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Traveling for 5 days with 4 kids/4adults. Thinking of renting a car?

We are traveling to Scotland for the first time. We have 4 kids with us ages 8,5,4,2. We are getting to Edinburgh and are flying out of Glasgow. What would be the best way to see Scotland? Should we rent a car? (if so, do we need car seats and are automatic cars available?). What would be the best route to take so that we can visit places in between? We were hoping to see Glencoe, Ft Williams, western Isles or Loch ness or some must see sights you guys recommend. Where should we spent overnight on our way from Edinburgh to Glasgow. We are not going to take the the M8 route which is 1 hour drive.

Posted by
3203 posts

You will need car seats for at least the three younger kids. And there probably isn’t any passenger car that will hold 3 car seats in the back. Plus you can request an automatic but I don’t think it is guaranteed.

You’d best just plan on taking the train. The kids will have fun with that.

Posted by
2063 posts

Also in only five days, don't be too ambitious in what you do - unless you want to spend long hours in a car.

With 4 adults and 4 chilkdren you are going to need a BIG car especially as there will be luggage too.

Posted by
5119 posts

Of course you will need child seats- at least 3. Which means a 3 row van. But 4 adults +4 children + luggage- and you want to avoid the motorways? You really are going to want 2 vehicles.

Sounds like you are just beginning your planning and haven't done any research into Scotland yet. You might want to get a copy of the RS Scotland guidebook. Maybe start here for itinerary ideas: https://www.ricksteves.com/europe/scotland

Posted by
6704 posts

If I was wanting to overnight on the way between Glasgow and Edinburgh I might route through the Scottish Borders and stay in one of the towns- Selkirk, Melrose, Hawick, Galashiels- or maybe go through the Borders and stay overnight in Moffat.

Then next day route through Ayrshire to Glasgow,

With the children I wonder if going through Fife and the East Neuk coast to St Andrews then overnight in Dundee might be an idea, then next day via Perth, Stirling and the A roads to Glasgow.

Posted by
11493 posts

As noted already, you for certain have 3 kids that will need a car seat. How tall the 8 yr old is will determine the need for a car seat.

Using a child car seat or booster seat

Children must normally use a child car seat until they’re 12 years old or 135 centimetres (53 inches) tall, whichever comes first.
https://www.gov.uk/child-car-seats-the-rules

Automatics are available.

Have you selected your lodgings yet? Do they have parking?

Good luck and happy travels

Posted by
7012 posts

I agree with the others that say you will either need to rent 2 cars, or use public transportation. If you want to price them, I would suggest either Celtic Legend (which brokers for Arnold Clark) or AutoEurope. But there is no way you will get 8 people (including 3 car seats) in a typical car. I don't even think they would fit in a camper van.

Posted by
5 posts

Thank you all for your replies! I should have stated we are planning on renting two cars. Do the car rental provide car seats? We are coming from USA and don’t want to bring three car seats on top of all the luggage.

Posted by
5119 posts

I believe American car seat tethers are incompatible with European tether points. You will need to arrange car seats with the rental agencies.

Posted by
16889 posts

I would advise you to skip the rental car idea and use the trains. With 5 days, including Edinburgh and Glasgow, you do not have time for much touring around. And you absolutely do not want a car in the cities, much less two cars. We had a wonderful week in Scotland, all by train—-Edinburgh, Bridgge of Orchy (in the Highlands), Oban, and Glasgow. We could have visited islands from Oban but chose not to.

With a group of that size,and small children, you will be happier with a simple itinerary—-3 places max in 5 days. Every move takes time and effort, and stress.

Posted by
11493 posts

Do the car rental provide car seats?

Yes.

Each car seat will cost ~$15 per day

Posted by
18 posts

ScotRail, the main train operator in Scotland, have a deal called 'Kid's for a Quid'.

This allows each adult to take up to 4 children each for just £1 per child. These tickets can be bought anytime, even on the train. So if you wanted to pre-book cheap Advances for a long trip for the adults, you can and the for the kids just board the train on the day and pay for the kids then and there.

The 2 and 4 year old go free, so only the 5 and 8 year old will cost you the £1 fare.