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Travel in 2020 and 2021 was considerably lacklustre, but if it showed us anything, it was that there’s a lot to see when venturing out in the UK. In October 2020 I took an 8 day road trip around Scotland.
Driving in Scotland is incredibly pleasant. There are very few roads in Scotland so it is pretty impossible to get lost and there is incredible scenery everywhere. Get yourself a good playlist or some podcasts downloaded, and you’ll have the time of your life.
Scotland is a country I have always been keen to explore more of. A solo Scotland road trip seemed the perfect way to do some 2020 travel. I couldn’t recommend visiting Scotland enough. It is truly a really beautiful part of the world and one of my favourite destinations. Although I tend not to plan too much in advance, it is always a good idea to have a rough itinerary– so here is my Scottish road trip itinerary for you to follow.
SCOTLAND ROAD TRIP ITINERARY
The first leg of my journey saw me travel 310 miles from my home in Staffordshire to the small hamlet of Ardui in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. It took me around 7 hours to complete the journey, with a couple of service station stops on the way – one being at Annandale Water in Lockerbie, just over the England/Scotland border. I would really recommend stopping here as there’s a nice lake where you can enjoy a drink and have a wander round to stretch your legs.
Scotland Road Trip Map
Scotland Road Trip Itinerary
The journey from Staffordshire takes you straight up the M6 onto the M74, until you get as far as Glasgow. I stayed at Ardlui in Loch Lomond National Park but there are plenty of other spots around here to visit and enjoy. Make sure you check out Falls of Falloch and The Drovers Inn.
This is when the Scottish road trip really begins! First stop is Tyndrum for breakfast at the Real Food Café. You can also fill up on slightly overpriced petrol here at the Green Welly Stop. Drive towards Glen Coe on the A82, along the western edge of Rannoch Moor, a very eerie and atmospheric place. Turn off towards Glen Etive and take in all the amazing scenery. Fun fact: some scenes of Skyfall were filmed here!
Make a stop at the Glencoe visitor centre and join a walking trail here. Then continue on for half an hour towards Fort William. The scenery and atmosphere through Glen Coe and Glen Etive makes this one of my favourite days on this Scotland Road Trip Itinerary.
Start the day by heading out to the iconic Glenfinnan Viaduct, just a half an hour drive from Fort William. This is definitely one of the greatest sights on this itinerary. Then slowly but surely make the drive towards Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland’s most photographed castle! Consider checking out Loch Lochy, Loch Oich and Glengarry Forest on the way.
Eilean Donan is pretty close to Kyle of Lochalsh where you head across the Skye Bridge and onto the Isle of Skye. I stayed in Portree when I was on Skye.
I spent the whole fourth day exploring northern Skye, checking out the Old Man of Storr, Lealt Falls, Kilt Rock, Mealt Falls, Fairy Glen and Falls of Rha. The Isle of Skye has certainly earned it’s place near the top of my list of favourite places in the world. It is a must on any Scottish highlands road trip.
In the morning I checked out the view at Ben Tianavaig, and then headed to Fairy Pools further south in the Isle of Skye. Then I headed back over the Skye bridge and made my way towards Inverness. The drive up the A82 will take you alongside Loch Ness. Drumnadrochit is a great place to make a pit stop on the way.
From Inverness we head into the Cairngorms National Park, first stopping at Carrbridge to see the Old Packhorse Bridge – the oldest stone bridge in the highlands. The next stop is the beautiful Loch an Eilean in the Rothiemurchus Forest, near to Aviemore. On the way to Braemar you could go via Spey Bridge, Tomintoul and Cockbridge. Make sure you check out Braemar Castle as well as the village of Braemar. Ballater is a beautiful little village in Aberdeenshire and I couldn’t recommend Ballater Hostel enough!
The final full day in Scotland on this road trip itinerary! After a lazy morning wandering Ballater I made my way down to Falkirk, making a quick stop at Balmoral for a little walk. The drive out of the Cairngorms is very scenic. It might be worth adding a stop at Dunkeld as you head towards Perth and onto Falkirk. Falkirk is home to The Kelpies and the Falkirk Wheel.
This Scotland road trip itinerary ends with a morning trip to Edinburgh. It will cost you more to park your car in Edinburgh than it will to book a hostel for the night, so I decided just to take a quick trip there for a morning, grab coffee and have a wander round. Look at parkopedia to find your cheapest parking options!
As I headed back across the Scottish/English border I realised I had to pass by the Lake District to get home, so I decided to spend a night there.
I hope this blog post is helpful to anyone wanting to plan a Scotland road trip but just doesn’t know where to start! This itinerary was a very easy drive so is a very simple and beautiful road trip of Scotland that I’d recommend anyone to make.
Enjoyed this Scotland Road Trip Itinerary?
Check out more of my Scotland content:
- 7 Day Scotland Road Trip: Edinburgh, Cairngorms, Dingwall, Ullapool, Achmelvich, Applecross, Isle of Skye and Glencoe
- 15 of the Best Photo Spots in the Scottish Highlands
- How to visit the Wee White House, Glencoe | Lagangarbh Hut, Scotland
- Taking the Glenelg Ferry, Isle of Skye, Scotland
- How to Visit the Balmoral Pyramid, Scotland | A Hidden Gem in Scotland