Guidebook Updates for Scotland

When we learn of critical changes to the information in our guidebooks on Scotland, we post them here. (Of course, it's still smart to reconfirm critical transportation and sightseeing details locally.) Armed with a Rick Steves guidebook and these late-breaking updates, you're set for a great trip!

Across Britain

  • Visitors to the UK are no longer able to get a VAT (value-added tax) refund on purchases made in UK shops, and tax-free sales at airports, Eurostar train stations, and in ports have been discontinued. In Great Britain, overseas visitors can still buy items tax-free at stores that offer this service, provided that the items are sent directly to an overseas address outside the UK. (Visitors to Northern Ireland may shop tax-free if the items are sent directly to an address outside the UK and the EU.) The UK's rules around tax-free shopping may evolve further as the UK continues to adjust to the fallout from Brexit.
  • If your passport is due to expire within six months of your ticketed date of return from Europe, you need to renew it. Allow plenty of time to renew or get a passport, especially while a backlog of applications is causing significant slowdowns — see the US Department of State's travel site for current estimated processing times.

Across Scotland

For books printed before December 2022, the following may also apply:

  • Scotland's popularity as a travel destination hasn't slowed, making it especially important to book your rooms and must-do sightseeing well ahead for a summer visit. Many B&Bs and hotels report that by February they're already mostly booked up from May through September. In certain areas, most notably on the Isle of Skye, good restaurants can book up weeks in advance, and across Scotland, many distilleries say they've had to turn away droves of would-be visitors.
  • A new Citylink bus, #913, runs once a day from Edinburgh to the Highlands, stopping at Glencoe (4 hours from Edinburgh) and Fort William (4.5 hours); with a transfer, you can continue on to Oban (4.5 hours, change in Tyndrum) and Portree on Skye (8 hours from Edinburgh, change in Fort William).


  • Tours of the Scottish Parliament Building generally run Mon–Sat throughout the day, and are best booked ahead.
  • The Fringe Festival's Half-Price Hut building has "retired"; half-price offers are now available at the Fringe box office.
  • The Museum of Childhood has reopened.
  • As St. Giles Cathedral is undergoing renovation in preparation for the cathedral's 900th anniversary in 2024, some areas of the church may be closed during your visit.
  • The Queen's Gallery may be closed for renovation during your visit (it's scheduled to reopen sometime in 2024).
  • The Royal Yacht Britannia will begin a major renovation of its visitors center in January 2024; while it's underway the visitors center will relocate to the ground floor.
  • The Princes Street Gardens Dancers have ceased performances for the foreseeable future.
  • The Taste of Scotland at Prestonfield House is no longer putting on its kitschy folk show.
  • The Saboteur restaurant has closed.
  • Hanedan restaurant has closed.
  • Apiary restaurant is closing, to be replaced by an eatery called "Wine Hive," which may only offer snacks, not full meals.

For books printed before December 2022, the following may also apply:

  • The "Radical Road" — the most scenic part of the hike along the Salisbury Crags is closed following some rock falls. If it's still closed during your visit, head to the left from the Palace of Holyroodhouse (with the big playing field on your left) and find that find the trail that cuts through the meadow across the saddle of land between the peaks (or follow the more demanding, and more scenic, path to the top of the crags).
  • The shuttle bus between the Scottish National Gallery and the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art is no longer running.
  • Several recommended restaurants have closed: Hewats on the Mile, Hendersons, Hendersons Vegetarian, Hendersons Vegan, and Damm 27. The Tower restaurant at the National Museum of Scotland has also closed.
  • Several recommended shops have closed: the venerable Jenners department store, 21st Century Kilts, Scottish Regimental Store, and Cranachan & Crowdie.
  • St. Valery Guest House and Gil Dun Guest House have closed.

These older updates may also apply to our Royal Mile audio tour:

  • Gladstone's Land can only be visited by booking a one-hour tour. Travelers can book ahead to ensure a spot in person or by phone (+44 131 226 5856).
  • The tourist information office has moved to the Royal Mile across from St. Giles' Cathedral.
  • The road next to the Scottish parliament building has permanently closed; it no longer connects to the Royal Mile.



