Scotland – Planning a trip in 2023

"The west coast of Scotland has many fine strands of blinding white sands and turquoise waters that could pass for Caribbean beaches if it wasn't for the weather."

Scotland is about the size of South Carolina, or half as big as Wisconsin, or 30,000 square miles. So, where should you go, what should you see, where should you stay, what should you eat? That’s what planning is all about. Here’s our high-level plan for Scotland in 2020:


  • Edinburgh: Edinburgh castle; the Royal Mile; the Palace of Holyroodhouse; Calton Hill and Arthur’s seat for stunning views;  Sandy Bell’s pub
  • Glasgow: Glorious botanic garden; Kelvingrove gallery; mural tour, live music at King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut; Oran Mur pub or Byres road/Ashton lane for food/drink
  • Culzean castle: one of Britain’s finest mansions with oval staircase, magnificent park, round drawing room with circle of windows overlooking the sea
  • Glencoe (described by Dickens as the ‘burial ground of a race of giants’)
  • Douane castle (used in Outlander as Castle Leoch, used in Game of Thrones first season as Winterfell and also in Monty Python and the Holy Grail)
  • Fort William.
  • Loch Ness and the Great Glen (and the Loch Ness monster), also Falls of Foyers
  • Inverness: Culloden battlefield
  • The Cairngorms (the highest landmass in Great Britain): nearest city is Aviemore; travel the malt whisky trail (7 distilleries on Speyside)
  • Isle of Skye: Eilan Donan castle on the road to Skye, one of Scotland’s most photographed castles; Tallisker distillery; Dunvegan castle (home of the McLeod’s); Three Chimney’s restaurant; north of Portree is the Old Man of Stor
  • would love to go to the island of Lewis but it’s a long way… (the Quirang takes you to Uig and then ferry to Lewis-Stornaway) and see the Standing Stones of Calanais; Sunday is strictly observed as a day of rest and local people attend church with unique Gaelic psalm singing


  • Edinburgh farmers market on Saturdays; Ondine restaurant
  • Ptarmigan Restaurant & Bar at the top of Cairn Gorm mountain
  • Cail Bruich in Glasgow. The locals have been asking that it become the first Michelin star restaurant in Glasgow.
  • Ubiquitous Chip in Glasgow. Found on Ashton Lane’s cobbled street for 45 years and it’s rumored that JK Rowling based Diagon Alley on Ashton Lane.
  • Anstruther Fish Bar in the fishing village of Anstruther near Fife/St Andrews (even Prince William has eaten here)
  • If you go to see the Picts, stop in Arbroath for a smokie–fresh haddock smoked over hardwood chips. Try the But ‘n Ben.
  • North of Dundee in Kirriemuir is Cafe 88, a deli with the best cake and coffee for miles
  • The Mustard Seed or Cafe 1 in Inverness
  • Applecross Inn in Wester Ross, pub overlooks Isle of Skye
  • Crannog Seafood Restaurant in Fort William with a panoramic loch view
  • Digby Chick on Isle of Lewis if you go
  • try some malt whiskies


  • Edinburgh: MacDonald Houstoun House (12.4 miles from center, $115 in May, has pool)
  • Edinburgh: Village Hotel (2.1 miles from center, $145 in May, has pool)
  • Edinburgh: Leonardo Edinburgh Murrayfield (3.1 miles from center, $105 in May, has pool and sauna)
  • Glasgow: Hilton (in the center, $200 in May, has pool)
  • Glasgow: Marriott (in the center, $179 in May, has pool)
  • Glasgow: Doubletree by Hilton Glasgow Westerwood Spa & Gold Resort (12.4 miles from center, $112 in May, has pool)
  • Inverness: The Glenmoriston Townhouse Hotel (in the center, $162 in May, no pool)
  • Inverness: Jurys Inn (1.1 miles from center, $192, has pool)
  • Inverness: Loch Earn B&B (1.7 miles from center, $127, no pool)

Movies to Watch

  • Outlander, Starz TV series
  • Harry Potter
  • Made of Honor
  • Rob Roy
  • Braveheart
  • Hamlet (Mel Gibson, Glenn Close)
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail
  • Prometheus
  • The Da Vinci Code
  • Snow White and the Huntsman

Books to Read

  • Outlander, of course!
  • Waverley by Sir Walter Scott
  • Rob Roy by Sir Walter Scott
  • 44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith
  • Knots and Crosses by Ian Rankin
  • Caitriona by Robert Louis Stevenson

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