Travelling in Scotland
Glasgow and Edinburgh Airports are the main air gateways to Scotland with good connections available to most outlying areas. Many visitors to the UK first choose to see London. They then use the frequent shuttle flights from both Heathrow and Gatwick to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Preswick or Inverness. Shuttle fares are competitive between operators and service is frequent. You do not have to book ahead. Most shuttle services and tickets can be purchased on the day of travel at the airport or on board the plane.
The National Railways Enquiry Scheme (Tel 0345 484950) offers a variety of tickets to reach Scotland from the south and for travelling around Scotland, cheap fares can be had if you can book well in advance. Scotrail's sleeper service from London is a useful way of covering the distance in comfort for an extra cost that is little more than a night in a B&B.
To explore the islands off the west coast or north to Orkney and Shetland you need to use a ferry or plane. Caledonian McBrayne offers good services to most of the Western Isles and P&O operate between the mainland and Orkney and Shetland.
The most versatile way of seeing Scotland is by car. The advantages of having your own transport are obvious including transporting your luggage right up the hotel door. Fly-drive tickets purchased in your home country are probaly the most economical way of car-hiring, as prices in the UK tend to be comparatively expensive. Internationally known car-hire companies are found at the airports and throughout most towns. Vehicles use the left side of the road. Negotiating roundabouts or circles might be the most hazardous problem for visitors who have never driven in the UK or on the left. These are intended to slow traffic and provide a safe entrance or exit to or from a busy road.
Seat belts are compulsory in the UK, both front and rear. Speed limits on motorways might seem fast for North American drivers.
Parking a car in Glasgow and Edinburgh city centres is a taxing experience for everyone so, if you have a hire car whilst visiting these cities, leave it at your hotel and use public transport. This will prove cheaper in terms of parking charges and a lot less hassle. Other cities and towns are no more trouble than can be expected.
In more rural parts, hazards of driving can take the shape of sheep which, along with the rest of the Highlands, reckon they own the roads as well. With little consideration for other users, they will saunter across to check out the grass on the other side of their sunbathing patio. There is a great sense of permanence, driving on some Scottish back roads. Old dry-stone dykes, wood copses and hedgerows have often been standing for 200 years or more.
National Trust for Scotland
5 Charlotte Square
Edinburgh EH2 4DU
Tel 0131 226 5922
RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds)
17 Regent Terrace
Edinburgh 5H7 5BN
Tel 0131 556 5624
Own or run numerous Reserves across Scotland
Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland
14a Napier Road
Edinburgh EH10 5AY
Tel 0131 229 11081
Scottish Countryside Activities Council
39 Clepington Road
Dundee DD4 7EL
Tel 01382 41095
Scottish Inland Waterways Association
139 Old Dalkeith Road
Edinburgh 5H16 4SZ
Tel 0131 664 1070
Scottish National Heritage
Clydebank Business Park
Clydebank G81 2NR
The Scottish Wildlife Trust
25 Johnstone Terrace
Edinburgh 5H1 2NH
Tel 0131 226 4602
Visitors from all European countries except Poland, Albania and Bulgaria require only a passport and no visa. This is also the case for citizens of North America, Australia and New Zealand. Generally, a stay of 3 months is allowed but stays of a duration longer than 6 months will require a visa. There are no vaccination requirements.
Thursday, December 26th, 2019
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