For books printed before December 2022, the following may apply:

Glencoe & Fort William

  • Callart View B&B has closed.
  • Glencoe Indepdendent Hostel is now Heart of Glencoe Holidays and offers cabins, permanently parked caravans, cottages, and private rooms in a bunkhouse.
  • Crank It Up Gear bike rental has closed.

Inverness & Loch Ness

  • Working Sheepdogs now charges £15 for demos (cash only), generally offered several times a day May–Oct (including Saturdays), but it's still important to contact them ahead of your visit to confirm the schedule. The farm has new contact info (+44 7888 314 412, [email protected]) and signage for finding it: Once you've continued through Kincraig on the B-9152, watch on the right for a brown Working Sheepdogs sign; from the access road look for signs reading Welcome to Working Sheepdogs—Leault Farm.
  • The Rose Street Foundry has closed.
  • The correct email address for Heathmount Hotel is [email protected] (some editions of our guidebooks are missing the M).
  • The correct URL for the website of Gellions Bar is (not

For books printed before December 2022, the following may also apply:

  • John O'Groats Ferries no longer offers all-day tours to the Orkneys from Inverness.
  • Inverness Castle remains closed for extensive renovations through at least 2025.
  • It's worth planning your Culloden visit around the free 40-minute tours of the battlefield; you can see the exhibit on your own before or after the tour. (Audioguides may have been phased out by the time you visit.)
  • We recommend booking ahead for a visit to (and parking at) Urquart Castle in July and August.

Isle of Skye

  • Skye Minibus Tours has gone out of business.

For books printed before December 2022, the following may also apply:

  • The Marine House in Portree has converted from a B&B to a self-catering guesthouse with three bedrooms.

Northeast Scotland (Aberdeenshire, Pitlochry & Loch Tay)

  • The Scottish Crannog Centre is moving across Loch Tay and should reopen in its new location by March 2024 (the center's orginal crannog replica had been destroyed by fire in June 2021).
  • The Whisky and Heritage Centre in Dufftown has closed.
  • Pitlochry's Edradour Distillery remains closed to the public (no tours) and as of September 2023 has no plans to reopen to the public before 2025. (Consider touring the Blair Atholl Distillery in town instead.)
  • Kenmore Hotel is closed through at least 2023.


  • Backpackers Plus hostel has closed.

For books printed before December 2022, the following may also apply:

  • We now recommend booking ahead for the Oban Whisky Distillery tour.
  • There's no longer a "Tour Shop Oban" by the ferry terminal — instead, book tours at the West Coast Tours office along the harbor, a block from the train station.


For books printed before December 2022, the following may also apply:

  • The Highland Park Distillery (in Kirkwall) now requires reservations.
  • We now recommend booking online in advance for visits to Skara Brae and Maeshowe.
  • The bus station on Orkney no longer stores bags.
  • 2 Dundas Crescent B&B in Kirkwall has closed.
  • The Reel music venue in Kirkwall has closed.

St. Andrews

  • Recommended guide Richard Falconer has expanded his tour options beyond ghost tours and now offers six daily itineraries with themes including history, the Old Course, a town walk…and ghosts.
  • The Doll's House restaurant is now The Bothy and is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

For books printed before December 2022, the following may also apply:

  • The Himalayas golf course must now be booked online one or two days in advance.
  • After an extensive renovation, the British Golf Museum has reopened as the R&A World Golf Museum.
  • The Museum of the University of St. Andrews has reopened as the "Wardlaw Museum" with new hours, bigger gallery spaces, and a rearranged collection.
  • Glenderran Guest House and the St. Andrews Tourist Hostel have closed.
  • The Burns Sweet Shop has closed.


For books printed before December 2022, the following may also apply:

  • The town no longer has a hop-on, hop-off bus. (The Wallace Monument and Battle of Bannockburn visitors center are still easily reached by bus #52 or taxi). 
  • We now recommend buying tickets online in advance for visits to Stirling Castle in peak season (and at any other particularly busy times).