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Where to rent car

We are flying into Edinburgh then spending three days. Where is the best place to then rent a car for the rest of our time in Scotland? Should we return to the airport or somewhere in the city? If from the airport, about how long would it take to get to airport, rent car and get on the road again? Trying to figure out how far to go for first night out of Edinburgh. Thanks

Posted by
667 posts

Three years ago we rented at the airport, to avoid the city traffic. This was my first experience driving on the "wrong side," so I wanted access to the M9 to be as easy as possible, and it was extremely easy from the airport. I don't recall clearly how long it took to get to the airport from the city but I think it wasn't long, maybe 30-35 minutes.

We stopped in Stirling the first night; could have gone much further but we wanted to see the castle. Doune Castle, close to Stirling, is also really interesting if you like castles. Also there is a wonderful Scotland Information Centre in Callander.

Posted by
1694 posts

Definitely rent & return at the airport. (Speaking from the experience of renting at Waverly Station) - I didn't listen to recommendations). It takes about 30 min from Waverly to the airport via the Airlink bus (you might catch it somewhere else, deepening on where you are staying). It took more than an hour to get our car at Waverley, but I suspect the airport might be a faster process.

We also drove to Stirling and visited the castle and had lunch. But we then drove on to Ft William easily (in the summer when there was plenty of daylight). So your decision about where to stay would depend on where you are headed, when you are going, what you want to see, and how often you want to stop along the way for the beautiful scenery.

Posted by
2532 posts

yes the airport is your best bet, there is a purpose built hub for car hire there. if you take the tram to the airport then the hub is just a very short walk from the tram stop.
far easier to get out of the city from the airport than from anywhere in the city centre.

Posted by
2926 posts

Unless I missed it, you didn't mention where your homeward flight leaves from. Is it also Edinburgh? If so, all the more reason to pick up your rental car at Edinburgh airport & return it there.

The rental car area at Edinburgh airport is a fair walk away from the taxi stand (not sure where the tram or bus connection is in relation to it). I just mention this so you can be prepared to carry/wheel your luggage, especially if it happens to be raining.

Posted by
5668 posts

Okay, I know that the common advice is to pick up the car at the airport, but I have to tell you that I have picked up a car in the city centre of Edinburgh and world did not end. And I go out of Edinburgh without killing anyone or breaking any traffic laws. I also didn't get that lost either. It was walking distance from my B&B at the time. So, I would say it depends on your driving skills and willingness to deal with cities. I have driven all over Chicagoland as we call it. I have driven in LA, in Boston, in DC, and around Paris. I live in NYC now and would NEVER drive hear if I could possibly avoid it. But Edinburgh--well, it's no New York! No offense make Unclegus. :)

Pam

Posted by
2532 posts

no offense Pam,
there are various places to get rental cars in Edinburgh city,myself I use Arnold Clark in Seafield but that is reasonably close to my home.Hertz have place in Picardy place right in the centre.
The Airport hub for rentals is about a 50 yard walk from the tram

Posted by
7439 posts

Maybe it's because I was there in August and the Festival did me in -- but I have driven in NY, DC, Boston, and Paris -- and Edinburgh just about sent me over the edge (and this was AFTER a week of driving in Scotland, so it was not the first day driving on the "wrong" side of the road). I was supposed to drop my car at Picardy Place, but after getting into town and struggling with dropping my parents off at our hotel, and then searching for a place to refuel, I drove out to the airport and turned my car in there, and took the tram back into town. There's no way you could pay me to drive into or out of the Old Town of Edinburgh again. My two cents!

Posted by
36 posts

These forums are so awesome! Thank you everyone for your help. We are flying out of Edinburgh, not afraid of driving in cities (driven in New York and many other cities and we've driven in Ireland with a manual) just wondered if cutting out the ride to the airport would make it easier/faster.

Posted by
5668 posts

The locations where I got my care were north of Princes Street and west of the Castle. So, in both instances you would not be driving in the old town area, which indeed should be avoided particularly during the Festival! And I should add that I would avoid having a car in the city. I just think that you can pick one up in the city and head straight out. It does depend on your comfort with city driving and if you've experience with UK driving so much the better.

I picked up my first car in York. It was an adventure getting back to my B&B. But I never really got lost on the trip until I was wandering around the Debatable Lands trying to find my way to Melrose. I think those dead Rievers were laughing their heads off at me as I wandered around trying to find a main road. This was pre GPS. Eventually, a truck, pardon me, Lorry driver, helped me out.

Pam

Posted by
74 posts

We are using Celtic Legend Car Rental(who use Arnold Clark); have a look at their website for straightforward terms and very good prices-even on automatics. (I generally dislike dealing with car rentals myself). Email them your completed checklist and you will get a timely response from an actual person! They have plenty of locations and the Edinburgh airport location is several minutes offsite-coming from or going to the airport use the courtesy phone at the airport and they will pick you up/drop you off. We are cabbing it out to the airport office from our Edinburgh B&B after our initial 4 days to pick up our car...about a 1/2 hour trip.

Posted by
5533 posts

We rented from Arnold Clark in Inverness, but dropped it off at the Edinburgh airport on our way home. Picking up the car took some time, as the staff were't real fast getting things logged into the computer or completing the paperwork (we'd reserved everything by computer before we left the USA ), and maybe that was just the downtown Inverness location, but dropping off at the Edinburgh airport couldn't have been quicker, easier, or more pleasant. And the walk to the terminal from the car drop-off lot (watch the signs to reach the lot efficiently as you near the airport) was maybe 3 minutes. Happy travels and happy driving!