Grand Scotland Road Trip
Expect on your Grand Scotland Road Trip Itinerary
Grand Scotland Road Trip
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Grand Scotland Road Trip Itinerary
Scotland Grand Tour is a 11-stages trip which will take you on a crazy journey around tranquil nature, grandiose landmarks, mysterious lochs, and scenic cliffs. Castles taken straight from a horror movie, old stone houses in the middle of nowhere, and roads that are so narrow that they become one-way gravel paths – it’s well worth driving hundreds of kilometres, even in the ever-changing Scottish weather, to experience all of these on the way.
The journey spanning across 1521 km will take you along roads of varied surface, but this is where the fun begins. The tour starts near the Scottish capital, Edinburgh, only to quickly take you to the northern part of the country and allow you to visit such interesting locations as Dundee, Aberdeen, Braemar, or Inverness. After a considerable dose of the Highlands, you’ll travel from Gairloch to the Isle of Skye, south to Glasgow, and then return to the first stage of the trip which also happens to be your final stopover.
Your journey starts at the Edinburgh Airport. It is precisely the place where you can collect your rental vehicle.
The journey begins at the Edinburgh Airport and then follows through Forth Bridge. After 37 miles of driving, you’ll reach Saint Monans, with its lovely small harbour. Along the way, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to admire the dramatic Scottish coast and forceful waves crushing against the towering promontories.
From Saint Monans, head north to reach St Andrews. Located on the east coast of Fife, it welcomes motorists with small-town ambiance and low-rise buildings – a perfect retreat away from the hustle and bustle of large cities. Head north to Dundee located around 14 miles from the town centre. When crossing the Tay Road Bridge, you’ll have the opportunity to admire the stunning Tay River. In the Kingdom of Fife, you can turn off the main route and try visiting the Lomond Hills Regional Park offering plenty of hiking paths.
Dundee’s past as the city propelling oversees discoveries is visible at every corner in its universities, museums, and the well-known RRS Discovery eagerly visited by tourists. After a short stay in the city centre and ample meal based on regional products in one of the local restaurants, hop in the car and head north to Forfar, a town started by the Romans. Along the way to the town centre, you’ll pass such small settlements as Inveraldie or Tealing.
From the scenic Forfar, your journey will continue to Braemar. The town is situated in the very heart of the Cairngorms National Park and approximately 53 miles away from Forfar. While driving to Braemar, you’ll pass lush forests, small ponds, and green hilltops along the way. The views are a unique experience that will add to your Grand Tour.
After some time spent close to nature, it’s time to head for Crathes. Half of your journey will continue along roads running within the borders of the Cairngorms National Park. Along the way, you’ll pass multiple small and idyllic settlements. After a short stay in Crathes, it’s time to head for the coast towards Stonehaven. Located on country’s north-east coast, the town enjoys a breathtaking location.
After a long stroll along the beach in Stonehaven, buckle up for more interesting highlights during that tour stage. At a stone’s throw from the idyllic Stonehaven, you’ll arrive in Aberdeen, the urban jewel of Northern Scotland nicknamed as the Silver City. When in Aberdeen, it’s worth visiting such places as Union Street or St Andrew’s Cathedral. The city offers plenty of accommodation opportunities.
This stage of Grand Tour includes a journey inland towards Elgin, the commercial and administrative centre of Moray. The town welcomes visitors with tranquil atmosphere that can be soaked up at every corner. The central district is especially notable for beautiful architecture, including the remnants of Elgin Cathedral. The presence of the River Lossie adds to the beauty of this place.
From Elgin head further west to reach the last stopover of this stage, namely Inverness – the jewel of the Highlands. Already on your way from Aberdeen to Inverness, you’ll notice the changing landscape adding unique sensations to your driving experience on this tour section. The lush hilltops and stark plains create an unforgettable geological blend.
Inverness can boast well-maintained road infrastructure so driving around its streets will be pure pleasure. With the stunning Inverness Castle overlooking the River Ness, the city is an ideal place to learn more on Scottish history. At a stone’s throw from Inverness, you’ll find Contin, located around 20 miles away.
After a short stopover in Contin, you can drive to Badcaul. The surroundings of this small village are the quintessence of Scottish nature at its best. The village lies on the southern shore of Little Loch Broom. From Badcaul head further south to reach Gairloch. On your way, you’ll admire the western coast.
