I might too late to comment on this – I don’t even know if you’re still on the Bee – but here goes.
My girlfriend came to see me in the UK from Canada for a 10 day trip. Here is what I planned with her:
London, 2 nights, three days. We saw the Changing of the Guard/Buckingham/Horseguards, Tower of London, London Dungeon (these exhibits are really fun), Double Decker bus tour of city, Maddam Tusseauds, … all the usual stuff. We’re musical fans, so we also took in a show both nights.
Then we took the train to Lancaster (where I was living) and I took her for a day in Black Pool.
End of day 4 we headed to Edinburgh on the train and stayed a night in the Youth Hostel. We did the Royal Mile, Edinburgh Castle, Scottish Parliament, and a museum.
Day 5 we headed to Stirling (40 min train ride north) and stayed in the Hostel there for four nights. It’s really nice! From there, we visited Stirling, St. Andrews, Loch Katrine and a few other nearby places. Stirling is a great base from which to see Scotland as it’s kind of in the middle of things and often cheaper than the more popular Glasgow or Edinburgh. It should be on more peoples trips.
Stirling Castle rivals Edinburgh. The only Scottish King crowned in Scotland was crowned there. It’s been restored in the last 20 years and the exhibits really give you a feel for life at the time. The kitchens are great. Also, weavers are recreating the Unicorn Tapestries (the most complete set of Midieval tapestries known) for use in the restored Royal Chambers. Really interesting.
Stirling is also the centre of all things Braveheart (aka. William Wallace). The Wallace Monument is located just outside the city and is definitely worth a visit. The Firth or Fourth birdge has an interesting story to tell. Bannockburn (a difinitive battle scene) has a great visitors centre.
If you’re on a budget, I highly recommend the Scottish Youth Hostels. I’m not a hosteling person (more of a 4star+ hotel kind of girl) but they are very good. In Stirling, my friend and I had a room for 2, with two twin beds, our own toilet, sink, and shower. Basically like a hotel room but without the phone or tv. A bonus of hostels is that you have use of a kitchen and food storage (cupboards and space in a fridge), so you can save even more money by making some of your own food (esp. breakfasts and packed lunches).
Hope you get the trip you dream of! Enoy!