Travel Guide: Scotland Snapshot

When planning a trip to Scotland, it's actually really difficult to choose where to go. Although it's quite small, the distances between things are quite large and often require ferries. We took advice from both my dad who has motorbiked around Scotland for decades, as well as a mixture of TripAdvisor and general research. We had a fairly short time frame as we wanted to do the trip on a budget, so didn't reach the far North of Scotland or any of the islands as the ferries were quite pricey- but one day i'd love to go back there and do these. However, we still had a really good time and managed to find some great places to go, and all for free! Our main checkpoints for the trip were to explore the Scottish countryside and visit Edinburgh. We managed to do both of these and drop in to see my sister at the University of Durham on the way home.

Top 5 Attractions & Activities

1. Driving and exploring the Scottish countryside and lochs
This was actually my favorite thing to do in Scotland. True to Scotland's reputation, it was raining the majority of the time we were there so unfortunately we didn't get any good photos due to how dark and miserable it was, but the scenery remained stunning. None of our photos did it justice at all. We actually saw an Audi set that were clearly filming an advert around Loch Long.

Loch Long
Loch Long
2. Edinburgh Old and New Towns
Edinburgh was a funny place; it has a nice historic feel about it but I also found it quite cold with all the granite around the city. As we've lived in York for the past year, i actually think i preferred it in York but we still liked Edinburgh. We didn't end up going to the castle as the entrance fee was expensive, but we just enjoyed walking around the place. We also visited the obligatory Elephant House where J. K Rowling wrote much of the Harry Potter series.

Edinburgh City
View from Edinburgh Castle
The elephant house
The Elephant House
3. Poltalloch Estate & Church
This was a slightly strange one that i found on Pinterest. As a teenager me and friend were interested in urbexing (exploring abandoned buildings- not as strange as it sounds!) and taking photos and this place had a great history to it without all the usual security issues to contend with. We had a bit of trouble finding it as we had to drive through fields (which to us non-country folk felt a bit weird) and driving through private access ways, but the locals were really friendly and were happy to show us where to go reach the estate and church. You obviously have to be wary when walking around this place, but essentially it's an old manor house and gardens in which the roof was burnt down in order to avoid paying housing tax on it. It was fun to explore around and was a great bit of history. To get there is slightly difficult, but feel free to email me and i'll give you in depth directions!

Poltalloch Estate
Poltalloch Estate
Poltalloch Estate
4. National Museum of Scotland
We spent a good amount of time here, and would really recommend it to people with children as there's lots of interactive things to see and do including probably the best wildlife gallery we've ever visited. The building itself is a lovely bit of architecture and adds to the experience of exploring around the vast number of galleries.

National Museum of Scotland
5. Falkirk
Falkirk seems to be a hub of great places to visit, so was an unmissable location on the drive down to Edinburgh. The Falkirk Wheel is on a canal and instead of using the traditional lock system, uses a rotating wheel to move canal boats down to the next level of the canal. Parking was expensive, but you can watch the wheel for free, as well as walking up to the Antonine Wall (a stone and turf fortification built by the Romans before Hadrians Wall). We also visited Helix Park, the home to The Kelpies- 2 massive horse structures commemorating the heavy horse of industry and economy of the area.

Falkirk Wheel

The Kelpies
We actually had a lot of trouble finding somewhere good value for money in the West area of Scotland, but fell across The Village Inn; a B&B style accommodation but what felt like a hotel.  We paid £40 a night including breakfast and the room was really homely as you can see below. The bathroom also had a bath overlooking Loch Long which i definitely utilised!

The Village Inn, arrochar, scotland
The Village Inn, Arrochar

In Edinburgh we stayed outside of the city and got the bus in like many people recommended on TripAdvisor, as with a car it can be problematic and expensive. As we'd managed to find such a good deal at The Village Inn, we splurged a little in staying at The Capital Hotel but we thought it was also really good value for money. It was about £70 a night including a 3 course meal for two, but the rooms were huge, and also had a spa/pool/gym facility we used. The restaurant at the hotel- The Westview- also accepted the Taste Card (which allows you 2for1 or 50% off food bills) so we ordered dinner one night to the room as it was so good the previous night.

Edinburgh Capital Hotel
The Capital Hotel, Edinburgh

Where do you recommend or want to go in Scotland?


  1. Wow! I've been wanting to take a trip to Scotland for years. I went as a kid with my family and have been itching to go back. This is great inspiration!

    Sail Away

    1. Thanks Christine. Hopefully you'll get to revisit Scotland again soon!

  2. When I visited Scotland I didn't consult any kind of travel guide and I wish I had! I was so unprepared and although we had a great time, I missed out on a lot!

    1. I know what you mean Kate! I definitely want to go back and explore much of the islands and Northern areas we missed out on this time. There's so much to see!

  3. Lovely lovely photos! Scotland is one of my absolute favourite places in the world. I spent a week in the Hebrides a few months ago--what an enchanting place.
    Edinburgh during the Fringe was also magnificent.
    There's a ton to do in Scotland, but I agree, a guide book goes a long way.

    1. It's lovely isn't it! There really is so much to do and explore, I'll definitely have to go back.