Gairloch, situated on the shore of Loch Gairloch, is most popular in the summer months. This inconspicuous settlement offers a small museum, golf course, and well-maintained accommodation base. Moving further in the south-eastern direction, you’ll reach another small settlement – Achnasheen.
Achnasheen is another example of rural Scotland. Even though it’s a fairly small place, you’ll find here good road infrastructure and plenty of green areas in the proximity of the River Bran. Your small-village adventure continues to Kyle of Lochalsh, located on the north-western coast of Scotland. It can boast a small marina and a stunning view on the nearby mountains.
To discover the natural recesses of Scotland to their fullest, travel to the Isle of Skye, located to the west of Kyle of Lochalsh. The route will take you along the smallest settlements in Scotland as well as the stark and intoxicating nature of the island. The second largest island in Scotland is known for narrow roads, windy passages, and mediocre road conditions which will evoke a spark of adrenaline in you!
After a long journey around the single track roads of the Isle of Skye, move south to reach Armadale. This small village will bring you some peace after a long trip among the misty hilltops and desolate areas of the island. The most notable attraction here is the Armadale Castle – you should definitely check it out.
Take a ferry to travel from Armadale to Mallaig, where your trip inland starts anew. In the town, it’s worth taking a short stroll around the port and trying some local specialties at one of the restaurants nearby. Drive east to reach Fort William – the second largest city in the Highlands located on the eastern shore of Loch Linnhe.
Due to its proximity to Ben Navis, the highest summit of Great Britain, and Munro mountains, it will be an exceptionally charming stopover along your road trip. Then, the banks of Loch Linnhe, along with the green landscape, will take you south towards Arrochar. During this stage, you’ll have the opportunity to make an additional stopover in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park.
From the recesses of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park as well as the charming Arrochar town, travel further south to reach Dumbarton, located on the northern bank of the River Clyde. While passing this settlement, you’ll surely cross the scenic Old Dumbarton Bridge. You can also make a stopover at Levengrove Park, from which you’ll have a view on the Dumbarton Castle.
From Dumbarton, you’ll travel to Glasgow. Along the way, you’ll have the opportunity to travel through a number of small settlements and fertile fields that will enrich your visual experience on the way. It’s worth taking a longer stopover in this fourth most visited city in the United Kingdom.
While driving through Glasgow, it’s worth taking a break to admire such interesting places around the city as the Glasgow Cathedral, Riverside Museum, or Glasgow Science Centre. The next stop of your trip is Carluke, located around 25 miles away. Along the way, you’ll pass such places as Hamilton and Ferniegair.
On your way to Carluke, you can also take a short stopover in the Strathclyde Country Park with plenty of shaded spaces and lush flora. Carluke is a small settlement which will be like a breath of fresh air after some of the more congested streets of Glasgow. Drive further east to reach the last stopover of this stage, namely Galashiels.
This part of your journey leads through endless pastures, fields, and rural areas. From Galshiels, travel further east to reach the idyllic Melrose. Then, drive north to Lauder. Along the way, you’ll pass through such small settlements as Bermesyde, Earlston, or Blainslie. From Lauder, there are approximately 27 miles to reach the Scottish capital which is also the finishing line of this stage.
The essentially rural character of the road will be slowly changing into one with more urban housing to finish off with a metropolitan flair. Those who are into natural gems should consider a stopover at the Pentland Hills Regional Park. If you are renting a car, after leaving your vehicle at the airport, you’ll have only a couple of miles separating you from Edinburgh. You can take a coach or a tram to the city centre.
After arriving in Edinburgh, you can start the exploration of this beautiful capital. With its stunning Old Town and New Town, Edinburgh will take you on a true journey to the past. While in the capital, you should definitely consider a visit at Edinburgh Castle with its interesting collection of Crown Jewels and at The Palace of Holyroodhouse.
For those who are into museum tours and shopping sprees, the Royal Mile will be the best starting point. Notable places to see include the National Museum of Scotland, the Royal Botanic Garden, the Camera Obscura, and the National Galleries of Scotland. After a long day full of exciting attractions in the capital, it’s time to head back to the Edinburgh Airport.
Grand Scotland Road Trip Summary
Our itinerary can be used as a base that can be recreated in its entirety or only partially and that can be enriched with diverse highlights of your choice.
If travelling by car is your plan when moving around Scotland, there are a number of essential road rules to follow and a bunch of things to remember to turn your journey into pleasure. The following road rules will surely become useful for all drivers considering renting a car or renting a camper.
