Hello, we are a family of five driving from the Lake District to Edinburgh in mid-July. We are thinking about either a stopover for lunch in Glasgow or perhaps a route that will allow for a castle stop (we have the explorer pass) and lunch in a nearby town. Any recommendations? We will be in the Scottish highlands later in our trip, so trying to decide between Hadrian's Wall, Glasgow and particularly interested in any off-the-beaten-path gems that we aren't yet considering. Thanks in advance for any advice.
Taking a car into Glasgow is hassle.
Personally, I would drive up to Carlisle, then take the A69 and have a quick look at Hadrian’s Wall before taking the A1. Stop at Holy Island for lunch and a walk round the island, if the tide permits (it’s approached via a tidal causeway). There are plenty of castles nearby on the mainland if the tide times don’t work such as Dunstanburgh and Bamburgh. I would much prefer to spend time in this fantastic area rather than the Lake District, which will be hideously busy, with the roads jammed with cars in July.
It’s a great drive up the coast to Edinburgh.
Another suggestion would be to take the M6 north from Penrith, which becomes the M74 north of Carlisle. Leave the M74 at Douglas, and then take the A70/A73 to New Lanark, which is one of the most fascinating places in Scotland. It has been designated a World Heritage site, and there is an excellent walk up to the Falls of Clyde.
After visiting New Lanark, you can get back on the A70, which will take you directly in to Edinburgh. You could have lunch at New Lanark, or in the nearby town of Lanark.
You would also have the opportunity to visit Hadrian's Wall, if you make a side trip from Carlisle to Gilsland/Birdoswald on the A69. The round trip (Carlisle to Gilsland, returning via the A689 from Brampton) would be about 35 miles.
If you end up spending a lot of time at Hadrian's Wall, and don't have enough time for New Lanark, you can get back on the M74 as far as Abington, and take the A702 directly in to Edinburgh.
These are both fabulous suggestions! Thanks so much for taking time to reply. Looking at maps and guides to see what will work for us. Have a lovely evening!