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Car Pick Up from Edinburgh or Stirling?

We will be in Edinburgh for 4 days (no car) and at the end of our stay there plan to rent a car to drive to Stirling and then up to the Highlands for a week, returning the car to Edinburgh airport. Question - would you recommend picking up the car in Edinburgh or would it be better to take the train from Edinburgh to Stirling and pick up there? Is it a big hassle to drive out of Edinburgh? Thanks in advance for all advice.

Posted by
3122 posts

I can attest that the route between the rental car pickup/return area at Edinburgh Airport and the Motorway is well marked and easy to follow. It is not a big hassle.

You might say "Yes, but we're staying in Edinburgh so why not pick up a car at Waverley Station?" The answer is, then you'd be dealing with navigation out of the city (there's your hassle). The airport is already out of the city with easy access to the Motorway. That said, it's worthwhile to ask the rental agent which signs to follow at the roundabouts to get onto the Motorway in your desired direction headed to Stirling.

The cost of train fare to Stirling is a factor. Renting the car from Stirling is unlikely to save you anything.

Posted by
1878 posts

It depends upon where the pickup location is in Edinburgh. Are you staying overnight in Stirling? If so then picking the car up there would save you a day's rental. You can probably find a pickup location in Edinburgh that's not in the center, but they would be less likely to have an automatic (as would Stirling). However if you pick up at the airport in Edinburgh it might involve a surcharge (common for picking up in airport locations).

Posted by
2652 posts

I would say arrange pick up at Edinburgh Airport. easy to get the tram right there and it is only about 50 yards from the tram stop to the car hire are on the right side of the city for easy access to the roads to Stirling and same for the return.

Posted by
1922 posts

Hi Susan, Renting a car in Edinburgh and getting out of the city is easy ! My daughter and I just did it ! GPS makes the driving easy ! The first day I picked up the car, I was a little nervous about driving on the other side of the road but after an hour or so, it was no big deal. Scotland is an amazing country with some of the nicest people I've ever met ! I would op for getting a car once you touched down! I feel getting to a train and waiting to get on would take time! Hope this helps! Loved both cities you going to !

All the best, Monte

Posted by
61 posts

I was travelling on my own so I elected to take the train to Stirling and pick my rental up there. Then I drove all over, ending in Inverness where I dropped the car off, and took the train back to Edinburgh.

Even though all went well, I felt it was challenging driving alone because I was not only trying to get used to driving 'left', but was also trying to find my way here and there. So if there are 2 of you I expect you will be in good shape regardless of whether you pick the car up in Edinburgh or Stirling

Oddly felt like driving on Skye was easier because the roads are so narrow there is really only one lane any way :-)

Posted by
45 posts

We elected to pick-up our rental car at the Waverly Train Station. We are both confident city drivers, but had never driven on the left side of the road. I wouldn't say the drive was easy, or without stress, but it wasn't that bad. Picking up at the airport would have been easier and less stressful, but cost more in both time and money. We were happy with our decision.

Posted by
9876 posts

Last summer after about 10 days' driving in Scotland, I dropped off my parents at the hotel and then, rather than searching for the place I was supposed to return the car -- not too far away, mind you -- drove all the way out to the airport to drop it because I was so stressed out from the traffic in Edinburgh. I've lived and driven in Manhattan, Boston, Washington DC and Paris, so I'm not an inexperienced driver, nor had I just picked up the car. So if I ever go back and need a rental car upon departing, I'm definitely taking the tram out to the airport and heading out from there. My .02.

Posted by
1667 posts

The main advantage of the airport is it takes you right on to the dual carriageway A8 and then the M9 motorway, both dual carriageway roads where the two directions are kept apart whilst you get used to the car and the side of the road. It also means you can stop off of the M9 for Linlithgow or the Kelpies.