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Early a.m. arrival in Glasgow & heading to Islay

We're arriving (from US) early a.m. (rush hour?) in Glasgow. Do we stay overnight there (tho we won't be able to check into hotel until hours later)? Or rent a car and drive straight to a smaller town on the way to Islay? We're figuring flying might be too pricey. Thanks in advance!

Posted by
631 posts

Let me get this straight.

You arrive at Glasgow airport early morning, bleary eyed and jet lagged. You are then thinking of paying to hire a car and set off into the tail end of the city rush hour and further along narrow unfamiliar roads (trying to remember to stay on the correct side ) to Kennacraig where you will pay more money to put the car on a ferry to take it to an island with almost no roads (and those that exist are usually so narrow they only have one side) . And do we think this is a good idea?

Start at the beginning. Do you need a car or is this just habit from USA? You could get the bus from Glasgow to Kennacraig.

http://www.citylink.co.uk/timetables/Summer17/WEB_GlasgowCampbeltown.pdf

http://www.citylink.co.uk/timetables/Summer17/WEB_GlasgowCampbeltown.pdf

there is a frequent shuttle bus from airport to Buchanan bus station, takes about 25 minutes.

Posted by
5048 posts

Glasgow rush hour is bad enough for those of us that know British roads and haven't just staggered off a transatlantic plane. Please don't hire a car straight off the plane as a consideration for other roads users. Thanks.

Posted by
2817 posts

If you want to stay at a hotel in Glasgow to acclimate, there are at least 3 hotels immediately at the airport. I've stayed at the Holiday Inn (excellent) and Holiday Inn Express (perfectly OK). Being airport hotels, they are used to guests arriving & departing at all hours. I feel sure they'd have a way to accommodate you for an early check-in fee so you could get settled right after your flight.

If your destination is Islay, as a previous comment stated, you can take a bus to the ferry terminal and then get on the ferry.

If you wanted to see a nice place on the "mainland" of Scotland en route to or from Kennacraig, I can recommend the charming town of Inveraray, which is also on the bus route and has a helpful TI office. Brambles is great for lodging and daytime meals & snacks. For dinner and pub atmosphere, the George Hotel.

Posted by
6949 posts

If you're waiting to depart from Glasgow until the next day (which would be wise, for the reasons mentioned above), I would not stay at the airport, but go into the city and see some of what there is to see, start to get some of that Scottish flavor, etc. You'll be fresh and ready for your road departure the next morning!

Posted by
1302 posts

Glasgow to Kennacraig is two to three hours on twisty roads. The roads on Islay itself are not bad, generally standard single carriageway with two lanes.

However this means a five hour journey from the airport to Port Askaig or Port Ellen. Best to take the day to rest or see Glasgow first.

Posted by
11275 posts

I agree with Kim - upon arrival go right to a hotel in the Glasgow city centre (my taxi was under £25, but there is also a direct bus). If your room is not ready, just drop your bags, and start exploring. Rick has a good City Centre Walk and a West End Walk - to get over my jet lag, I did both. Or take a spin on the Hop-On, Hop-Off bus; these run every 10 minutes, alternating between live and recorded commentary. You can do one complete circuit on a bus with live commentary, then get off and see something that interests you. Rick's Glasgow chapter (exactly the same in his Scotland and his Great Britain books) is excellent in general - you'll surely find something of interest there.

The next day, a bit better rested, you can start making your way north.

Posted by
5 posts

Thanks for all the helpful advice and suggestions, everyone! Much appreciated. We've decided to stay overnight in Glasgow and set out for Islay by car/ferry the next day.

Posted by
2817 posts

Since you're planning to drive: if you pick up your rental car at Glasgow airport, be sure to ask the agent which signs to follow at the roundabouts leaving the airport to get on the motorway headed to the Erskine Bridge and Loch Lomond. There are at least 2 roundabouts (maybe 3, I can't remember for sure) and the signage is not self-explanatory!

Posted by
1302 posts

To drive you will need the A 82 to half way up Loch Lomond, then the A 83.

From the Erskine Bridge initially follow signs for 'Crianlarach' then 'Lochgiphead'. When Gaelic starts to appear on the signs at that point you have to switch to Lochgilphead.