Scotland is a land filled with natural beauty and ancient buildings… There are lochs (i.e. lakes), mountains and green pastures… There are castles and abbeys – some in ruins and some restored…
After Hotels and quaint B&Bs it was time for us to stay in a castle ! We set off from Lake District to our Scottish destination – Melville Castle near Edinburgh. The stay was fabulous and the location was very convenient for our travels…
Part of British Road Trip : UK – Road Trip
Day 7 – Abbeys and Edinburgh
- We started off early from Keswick and crossed over into Scotland in an hour. We bought the Scotland Pass from our first stop, Jedburgh Abbey. This is an ancient 12th century Abbey and is particularly interesting for the pillars which are still standing… The views are spectacular from inside…
- Next stop was closeby Melrose Abbey. This is a large Abbey where part of it is in ruins and the balance continues to withstand time. The grounds are large and there is an interesting museum to check out.
- We then headed to our hotel and after quickly checking-in headed over to Rosslyn Chapel (famous for its reference in Da Vinci Code). It was under renovation, so we quick walked around to get a look.
- Finally for the highlight of the day, we headed for Arthur’s Seat in Edinburg. We parked in Holyrood Park and trekked to the top. The views are worth the walk ! You can see all the way to the snow capped mountains. The city nestled around this point looks intriguing – with palaces and castles within few miles! This is an absolute must-do!
- We went down to Holyrood Palace at the bottom and then walked the Royal Mile to Edinburgh Castle. The steep walking route is dotted with beautiful historic building and is a tourist attraction in itself! Grabbed dinner at a Thai place on the way back (so many good restaurants to chose from)!
Day 8 – Stirling and Highlands
- Less than an hour of driving North-West and we reached our first stop, Stirling Castle. We parked inside the compound and started off again with the free guided tour. This really helps to understand the history, layout and attractions of the place. Perched on a hill, this castle is majestic and has been wonderfully renovated to its old glory. Key attractions include Royal palace, Tapestries, Great hall, Heads galley and the informative vaults
- On our way back, we took the boat ride to an island to visit the ruins of Inchmahome Priory. While the ruins weren’t exceptional, the boat ride and walk around the island was worth the trip (especially as it was covered under Scotland Pass)
- For the GoT fan, it was a thrill to visit Duone Castle which featured as Winterfell in few episodes of Season 1! This is a fairly small place compared to others but you get a sense of how the lords lived in old days.
- We dint have time for going all the way North to Loch Ness and based on reviews we settled for the less popular but equally pretty Loch Lomond and Loch Katrine. The large lakes set in between these mountains are absolutely lovely ! There was hardly any crowd and both the lakes were spectacular.
- To make the trip memorable, head over to the viewpoints (spread across the national park) to get great views – check out the official website for detailed maps and routes. SS Tip: We skipped the boat ride as we had done similar one in Lake District. But we parked at Rob Roy Car Park and headed up the trail.
- After a busy day, we headed over back to Edinburgh (Royal Mile again !)
Day 9 – Edinburgh Castle
- We parked closer to Royal Mile this morning and started off with Princess Street Gardens. These are lovely gardens on the hill surrounding the castle.
- Thanks to Scotland Pass, we were able to skip lines and enter the Edinburgh Castle once it opened. The grounds are large with lots of rooms and towers to explore. We joined a free tour which gave us a good sense of this large place.
- Key things to see are Crown Room, Great Hall, Royal Apartments and walk around the perimeter to see Edinburgh from this height. Don’t miss to look out toward’s Arthur’s Seat in the distance !
In the afternoon, we headed over back to England…