Suggestion please. On Day 12 of our Scotland trip, we will leave Oban and head to Glasgow via visiting Stirling Castle. We will only have the remainder of that day and the following day in Glasgow before we drive to an Edinburgh Airport hotel for car rental drop-off and our next morning departure. I know it is not recommended to have a car in the city. Is there an area on the outskirts of Glasgow that you would recommend for that night’s lodging and has bus transportation into the city. Thank you.
Have a look at what is available in Helensborough.
Have you thought of turning the rental car in in Glasgow and taking the train to Edinburgh? It only takes about 50 minutes by train.
Both suggestions above are good. However, if you decide to stay in Helensburgh, the train would be much faster than the bus. And more comfortable. However, on the way back, make sure that you catch the train for Helensburgh, and not the one for Balloch!
Turning the car in at Glasgow Airport would be another good idea. That way, you could take public transportation (bus/train/tram) to Edinburgh Airport.
A third option would be to stay overnight at Glasgow Airport. There are several hotels, and the bus in to town runs about every 15 to 20 minutes. You'd be a lot closer than you would be if you stayed on the outskirts of Glasgow. Also, you wouldn't have to schlep your luggage on public transportation between Glasgow and Edinburgh, and you'd still have the car in case you need it.
As you'd be arriving in Glasgow at the end of your holiday, you'd have a lot more confidence about driving in the city. It's not too bad, as long as you avoid the dreaded bus lanes. But you'd need to find lodging that has free parking, as parking in the city is really dear. Perhaps something out Great Western Road way. If you find something on Great Western Road, it's an easy trip in to town on the bus or Clockwork Orange. Plus it's really easy to get on the M8 from Great Western Road. And you'd be close to the West End attractions.
Hope that helps, and that you have a wonderful holiday!
If you are interested in architecture and decide to stay in Helensburgh (sorry for previous misspelling) take a bit of time to see the John Rennie McIntosh house.
Hi again, hbo6,
If you do visit Helensburgh, in addition to the Mackintosh House, you should pay a visit to "The Lodge," at 121 Argyll Street. It was the childhood home of John Logie Baird, the inventor of television. Not only did he invent television, but two years after his initial invention, he invented color television and made the first trans-Atlantic television transmission. If only he'd lived long enough to see "What hath Baird wrought!"
I don't know the timing of hbo6's trip. The Hill House in Helensburgh (the Mackintosh-designed site mentioned above) is currently closed for some structural work intended to protect it from deterioration caused by the somewhat damp Scottish weather. The website says they hope to reopen the house in April, but anyone interested in visiting should monitor the information on that website.
I'd agree with what the other posters have said - The most sensible option is almost certainly to drive to Glasgow airport and hand thecar back there. You'll probably have to pay a one-way hire fee but on the flip side you'll be saving a couple of days of car hire when you don't need the car. Note Glasgow airport is also on the right side of Glasgow for somebody driving from Oban so you won't have to drive through the city and indeed it's an easy exit direct off the freeway and into the airport.
You can then take a cab or one of the very frequent buses from the airport into Glasgow city centre and you can enjoy your time there without having to park the car or mess around taking trains or buses from the outskirts. To then get to Edinburgh airport on your last day you would take the direct bus that operates from Buchanan Street bus station in Glasgow city centre to Edinburgh airport - bus runs every half hour from very early in the morning till late at night with a journey time of just under an hour - indeed I believe it runs right through the night (at a lower frequency). I would suggest that you don't need to stay at an airport hotel at edinbhrgh airport the night before this bus should be able to get you there whenever you want. See https://www.citylink.co.uk/timetables.php
Of course you could fly home from Glasgow airport, but I guess your flights are already booked?
If none of the above suits and you feel you really need to keep the car for some reason, then I would say that Glasgow airport is probably the most sensible place to stay for the night. As mentioned it's easy to get to from Oban. The airport to city centre bus runs round the clock at very high frequency and I believe it's £8 return to the city centre with a journey time of about 20 to 25 minutes - https://www.firstgroup.com/greater-glasgow/routes-and-maps/glasgow-airport-express
Helensburgh is nice enough although it's still a bit far out - train to the city centre takes over 40 minutes each way, although you can take the train to partick in the city's west end - where a lot of the attractions, such as kelvingrove and the Riverside museum, are located, in around 35 minutes. However I'm not sure that there's that much accommodation in helensburgh. Braehead shopping centre is closer in (about 20 minutes by frequent bus from the city centre) and is easily accessible direct off M8 motorway. I believe there's a premier Inn on site.
I think any of these options are better than taking the car into central Glasgow - I know it's the end of your trip and driving in Glasgow is not as bad as Edinburgh but I still wouldn't recommend it - it's still difficult to park and they're an awful lot of one way systems and bus lanes to catch you out!