If there’s one thing the Scots are famous for, it’s their love of a bargain. If you want to score some bargains of your own while visiting Scotland, travelling in a group is a good way to stretch every penny just a little further.
As a group traveller you can qualify for discounts on many things if you book sufficiently in advance. Organising your transport, hotels, and sight-seeing requirements can be a big task, but is worth doing when you see how much you’re saving.
Transport should always be a top priority
You’d be amazed how many people don’t plan ahead for their transport requirements and leave everything to the last moment. That’s a great way to tempt fate to give you a hard time, so it’s far better to sort it out early.
With your own bus, you can make the decisions about where to go and when, which is a lot better than being stuck in some organised commercial tour which may not necessarily suit your interests and could just waste your time and money.
Choose hotels that offer group rates
Many hotels will give you excellent discounts if you book a block of rooms together, especially if you make a mid-week booking. It’s generally best to call the hotel in person and negotiate a group rate, making sure you already know the standard rate and how far they’re likely to discount.
Some hotels, especially the larger ones, are more likely to provide extra incentives to ensure you’ll come back in future. It depends a little on the size and type of group you have. A wedding party won’t get anywhere near the kind of attention that a sports team, club, or university group would get.
Make the most of your time
You can do this by visiting the sights and activities that are likely to be of most interest to the widest section of your group. Clearly not everyone is going to enjoy the same things, but a good mix of places, omitting the more obviously boring options will put you in the best position.
One place that’s nearly always on anyone’s list of must-see attractions in Edinburgh will be Edinburg Castle. What you may not know is the rock it sits on, aptly named Castle Rock (also a type of candy for which Edinburgh is famous), is actually a giant plug that stops up the mouth of a volcano. It’s one of six similar volcanic plugs, and one of two in the United Kingdom that have castles built on top of them.
The castle itself is a real beauty, but also on the site you will find the National War Museum of Scotland, and the Scottish National War Memorial. The castle is still under the administration of the army, which maintains an active presence there.
No less than three of Edinburgh’s top tourist attractions are underground, because Edinburgh is actually a city of layers. What you see on the surface is only half the story. Complete the picture by visiting the Blair Street Underground Valuts, the Real Mary King’s Close, and the Edinburgh Dungeon.
What would a visit to Scotland be without a whisky tasting? You can get that and much more at The Scotch Whisky Experience (top of the Royal Mile at 354 Castlehill). Of course this is not a suitable activity for kids, but one that definitely is would be the Museum of Childhood, located in the High Street.
The museum has a superb collection of old toys and games, interesting exhibits, and plenty of opportunities for hands-on activities. Grown ups get a healthy dose of nostalgia, and kids get to roll their eyes at how we used to amuse ourselves.
Art lovers will find plenty of excellent galleries in the city. The Queen’s Gallery is one of the more obvious ones, though the National Portrait Gallery, Scottish National Gallery, and Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art are all going to prove satisfactory for anyone serious about art.
Finally, for a day in the outdoors enjoying nature, Holyrood Park is a choice destination. Here you’ll find Arthur’s Seat towering 250m (or about 820 feet) above the park with majestic views of the entire city and the 640 acre park below.
Other features here include the Salisbury Crags, Samson’s Ribs (columnar basalt formations), Dunsapie Loch, Duddingston Loch, and St Margaret’s Loch. You’ll also find Holyrood Palace here, as well as the ruins of Holyrood Abbey and St Anthony’s Chapel.
Scotland is also famous as the home of golf, and Holyrood Park puts you in the vicinity of Duddingston Golf Club, one of the top courses in Scotland, and in Edinburgh it’s second only to Bruntsfield Links. With a more open disposition and low fees, Duddingston offers a great experience for avid golfers.
Whatever your interests are, you are sure to find Edinburgh is a delight to visit. Simply make sure you organise and plan your trip well, and you’re bound to have a great time.