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Overnight trip from Glasgow - Where to go?

Pittsburgh...
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Overnight trip from Glasgow - Where to go?

It's our first journey to Scotland, and we'll be based in an apartment in Glasgow for a week in mid-September. We're planning a day trip to Edinburgh by train, but we'd also like to get out of the city and enjoy some of the spectacular scenery.

We'll be traveling by train, and would like to depart on a weekday morning and return the next evening. Can anyone suggest an overnight destination? We're interested in great scenery, a nice place to get out and walk a bit, a castle or a nice museum, ending with a good dinner and a nice B&B.

We originally thought we'd take the train from Glasgow to Ft William to Mallaig, but while the scenery looks stunning we've been told neither town has much to offer as an overnight destination.

So do we stick with our Ft. William/Mallaig trip (and which town do we sleep in?) or maybe choose Oban or Inverness instead?

Your opinions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much.

Stanley, Falkland...
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1. Re: Overnight trip from Glasgow - Where to go?

While Oban is the most attractive town (in my opinion), and shares some of the track with the Ft William route, it doesn't cross the most scenic part which is Rannoch Moor.

I'm not sure anywhere meets all your criteria. Certainly Fort William is probably best for scenery, choice of accommodation and maybe eating places.

If I were you, I'd also consider intermediary places like Bridge of Orchy, Balloch, Dunkeld, Pitlochry, and maybe forget about the museum...

UK
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2. Re: Overnight trip from Glasgow - Where to go?

There's Stirling - less than an hour away from Glasgow by train, with a castle and other historic sites as well as a reasonable choice of places to eat and drink.

There's Pitlochry - a little further away by train, a traditional Scottish town with beautiful scenery, some sights of touristic interest, a theatre and a reasonable choice of places to eat and drink.

Enjoy!

Edinburgh...
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3. Re: Overnight trip from Glasgow - Where to go?

The Glasgow - Mallaig train takes about 5 hrs (0900 - 1400 approx). It is spectacularly attractive. For that reason alone, consider it.

Fort WIlliam is a bit grey and personally I'd give it a miss and I'd go to Mallaig. Although a fishing/ferry port it has done itself up in recent times. Having been there some years ago, and again recently, I was very pleasantly surprised. Quiet, but not unattractive.

There are a few reasonable places to eat near the pier, there are a few B&Bs and a small hotel (you will search in vain for anything ***** in a place that's fairly small)

If you arrive in the afternoon you have time to hop on the Skye ferry and back. Also recommended. See breezes and views of the isles. The delights of a Calmac cup of tea.

After breakfast you could take a taxi to Arisaig (beautiful coast, beaches, nice little hotel) and then take the train back south after lunch - it stops at many small villages between Mallaig and FW

If this is about scenic train rides, it has to be Mallaig. If it's about a nice town, Oban. FW is a bit of a compromise ...

Edited: 6:20 pm, August 15, 2012
Glasgow, United...
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4. Re: Overnight trip from Glasgow - Where to go?

The advice so far is pretty spot on.

I would add that Mallaig, while it has a degree of charm, it not a place I would want to spend an overnight. Almost every eatery tries to specialise in fish 'n' chips, only some of which are worth the money. Things sort of close down around 9pm, except for a couple of pubs.

My strong recommendation is Oban. The train route is fabulous, and you'll not particularly miss the allegedly *more* glorious views you'd get, additionally, if you went to Mallaig or Fort William. The possibility exists that it's raining, and you see very little wherever you go... so the slightly shorter train journey is useful insurance against such a scenario.

Oban is fairly compact - reaching your accommodation from the station and going out in the evening should be possible on foot. And there are lots of really good restaurants, bistros, pubs with music, etc. A much livelier evening experience.

Edinburgh, United...
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5. Re: Overnight trip from Glasgow - Where to go?

I'd actually consider staying over in Arisaig if taking the Mallaig train route.

Its has a few nice accommodation options and a couple of places with very nice food in and around:

http://www.oldlibrary.co.uk/

http://www.cnoc-na-faire.co.uk/

The b&b we've stayed at a couple of times is down the Rhu Road about 10 mins walk from the harbour http://www.hilbre-arisaig.co.uk/

Carry on down this road and you would get a really nice walk with views over to the islands.

Overall the scenery in this area is really lovely. The beaches are very interesting but without your own transport not so easy to access. If you've heard of the film 'Local Hero' from the 80s, its filmed on a beach not far from Arisaig - really picturesque.

Whilst this award is a bit old now, its still relevant - proving how many people agree that the west highland line is stunning scotrail.co.uk/content/west-highland-line-vo…

Glasgow, United...
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6. Re: Overnight trip from Glasgow - Where to go?

Yes, Arisaig is beautiful, but it is hardly practical for people doing a single night away, arriving by train and who are concerned that Fort William may not have "much to offer as an overnight destination" . There is barely a safe walking route from Arisaig station to the village, which is half a mile away. The B&B you suggest is a further mile down the road. There is a chance that it could be raining while they are there. There are several other options that are easier and safer, in the event of poor weather.

Perth, Scotland
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7. Re: Overnight trip from Glasgow - Where to go?

I'd take a train to ardrossan then ferry to arran. Even if you get no further than brodick (castle, museum) you'll have a great time. Its easy to get a bus over to blackwaterfoot too, worth a trip for a walk on the beach and lunch at the golf club or hotel. Or you could think about Bute. Again easy train, ferry trip and has a castle and the stunning mount stewart. Also has an open top bus tour! We went last month and can rcommend cannon house hotel.

Scotland
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8. Re: Overnight trip from Glasgow - Where to go?

Great suggestions marvellousmum. Either of these would make a great trip!

Both fit the OP's criteria perfectly, and don't involve too much travelling time.

Glasgow, United...
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9. Re: Overnight trip from Glasgow - Where to go?

Yes - the suggestions from marvellous_mum are excellent in so many ways. Either island would be fabulous, with the ferry-trip an added bonus.

For information, both train trips (to Ardrossan or Wemyss Bay) take around one hour, and the ferry journeys are each a touch under the hour. So for around two hours travelling you find yourself in another world, really.

But you would miss the more spectacular scenery and breathtaking vistas by rejecting the longer rail route, taking you to Oban/ Ft William, etc ... But on wet days that can be pretty miserable.

If you don't mind delaying the decision-making and bookings, you might want to wait and see what the weather's like before deciding. The island of Bute / Rothesay can be done as a day-trip too. So you could do Oban *and* a Clyde Island.

Ferries here: calmac.co.uk/timetables/calmac-summer-timeta…

Pittsburgh...
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10. Re: Overnight trip from Glasgow - Where to go?

I can't tell you all how much I appreciate your thoughtful suggestions. You've given me so many good ideas.

Some of the destinations you've suggested I would never have known about, so I'll spend some time over the weekend with my nose in the tour books - and looking at train and ferry timetables online - and I'm sure wherever we land for the night will be lovely.

Thanks so very much.

Kim