Scotland is a land of kilts and ceilidhs, yes, but also ancient castles, remote islands, rugged mountain peaks, thick green forest, and vast, shimmering lochs. What better way to experience a place like that than with a Scotland road trip?
Set off in your Indie camper on an adventure that begins in Scotland’s unique capital, Edinburgh, with its streets steeped in history and pubs filled with music. Then off into the countryside, to the natural paradise of the Trossachs and glorious Loch Lomond. Next, head north towards Fort William into more untamed wilds.
And finally, finish this short Scotland road trip with the country’s most famous natural landmark, Loch Ness, home to everybody’s favourite mythical monster.
For history and mystery, panoramic views from craggy hill tops, and dimly lit pubs filled with the sound of impromptu ceilidhs, nowhere does it better than Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh.
Spread over seven hills, its dramatic cityscape made up of countless monuments, rich in legend and lore, is perfectly complemented by its cheeky sense of humour and full commitment to having fun. Begin your Scotland road trip as you mean to go on with a visit to Auld Reekie.
Edinburgh’s best explored by strolling. Wander the refined elegance of the Georgian New Town and explore the ramshackle, hodge-podge of the medieval Old Town and the Royal Mile. Still got some energy? Power on up Arthur’s Seat for spectacular views. Or relax in Princes Street Gardens instead.
When night falls, perhaps a ghost tour is in order? Or head to a traditional pub in Grassmarket, for a cocktail on George Street, or to the buzzing port district of Leith.
from Edinburgh depot
Historic fortress with views of the whole city
Real Mary King’s Close
17th-century subterranean labyrinth
Palace of Holyroodhouse
The Queen’s official residence in Scotland
Gothic dining in chic 16th-century building
Scandi-style cuisine by husband and wife duo
The Scran & Scallie
Gastro pub by two Michelin-starred chefs
Nicolson Square Car Park
Open 24/7, no height restrictions
Edinburgh Caravan and Motorhome Club Site
Bus ride from city centre
Next up on your Scotland road trip, trade Edinburgh’s cobbled roads for winding trails through thick forest and along glinting lochs.
This is the Trossachs, known as the Highlands in miniature. A land beloved by Romantic poets and roamed by plucky Scottish outlaw and folk hero, Rob Roy MacGregor — whose supposed grave can be visited in Balquhidder. Check out the epitaph: “MacGregor despite them.” Rob Roy’s very last middle finger to the authorities.
The Trossachs is home to three lochs — because why settle for one when you can have three? Go canoeing on Loch Venachar — or for a dip, if you’re brave. Snap an impressive photo of the glassy waters of Loch Achray. Or take a steam boat out on Loch Katrine.
Fed up of lochs? Pay a visit to the haunting ruins of Inchmahome Priory in the middle of the Lake of Menteith, with its stormy past including providing refuge to Mary Queen of Scots and King Robert the Bruce.
Britain’s largest lake, home to Ben Lomond mountain
Hamilton Toy Collection
Nostalgic collection including dolls and model trains
Climb to the summit for beautiful views of the National Park.
Lake of Menteith Hotel and Restaurant
Loch views and regional dishes.
Upmarket fish and chip shop in Callander.
Lochside dining in Callander.
Beautiful campsite on the shores of Loch Lomond.
People don’t come to Fort William for the normal urban pursuits of coffee drinking and perusing the shops. Your next Scotland road trip destination is the self-proclaimed outdoor capital of the UK and gateway to Britain’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis.
And it’s not just about nature. Fort William and its surroundings have a dark history, the site of an enormous massacre in 1692, and there is undeniably something desolate and ghostly about this landscape.
One of the best ways to see the area is to hike part of the Great Glen Way. The whole track is 125 km, but you could try the stretch from Fort William to Gairlochy. Or if you’re up to it, attempt the Ben Nevis Summit.
Not feeling it? Instead hop aboard The Jacobite, a steam train also known as the Hogwarts Express, and which travels to Mallaig and back. And at the end the day, finish off with some of the finest whisky in the world at the Ben Nevis distillery.
Picturesque glen, once the site of a bloody massacre.
Staircase of locks along the Caledonian Canal.
Castle ruins and site of two important battles.
Grand restaurant inside a castle.
Lime Tree An Ealdhain
Rustic restaurant and art gallery.
Modern cooking with a distillery in the cellar.
Short walk from centre.
Glen Nevis Caravan & Camping Park
5 minutes from Fort William.
Leaving Fort William behind, continue on your Scotland road trip, taking the A82 towards Inverness. This drive takes in some of the most spectacular scenery of your journey so far — by which we mean Loch Ness, of course.
Driving along the side of this vast body of murky water, pull over at one of the many viewpoints and gaze into those deep, dark, depths. Admit it. If you were going to spot a monster anywhere, it would be here.
And then there’s the capital of the Highlands itself. Inverness, sat where the River Ness meets the Moray Firth, is a down-to-earth, cheerful city, and the perfect base for exploring nearby sites. Pop in to see its cathedral, peruse the Victorian Market, and visit Leakey’s Bookshop, a second-hand bookstore swiped straight from Harry Potter.
Then head off to see Culloden Battlefield, the site of the final Jacobite Rising. And literature lovers should also visit Cawdor castle with its ties to Shakespeare’s dark Scottish tragedy, Macbeth.
from Fort William
Peninsula with charming villages and dolphins pods.
Ancient stone burial mounds over 4,000 years old.
Small village famous for its whisky and distillery.
Michelin-starred country house and restaurant.
Chilled-out bistro with international menu.
Scottish and French cuisine with balcony.
Raining Stairs Parking
Free parking close to centre.
Bunchrew Caravan Park
Waterfront camping 15 minutes from city.