Getting there from Grenoble :
|There are various options|
- You can drive to Calais, cross the channel and then drive up through England. This can take a long time as the motorways in England are frequently congested.
- You can drive to Zeebrugge in Belgium and get the ferry to Hull in Yorkshire. Scotland is only a two-hour drive from Hull.
- You can fly (with Easyjet) directly from Geneva to Edinburgh or Glasgow
- You can fly ( with Easyjet ) directly from Lyon to Edinburgh.
- You can fly from Geneva (with Easyjet) to Liverpool in North-West England and drive north from there.
- You can fly (again with Easyjet) from Geneva to London Luton and then from London Luton to Aberdeen in North East Scotland.
- Trains to Scotland are notoriously slow (and expensive) and the British rail system is not at its best right now. We’d recommend a fly/drive holiday or simply driving from Grenoble.
Where to stay
|Bed and breakfasts (sometimes known as Guest Houses) are definitely the best places to stay. Hotels are very expensive in the UK and campsites can be as expensive as B&B. You can’t pitch your tent anywhere you like in Scotland and there is the additional problem of trying to dry your tent after a night on the banks of some mysterious loch.|
You’ll see signs for B&B everywhere – the sign ‘Vacancies’ (often in the front window) tells you there are rooms available. Depending on where you go, it’s not really necessary to book a room in advance. If you’re planning on visiting a city (Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, or Inverness) or one of the islands (the Isle of Skye, for example), it is better to book in advance. This can be done at a local Tourist Office (the staff are usually extremely helpful) – a small booking fee is usually charged. If you’re visiting the Isle of Skye (or another of the Western Isles), you can book on the mainland at Fort William.
The great advantage with B&B is that you meet the locals – and the breakfasts are usually fantastic. A good hot breakfast is vital for a successful day in Scotland!
B&B’s can range in price from £15 - £30 per night, per person.
Where to eat
As far as eating during the day is concerned, pub meals are often the best option. You can’t visit Scotland without going to the pubs! Pubs often have family rooms these days. You’ll also see plenty of cafés where you can have a light meal at lunchtime. Fish and chips has to be tried at least once. You can sometimes ask for a packed lunch at your B&B (sandwiches).
A suggested route for a two-week driving holiday in Bonnie ScotlandIf you’re coming from England, cross the England/Scotland border at Gretna Green, just North of Carlisle in the West. Gretna is famous for its wedding business, as you’ll see from the local souvenir shops!
From Gretna, head West along the coast or through the lowlands – Dumfries and Castle Douglas, definitely worth visiting, as are Threave Gardens (spectacular, even in the rain) and Threave Castle. A drive through the Lowther Hills to Wanlockhead is an interesting experience. Wanlockhead still has more sheep on its roads than cars!
From Wanlockhead, it’s a short drive to Glasgow – Scotland’s second city. The shopping is fantastic, as is the nightlife. Stay West after leaving Glasglow, heading towards Loch Lomond, the subject of many a romantic song. Like all of Scotland’s lochs (lakes in English), Loch Lomond has a magical quality.
After a picnic on the banks of Loch Lomond (before dusk of course, to avoid the ‘midges’), drive over to Lochgilpead. This is a picturesque coastal town – a final mainland stop before visiting the islands.
|A short drive of Lochgilpead will take you to the Isle of Seil. There’s a tiny bridge there which links the Isle of Seil and mainland Argyll. Beneath the bridge flows the Atlantic Ocean. A must for a souvenir photo! |
Oban, a fine ancient town is just further North. Oban is home to one of Scotland’s internationally famous distilleries – you simply can’t visit Scotland without visiting a distillery, and sampling its superb whiskey.
From Oban, you can take the ferry across to the Isle of Mull or you could travel North to the mountaineer’s usual Scottish destination – Fort William. This town reputedly has the highest annual rainfall in the British Isles and is also the base camp of climbers of Ben Nevis – the highest peak in the UK measuring 1344 meters. Weather conditions can be treacherous, so full mountain gear is recommended.
|From Fort William, it’s an interesting drive Northwest to Mallaig where you can catch the ferry to the gorgeous island of Skye. As Skye is a popular tourist destination, its wise to book you’re bed and breakfast in Fort William (at the Tourist Office) before you leave. There’s so much to see and do on Skye that you could easily spend two or three days there – Dunvegan Castle and majestic gardens – the Dunvegan show is generally at the end of July, don’t miss the sheepdog handling show.|
**There are agricultural shows and displays as well as ‘Highland Games’ all over Scotland in the summer months. The Scottish tourist board will give you the dates and locations – a day at the Highland Games in an unforgettable experience – the games aren’t usually cancelled if it rains.
Returning to the mainland, your next stop must be Eilean Donan Castle – the castle made famous by the film ‘Highlander’.
Another short drive North will bring you up to the wilds of Ross-shire where the roads are only the width of one car and the sheep and highland cattle have priority! The villages en route such as Achnasheen provide a warm welcome and finding a B&B isn’t hard.
Visit Scotland’s tropical gardens at Inverewe (near Poolewe and Loch Ewe) – standing amongst the huge tropical plants, you’ll think yourself transported to some exotic spot, if it weren’t for the temperature and the noticeable lack of large insect life of course. The Gulf Stream is to be thanked for this miracle of nature, to be seen to be believed!
|From here, you can either head further North towards Ullapool and catch the ferry over to the Isle of Lewis, or you could cut across country to Loch Ness (a must for all monster fans) – its then a short trip to the historical city of Inverness – and then up the East coast to the northernmost point to John O’Groats. The North Sea, East coast landscape is totally different from the West coast, Atlantic scenery.|
You could also drive south from Inverness into the Cairngorm Mountains to visit Scotland’s number one ski resort, Aviemore. The existence of a ski resort in Scotland seems to be a source of amusement to French people in general, though we don’t know why. The drive through the Cairngorms is really beautiful. Walk around Braemar and Crathie – this is where the Royal Family do their shopping when they’re on holiday at Balmoral Castle (which you can’t see from the road, unfortunately).
From Balmoral, drive along through Ballater, Dinnet, and Aboyne to Scotland’s third city and the oil capital of the UK – Aberdeen – also known as the Granite City – you’ll see why. Old Aberdeen is full of charm, and Footdee on the coast is just near the harbour is an extremely well-preserved example of a fishing hamlet.
Aberdeen has excellent shopping facilities and excellent restaurants and nightlife. Aberdeenshire has its share of castles to visit – Crathes Castle and gardens (near Banchory) and Craigievar and Dunnotar Castle (near Stonehave).
After Aberdeen, head South through the Kingdom of Fife and over the Forth Bridge towards Scotland’s great capitol – Edinburgh. There’s so much to see in Edinburgh – historical monuments, theatre festivals, music – the best place to visit first of all is the tourist office, who will be able to tell you what’s happening at the time of your visit.
Well we hope you’ve enjoyed this short trip around Scotland!