Since Ben and I are both a quarter Scottish, we decided to visit the land of our ancestors. Funnily enough, Ben’s clan (Campbell) and mine (Macdonald) fought in a brutal war against one another. We’re a modern day Romeo and Juliette I suppose. Regardless, here is our itinerary for our Scotland vacation.
I knew I wanted to drive while in this wonderful country because I wanted to see some national parks and rolling hills. I also have never driven on the other side of the road (even though I’ve driven in Iceland and France). Our trip started in Edinburgh during Fringe Festival! We stayed at the Motel One which was super central and cute! Our view was insane. We caught some live music and had some beers before grabbing some Thai food in city center. The food in Scotland was SO GOOD. While I somewhat misguidedly thought all I would be having was pub food, the variety blew me away!
We spend a magical day in Edinburgh. We grabbed traditional Scottish Breakfast at The Square before starting our day. We walked the Royal Mile before hitting Edinburgh Castle. We wandered through the gardens below before walking Rose St and then grabbed some Mediterranean food for lunch but there were heaps of cafes and bars to choose from. We took a short tourism break to decide on some shows to see at Fringe. After those, we walked to Calton Hill to catch the sunset. We ate Maki and Ramen and were too pooped to catch a cabaret show which I regret! Next time.
We rented a car in city center to start our southern ring drive. We stopped for lunch at St Andrews. We toured the school and ate at Cromars. If we had more time, we for sure would’ve played a round of mini-golf. Instead, we headed to Dunnottar Castle. It was spectacular even with the billion stairs. We completed the drive to Aberdeen where we stayed in a charming AirBnB. We ate some amazing Indian at Jewel in the Crown and explored the small town.
The following day, we drove to Pitlorchy. On the way, we stopped at Craigievar Castle and had the most amazing tour of the inside. No photos were allowed but the visual ghost stories will stay with me. After that, we headed to Balmoral Castle. Even though it is only open in off-season/winter, there is a distillery and cafe that were a charming stopping point before Pitlorchy. We ate at Victorias and stayed at a Bed and Breakfast called Craigroyston House.
For this day, we drove through Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. The roads were tiny but the views were lovely. If we had more time, I would’ve also considered passing through Sterling! We made it to Glasgow after our slow drive and we decided to get lunch at Kcal and wander around before a nap and rainy night sushi. It was all yum.
This was the only day we had bad weather. As we found out, rainy and dreary is more typical of Scotland so we had been overwhelmingly lucky up to that point. We decided to have breakfast at Bucket List before heading to Pollok County Park. The gardens were spectacular and we decided to go check out the Botanical Gardens (another option would have been Glasgow Green & Peoples Palace) afterwards as a result. If it were nicer, we considered walking Buchanan St and checking out George Square or even the Necropolis but instead, we got tea at Mackintosh at the Willow which was amazing. We had our final meal at a Thai place.
Our final duty was to check out of the Hilton, return the car and fly home through was of Amsterdam. We absolutely loved Scotland and have plans to see another Fringe Fest…. on purpose next time.