In Scotland, there are a number of traffic rules to be remembered while driving. When moving around Scotland in a car, try avoiding alcoholic beverages. Drivers ought to remember that the amount of alcohol that the driver can consume is extremely low and amounts to only 0.8‰. The speed limit that cannot be exceeded when driving around the urban urban areas is 30mph. When it comes to non-build-up areas, you should keep in mind that the maximum speed is 60mph. Avoid exceeding the maximum speed of 70mph when driving on highways. It is best to equip your car with a fire extinguisher and first aid kit and drive with your headlights on at daytime to ensure proper safety.
One of the decisive factors when scheduling an itinerary is costs. Depending on the budget option of your choice, the total expenses during the whole itinerary may vary. Let’s have a look at the budget options.
We estimate that the cheapest option when it comes to fuel to cover the planned 12 stages across Scotland can cost approximately 111 GBP. Economy accommodation options can cost holidayers around 615 GBP. Holidaymakers should also take into consideration the fact that they will spend more or less 615 GBP for food and restaurants in this option. Travellers will have to pay about 256 GBP if they choose the cheapest car rental offer as well. Thus, going for car rental will increase the costs of the road trip from around 1,340 GBP to roughly 1,597 GBP.
When it comes to the standard offer, you have to spend the maximum of 154 GBP on the gasoline needed to cover the tour. If you are into standard accommodation options, you should bear in mind that the expenses may amount up to around 1,229 GBP. For food and restaurants within the standard range of services, you will have to pay approximately 820 GBP. Travellers who want to cover the trip in a standard hire vehicle should expect a cost of around 410 GBP. Drivers who would like to rent a car will pay roughly 2,613 GBP for the whole itinerary, whereas those who are not interested in vehicle rental will spend roughly 2,203 GBP.
The highest level of comfort of the premium option will live up to the expectations of the most demanding holidayers. When it comes to this offer, the estimated cost of the road trip will total approximately 3,876 GBP for holidaymakers who are considering car rental and 2,203 GBP for those who do not need a hire car. Travellers who want to cover the itinerary in a premium hire vehicle should expect a cost of about 717 GBP. When it comes to the premium option of the road trip, you have to spend the maximum of 188 GBP on the fuel needed to cover the tour. Holidaymakers who are interested in top services in all aspects of their trip should expect to pay roughly 1,742 GBP for hotels and approximately 1,229 GBP for food and restaurants.
Grand Scotland Road Trip is also ideal for camper fans. Tourists have to pay roughly 1,537 GBP for camper hire service. Holidayers will spend more or less 222 GBP on gasoline allowing to cover all stages of the itinerary. You should expect to pay approximately 615 GBP for expenses connected with food and about 256 GBP for accommodation if you are interested in camper hire.
The section Road Trip Costs presents all the above costs in detail.
The part of Scotland showed in our adventure idea is great to be visited between May and September. There are multiple thrilling adventures that we offer on our website if you like Grand Scotland Road Trip. We hope that the wide spectrum of road trips will surely meet the expectations of the most demanding holidayers.
- Road Trip Costs
- How much does it cost to go on a Grand Scotland Road Trip in Scotland?
Low budget options by car rental, accommodation and catering. In- and Out-bound travel expenses are not included.
- rent & more 256 GBP
- drive & more 111 GBP
- sleep & more 615 GBP
- eat & more 615 GBP
- Total (est. for 2 prs.) 1,340 GBP
- Total (est. for 2 prs.) incl. rented car 1,597 GBP
Mid budget options by car rental, accommodation and catering. In- and Out-bound travel expenses are not included.
- rent & more 410 GBP
- drive & more 154 GBP
- sleep & more 1,229 GBP
- eat & more 820 GBP
- Total (est. for 2 prs.) 2,203 GBP
- Total (est. for 2 prs.) incl. rented car 2,613 GBP
High budget options by car rental, accommodation and catering. In- and Out-bound travel expenses are not included.
- rent & more 717 GBP
- drive & more 188 GBP
- sleep & more 1,742 GBP
- eat & more 1,229 GBP
- Total (est. for 2 prs.) 3,159 GBP
- Total (est. for 2 prs.) incl. rented car 3,876 GBP
On the road in RV, overnight at camp grounds with self cooking. In- and Out-bound travel expenses are not included.
- rent & more 1,537 GBP
- drive & more 222 GBP
- sleep & more 256 GBP
- eat & more 615 GBP
- Total (est. for 2 prs.) 1,093 GBP
- Total (est. for 2 prs.) incl. rented car 2,630 GBP