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Eilean Donnan Castle

The road network in Scotland is improving all the time as money is invested in its infrastructure and, in some cases, it is now quicker to travel by road than it is by train.

On some of the islands and in the more remote areas of the mainland, there are still single track roads. Passing places are well marked and should be used not only to allow oncoming vehicles to pass but also following vehicles that are being held up to overtake.

Driving in Scotland

If you are travelling from England and entering the south of Scotland, there are a number of entry points. The main ones on the west of the UK are the M6, M74 and M8, linking Glasgow and Edinburgh. Taking the M6/M74 route offers, on the left, the delights of Dumfries and Galloway. Taking either the A7 through the better known border towns of Hawick, Selkirk and Galashields or further north the A701 and A702 offer scenic journeys passing the River Tweed towards Edinburgh.

Alternatively the east coast offers the A1 travelling through Northumberland past Holy Island and through Berwick-opon-Tweed. An alternative to this is using the A697 through Coldstream, one of the gateways to Scotland. This is a relaxing drive offering many stop-off points in the Borders.

Glasgow and Edinburgh are separated by the M8 - no more than an hour's journey between the two cities. From Glasgow, the A/M80 joins the A9 for Perth and leads you up through the towns of Stirling, Perth, Pitlochry, Aviemore and on to Inverness. Travelling west from Glasgow takes you towards Dunbarton, past Loch Lomond and on your way to Oban. The west coast road meanders along the beautiful coast of Scotland, showing off the islands and provides access to them.

To reach Aberdeen from Edinburgh, you can take the fast A/M90 route toward Perth and then via Dundee to the Grampian area, famous for its castle trails and malt whisky trails. (It is motorway or dual carriageway all the way from Edinburgh to Aberdeen.) Alternatively, take the scenic A93 route north of Perth via Glenshee to Royal Deeside, and past Balmoral Castle - this is a beautiful drive especially in late Spring and Autumn. If you like the sea, an alternative on offer is the scenic coastal A92 through places like Arbroath, Montrose and Stonehaven and the beautiful Dunottar Castle.

Aberdeen to Inverness offers the A96, a mix of dual carriageway and trunk roads. There is always an alternative - the cross country run is a beautiful one. It takes you over the Cabrach leading you into the heart of the whisky trail region. By travelling this way you can join the A96 at Elgin or use it as a door step into the Cairngorm mountains. Inverness is ideally situated to open out the top half of Scotland and here the road network has been upgraded extensively over the last decade.

As you get further north, the roads become less crowded and, in some cases, down to single track roads. Although a lot of the above mentioned routes are the main tributaries, it is always worth a little detour if you have the time - you will be surprised at what you will find. Scotland has a total of 30,000 miles of roads so there will be plenty to find as you travel along them.

Approximate Journey Times

The information below gives an example of the time taken to travel around Scotland. (At an average speed of 50 mph without breaks):

Edinburgh to:
Glasgow - 1 hour
Aberdeen - 2½ hours
Fort William - 3 hours
Inverness - 3 hours
Ullapool - 4 hours
Oban - 2 hours
Jedburgh - 1 hour
Scrabster - 5 hours
Perth - 40 minutes
Carlisle (Northern England) - 2 hours
Mallaig - 4 hours

Car Hire

If you are not taking your own car to Scotland, you may wish to consider hiring one. We have a couple of great options below:

easyCar was launched in April 2000 by Stelios, the successful founder of easyJet and Chairman of easyGroup. easyCar's aim is to offer you outstanding value for money.

Book with easyCar

Prestige Car Rental offers a range of cars for hire including Porsche, BMW, Mercedes, Range Rover and Jaguar. With luxury car hire offices in London, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds, they pride themselves in the service they offer.

Book with Pretige Car Rental