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Scotland - Where to drive?

We are flying into Edinburgh next May and going to spend a couple of days in Edinburgh and areas close by. Was also looking at renting a car for 2 days and doing some driving upon initial arrival. Probably drive to Loch Ness for the tourist in all of us (3 hours I think?).

Can anyone recommend any areas that can't be missed along the road (s) to Inverness or any good sights we could hit on the drive back to Edinburgh?

Posted by
3428 posts

Consider a train trip instead! Driving in Scotland can be problimatical and parking in Edinburgh is absolutely aweful!!!!! You can take a train to Inverness and a bus to Drumnadrochit (the little village with the "monster" exhibits) or do day tours on boats or in vans. Inverness is well worth several days. We just got back from our 42nd trip to the UK and spent 4 days in Inverness. We did a couple of day tours, including the Orkney Islands and toured some distilleries on our own. There are some great trips to Skye and many other great places that leave out of Inverness. You might also want to consider Aviemore- a small village in the Caringorms between Edinburgh and Inverness. Lots of "adventure" and outdoor type of options there.

Posted by
95 posts

Thanks for the heads up Toni! I'm thinking we will take the car when arriving in Edinburgh, but we were planning to return it upon our arrival back in Edinburgh where we'll spend a few days. I'd heard about those parking problems you mentioned and agree that we won't need a car there anyway. I'll just need to keep an eye on gas prices over there to see if it still works well getting a good deal on a rental car.

Posted by
389 posts

Michael, I love the options that are afforded with driving and have never had any problems besides the usual traffic hold-ups. As an English teacher I was excited to see many of the places from "The Scottish Play" on the way to Inverness. Also, may I recommend Enterprise Rental. They don't usually come up on searches for UK but we found them to be quite a savings. Have a great time!

Posted by
505 posts


The best option is to rent a car at the Edinburgh Airport so you can pick it up and drop it off without having to face the nightmare that is Edinburgh traffic. You can take airporter bus out to the airport for just £5 return or a taxi, which can range from £15-25 and hold up to four or five people with luggage.

Driving outside of the big cities is much less stressful, though if you are not comfortable with a stick shift make SURE to specify an automatic when you book your car rental. Also, be prepared for narrow, twisty roads and sheep/cows/deer in the road.

Posted by
25 posts

Grab a Whiskey Heritage tour flyer/map and take some time to stop at any of the distilleries on the way. I had a blast even though I'm not a big drinker.

Posted by
5675 posts

While I woudn't recommend a car in Edinburgh, don't be terrified of driving in the city. It's not that bad! It's easier to drop it off in city center and catch a cab to your hotel. As for trips consider Perthshire. Aberfeldy, Dunkeld, and the Tay river are beautiful and not as far north as Inverness. also, if you want to drive toward Loch Lomond consider the Trossachs. They are Rob Roy country and a steamboat ride on Loch Katrine is wonderful. Also, if you're a Monty Python fan, don't miss Doune Castle.

Posted by
505 posts

At the moment, I would not suggest driving in Edinburgh.

The problem is that parking is very expensive, and between the overhaul of Grassmarket, roadworks in Leith for the trams, endless roadworks in Tollcross and various other roadworks, traffic is nasty.

In addition, I'm not sure where you'd return a car in Edinburgh anyway. Much better to drop it off at the aiport, then take a taxi, airporter or shuttle bus into the city centre. A taxi or shuttle bus will take you door to door.