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Scotland Stops on Cruise

Hello,
We are taking the cruise on the British Isles stopping in Glasgow, Invergordon, and Edinburg. We love beautiful landscapes and quaint towns vs. cities.

What have you done in these areas that you loved? How would you suggest we see the area? Should we rent a car, or should we take buses or trains? The excursions on the ship are pretty limited so not sure if we want to do those.

Posted by
5201 posts

How long are your port days?

I don’t see any value to renting a car in Glasgow or Edinburgh. Each city has more than enough to fill a day and good public transport.

Posted by
23 posts

Hi Carol,
You must travel a lot! You answered my question about London:). Our port days are about 8-10 hours long. We do want to see the highlands for sure. What are your favorite spots?

Posted by
472 posts

Defintiely try and book a car for the day in Invergordon - don't delay as if there are a lot of others thinking of doing the same, hire cars will book up quickly....

Spend the day doing a cirular trip - Head to Alness and take the B9176 across Struie (some of the best views in the Highlands) to rejoin the the A836 and head north west to Lairg and then along Loch Shin and Loch More to Laxford Bridge. Now pick up the A894 south through Scourie and Uunapool to Ledmore. Depending on time you can pick up the A837 back to Invergordon OR continue south along the A835 to Ullapool back east to Strathpeffer . You now want the A834 back to Dingwall and pick up the AA862 and A9 back to Invergordon. I've plotted this out on google maps for you....

https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Invergordon/18+Invershin,+Lairg/58.3487366,-5.1254586/Ullapool/Dingwall/Invergordon/@58.0667504,-5.1681268,8.93z/data=!4m33!4m32!1m5!1m1!1s0x488f84cdb24e7c21:0x321aa58ed7acaff8!2m2!1d-4.172882!2d57.688106!1m5!1m1!1s0x488f9534805cc831:0x33b8eef375613bc8!2m2!1d-4.4015676!2d57.9283633!1m0!1m5!1m1!1s0x488e30fbb7a7b361:0x59c4937301c9c80d!2m2!1d-5.161313!2d57.895418!1m5!1m1!1s0x488f0a0c09aa33ff:0xaad20be5fadfc24!2m2!1d-4.428411!2d57.595347!1m5!1m1!1s0x488f84cdb24e7c21:0x321aa58ed7acaff8!2m2!1d-4.172882!2d57.688106!3e0

This is about 177 miles and will take you through some of the best Highland scenery.

Posted by
23 posts

Do you know of any car rentals in Invergordon? We are from the US and have been searching and searching and can't find any. The closest is Inverness and they are all closed at noon with it being Saturday. Thanks so much for all your information on this... it has been so helpful!

Posted by
5201 posts

@BJ. I do my best to travel a lot. Covid has slowed down the process……. I had 5 trips planned this year, had to cancel 3, but picked up two cruises…..I spent last week in London with my adult son.

Previously, I had an extended time in Glasgow between trains so I did a hop on hop off bus tour to get an overview and then had tea at the Willow Tea Rooms. The overview showed me that there were several things in Glasgow I would love to see on another trip. I know you can fill a day there easily.

I spent 4 nights in Edinburgh (note the spelling :). Edinburgh Castle, Stirling Castle, the Falkirk Wheel, and St Andrews were some of my highlights there.

I don’t know what area of the country you are from. I think a person’s response to the Highlands may depend a bit on the topography of the place they are from.

Posted by
23 posts

I am so impressed with all your traveling! This will be our first time the the UK.
On the cruise we have 9 stops...Portland, Guernsey, Cork Ireland, Dublin, Belfast, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Le havre France and then London.
We have one day at each stop. If you have been to any of these places and what you would suggest seeing or not seeing, please let me know. We will not be driving into Paris because it is such a long trip but if you know of other closer places that are within 1.5hrs of Le Havre, let me know what your favorites are. Thanks again!

Posted by
472 posts

I’ve found two places in Invergordon that advertise car hire for cruise pick ups. They took a bit of finding as they don't come up immediately on a google search and will be a lot easier than trying to use an Inverness company. I don't know how big either are, so it would be sensible to book asap. If they can't do it, they may be able to recommend someone else.

There is Ken’s Garage which is open 9-5 on a Saturday.

https://www.bannermangroup.co.uk/peugeot/rental/

There is also Invergordon car hire and self drive. As well as doing private excursions, they also provide car rentals. They are open 8-5 on a Saturday.

http://www.shorexcursions.co.uk/

https://www.shorexcursions.co.uk/carhire.htm

Posted by
102 posts

No matter the distance, please don't drive into Paris (unless you want to cause yourself a nervous breakdown)!

If you intend to visit Glasgow and Edinburgh too, I'd avoid driving into these cities if you're not familiar with them and haven't driven here. Edinburgh in particular is difficult to drive and park in, with lots of one ways and enforcement cameras. More generally, if you're talking about hiring a car and driving into the Highlands the you need to be prepared for narrow, twisty roads with sheep and lot of other tourists on them. If you're a confident careful driver you'll be fine, but be aware of it. The road trip mentioned earlier is a bit long imo for a day - 177miles in one day will have you just driving all day I think.

As mentioned there is a lot to see in both Edinburgh and Glasgow to easily fill more than one day each. The HOHO bus may be a good way to see things and travel around in Glasgow cause many things there are quite spread out and not in the city centre (you could take the subway or train instead). There is a HOHO bus in Edinburgh too but the city is smaller and more concentrated so you may be as well just walking. Having said that, if you're more interested in countryside there's nothing wrong with bypassing both cities and taking a countryside visit.

Bear in mind the cruise won't actually dock at Glasgow - it will dock at Greenock, a port town about 25miles from Glasgow. You can take the train from Greenock to Glasgow - there are very regular trains which take about 45mins and cost about £8 rtn (it's a high frequency commuter train, so you don't need to book). Driving from Greenock you've got all around Argyll and Loch Lomond. You can take th ferry across to Kilcreggan (or to Dunoon) or just drive across the Erskine bridge and head into the loch Lomond and Trossachs national park or to somewhere like Inveraray. You could maybe head up a far as Glencoe, although it's a lot of driving (and maybe not worth it if it's rain and low cloud)

Similarly at Edinburgh the ship may dock in Leith, which is a port area of the city and you'll need to get a bus or cab to the city centre. I would think twice about picking up a car in Leith cause likely you'll have drive through the whole city to get where you're going.

Alternatively it'll dock in rosyth which is on the other side of the Forth about 15miles away, so again you'll need transport to Edinburgh. If you're docking in rosyth and want something other than a city visit then you could drive up to St Andrews and the East Neuk. It's an easy 1hr drive on freeway and main roads and a nice area with nice coastline.

Although the cruise trips may not suit, I believe there are a number of independent tour companies who pick up from the cruise terminal and provide tours. I know Discover Scotland Tours pick up at Greenock. I think others may also pick up there and also at invergordon - just Google them and you should find them. These may offer a good option to see as much as possible in a day without the stress of driving on the left on unfamiliar roads in an unfamiliar car (btw the vast majority of cars in Scotland are manual or "stick" shift, not automatic).