Scotland Self Drive Itineraries - Questions and Answers



Scotland Self Drive Itineraries - Questions and Answers






1.  How to use self drive itinerary?


For easier planning and travelling the itinerary is divided into several stages with travel time, distance and precise Sat Nav coordinates of each destination.


Edinburgh – Stirling Castle        1 hour            65km     40 miles.


Sat Nav coordinates Stirling castle: 4°24'10.2" or 56.225222, -4.402833.


Most attractions along the route do not have an address or postal code so it is best to use coordinates as latitude and longitude e.g.  N 56°13'30.8"   W 4°24'10.2" or 56.225222, -4.402833.


Some stages of the journey may have interesting or hidden away attractions en route to the destination, it can be ruins of a castle, a beautiful waterfall or a popular viewpoint. You will find coordinates of these additional attractions in the description of this stage of the itinerary.


After entering the coordinates into your Sat Nav please double check that it’s the correct destination and travel time and distance correspond to the itinerary.





2.  Can I use my phone or tablet instead of Sat Nav?


It is better to use Sat Nav, but if you don’t have one you can use you phone. If you are planning to use your phone please be aware that in some areas of Scotland there in no mobile network reception at all. However you can use off line maps.


Copy coordinates from the itinerary and paste them into “destination” field of the map on you phone or tablet.





3.  Advice on hiring a car in Scotland.


a.  Book your car online as early as possible. You will have a bigger range of cars to choose from and at better rates. This will help you save a lot of money.


b. Use price comparison sites to get the best price. Use Google to search for:    compare car hire Edinburgh

     Here’s some of the reputable car hire companies:





        Arnold Clark





c.  Excess insurance (this is what you will have to pay if the car is damaged even if it was not your fault). They will try to sell you very expensive excess insurance. It might cost as much as £20 per day! If you are hiring a car for 5 days it’s a lot of money.
     You can buy your own car hire excess insurance online. Third party excess insurance will cost just a couple pounds per day.
     Search Google for: car hire excess insurance.


d. You don’t need a car in Edinburgh!
     Edinburgh is best explored on foot. Most hotels in the centre do not have any parking at all! Parking in centre of Edinburgh is very expensive.
     So its is probably better to hire a car on the day of or the day before you trip round Scotland. If you plan hiring a car on arrival make sure you book a hotel with parking!





4.  What is the best way to get to Edinburgh from London?


The best way to get to Edinburgh form London is by train. You can hire a car in Edinburgh to travel around Scotland. The train journey takes about 4 and a half hours and you travel from central London to the very heart of Edinburgh without the hassle of getting to the airport, security checks, waiting and possible delays. As a bonus enjoy beautiful landscapes and seascapes of southern Scotland.


You can book your train ticket online here:





5.  What is the best route from London to Edinburgh by car?


If you are planning to hire a car in London and drive to Scotland you can make the most of your journey by visiting medieval cities, the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales National park on the way to Scotland.


Below is a basic itinerary which you can customize by adding extra nights in Oxford, York and Keswick to spend more time exploring these fascinating places.


London – Oxford             56 miles      90 km         Travel time about  1 hour 20 minutes.


Oxford – York                 184 miles     296 km       Travel time about  3 hours 15 minutes.


York – Windermere        100 miles     160 km       Travel time about  2 hours 30 minutes.  Travel through Yorkshire Dales National park.


Windermere – Keswick    21 miles      34 km        Travel time about  40 minutes.


Keswick – Edinburgh       134 miles    216 km      Travel time about  2 hours 40 minutes.






6.  Visiting Scotland for the first time – suggested itineraries.


Scotland has so much to offer. It is not possible to see everything in a single visit, but if you plan your journey carefully and pick only must-see places you can squeeze quite a lot into 3-7 days.


Here’s some of the itineraries I would recommend for your first visit to Scotland:


If you have 3 days:


Start with Edinburgh – one of the most beautiful cities in Europe! Spend at least one full day exploring this magnificent city.


Day two – travel north, explore the Highlands, the Great Glen, Loch Ness, enjoy the unforgettable views of Glencoe and Rannoch Moor. Stay overnight in the heart of the Highlands.


Day three – Go for a boat trip on Loch Ness and on the way back to Edinburgh you can visit a distillery, go for a walk in the Cairngorms National Park to feed reindeer, visit open air folk museum, see Blair castle.


Download detailed 2 day itinerary with precise locations of all attractions and more.

“Historic Glencoe, Ancient Castles, the Great Glen and Loch Ness”.




If you have 5 days:


Spend a day or two enjoying amazing architecture and history in Edinburgh.


Then heat to the Isle of Skye – the most beautiful, amazing, stunning place in Scotland.


It takes one full day to drive to the Isle of Skye across the North-West Highlands.
On the way to Skye you will be travelling thorough spectacular landscapes of Glencoe an Rannoch Moor – the last unspoiled wilderness in Europe.


