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Itinerary Help - 2 weeks in Scotland by car


My best friend and I are heading to Scotland in August this year for our annual 2 week trip. Looking for advice to ensure we enjoy our stay, I’m afraid of overdoing it. I’m a Campbell so I’m hoping for lots of history, scenery and castles. I appreciate your feedback!

Day 1 Travel
Days 2 - 3 arrive and stay in Edinburgh
Day 4 hang around Edinburgh during the day, rent car and head to Glasgow for the afternoon, sleep in Glasgow
Day 5 Glasgow
Day 6 head to Inveraray/Oban, stay the night
Day 7 sightsee area and stay in Inveraray/Oban
Day 8 head to Ft. William/Glencoe, stay in Ft. William
Day 9 head to Isle of Skye, stay in Portee
Day 10 sightsee and stay in Portee
Day 11 head to Inverness, stay in Inverness
Day 12 sightsee and stay in Inverness
Day 13 head to Perth for the day and stay in Stirling, want to stop by St. Andrews at some point
Day 14 sightsee and stay in Stirling
Day 15 leave Stirling early morning and head to Edinburgh airport

Posted by
971 posts

You are renting a car in Edinburgh to drive to Glasgow. This is the most populated area of Scotland and that will mean more trafic, which I would personally avoid, especially when driving in the “wrong” side of the road. Plus you will be paying for an idle rental car on your day in Glasgow. Edinburgh to Glasgow is much better done by train.
You could consider moving Glasgow in your itinerary, or renting the car somewhere else.

Posted by
3106 posts

Agree with the others: wait until you're ready to leave Glasgow to get your rental car. At Glasgow airport, ask the car rental agent (the person in the parking lot who actually puts you into your car) what signs to follow at the roundabouts to get onto the Motorway headed to the Erskine Bridge. The signage is not self-explanatory to non-locals. Once on the Motorway if you find that you're following signs to Edinburgh and/or Glasgow, you're going the wrong way.

In Inveraray, I can recommend Brambles for daytime food and for overnight lodging, and the George Hotel for dinner/pub. Inveraray Castle is gorgeous inside and out, and you get to see an adorable flock of black sheep in a pasture across from the (spectacular) gardens.

Day 13 is going to be an awful lot of driving just to hop out of the car and say you've been to St. Andrews. If you really want to go there, I'd skip either Perth or Stirling. It is a lot of fun, especially if you have any interest in golf, but you'll need a full day to see & do what St. Andrews has to offer.

How early is your flight on Day 15? Traffic from Stirling to Edinburgh is likely to make it a slow drive, and then you'll need time to turn in your car and go through security. Personally I'd want to turn in the car the night before, sleep in Edinburgh, and take a taxi to the airport, but of course it's your choice.

Posted by
1361 posts

Don't miss Castle Campbell in Dollar. We really enjoyed our 2 tours of Scotland. Clan Headquarters at Inveraray Castle is very impressive with quite the armory of swords, etc. Be sure to be on the QT in Glencoe...the MacDonalds still hold a gruge! LOL. Be sure to see Scotland between Edinburgh and England the next time if you are interested in Mary Stewarts History. You can make a day trip from Ft. William to Skye...that way you won't have to book so far ahead. Remember BP Charlie was not a friend. Your Campbell cousin.

Posted by
1376 posts

Hi, Christine,

I agree with epitd about giving St. Andrews a miss, unless you really want to go there. It's pretty far removed from anywhere in central Scotland, and there's no easy way to get there if you're overnighting in Stirling. It would be a bit easier from Perth, but if you're heading from Inverness to Perth, you may not have enough time to visit Perth, Stirling, and St. Andrews.

