Famous for its ancient, pre-Roman history, world-class pub scene and quintessentially Scottish charm, Edinburgh is a much sought after travel destination. Any trip to the Scottish capital warrants a stroll around the grounds of the mighty Edinburgh Castle, an afternoon walk down the famed Royal Mile and at least one curious peek around the storied Greyfriars Kirkyard. After all that, you can procure the halls of the Scottish National Galleries and head up to Calton Hill.
In addition to a plethora of historic sites, Edinburgh is home to some of the United Kingdom’s best festivals. The most popular being the Fringe Festival when dance, theatre and music become the centrepiece of the city for 25 days. Not the festival type? There are plenty of bumping pubs to serve as a substitute. The city is full of options for every type of reveller from traditional Scottish pubs, pulsating underground clubs, and sophisticated whiskey bars. Then, there’s the food. Not only will you find countless cosy Scottish restaurants, you’ll also find a whole host of world cuisines such as Indian, Italian, Thai, Chinese and more.
Not only is Edinburgh loaded with things to do whether you’re after culture, food or history; it’s also a great jumping-off point for road tripping the rest of Scotland.
Navigating Edinburgh’s roads can be tricky if you’re not used to driving in the UK, but stay alert and be aware of any differences to what you’re used to and you’ll be just fine. Here’s some important tips for renting a car and driving in Edinburgh and Scotland in general.
To experience a city much larger than Edinburgh that still maintains a deep sense of culture, hit the road and head to Glasgow. In just an hour and some change, you will arrive in one of Scotland’s most rich and vibrant historical centers. Whether you’re more of a shopper, museum hopper, foodie or architecture buff, Glasgow has it all. Be sure to browse the halls of the famous Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum and take in the peaceful atmosphere of Glasgow Cathedral.
Lochs, forests and glens, oh my! Spanning across 1,865 square km, Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park is truly a Scottish treasure. The natural area is loaded with jaw-dropping sights like the ever wild island of Inchcailloch and the serene Bracklinn Falls. Plus, countless walking paths perfect for an afternoon hike followed by an epic picnic. Best part? It can be reached from Edinburgh in just under 2 hours.
Stirling is a small city with a massive reputation that can be reached from Edinburgh in just an hour. Whether you’re a history buff or a nature lover, Stirling fits this bill. Head to the famous Stirling Castle sat high above the city on an ancient volcanic rock, learn the heroic tale of the William Wallace, and take in the countless relics in the Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum. To get a more scenic feel for the area, head to Abbey Craig and pay a visit to the Wallace Monument which provides spectacular views of the surrounding landscape.
If spectacular beaches and rich history are your thing, St. Andrews would make for a perfect drive from Edinburgh. In just one and a half hours, you will arrive in the stunning seaside town; a Scottish fave that’s not only famous for its historic university but is also practically the birthplace of golf. Take in some rays and waves, test your luck on the world’s oldest golf course or roam the ruined halls of the 12th century St Andrews Cathedral. Did we mention St Andrews is also where Prince William and Kate Middleton famously met and fell in love?
Glencoe has long been one of Scotland’s most beloved and storied places. There’s lots to love about this stunning corner of the Highlands from its gory battlegrounds to countless myths and inspiring vistas. Cosy up in a hidden pub, wander ruined castles or hike the countless trails – in Glencoe, there’s something for everyone. In a smidge under 3 hours, you can make the drive from Edinburgh and land in the heart of the Scottish countryside.
Nestled in the Forth Valley about an hour from Edinburgh you’ll find attraction-loaded Falkirk. And when we say attraction loaded, we mean it. This quirky city is not only steeped in history but also has loads of unique sights to see. For example, Falkirk boasts the world’s largest rotating boat lift and the world’s largest equine sculptures known as The Kelpies. There’s also an unbelievably charming 14th-century mansion in Callendar Park and a whole host of charming boutiques and cafes.
Just 45 minutes northeast of Edinburgh you’ll find one of Scotland’s most stunning seaside towns, North Berwick. A perfect antidote from Edinburgh’s hustle and bustle, this scenic coastal gem is the city break of your dreams. Take in the Scottish sun along the beach, climb the famous North Berwick Law, explore the ruins of Tantallon Castle or queue up for some life changing seafood at the Lobster Shack – either way, you’re in for a treat.