out pubs of Old Town Edinburgh. Edinburgh is a such a gorgeous city, with its untouched poised Victorian and Georgian architecture, those Gothic churches and beautiful town hall- it looks splendiferous. We went for a pub hopping, some visit pubs of the Ediburgh are :

The Last Drop (A haunted pub as per the stories)- http://www.nicholsonspubs.co.uk/thelastdropgrassmarketedinburgh/

The Three Sisters- http://www.thethreesistersbar.co.uk/

Guilford Arms- http://www.guildfordarms.com/

The World’s End- http://www.worldsend-edinburgh.co.uk/

Also visited Edinburgh Winter wonderland, It was a blissful experience.

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We called it an early night, as while drinking another plan took birth and that was for me. I wanted to drive to Scottish Highlands, see the snow and get my eyes all glorified with the beauty around. Next morning 5am we left for Fort Williams, one of the most beautiful drives of my life. Once you entered Highlands, what you see is Snow capped mountains kissing the sky, frozen lakes, bridges covered by Snow. It was a beautiful sight, a sight that could bring tears of happiness in your eyes. We just had a random destination post code of Fort Williams that was picked by our Sat Nav, we were not destined for a particular arrival.

 

We turned the car where we felt the road ahead will be beautiful, we stopped the car where we felt I want to get down and capture this sight in my eye. It was a spontaneous trip with spontaneously created memories. While taking one of the turn on the road we saw a sign board for Nevis Range Gondola Trip, and who could stop us. We took a ride to 300ft up to 2150ft on the north face of Aonach Mor, the eighth highest mountain in Britain. Played in the snow, took pictures and had an amazing Mountain Hot Chocolate at the Cafe on the mountain.

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Now I am back into my world after having to drive 1200 miles for a breakfast and breath-taking view, and everything was worth it.