SCOTLAND SIGHTS ROAD TRIP: GLASGOW TO INVERNESS, AND BEYOND
Scotland is home to some of the most beautiful landscapes and intriguing history in all of the world, embark on a road trip to all of Scotland's must-see sights...
A Scotland road trip should be considered a driving enthusiast's dream vacation because the country's vast, untouched countryside and typically traffic-free roadways make for the ultimate touring combination. Of all the roads in Scotland, none offers the scenic beauty and cultural landmarks to drivers, quite like the A9, A82, A827, and A93. These four roads offer exceptional driving experiences and places to visit in Scotland, especially when you're touring the countryside in a luxurious UK car rental from Auto Europe.
From its rocky bluffs to its lush glens to its mystical lochs, Scotland's natural landscape has become the stuff of legend and is absolutely perfect for taking a blissful Scotland sights to drive with your camera in tow. And who knows - you might even capture a photo of the country's most elusive loch-dwelling resident!
SCOTLAND SIGHTS ROAD TRIP: GLASGOW & PERTH TO INVERNESS
The A9 is Scotland's longest road, and it stretches from Thurso in the northernmost pit of Scotland to Falkirk, which is in the center of the country. But thanks to the development of the A90 and the M9, traffic on the A9 has lightened up, making it perfect for a driving tour of Scotland, when you drive from Glasgow to Inverness. Of course, upon your arrival in Glasgow, you'll want to see the sights before you hop in your Glasgow car rental and get on the A9. The city is full of art galleries and museums, and of particular note, you'll want to pay a visit to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, the Hunterian Museum, and The Burrell Collection. A visit to the Glasgow Cathedral offers a glimpse of some of the city's most illustrative architecture, while the Necropolis offers a fascinating tour of Glasgow's Victorian City of the Dead. For nature lovers, a trip to Loch Lomond offers plenty of spectacular views.
If you're planning on spending the night in Glasgow, then there is an abundance of hotels, hostels, inns, and B&Bs to choose from. If you want a hotel near the airport, then Campanile Glasgow Airport offers affordable accommodations, or if you prefer a little bit more luxury, then you can book a room at the Ramada Glasgow Airport. Meanwhile, if you want to stay in the city's beautiful downtown area, then the Indigo Glasgow Hotel never disappoints.
Once you awake refreshed from your flight and your sightseeing from the day before, it's time to get on the A9, in order to make your way to Inverness. The drive takes about three hours when there is no traffic, but that doesn't really account for any stops you might want to make along the way. For example, you'll soon be passing by the village of Cumbernauld, where if you like, you could stop to visit the World of Wings Birds of Prey Centre, Scotland's largest birds of prey facility. The village of Denny won't be far from Cumbernauld once you get back on the A9, either. There, Herbertshire Castle Park is also considered by many to be a worthwhile place to visit.
You'll enjoy plenty of scenery on your drive outside Denny, just until you get near Stirling. In Stirling, you can stop to see Stirling Castle, Doune Castle, and the National Wallace Monument on the Abby Craig. Or if you're an art lover, then you'll want to add a visit to the Stirling Smith Art Gallery & Museum to your itinerary.
The next stop on your trip to Inverness will take you to the tiny village of Blackford, where you'll find the Eaglesgate Retail Village, one of the top shopping destinations in all of Scotland. Or, if you want to see nature in action, then plan a visit to Phoenix Falconry to see the centuries-old art of falconry. Then, once you pass by the small hamlet of Aberuthven, you'll be entering a long stretch of a country road with nothing but farms and forests on either side of you until you reach Perth.
By the time you get to Perth, you may want to take advantage of the city's restaurants and lodgings. If possible, try to reserve a room at the Ballathie House or the Murrayshall House Hotel & Golf Course. Then, when you're in town taking in the sights, be sure to visit the Scone Palace, The Black Watch Castle & Museum, Huntington Tower, and the Elcho Castle. The Perth Museum and Art Gallery is another good addition to the itinerary if you can spare the time. If you want to go out for a night to blow off some steam, visit the Green Room for great drinks, excellent live music, and a boisterous atmosphere.
