Three families are planning their yearly trip. ("Kids" ages 8 to 33.) The last weekend in July (2016) we would like to try Scotland with Edinburgh being the main destination. Any suggestions on how to get there? Where to stay in Edinburgh? We would like to be within walking distance of most activities. Lastly, where else to go in Scotl as we only have 7 days.
Hi JD7007! That sounds like a great place for a family trip. I haven't been to Edinburgh myself, so I can't offer any advice, but I did find these threads on Edinburgh that were started by other Insiders. Hopefully there is information in here that you find helpful.
Also check out this discussion for some info an photos of Edinburgh.
I'd make a point of visiting Edinburgh Castle and perhaps the Scott Monument. I also recommend a day trip to Sterling. It's a short train ride from Edinburgh. Sterling is the "Gateway to the Highlands" and the castle there is fabulous (and much less crowded than Edinburgh Castle. It is interesting to compare the two.
There is plenty to keep you busy in Edinburgh for a week. The sights along the Royal Mile can fill several days. From the city, it's also easy to reach the borderlands (complete with several ruined abbeys). Depending on your interest, touring a whisky distillery can be great (complete with a wee dram to taste ).
Edinburgh is a great destination. I have no doubt others will chime in with suggestions. Enjoy the planning and the trip.
We did Edinburgh Castle which is a must see and should be #1 on your list. Holyrood Palace is good, too. And there are various whiskey-related sites. We stayed at a non-Marriott right on the Firth of Forth, and the view from our room was spectacular! Bring sweaters or jackets. We went in May-June and froze our butts off even though we had several sunny days, and the locals kept raving about how unseasonably warm and sunny it was! Luckily, we included a tour of a woolen mill that had warm, but scratchy sweaters (jumpers?) for sale. Touristy, but fun. Get out into the countryside too if you can. Scotland has some truly amazing and breathtaking landscapes. Get to some of the small towns if you can, too. They are quaint and charming. And be prepared not to understand half the stuff anyone says unless you are really good at deciphering the Scottish brogue
PS - We were quite charmed by the village of Moffat, south of Edinburgh. And we stopped at the Lockerbie memorial which is very somber. After we got home, I met an older gentleman here in the USA whose last name was Moffat, and I told him I'd visited a town in Scotland called Moffat. Would you believe the guy teared up at hearing that? It was his family's ancestral home, but he'd been born in the US and had never gotten a chance to visit. I hope this fellow gets there someday. I should add that if you happen to have a Scottish last name, be prepared to discuss with the locals. I don't have such a name, but a friend with the last name "Gregor" was given a friendly rake over the coals by the locals, including several challenges to various feats and declarations (favorable and not so favorable) about the Gregor "clan". Yes, this happened in a pub. Sounds a bit like a cliché, but the locals had quite a bit of fun with it.
PPS - OK, one more comment, then I will quit. There are a bunch of castle-like hotels, and I think one of them is even a Marriott property. We didn't stay at one, but our friends who did were subjected to a series of harmless pranks and ghost stories by the proprietors, which were quite a amusing. So you could check out one of those types of properties.
Here is the Marriott one. I will get the info about the one my friend stayed at and post that as well!