Scotland Things to Do Tips by vtveen Top 5 Page for this destination
Scotland Things to Do: 1,331 reviews and 2,743 photos
Oban: Esplanade with McCaig?s Tower above the city
We reached Oban, coming from Inveraray, along a very scenic road through Lochgilpead and along some stunning 'lochs'. Oban is a busy port with a lot of ferries leaving to one of the Scottish islands. Oban is called "Gateway to the Isles".
We were surprised by the amount of tourists (mid September) strolling along the esplanade or browsing one of the several shops. It has a lot of accommodation varying from luxury hotels to basic B&B’s and pubs and restaurants.
Other highlights for visitors are the Oban Distillery, the Waterfront Centre and north of the town Dunstaffnage Castle. It is also possible to make (half)day trips by boat in the Oban Bay or to one of the islands and to spot sealife.
Oban is dominated by McCaig’s Tower, a kind of Scottish Colosseum built by a rich Oban banker (John Stuart McCaig) with the intention to provide a family museum. The views from the hill over Oban, Oban Bay and some islands are stunning, specially during sunset !!
Directions: Oban is situated at the west coast of Scotland, just opposite the Isle of Mull.
Glen Orchy: the falls of Eas Urchaidh
Glen Orchy is a ten miles long ‘single track road’ from Inverlochy to Bridge of Orchy. And ‘single track’ means really SINGLE TRACK. So drive carefully !!
In the beginning the valley with a slowly streaming river with some trees on the shore seems to be almost a romantic spot. But about halfway the water is swirling and foaming over a spectacular fall with a fantastic name: Eas Urchaidh. On this spot is a bridge and we had wonderful views onto the Orchy. From here some tracks start into the forests.
We saw just one farm along the road through this very remote part of Scotland.
Directions: B8074 between Inverlochy (2 miles east of Dalmally) along A85 and Bridge of Orchy A82.
Duntulm Castle: fort on the green grassy headland
Somewhere on the internet I did read the following sentence: “Duntulm apparently means the fort on the green grassy headland.” The description couldn’t have been better.
Coming from Staffin and Flodigarry through the most northern point of Trotternish we suddenly reached the settlement (a couple of houses) of Duntulm. The scenery again is spectacular: Tulm Bay with Tulm Island, Duntulm Castle Hotel, green meadows in front and on a cliff Duntulm Castle. Or better the sparse remnants which one can see today.
We parked our car at the hotel and walked to the beach and climbed a steep staircase to the castle. Officially it is not allowed to enter the site, but the fence was very low ……There is not much left except some foundations and one piece of a wall. But the views from the cliff on the bay and the coastline are stunning.
Directions: Along A855, very close to Duntulm Castle Hotel (see website www.duntulmcastle.co.uk).
Chanonry Point - dolphin spotters
We decided to stay on Black Isle, because there are some places to see the famous Moray Firth Dolphins. One of the best places is Chanonry Point, a spit of land into the Moray Firth.
From the car park, close to the lighthouse, we walked along the pebble beach to the utmost point, just opposite Fort George. The tide was coming in and we had to wait for a long time, while more and more people came to the beach for the dolphins.
We were lucky with the sunny weather and unlucky with the dolphins, because just a couple of them showed up and only far away from the shore. That day you needed very very good eyes or even better binoculars to see the ‘black points’ in the water.
The Moray Firth dolphins can often be seen very close to the beach. Take a look at the almost unbelievable pictures on: www.charliephillipsimages.co.uk
It is also possible to make boat trips to watch the dolphins in the Moray Firth:
Directions: On A832 is a turnoff (signposted) in Fortrose; the road runs through a golf course before reaching the lighthouse and car park.
Stirling - Stirling Castle
Stirling was our last serious stop during our holiday. Although we visited the town on a drizzly Sunday morning we felt quite well in Stirling’s Lower town with an attractive centre with some traditional pubs, shops and the Thistles Shopping Centre. In a cafe called 'Costa Coffee' we had our best ‘Scottish’ cappuccino.
But the main tourist sights of Stirling are ‘on the hill’, all around the famous Stirling Castle. We walked around and saw or visited the Argyll’s Lodging, the remarkable Mar’s Wark, just one remaining wall of a palace. The impressive Holy Rude Church has an unique oak-beamed roof and we never an information desk with leaflets in so many different languages. Just opposite the church Opposite the side of Holy Rude Church is the white-painted Cowane's Hospital, built 17th Century as an almshouse for bankrupt merchants.
Stirling does offer a lot to tourists, but for us the weather was too unpleasant to stay longer in this pleasant town. We have to come back next time.
