Us Jumping in Scotland

Scotland Travel Costs

After over a year of travel in Asia we were really looking forward to visiting the UK for some family time, home comforts and an exciting Scotland trip with Amy’s parents. We spent nine days in the country all together; seven in the Highlands of Scotland and two in Edinburgh – but it didn’t come cheap.

Ben Nevis View in Scotland

Cost of Scotland Tourist Attractions

After experiencing such low prices in Asia it was quite a shocking jolt to remember that tourist attractions in the UK are certainly not cheap. With an average of just under £22 per day, Scotland comes in as our second most expensive country for activities whereas in Laos for example, we spent just £1.38 per day! Although individual activities in Scotland seem pretty reasonably priced at around £10 – £15 each, this really adds up when you’re paying for two people, in hindsight we could have looked into getting an Explorer Pass or an English Heritage Card to save some money.

Urquhart Castle overlooking Loch Ness

ActivityCostPer Person
Entry into Mallaig Heritage Centre£4£2
Boat trip on Loch Ness including entry into Urquhart Castle (£7.90)£41£20.50
Loch Ness Exibition Centre£14.90£7.45
Ben Nevis Distillery Tour£10£5
Nevis Range Gondola & Ceilidh£23£11.50
Edinburgh Castle£32£16
Edinburgh Dungeons (after £6 off per person coupon)£20£10
City of the Dead Edinburgh Tour£26£13
Edinburgh Literary Pub Tour£25.90£12.95
Total£196.80£98.40

Cost of Scotland Hotels

Having lived in London for nearly four years, we know that accommodation in the UK can be pretty costly but I was still surprised at how expensive hotels in Edinburgh were, prices were especially high because the Fringe Festival was on while we were there. In the end we found somewhere to stay just outside of the city centre on AirBnb which cost £68 for two nights. While in the Highlands we rented a cottage in Kinlochleven for seven nights at a cost of £450, we paid £200 towards the cottage and Amy’s parents paid the rest.

The Nook, Kinlochleven Scotland

ExpenseTotalPer PersonPer Day
Accommodation£268£134 £29.78

Scotland Food Costs

After fantasising about all the foods I missed from home while we were travelling in Asia I didn’t hold back on the food-front when we were back in the UK. In Scotland we ate so many yummy dishes I don’t know where to begin;  pub meals, fish and chips, hot soups, pies, puddings, cheese boards and cooked breakfasts. We also developed a habit of stopping in cafes for afternoon treats such as scones or cake accompanied by steaming pots of tea and even hot whisky, lemon and honey drinks or liqueur coffees. Even though we spent more on food per day in Scotland than we did in any other country we’ve visited – including New Zealand and Australia – I don’t regret it for a second!

Puddings galore in Scotland

ExpenseTotalPer PersonPer Day
Food£237.10£118.55£26.34

Cost of Travel in Scotland

While Amy’s parents flew to Scotland from the South of England we took her Dad’s car and drove up so that we’d be able to easily explore while we were there. If you’re visiting the Highlands you really need your own transport; we spent a lot of time driving on day trips out to Fort William, Glenfinnan, Loch Ness and Glencoe. Although having your own vehicle is the best option for getting around Scotland, the cost of fuel can really add up; we roughly split our fuel costs with Amy’s parents and spent £168. It’s worth noting that up to £150 of the total fuel costs were spent on driving from the south of England up to Scotland and then back again; although fuel in the UK usually costs about £1.25 – £1.35 per litre we kept to the cheapest stations when filling up.

Jacobite Steam Train on the Glenfinnan Viaduct

ExpenseTotalPer Person
Fuel£168£84
TrainReturn trip Fort William to Mallaig: £28.40£14.20
BusTwo return journeys into Edinburgh: £12£6
ParkingIn Edinburgh NCP: £6.20£3.10
Total£214.60£107.30

Miscellaneous Costs

The wintry weather in Scotland was a huge shock for us given that we’d spent so long in Asia and then enjoyed an uncharacteristically warm summer upon returning to the UK.  To cope with the cold and rain we ended up having to buy some fleeces and an umbrella in Fort William.

Us in Fort William, Scotland

ExpenseTotalPer Person
New Fleeces£17£8.50
Umbrella£3£1.50
International Stamp£0.90£0.45
Total£20.90£10.45

Total Scotland Travel Costs for Three Weeks

Lake in Glencoe, Scotland

Although Scotland turned out to be our second most expensive country after New Zealand, we had an amazing time there and don’t regret a second of it. Despite the weather we fell in love with the country and dream of returning for Hogmanay at the end of 2015. When we do return though we’re going to have to look at ways of cutting our costs, such as house sitting.

ExpenseTotalPer PersonPer Day (two people)
Activities£196.80£98.40£21.86
Accommodation£268£134£29.78
Food£237.10£118.55£26.34
Transport£214.60£107.30£23.84
Miscellaneous£20.90£10.45£2.32
Total£937.40£468.70£104.15

Scotland travel costs

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As always, we use Trail Wallet to track all of our spending; you can see all of our cost break-downs by country here.

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8 Comments
  • Kellie
    Posted at 19:35h, 08 September Reply

    Wow. I’m surprised Scotland was so expensive but I guess we lived waaaay up north, where most of the tourist attractions are free.

    Camping in Scotland is great way to save money and you can wild camp in Scotland because of the Right to Roam. Lots of the Distillery Tours on the Whiskey Trail are free too.

    You’re right though the food is great and worth every penny!

    • Amy
      Posted at 13:28h, 09 September Reply

      I think it was so expensive because we were on holiday with my parents so we splurged a lot; we knew our next stop was Vietnam so we didn’t mind spending a bit extra while we were in Scotland. When we do go back next time though we’ll have to be more careful with our money, we’ll probably try and house sit for a start. Great tips about the camping too; if it’s warm enough we’ll try it 🙂

  • [email protected] The British Berliner
    Posted at 05:38h, 17 September Reply

    Hi guys, welcome back!

    You did a pretty good job but as Kellie said it could have been done cheaper even though Scotland and the UK for that matter, can be a little hefty LOL! However, it was pretty clear that you spent your money on the things that were important to you and I’m all for that! To go to the castles, outing days, and eat delicious British food when you haven’t had any for ages, is to be expected. Good on yer. I would, and have done the same LOL. I live in Berlin and can you believe that we only have 1 British shop and 1 (truely) British restaurant; neither which are cheap for those home comforts, but we try to cope until we get back to the UK and go crazy! 🙂 🙂

    • Amy
      Posted at 06:47h, 17 September Reply

      Hi Victoria, you’re so right, sometimes you do have to splurge and make the most of your home comforts while you can! I don’t regret it especially now we’re in Vietnam with limited access to all the yummy British dishes we enjoyed in Scotland. I dream of that cheese platter – and the scones!

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