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The Ultimate Road Trip Through Scotland

Posted by Andrew Segal on 20/11/2015
edinburgh commons

If you’re on the lookout for an unforgettable holiday, Scotland offers some truly unique scenery. Connected by a vast network of roads and motorways, a road trip in Scotland throws up a gorgeous array of vistas unlike anywhere else. And it’s just a stone’s throw away from home!

Consider hiring a rental car and leaving your own vehicle at home. This offers flexibility and safety by allowing you to choose the most suitable vehicle for the route you plan on driving. By choosing a larger camper van, for example, you can save by not having to spend extra money on accommodation during your holiday.

Edinburgh

Edinburgh

Easily accessible via airport or by the A68 from England, Edinburgh is one of the best places to start your road trip. Rich in both history and culture, Scotland’s capital city deserves at least a couple of days to visit.

Check out the historic Edinburgh Castle that overlooks the entire city. Located on Castle Rock, the site has seen human occupation since the Iron Age. The castle has played a prominent role in Scotland’s history and has been the site of many battles and conflicts. While you’re in Edinburgh, be sure to experience the shopping on Princes Street, as well as local sites such as St Giles Cathedral, the haunted Mary King’s Close, and Rosslyn Chapel.

From Edinburgh, you should head northwest along the A85, taking in the beautiful scenery of the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Parks along the way.

Continue onto the A82 to take in such famous spots as Glencoe, Bridge of Orchy and the UK’s highest summit, Ben Nevis. Just beyond Fort William lies the famous Glenfinnan Aqueduct, which like Glencoe, was used as a filming location for the Harry Potter films!

Isle of Skye

isle of skye from car

The Isle of Skye is home to numerous hiking and bike trails, and has many natural and historical sites to consider.

From Fort William, take the A830 west to Mallaig and then take the ferry to Skye. For any history buffs, hike out to the ruins of Knock Castle, just off the A851. Originally built in the 15th century by the MacDonald clan, the ruins are said to be haunted by a gruagrach known as the Green Lady.

If a natural attraction is more to your liking, at the foot of the Black Cuillins in the Glen Brittle Forest are the famous Fairy Pools of Skye. You can also hike or cycle along the nature paths in Glen Brittle and take in the breath-taking beauty of Skye.

fairy pools isle of skye

On your way back down south, take the A87 to check out the rock pinnacles of The Storr, where the opening scenes of Prometheus were filmed. After you’ve had your fill of the Isle of Skye, continue on the A87 and head over to Inverness.

About a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Portree, Inverness is a good starting point for exploring the central Highlands. Before going further south, make sure you check out the iconic Loch Ness and the remains of the Urquhart Castle.

 Central Highlands

lock avon view

Take a short drive south along the A9 from Inverness to explore the Cairngorms National Park. Filled with various landscapes and views, you’ll be spoilt for choice for activities.

Mountain biking, hiking, guided walks and more are all available within the park. Snow sports are also available during the winter months. See what activities are available at the time of your visit by checking the park’s calendar.

There are also camping grounds within the park, so why not save on hotel fees and set up camp in your rented camper van? Once you’ve passed through the National Park, make your way south to Stirling along the A9 via Perth.

It’s been said that whoever holds Stirling Castle, holds Scotland. Stirling Castle is one of the most important castles in Scotland. Generations of Scottish royalty made their home in Stirling Castle, and it’s close to where the Scots defeated the English army in the 1297 Battle of Stirling Bridge.

After days of historical castles and gorgeous landscapes, it’s time to head home. From Stirling, it’s merely an hour’s drive back to Edinburgh.

Considerations

Whether you hire a car or a camper van, you’ll need to make sure you are covered with adequate insurance before you set off across Scotland’s roads. Most hire companies provide third party insurance and a collision damage waiver (CDW) that will protect against damage and loss in the rental agreement.

However, if you have an accident or your vehicle is stolen, you will probably still have to pay a sizeable excess to the rental company.

Car Hire Excess insurance is up to 70% cheaper than the rental desks equivalent cover and is often more comprehensive, so be sure to shop around before you pick up your hire car.