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Hit the High Road to the Scottish Highlands

Lake Windermere

Lake Windermere

Hiring a car and journeying from London to Edinburgh can be the perfect start to a backpacking jaunt around the Scottish countryside.

It gives you the chance to see Britain from the road trip angle, and cross off a whole host of sights and scenery – particularly attractive if you’re coming from outside the country and have limited time.

The beauty of car hire is you can pick up the vehicle in London and leave it in Edinburgh, allowing you to fly in and out of two different cities without repeating a long drive.

There are countless ways to undertake such a trip. Here’s one suggestion that gives you three days of holiday, starting in London and ending in the Highlands.

Day One

Set off from London and head up the M6. This takes you along the west coast, generally considered the more picturesque route.

The journey takes between 6 and 7 hours straight, but you’ll want to make a couple of stops so head off early in the morning – plan to start the road trip by 8 am.

Sometime around noon, you’ll find yourself driving alongside the Lake District, the perfect place to stop for lunch and scenery.

Pull off the motorway and head to Lake Windermere – this will add around an hour and a half’s time onto your journey.

After a leisurely lunch and a digestive stroll, hit the road by 3 pm and you’ll be pulling into the capital of Scotland come dinner time.

Check into a city center hotel so you can fully appreciate the historic surroundings of Edinburgh’s Old Town. Spend the evening sipping whiskeys and get some rest!

Day Two

Drive up to the world-famous Loch Ness and you’re firmly in the Highlands.

If you plan to backpack, there is no shortage of campsites and hostels close to the Loch. But you can do a round trip with a few hours of rambling in between and still be back in Edinburgh by evening time.

The weather can be unpredictable at best, so it’s a good idea to have the option of driving home if you’re not made of stern enough stuff.

Alternatively, be sure to pack sensibly and include a hip flask with a warming dram or three.

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

Day Three

This is your chance to explore everything Edinburgh has to offer. The famous Edinburgh Castle. The haunted vaults. The unique architecture of the Scottish Enlightenment.

The rich history of the city comes alive when you walk through the wynds and closes of its oldest parts, and climb and descend the steep hills for which it is famous.

Be sure to book your flight home for late in the evening so you have plenty of time to drop the hire car and have a farewell drink to Edinburgh.


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Monday 9th of December 2013

Very bold taking on the highlands in three days! It's a vast area that really can only be fully appreciated with several days minimum and a car to get around. There's a lot more than Loch Ness to see - the west coast journey from Loch Lomond to Skye should not be missed.


Tuesday 11th of December 2012

Is it expensive to do it this way?

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