What to Do: Scotland

We’re about two months out from the start of a three week visit to the U.K. and I’m very excited to have started planning all the details. Although this blog is not exclusively about travel, I do love to feature our exploits as often as I can. I learn as much about life (or maybe even more) from venturing into other cultures as I do from running or yoga, so I’m always inspired to share where we’ve been–whether it’s near or far.

This time, instead of solely filling you all in when we get back in the summer, I wanted to try something different. I’d like to create a bit of a forum–one that I hope will not only aid me in planning the rest of our activities while in the U.K., but that will also be available for you all to reference in case you decide to make a similar journey. I cannot even to begin to express how grateful I am to everyone who contributed to What to Do: London . I got so many great ideas there. Admittedly, I think I’m most grateful for the food recommendations. Despite what seemed like ample research, we had a terrible time eating the first time we were there and we’re determined to leave happier this time around! 

After London we are moving on to Scotland, which is what I need your help with now. We’ll be in Edinburgh for the first four days and then Glasgow for three days after that. I think for some that may be where this discussion will start. Friends, acquaintances, and random travelers we have met from the UK all have very strong opinions either for or against spending time in Glasgow. You should see some of the looks we have gotten! They’ve said: Oh God, no don’t go there, why would you go there? At the same time, I’ve had friends who have lived in Glasgow and insist it is a diamond in the rough! It’s made me laugh to hear how different people’s opinions can be about the same place. Since we are big city people who aren’t turned off by a bit of grit, we decided we would give the biggest city in Scotland a go. Our plan is also to take a day trip to one of the Lochs and/or the Highlands (are these the same thing? See, I need your help!). We thought we might do this on one of our Glasgow days if the consensus is that there really is less to see there.

Ready to chime in? I’d love any and all expertise, opinions, and ideas–so please, give me what you’ve got! I’d especially appreciate your help with the following:

Day Trip from Glasgow (or Edinburgh): Admittedly, and perhaps shockingly to most–we are not huge nature people. My hubs is more in tune with it than I am (sorry, concrete jungle gal here!). Overall though, it’s not what we gravitate towards when we travel. That being said, we are going to be in Scotland, and then later, Ireland. We know that the natural beauty of these places is not to be missed! We’d like to spend at least one day in the Highlands and not in the city. With just the little research I have done on Edinburgh so far, it seems like there will be plenty to occupy us for four days. Do you agree that it’s a better use of time to take the day trip from Glasgow? And where should we go? From every TripAdvisor thread I’ve read it sounds like traveling all the way to Loch Ness is not really worth it. Most people say there are more beautiful Lochs that are nearer to both cities. (I don’t even really know what a Loch is so all of this is an education!) Anyway, we would want to take some type of tour as we have no desire to navigate ourselves, I think it would be too stressful. (We are never a fan of tour groups that plan whole trips, but we are fans of tours in general. I like when someone tells me what I’m looking at and then sets me off to wander!) We see that a lot of companies offer a visit to a Loch, a castle, and then one other place. Tell me–is there a tour company you would recommend for this? What tour should we take if we want to see some really beautiful places but not have a day where we’re exhausted from the amount of driving?

What shouldn’t we miss in Edinburgh? Just as valuable, what should we skip? I’ve heard a lot of people say that Edinburgh Castle is alright to miss, especially if you’ve seen other castles. I’d love your vote on that!

How about outside the box things to do in Edinburgh? We love history so from what we’ve seen, the capital has a lot to offer. What might you suggest that may not be on the average tourist’s itinerary?

What should we do in Glasgow? Alright, all you city dwellers, step up to the plate! How should we occupy our time here? Is there anything for us here, especially if we are not into night-life? The only thing I’ve got on our list so far is a tour of Glasgow Central Station. It’s got GREAT reviews and looks right up our alley. What else? This city has got to have some fascinating history as well–where do we find it?

Where should we run in Edinburgh, and in Glasgow? Alright so I am a little bummed. I think we are going to miss most Parkruns. Idiot that I am we are scheduled to be traveling in between cities on most Saturdays. (I’ve gotten very good at planning travel around my stomach, not as much around my runs!) So…if we can’t manage to make it to a Parkrun in either of these cities (real tears falling now), where should we run? We are staying in the West End in Edinburgh and within the Merchant City in Glasgow. Any nearby park suggestions or routes are very welcome and appreciated! In my head I imagine Edinburgh to be FULL of cobblestones (like Prague, running in Prague was kind of the worst!). Am I right, or is it easy enough to find smooth ground and give our old knees a break?

Lastly, and most importantly…Where should we EAT? If you only give me one thing–this is what I want from you! Like I said, my stomach rules all! Also, I just think food and rituals in eating are some of the most important parts of culture. To understand the food is to understand the people. So tell me–where should we eat? I’m looking for everything–from hole in the wall to fancy schmancy and everything in between. A little shop where you had the best sandwich of your life? Do tell. A gas station with the best gelato ever? I beg of you, share your secrets! We’re especially interested in young chefs who are doing new and innovative food, and also the very best of traditional Scottish fare. We were thinking of getting started with this food tour in Edinburgh. Food tours have become one of our favorite things to do when we travel. If anyone’s done this one and has an opinion on it, we’d love to hear from you!

Please tell me what I’ve missed. I’d love any and all suggestions–give them here! Thank you for helping us make this an incredible trip–can’t wait to share it all with you when we return later this summer! x


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