On our last full day in Scotland (sob!) we left Oban and headed back toward Edinburgh, taking a very picturesque route along the way.
We stopped first at a viewpoint on Loch Awe, right across from Kilchurn Castle. While we were not super close to the castle, it was still gorgeous from afar!
We continued on, stopping next in the town of Inverarary for a break (I also made sure to stock up on Scottish fudge in the gift shop). Leaving town, we caught a (very) brief and blurry glimpse of Inverarary Castle, which was used in the Scotland episodes of Downton Abbey. Then it was on to Loch Lomond, where we stopped for another break and to take in still more stunning lakeside views.
We headed next to Stirling Castle, which was our main event of the day. Stirling Castle was one of the palaces used by Scotland’s kings and queens, and many (including Mary Queen of Scots) were crowned there. Today, the castle has been restored to mimic what it would have been like during the time of James VI. My favorite feature was the painted ceilings – so colorful and fun!
The outside of Stirling Castle was lovely too. We spent a bit of time walking along the castle walls, and also – of course – made sure to explore the gardens. I never met a garden I didn’t like, and this one definitely did not disappoint!
In the afternoon, we made our way back to Edinburgh, where we got our things organized for our flight the next day (to Amsterdam!) and then went out for a final farewell dinner with our group. Between courses, our guide had us stand up and share our favorite moments and memories from the trip – and I was amazed how pretty much everyone thought of something different, reflecting, I think, just how many wonderful things Scotland has to offer. When it was my turn, I talked about all the beautiful flowers and gardens we saw everywhere we went, but I could just as easily have chosen any number of things (stunning lakes and mountains! rich history! friendly people!). Until we meet again, Scotland.