So I am also planning a week in Scotland this July. Not alot of time for a whole country, but I figure Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Inverness (is this where loch ness is?). Would I still have time to take a quick jaunt over to Belfast? I am thinking travelling by train, but would there be a cheaper/quicker way around?
Loch Ness is South-West of Inverness or lets say West of the city. Forget about Belfast, you do not even have enough time to discover the beauty of Scotland ! Train will be ok to travel between the three cities, but a small car would be a better option to travel Scotland I think.
The cheapest way is by bus, (Megabus from £1 per trip if you book well in advance, or Citylink for only a little more) but it is slower. Save Northern Ireland for another trip.
a week sounds good but Glasgow is only good for 2 things - Art Galleries and Nightlife. If neither interest you so much then skip it. Edinburgh lacks any real nightlife, focusing mainly on Pink Cowboy hat Hen Parties - disaster. 2-3 days is plenty. Inverness is nothin special either. Why is it that you wish to go there? Its a good base for the highlands but not much else. Loch Ness pales compared to Loch Lomond.
Id suggest take the train from Glasgow - to Fort Wiliam and get off around there. Fort William is nothin special either but a great base for glen Coe and Ben Nevis.
You can get to Fort William after hiking a bit of Clen Coe then head to Inverness from there. But whateva you do - do not take the Bus. I just took City Link from Glasgow to Glen Coe crossroads and duirng the Loch Lomond Stretch was sicky mcsick in the toilet! horror. The Train is stunning from Glasgow to Fort William/Inverness and you can get off around Rannoch moor and hike in the most stunning and parts of the Highlands.
If you want more specific info PM me.