We are planning a 2022 trip and are trying to be adventurous enough to rent a car in order to be able to stop and see sights along the way. . Would like to go from Glasgow to glenco, then up to skye and then to Inverness and Edinburgh. The only holdback that we have is renting in a city the size of Glasgow and making it out of town to the country. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated
Fly into Glasgow. Take the bus to city center and enjoy your time there. When you are ready to head to the highlands and Glencoe take the bus--or a taxi--back to the airport to pick up the car. Drop the car off at the Edinburgh airport or if you have confidence at one of the downtown drop offs. Then taxi or bus to your hotel in Edinburgh. But there is also the tram from the airport to city centre. Easy peasy. :)
PS you are wise not to have a car in Glasgow. They have some strict laws about where you can drive that I am told in reminiscent of Florence a city that has nabbed many a tourist with fines.
I definitely agree with Pamela. The airport bus is quick and convenient and renting at the airport is your best bet.
Do not hire a car from Green Motion. You will almost certainly live to regret it. There are plenty of horror stories about the company on review sites such as Trust Pilot. Green Motion is a legitimate car hire business but employs all manner of sharp practices and is best avoided.
I hear nothing but good things about Arnold Clark and Celtic Legend and they would be my car hire companies of choice.
I had a really good experience with Arnold Clark in Glasgow. It was rented through Celtic Legends (they are some how related). Their rental location is not at the Glasgow airport but at an easily navigated location nearby. If you are going from Glasgow City Center it would probably be easiest to take a short taxi ride to their office. They also have a shuttle from the airport but it wouldn't make sense to shuttle to the airport then shuttle to the office. I believe they have a location at Edinburgh as well. Celtic Legends is very responsive via email.
Like you, we did not want to drive in the cities. As a result, instead of returning the car to Edinburgh (even the airport), we returned the car in Perth and took the train to Edinburgh. We rented from Europcar, and at that time the return location was right around the corner from the train station
We were hoping to find a smaller place outside of either Glasgow or Edinburgh to get a car so we can avoid the craziness around the airports. Still a bit on the fence about wether we will enjoy ourselves more taking the bus or train and leaving the driving to someone else or having the freedom and time advantage of getting a car. Any ballparks on price for a week with automatic trans. And GPS?
Tammy, I really didn't think that Glasgow airport was particularly difficult. I've rented cars in many airports in the US and Europe. I would put Glasgow closer to renting a car in Madison Wisconsin than Chicago. Here's a suggestion to ease your fears. Use google maps to plot your route. Enter as your starting point Budget or Hertz airport locations and then make the destination Glencoe. The map will show you where you have to travel. Here is an example. By starting at the airport you off on your way to Glencoe after a right hand turn a drive though a round about and then another right. If you did this from a smaller company in city center it would be way worse. Truly, the airport is generally easier than the city centre. It's much more straight-forward and they are used to people who don't know what they are doing. It really is not that different from renting a car in the US.
I once picked up a car in the outskirts of York. I swear that was the tensest pick up ever! Granted it was one of my first rentals, but I had to go back through / around the city to head north. I am sure it was better than renting in London, Hah, Hah, don't ever do that, but airports are used to visitors.
Tammy, I don't think you have to anticipate "craziness" at Glasgow airport. (Although I did have to wait in line on a busy morning to get our reserved car.)
The only trick leaving the airport is to get on the Motorway going north toward the Erskine Bridge. There are 2 or 3 roundabouts as you leave the airport campus. Do ask the rental agent (the one who actually puts you in your car) which signs to follow at those roundabouts. They are not self-explanatory to an outsider, IMO. For example, a sign that says "Edinburgh" doesn't tell you whether that's going north toward Edinburgh via Stirling, or south toward Edinburgh via Glasgow. I believe it's the latter, but I couldn't swear to it. The airport itself is in Paisley, west of Glasgow and downstream on the River Clyde.
Once you're on the Motorway, you want to go toward Dumbarton (over the Erskine Bridge), not Greenock (wrong side of the Clyde). There is a big roundabout at Balloch where you want to go toward Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, not Stirling/Edinburgh. A nice place to stop and stretch your legs is Luss, along the western shore of Loch Lomond. It has public toilets (pay) and pay-and-display parking, as well as some nice shops. You have to take a small exit OFF the Motorway to get to Luss; the Motorway does not go through the village.
We have returned a rental car at Glasgow Airport and at Edinburgh Airport. At Glasgow, I looked on Google Maps ahead of time and the exit indicated by the map was incorrect. The highway sign as you head south from the Erskine Bridge is correct and it was easy to arrive at the rental return by following all signs from there onward. At Edinburgh, I don't remember any confusion at all; the rental return was well signposted. The only trick was that the taxi pickup area is not right next to rental car return -- once you return your car, you have to walk a little distance with your luggage to the authorized taxi pickup zone.
To add to the above, learn the road numbers. Glasgow Airport is on the M8, motorways have BLUE signs.
Initially follow 'Greenock M8'. The signs to get on the M8 to get to the Highlands are 'Greenock, Erskine, Linwood M8'. Compass directions are not used on that section of the M8
If going to the Highlands take the M8 to the M898, which becomes the A898 before Erskine Bridge. From here the A898 and A82 have GREEN signs. Less important roads have white signs.
The A82 is not a motorway, it is a general purpose road even if it is a dual carriageway (divided highway) with a limit of 70 mph 112 km/h.
The dual carriageway ends at the south of Loch Lomond. Most of the roads from there on will be single carriageway, one lane in each direction separated by white paint, or single track where the one lane is shared. On them the limit is 60 mph/100 km/h.
There is a trick I use when driving in the UK. I always jot down a list of the towns between my starting point and destination. I travel alone a lot so I don't have a navigator and that along with having the route numbers really helps with navigation. If you have navigator that person can check list. The issue is that often the signs have more information about the next town rather north or south. A worker at the tourist office in Chartre give me directions to Senlis north of Charles DeGaulle Airport where I was spending my last night in France. The trip had looked daunting to me as I was southwest of the city and my destination was northeast. She printed out a MapQuest directions shook her head and said that won't work! Then she told to be guided by the signs and the cities that they directed me to. So all her direction were like this: Follow the sigh to X, When the sign changes Y follow that sign. Be rigorous in watching for the towns. Do not falter. And it worked! She sent up the east side of Paris.
BTW here's the google maps from Budget at Glasgow Airport north to Glencoe.
Any ballparks on price for a week with automatic trans. And GPS?
We've booked for 7 days next June through Celtic Legend, automatic with GPS, full insurance, pick up in Edinburgh and drop off in Glasgow. £326.
One thing you can do now, is if the locale is on GSV, go on it, scope a few junctions. It will also show how the roadsigns are laid out, what sort of information is carried, and any colours.
This is what greets you at the north end of the Erskine Bridge. To get to the Highlands you need to follow Crianlarich. Not Oban, Ft William, Dumbarton, Alexandria. Crianlarich. As Pam says have a look at the map, look at the place names and the junctions. Crianlarich is signed because that is a junction, but most of the time, just follow A82