Back on the A9, you'll once again be entering into Scotland's gorgeous countryside, until you come to Bankfoot. You can decide to drive on the past, but if you happen to be a lover of all things Shakespeare, then you should stop into Bankfoot to visit the Macbeth Experience. The A9 will then take you along the River Tay until it branches off at the River Tummel, and then you'll follow that river until it branches off at the River Garry. Your route will take you along the River Garry, past Blair Atholl, home to Blair Castle, the Bridge of Tilt, and the Blair Atholl golf course.
This last leg of your drive on the A9 will take you into the heart of the Scottish Highlands, then past the small town of Newtonmore, past Kingussie, Loch Insh, Loch Alvie, and Aviemore. Stop into Aviemore and you'll be able to see Britain's only herd of free-range reindeer, alive and well in their natural environment in Cairngorm. You can also visit the beautiful and well-hidden Loch an Eilein for some truly photogenic opportunities. The rest of your journey on the A9 into Inverness is a return to Scotland's lush and wonderfully drivable countryside.
SCOTLAND SIGHTS ROAD TRIP: BACK TO GLASGOW FROM LOCH NESS
If you want to make a return trip to Glasgow, then take the A82 and you'll get to see more of the Scottish Highlands, along with even more noteworthy Scotland sights, landmarks, and attractions. This portion of your road trip will take about five hours total driving time, but like your trip to Inverness, you may want to separate it into a couple of days so you can experience Scotland as thoroughly as possible during your time.
Shortly after leaving Inverness on the A82, you'll pass the famed Loch Ness and its iconic Urquhart Castle, the site of many famous Nessie sightings. In fact, A82 runs alongside the span of Loch Ness, so keep your eyes open, because one never knows where Nessie will poke her head up next. At the southern tip of Loch Ness, you'll pass by Fort Augustus, and then Loch Lochy on your right, a little farther down the road. Fort William and Loch Linnhe are the next sights you'll come across, at which point the A82 will start taking you eastward until you reach Crianlarich. Here, you can take a pit stop at the Rod and Reel Pub to refresh and refuel.
Back on the A82, you'll venture south past Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. Once past the Loch, you'll pass by a slew of small villages like Balloch, Alexandria, Renton, and Dumbarton, until you finally pull back into Glasgow.
SCOTLAND SIGHTS ROAD TRIP: DETOUR FROM PERTH TO ABERDEEN
Another great driving road in Scotland is the A93, the UK's highest public road. The A93 leaves Perth, venturing north and east until it reaches Aberdeen, the road's final destination. Not long after leaving Perth, you'll pass by Scone, which is worth a stop, if for anything, just to see the Scone Palace and its famous racecourse. Outside of Scone, you'll drive past plenty of farmland and open natural spaces until you pass by the tiny town of Coupar Angus. Not far past that is a small town called Meigle. Beyond Meigle, you'll find miles and miles of gorgeous countryside and Scottish homesteads, until the road merges with the A90 on the outskirts of Forfar, the county town of Angus.
After driving another beautiful stretch of Scottish country, you'll come across Brechin, where you might want to stop for the night. Brechin has several attractions of interest, including the Caledonian Railway, Edzell Castle, Brechin Cathedral, and more. While visiting Brechin, be sure to stop at Rosie's Bakehouse for a home-cooked meal, or the Caledonian for more of a pub-style dining experience. Or, for a great Scottish teahouse, give The Tuck Inn a go.
For your accommodations, book a room at the Panmure Arms Hotel, the Northern Hotel, or the Gramarcy House. All three places are well regarded by past visitors, for being worthwhile hotels in the city. The next day, you'll get back onto the A90 in your UK car rental and enjoy another brilliant stretch of country driving, until you pass by Laurencekirk, and then beyond that a ways, Stonehaven. Although Stonehaven is not that far from Aberdeen, it's worth a stop so you can see Dunnotar Castle, RSPB Fowlsheugh, and Stonehaven Beach. Lastly, you'll enjoy a beautifully scenic drive up the Scottish coastline until you arrive in Aberdeen.
SCOTLAND SIGHTS ROAD TRIP: BONUS DAY TRIP TO BALLINLUIG AND MID LIX
If you have the time, the short trip from Ballinluig to Mid Lix is definitely worth the time. This route only takes an hour or so along the A827, but there's plenty to see along the way. The highway will take you past the scenic Tay Forest Park, the small town of Aberfeldy, the Bolfracks Estate, Kenmore, and Loch Tay.