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Surrounded by a series of beautiful hills that include the iconic Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh’s blend of cultural and historical attractions make it the UK’s second most popular attraction after London. From exploring the historic Edinburgh Castle to shopping on Princes Street and the annual Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the Scottish capital is a vibrant destination with plenty to offer visitors.
With your hire car, you can also explore beyond Edinburgh to destinations such as Dundee (an hour and 20 minutes’ drive), a coastal city on the Firth of Tay estuary with a strong seafaring heritage. The city’s two nautical museums – RRS Discovery (Captain Scott’s Antarctic expedition ship) and HM Frigate Unicorn both provide a fascinating insight into the history of the area.
Fly into Edinburgh Airport and from there it’s an easy 25-minute drive into the centre of Edinburgh.
Beyond Edinburgh, Inverness is a three-hour drive away in your hire car, home to the 15th century Cawdor Castle, best known for its literary connection to William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, in which the title character is pronounced ‘Thane of Cawdor.’ St Andrews is also an hour and 20 minutes’ drive away, home to a prestigious university attended by Prince William. Golf is a hugely popular local pastime and the British Golf Museum details the history of the sport.
Choose from a wide selection of hire car providers in Edinburgh to suit every budget and requirement, from Greenmotion and Keddy to Europcar and Enterprise.
The annual Edinburgh Festival Fringe (often referred to as The Fringe) is the highlight of the city’s cultural calendar, held in August each year. The world’s largest arts festival, thousands of acts descend on the city, with everything from theatre, dance and circus to cabaret, opera and spoken word performances. As an open access festival (meaning no selection committee is used and anyone can participate), the choice of what to do and see can be overwhelming. Wandering along the Royal Mile (where performers flyer for their shows) can be a good way of scouting out what is worth seeing.
Beyond Edinburgh, the city of Glasgow is an hour and 10 minutes’ drive in your hire car, where you can explore the spectacular Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, one of Scotland’s most popular visitor attractions, housed in an ornate Spanish Baroque style building made from red sandstone. The opulent Central Hall is worth visiting as much as the exhibits themselves. Further afield, Loch Ness is a three and a half-hour drive away, where you may be able to spy the elusive Loch Ness monster.
Speed limits will be signposted, but if not, national limits apply of a maximum of 70mph on motorways and 30mph in built-up areas. There are no toll roads or bridges in Scotland, but expect some single lane rural roads. However, there should be plenty of passing places where traffic from opposite directions can pass safely.
Feeling inspired to start exploring Edinburgh and other parts of Scotland? Check out this city guide and use the Expedia search tool to help you find the best car hire in Edinburgh, as well as flight and hotel deals and research the best attractions and activities.
Edinburgh Airport connects Scotland to a vast mix of destinations and is the country’s busiest airport handling just over 1.1 million passengers a year. For those hoping to hire a car at the airport, the car rental centre features a direct walking path to the terminal and major companies such as: Alamo, Europcar, National, Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Hertz, Sixt, and Thrifty. Edinburgh Airport and the car rental centre are just five miles from the city centre, which can be reached via the M8 motorway.
Those arriving in Edinburgh by train at either Waverly Station or Haymarket Station can choose from numerous locations and car hire companies, which include the same major brands as those found at Edinburgh Airport. For the largest concentration of available services, make your way to the information point at Waverly Station, where you can receive directions to car rental centres within easy walking distance of the train station.
Located at the eastern tip of Scotland’s Central Belt, the capital city of Edinburgh is within easy driving distance of the country’s most iconic attractions, most being less than two hours. These destinations include, amongst others; Glasgow, the country’s largest city and home to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, the most visited museum in the United Kingdom outside of London; Stirling, the “heritage capital” of Scotland, featuring the famous Stirling Castle that once housed the likes of Robert the Bruce and Mary Queen of Scots; and the town of St. Andrews, considered a golfer’s site of pilgrimage as the Old Course is widely believed to be the birthplace of modern golf. There can be traffic during peak hours between major southern cities, so be sure to check traffic reports or travel off-peak.
Visitors interested in driving through some of Scotland’s most scenic landscape should be sure to plan a visit to Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, whose many beautiful sites have inspired artists to create iconic works such as The Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond, a national folk song, and The Lady in the Lake, a poem by national man of letters Sir Walter Scott. Known to be one of Britain’s most atmospheric drives is the route of Duke’s Pass, which can be found in the park along the A821.
To plan your driving tour of Scotland and to reserve local hotels or research attractions, try using the Expedia search tool now, which will help you create an itinerary that best suits your travel needs.