We are flying into the Glasgow airport where we will pick up a rental car. We want to spend the day in Glasgow before heading to Fort William. We are trying to decide if we should try driving the rental into the center of Glasgow (George Square) and finding parking there or would anyone have a better suggestion. This will be in July, thanks!
It depends what you want to see in Glasgow. However my initial suggestion given you'll be just off of a trans Atlantic flight is Shields Road subway park and ride. The Glasgow subway is one of the oldest in the world, will take you into the city centre and only goes around a circle. You will also be on the correct side of the city for heading up to Fort William.
Are you staying overnight in Glasgow before your drive up to Ft William ? From the tenor of your post , it sounds as if you are spending the day in Glasgow , and then driving up at the end of the day . If so , a bad idea for multiple reasons .
I think that MC had given you some great advice. You really don't want to drive into Glasgow. There are bus lanes and other hazards that can trip you up. See this discussion on TA.
Steven makes a valid point, remember it is going to take about three hours to get up to Ft William from Glasgow, the A82 is not a forgiving road along Loch Lomond, and is not much more forgiving at other points between Glasgow and Inverness. Pam's link is also valid, I know plenty of people who have fallen foul of Glasgow's bus lane rules.
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Thank you all for such great information!. We get into Glasgow around 7am and love the idea of the park and go at Shields. I appreciate the thoughts about heading to Fort William the same day and taking the subway in. We only plan on three things while in Glasgow, the bus tour, the tenement house and tea at the Willow Tea room. Our goal is to be on the road to Fort William by 3pm, but I am concerned by your comments on the A82 to Fort William. Can you tell us a little more about the highway? Thanks again!!
Dinnae be too feart about the A82, it is one of the main trunk roads between Glasgow and Inverness via Loch Lomond, Fort William, Loch Ness. The real problem bit is the top end of Loch Lomond where it is twisty and narrow by Scottish standards. What I think Steven is highlighting is this road is the gateway route to the Highlands and islands and you might want to take this into account on your arrival at Glasgow, especially if you are not used to driving on the correct side of the road.
MC , that certainly is part of my thinking . My major criticism about this plan is that it is overly optimistic based on the time frame , and dangerous to make a major road trip in a jet - lagged condition . Kmu , without beating it to death , MC's advice to park the car at the Shields Carpark is spot on , a ten minute subway ride will drop you in central Glasgow at Buchanan Street . While what you have in mind for that day sounds doable , I would be willing to bet that you won't be on the road north until five PM , if you are lucky , and dog tired to boot . I think it is poor judgment to drive the distance you are considering in that state. Spend your time in town , go back to the carpark and get the car , and head back the way you came , to the airport . There are several decent hotels there ( Premier Travel Inn , Holiday Inn Express , etc ) and get a night's rest . Early the next morning , refreshed , you can drive to Fort William in a safe manner . Take the M8 west over the Erskine Bridge , left on the A82 , and you are on your way .Take to heart MC's comments about the narrow roads , etc. , don't be fearful , but do pay attention .
EDIT - I have an even better idea - Take the airport hotel , the Premier and Holiday Inn Express are directly in front of the terminal , car rentals , and bus stop . Drop your bags at the hotel , DON'T pickup the car , and take the bus into town , When you are done , take the bus back to the airport , cross the street and checkin for the night - pickup the car the next morning right in front of the hotel and begin your drive north . PS - the Holiday Inn is the better location for your situation .
If you can, Steven's suggestion sounds the ideal compromise. There are other budget hotels closer to the city, but his way would save the first day's hire car cost.