Spend a day on the Isle of Skye – there’s boat trips, hikes in glens, sea views, distilleries, fine restaurants and more.


Drive back to Edinburgh across exceptional and remote mountain scenery with lochs, glens and the magnificent ridge of the Five Sisters, stop at an iconic castle, go for a boat trip on Loch Ness and continue to Edinburgh with a stop in a picturesque village.


Download detailed 3 day itinerary with precise locations of all attractions and more.

“Highlands, Gorgeous Isle of Skye and Loch Ness”.




If you have 7 days:


After spending a couple of days in Edinburg.


Visit St Andrews – an elegant seaside university town with romantic ruins of a castle and a cathedral.


Spend the next day exploring the Royal Deeside and Cairngorms National park, visit medieval castles, enjoy quiet scenic roads and magnificent views.


The next day travel across the Great Glen, go for a cruise on Loch Ness. Enjoy fresh local seafood in a restaurant in Fort William.


Stay overnight in Oban - a picturesque town on the west coast, then travel to Glasgow across stunning the Arrochar Alps.


Download detailed 4 day itinerary with precise locations of all attractions and more.

“St Andrews, Royal Deeside, and the West Highlands”.





7.  What are the roads like in Scotland?


Driving in Scotland outside large cities is easy. The roads are usually well maintained and signposted. There are several motorways in central Scotland which are usually quite busy especially between Edinburgh and Glasgow.


Further north major roads are mostly two lanes in both directions. You need a bit caution on country roads as they can be narrow in places. In some areas of Scotland you can still find a lot of single track roads with passing places.






8.  What is the weather like in Scotland?


You can only say one thing with certainty about Scottish weather – It will rain! Probably on most days of your visit to Scotland. How long it will rain and how hard is difficult to say.


It is wetter in the west of Scotland and summer months are generally dryer with more sunshine. Because of the wind it always feels a bit colder than it actually is. Temperature in Spring/Autumn 12-16C (54-61F), Summer 17-21C (63-70F), Winter 0-5C (32-41F).





9.  What is the best time to visit Scotland?


The best time to visit Scotland is from beginning of April to the end of October.


The tourist season starts on the 1st of April and ends on the 30th of October. From the beginning of April most castles  and distilleries open their door to tourists, and a lot of activities are only available during these months. In summer months the weather is generally a lot better and you’ve got up to 16 hours of daylight to explore Scotland.

August is the busiest month of the year with Edinburgh festivals, golf tournaments and other events. In August accommodation prices go up about 30% and Edinburgh might feel a little bit crowded. However outside Edinburgh generally you don’t feel that this is the height of the tourist season, however if you are planning to visit Scotland in August you should book your accommodation as early as possible.





10.  How much does it cost to hire a car in Scotland?


Cost of car hire will depend on the type of the car you are going to hire and the number of days.
Typically to hire a small car will cost you about £30-50 per day.

To save money on car hire make sure you book your car online as early as possible.






11.  What is the best place to hire a car?


Edinburgh and Glasgow airports have all major international car hire chains which are open from early in the morning till late at night.


If you are going to hire a car in Edinburgh or Glasgow bear in mind that car hire may be close on Sundays and national holidays.





12.  Where can I get a Sat Nav?


If you don’t have your own Sat Nav with up-to-date maps of Scotland you should be able to hire one at the car hire station.





13.  What licence do I need to drive in Scotland?


If you are form European Union country you can drive any type of car listed on your license.
If you are from the outside of the European Union you can drive a small car.





14.  North Coast 500. Should I do North Coast 500?


You probably heard about this route around the north coast of Scotland and you are not sure if you should do it.


North Coast 500 route was launched in 2015 to attract tourists  to remote nothern parts of Scotland in order to boost local economy.
No doubt, some parts of this route are beautiful while others are lacking interesting attractions.


If you are planning your first trip to Scotland you should probably explore more accessible parts of Scotland where you will find most of the major attractions, castles, picturesque villages and famous distilleries.



15.  Useful websites.    How much does it cost to travel to the United Kingdom?     Traffic information Scotland.    The ultimate online guide to Scotland      A miscellany of facts and information about Scotland.      The internet guide to Scotland.       An official guide to Scotland.








About Self Drive Itineraries Scotland


Hi, my name is Alex, I am a professional tour guide with over 10 years experience of taking tourists to the most beautiful, remote and colourful parts of Scotland.


After visiting hundreds of attractions with tourists from different countries I’ve discovered what attractions, villages, distilleries, scenic routes are most liked by tourists, what is overrated and what is not worth visiting.


I hope that my experience will be helpful to you.

;Enjoy you trip to Scotland.





     Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about self drive itineraries in Scotland.







I will be happy to answer your questions.










            Self Drive Itineraries Scotland


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