Directions: North west of Edinburgh and north east of Glasgow.
Glengoyne Distillery - whisky jar
A visit to Scotland without visiting a whisky distillery is not complete.
It doesn't matter which or where to visit one of these distilleries. You will find them everywhere around the country. We stopped at the Glengoyne Distillery, somewhere along the A81 towards Glasgow. Known as 'Scotlands Most Beautiful Distillery'.
We had a musical welcome of a bagpipe player, were just too late for a tour, but could see the huge stills and visit the shop to taste one of these whiskies.
We visited on a (very) rainy Sunday morning in late September and as a consequence we didn’t see any tourist at all in Culross. Strolling through the cobble stoned streets with the small and sometimes colourful cottages the Royal Burgh of Culross did feel like being the Middle Ages (just ignore the cars).
We walked along the Palace, with its yellow ochre colour, the Townhouse to the square with a mercat cross and the Study and the oldest house of Culross and further on the hill till the (ruins of) the Abbey. It was just amazing to see all these fine restored houses and places.
For us one of the highlights of our Scottish holiday and an absolutely ‘must see’ destination when you are staying in or around Edinburgh.. We just recommend don’t come to early to Culross, because the Palace is open from 12.00 am and the same goes for the local pub and tea room. So we couldn’t have a cup of coffee on this rainy cold morning !!
Palace, Study, Town House and Tea Room: Good Friday to 30 September, Thursday - Monday 12-5.
garden: all year, daily 10-6 or sunset if earlier.
Access to the Study and Town House by guided tour only.
Admission fee: adult £8
Directions: Culross lies on the north side of the River Forth. Situated in the west of the Kingdom of Fife, it is 20 miles from Edinburgh and 30 miles from Glasgow. Culross is signposted from the A985 through the B9037 to the village.
Eilean Donan Castle - just a picture
We had already seen a lot of pictures of the castle on postcards, calendars, travel books and a lot more touristy stuff. And on our first Scottish holiday we had to see this ‘famous’ castle.
Coming from Skye suddenly there was the ‘Castle of St. Donan’s Island’: a massive and gloomy stone building in a dramatic setting, special in the dreary weather we had. Standing on a small islet in Loch Duich, connected to the mainland by an arched bridge and with some mighty Scottish mountains in the background. Just a picture !!
We decided to visit the castle, but to be honest it was rather disappointing. Just two of the rooms are interesting: the Banqueting (or Great) Hall and the kitchen with a recreated display. The other rooms are not worth the money.
If you don’t trust your own pictures, buy some cards or books in the gift shop. For your coffee, tea or lunch I would recommend to go to the village of Dornie, just a couple of ‘metres’ away from the car park. A pleasant Scottish village without the crowd of tourists.
Just north of the castle - along A87 to Skye – is an exit with a small car park, which allows to make the best pictures.
Opening hours Castle: Every day 1 April - 31 October - 10am - 5.30pm
Admission: a lot of pounds
Directions: Along A87 very close to the village of Dornie.
Edinburgh New Town - seen from the castle
The name New Town is a little bit confusing, because this part of Edinburgh was designed and built more than 200 years ago. It is divided from the Old Town (around the Royal Mile) by the Princes Street Gardens.
The New Town is Edinburgh’s business and shopping centre. Specially the streets from Princes Street till Queen Street and the smaller roads between these both. The main shopping area is along Princes Street with all international and trendy chain stores and Scotland’s famous department store ‘Jenner’s’. Close to Waverley Railway Station is Princes Mall, a shopping mall with also a huge food court.
In the New Town are the most restaurants located, varying from McDonalds and KFC till real Scottish pubs and restaurants. We had our lunch in Rose Street, even on September 23 it was possible to sit outside )in the sun' and watch the locals and tourists passing by.
To be honest this was not the part of Edinburgh we loved most and seeing the crowds of people on Princes Street and almost the same shops as we do have in Holland, we longed for the ‘real’ Scotland in Aberdour, the village where we stayed while visiting Edinburgh.
Directions: Edinburgh city centre, also close to Waverley Railway Station.
Princes Street Gardens - green lung
We reached the gardens - a huge city park - descending from Edinburgh Castle. We were really surprised by its beauty with green lawns, lots of flowers (including the Floral Clock) and number of trees. A real green lung in the city centre, dividing the Old and New Town.
After shopping in and around Princes Street we found a bench between a lot of locals and tourists, just to relax and to enjoy the lovely sun (in September !!) and great views of the skyline of the old city.
Directions: Between the Old and New Town of Edinburgh, along Princes Street.
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