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Explore Edinburgh

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Your Edinburgh Car Hire Guide

Scotland’s capital city is a delight for travellers seeking history, hiking or fun. Edinburgh Castle looms over the city that is comprised of the medieval Old Town and the Georgian New Town.

Rolling hills, including Arthur’s Seat, surround Edinburgh. The city comprises former villages and town, many of which retain their unique character.

The city has gained prominence with the artistic community thanks to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the largest arts festival in the world. Held in August, the festival runs for 25 days and draws performances and visitors from the world over.

Some attractions outside of Edinburgh will give you good cause to hire a car. There’s the historic golf course at St. Andrews, the Highlands, majestic castles, the lochs and the nearby whisky distilleries to draw you away from the city.

Your Scotland Visit Begins with a Car Hire at the Edinburgh Airport

The major car hire brands are all represented at the airport’s car hire area. Due to the volume of visitors, it’s suggested that you make your car reservations ahead of time to make sure you don’t overpay and that you get the vehicle of your choice.

Car hire companies found at Edinburgh Airport include Europcar, Enterprise, National and Hertz. Some of the same brands can be found at Waverley train station and there are many other pick-up locations across the greater Edinburgh area.

Compact cars are more economical and well-suited for driving to and from Edinburgh’s many sights and attractions. They are also ideal for negotiating the narrower streets common in some villages and towns in Scotland. Conversely, you may prefer a larger vehicle such as an SUV if you’re bringing golf clubs or other sporting equipment with you, or if you plan on travelling off the beaten track.

Some car hires do not include unlimited mileage, so it’s important to note the mileage restrictions, particularly if you expect to drive long distances. Similarly, if you prefer an automatic transmission, it’s best to reserve it early.

With a hire car, you will have the freedom and flexibility to experience Edinburgh and its surroundings the way you want to.

Experience Scotland’s Best Attractions

  • Edinburgh Castle – Scotland’s top attraction perches atop Castle Rock offering unbeatable views of the city below.
  • Holyroodhouse Palace – visit the Royal Scottish residence at the foot of Arthur’s Seat and the Augustinian abbey built in 1128.
  • Loch Lomond – celebrated for its beauty and watersports like kayaking, wakeboarding and water skiing, Loch Lomond is a must-see for lovers of the great outdoors.
  • Balmoral Castle – the royal residence in the Highlands remains a private home for the royal family. Visitors can enjoy the gardens and stroll through the exhibitions in the Castle Ballroom when it is not in use.
  • Glasgow – just over an hour’s drive from Edinburgh, Glasgow features some unforgettable sights of its own, including Glasgow Cathedral and the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.

If you’re concluding your holiday in Glasgow, it is possible to arrange to pick up your hire car in Edinburgh and return it in Glasgow. Some additional charges may apply, but it can be a convenient solution if you're flying home from Glasgow International Airport.

Things to Remember When Driving in Scotland

Speed limits are usually posted in Scotland. Look for circular signs with a red border. These are expressed in miles per hour.

The roads in many of Scotland’s towns and cities were created well before the advent of motor vehicles. As such, they can tend to be very narrow and sometimes difficult to navigate. These roads should be avoided if you are driving a car with a wider berth.

Cars travel on the left side of the road.

Your Edinburgh Car Hire Questions Answered

What is the minimum age requirement?

Any drivers under the age of 25 must have had their full driving licence for at least 2 years with no endorsements, and 25+ for at least 1 year with no endorsements.

What documents do I need for an Edinburgh car hire?

Drivers must have a valid driving licence and the vehicle registration papers with them at all times. They must also carry third-party insurance coverage. If your driving licence doesn’t include a photo, then suitable photo ID is also required.

Can I book a car hire for someone else?

Yes, it is possible to book a car hire for another person, as long as you enter the driver’s full name and age when booking.