I disagree about renting your car out of Glasgow. For the money that you'd spend traveling from Edinburgh to Glasgow Airport, you'd be better off hiring your car at Edinburgh Airport, then spending the day in Glasgow without having to worry about getting to the airport the next day, or carrying your luggage everywhere. Once you get to Glasgow, you can leave the car and luggage at your hotel/B&B and visit the sights on foot or by public transportation/taxi. I'd recommend People's Palace, the Necropolis, and Glasgow Cathedral, if you're pressed for time; and if you're into shopping, Argyle Street/Buchanan Street/Sauchiehall Street would be the place. If you decide to park in town in Glasgow, the best places are near St. Enoch's. It's not cheap, but it's convenient.

While in Glasgow, if you're driving, DO NOT drive in the bus lanes. The fines are ridiculous.

Don't forget, you'll be driving on the left!

If you're heading from Fort William to Skye via the CalMac ferry from Mallaig, be sure to make a reservation ahead of time. There are nine sailings daily, but they fill up fast in August. It's the best way to get to Skye from Fort William. Make sure you've arranged accommodation on Skye ahead of time. It has become a major tourist destination, and the British press has been printing horror stories of visitors sleeping in their cars due to lack of accommodation.

Have a wonderful time!

p.s.: If you're going to Castle Campbell in Dollar, the drive up to the car park is steep and narrow. It may be best to park in town and hike up Dollar Glen.

Posted by
767 posts

My wife and I are visiting Scotland for the first time April 28 to May 15. We will visit many of the places you mention but we're traveling exclusively by train (using the Main, Kyle and West Highland Lines in a counter-clockwise arc beginning in Edinburgh and ending in Glasgow. We purchased the Spirit of Scotland Pass for 8 days use in 15 calendar days. The Isle of Skye was a bit of a challenge without a car, but we've worked this out with a combination of small-group tours and taxis. We hope to see a lot of the country side from the comfort of the train. We'll only be on the train during daylight and will stop for the evening in Aviemore, Inverness a day and night, Portree for three nights, Ft. William, Oban and ending with a 3 night stay in Glasgow. For us, the stop in Ft. William was a necessity to weave in the Jacobite Steam Train and a bus journey from Ft. William to Glen Coe and on to Oban. After visiting Oban we resume our train journey to Glasgow. Unless you are fond of driving, you might consider the train. We've checked the train schedules and we don't think the train will present any kind of logistical nightmare (a little hassle with luggage, but we think a small inconvenience to see this spectacular country in an otherwise leisurely way).

Posted by
5 posts

I understand all these comments.

Depending on how you drive, there are a number of places to see between Edinburgh and Glasgow: Stirling Castle, Kelpies statues
Falkirk Wheel.

In Glasgow, we went to the Lighthouse, Tenement House, Glasgow Cathedral; walked down Buchanan street; saw the statue with the Traffic Cone on its head right outside a museum

Places to eat in Glasgow
Wetherspoons for dinner
Kothel Grill House, Great breakfast place under Glasgow central

Posted by
1376 posts

BTW, if you're going to be in central Glasgow, George Square may look familiar. It substituted for Philadelphia in the Brad Pit movie "World War Z." Many of the opening street scenes were filmed in Glasgow, although they used South Broad Street in Philadelphia as an establishing shot.

Also, if you're going to be in Central Glasgow, our favorite restaurant in the city is Cafe Source, in the basement of St. Andrews Church (St. Andrews in the Square). It's about a 10 minute walk from the Trongate. They just wrapped "Outlander" filming in the square, for an episode of season four. Their Cullen Skink (a fish chowder) is the best I've ever had anywhere in Scotland.

Posted by
1 posts

My husband and I are planning a trip to Scotland in June of this year. We are flying in and out of Glasgow. Through AAA we made arrangements to rent a car in Glasgow, city center, on the day we plan to leave Glasgow and head to the highlands. We will be returning the car in Edinburgh, again at the city center location the day we arrive in Edinburgh. We went through the AAA affordable Europe program and paid ahead in US dollars and got a great deal. We will be taking the train or a bus from Edinburgh back to Glasgow for our flight home. Your trip is the reverse of ours, however, the rental in one city and return in another is something to consider. You can do it without AAA I am sure.

Posted by
22 posts

Thank you everyone for the wonderful feedback. Very much looking forward to our trip.