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One day to get from Glencoe to Glasgow- what to do?

The last full day of our upcoming trip to Scotland begins with us checking out of our lodgings in Glencoe and making our way (via rental car) to Glasgow by 4pm to catch a train to London. I'm looking for suggestions on how to fill the rest of the day.

I'm torn between spending time near Loch Lomond (possibly doing a short walk near Conic Hill or exploring Luss Village) and visiting Stirling Castle. Is there anything else you can recommend? Or even give tips on the two options I am considering?

Posted by
1530 posts

We just made this drive a couple of days ago. It wasn’t very good weather so we did not stop. Also, the roads are twisty and windy so it will take you longer than you think. Allow plenty of time. I would suggest stopping wherever it looks good to you. The Glencoe visitors center seemed to be popular.

Posted by
2566 posts

Allow plenty of time. It will take longer than you think. This site says it's 86 miles and will take a little over 2 hours. I would double that to 4 hours because (a) the roads are steep and winding and you can easily get behind a slow vehicle, and (b) you'll want to stop here and there to admire the scenery. https://www.distancesfrom.com/gb/distance-from-Glasgow-to-Glencoe-United-Kingdom/DistanceHistory/252319.aspx

I would not try to visit Stirling. It's out of the way and you could easily hit traffic jams since Stirling and Glasgow are both busy cities.

By the time you've reached the segment south of Tarbet along the western shore of Loch Lomond, gauge how you're doing vs. your Glasgow arrival deadline. If you have ample time, you could take a walk in Luss; it is a very charming village. It has pay & display parking and coin-operated public toilets.

At the southern end of the loch is Duck Bay, a hotel with nice (but casual) restaurant that has huge picture windows giving a commanding view of the loch. That could be a good place to stop for lunch. Note that they do NOT allow non-customers to use their restrooms.

If you need to fill up with gas (petrol), do it in Dumbarton. After the big huge roundabout at Balloch, follow the signs to Glasgow over the Erskine Bridge and you'll be on the M8 motorway. The airport exit comes up quickly as the airport is actually in Paisley, not Glasgow. Once you've exited the motorway, there are a couple of roundabouts entering the airport campus. Watch carefully for the rental car return or else you'll have to go around again.

Posted by
906 posts

Hi, awall92,

There is a BP filling station right at Glasgow Airport. It's next to the hotels. Better to top up completely there, and avoid being (over)charged by the car hire company to fill your tank. We were there last Thursday, and the unleaded regular was 1 pound 29 per litre.

I'm assuming that you're dropping the car off at the airport, then taking a bus or taxi to Central Station. If you're heading straight in to town, you can take the A82 (Great Western Road) straight in. If that's the case, your best bet for fuelling would be at the Marks & Sparks BP just past the Crow Road. Unfortunately, it's on the west bound side of the road, so you'd need to cross the GW Road twice. There is a filling station earlier on the GW Road at Sainsbury's. It's on the left side.

On the other hand, if you took the option of bringing the car back with an empty tank, you don't need to fill up anywhere. I unwisely took that option a few years ago, after being up all night on a TransAtlantic flight. After I realized that I had a half tank left, I drove all the way down to Dumfries to use up as much petrol as I could. :)

Good luck!

Mike (Auchterless)

Posted by
4 posts

Thank you all for your suggestions, especially about the traffic warning for Stirling. I hadn't realized it was a busy enough city to warrant heavy traffic. We'll stick with a more direct route down to Glasgow.

I've taken the estimated driving time from Google and doubled it to use as our 'en route' time. We're happy to have an early start, so that leaves us a good four hours to find somewhere to stop off at. Luss seems like a safe spot since it's directly on the way and won't be a huge endeavor to explore.

I'll gladly take any more suggestions, though.

Posted by
2566 posts

If you decide to stop at Luss, note that the village is not actually on the main road. You have to turn off onto a small secondary road. If you blink, you'll miss the sign!

Posted by
906 posts

Hi again, awall92,

As you're going through Dumbarton anyway on your way to Glasgow, you may want to consider a visit to Dumbarton Castle. That is, if you're not already "castled out." There are a lot of steps, as it's at the top of a piece of volcanic rock. However, once you're up there, you'll be rewarded with magnificent views of the Clyde, the Kilpatrick Hills, and even Glasgow, if it's not raining. One nice thing about the castle is that it's not overrun with tourists.

Once you leave Dumbarton (where the drums are sae bonny), you can either cross the Erskine Bridge (if you're heading to the airport), or stay on the A82 to take you in to the center of the city.

Safe travels!

Mike (Auchterless)

Posted by
1239 posts

Where are you dropping the car? That may count into cutting the time for getting to Central Station.

Posted by
4 posts

Some details for clarification: I do not have our car reserved yet but I’m looking at dropping it off near the city centre. Our train doesn’t depart until 6:40 pm so the 4:00 pm arrival time should give us plenty of time to fuel up, drop off the car, and get to the train station.

Posted by
906 posts

Hi, awall92,

Glad you clarified that. Are you also taking the train to Glasgow to start the Scottish leg of your holiday, or are you flying in to the airport? If you're taking the train, there are several car hire companies within a reasonable distance of Central Station. If you're flying in, you can take the bus (number 500) or a taxi to Central, or a taxi to the rental location.

If you're flying in, and hiring at the airport, make sure that you can drop off in town at no extra charge. Most national car hire companies will allow the one way drop off at no additional charge.

If you haven't driven in Britain prior to your upcoming holiday, you may want to consider hiring your car outside of the city, then returning it in the city. Central Glasgow is a very confusing area in which to drive. There are many one way streets, traffic lights at the top of hills (No fun if you're driving a stick shift!), and the dreaded bus lanes. Plus the pedestrians bent on suicide. If it's your first time in Glasgow, you may be better getting a feel for the driving outside of the city, and you'll be completely used to it by the time you return your car.

Best wishes for a safe journey!

Mike (Auchterless)