Wild open spaces, remote islands and historic cities make Scotland a haven for campervan holidays. You can be exploring museums, attractions and shops in the morning, before taking a scenic hike just a few hours later. This perfectly formed country is a United Kingdom gem that offers the best of two worlds. Interested in digging out local arts and crafts? How about whisky tasting? Or perhaps you just want to head out on foot from your campsite every day, seeking tranquility in nature? You will find all of this and more with campervan hire in Scotland.
Getting behind the wheel here is easy. The only real difficulty will be narrowing down where to go. Several main arteries run through the central belt, including the M80, M9 and M8. These major roads connect up the largest cities of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Stirling, as well as some of the smaller towns and villages along the way. Driving north on the A9 will take you to Inverness via the Highlands.
There are also plenty of minor roads and tracks for adventure-seekers looking to get off the beaten path. Several of the islands have just one or two roads, so you won’t have to worry about getting lost. Some campervan enthusiasts might also like the North Coast 500 route. It’s a new driving tour said to be on a par with North America’s Route 66. Not for the faint of heart, it follows winding, sometimes single-track roads through miles of greenery, coastline, castles and more. If you are driving a larger motorhome narrow parts of the route can be bypassed by taking main roads. The tour begins and ends at Inverness Castle.
No matter where you go or what type of campervan hire you choose, it’s important that your motorhome has appropriate insurance. You might also want to research and book campsites of interest ahead of time. Examples of central spots include Drummohr Caravan Park outside Edinburgh and the Trossachs Holiday Park near Stirling. Loch Ness Bay Camping and Loch Lomond Holiday Park are two loch-side options. Stay at the former to keep your eyes peeled for the fabled Loch Ness Monster or visit Urquhart Castle. Meanwhile, Glen Nevis Caravan & Camping Park is perfect for anyone with dreams of climbing Ben Nevis. Scotland’s highest mountain can also be admired from a distance, of course. It stands at a mighty 1344 metres or 4409 feet, overlooking the surrounding Scottish landscapes.
Prices depend upon the season and the site, but generally range between £9 – £26 per night. If you are driving a campervan around Scotland in the summer, when demand is high, it’s best to reserve a space before you arrive. Facilities vary from campsite to campsite. You will pretty much always find a toilet block, shower and washing-up areas. Extras that you might want to consider include laundry facilities and WIFI. A food shop can also come in handy if you are not close to a major town.
Motorhomes come with requirements that a tent would not. You should be looking out for things like water and drainage hook-up points for your van. A hard standing is needed. Some campsites even come equipped with motorhome service points and fully serviced pitches.
Campervan rental in Scotland itself is available with a variety of different companies. The price of your van will depend on factors like size, model, and the age of your youngest driver.
Whether you are travelling Scotland as part of a British Isles tour or simply exploring this wonderful country, let’s take a look at some of the most popular regions and sights.
Exploring Scotland in a Campervan
First-timers to the beauty of the open road in Scotland should experience some of the unforgettable routes. Whether you’ve chosen a classic Volkswagen campervan or a fancier motorhome like the Fiat Ducato models, you’re in for a treat.
If you are starting from Glasgow in the west, take the A82 north out of the city and you will be on the way to Glen Coe. This scenic drive takes around two hours, meandering through Glen Coe valley. Towering peaks that have stood for centuries eventually border the road on each side, creating a magnificent spectacle. Before you reach them, you will have the opportunity to stop off inside Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. There, protected forestry meets lochs and hills. Luss is a pretty conservation village to park up in, while Balloch is also popular.
Why not spend a few nights in Glen Coe before moving further north to Fort William? It’s known as the gateway to Ben Nevis. Around one hour away you can also discover a very special attraction – the Glenfinnan Viaduct where Harry Potter was filmed.
Scotland’s west coast provides a jumping off point to many of the magical islands as well. Probably the best known is the Isle of Skye, which can be reached by boat or via the Skye Bridge. If you’re looking to sail to the Inner or Outer Hebrides, pitch up in the sleepy coastal town of Oban to catch the ferry.
Iconic routes are not only reserved for the west either. Begin your journey from Edinburgh and you can uncover the Scottish Highlands on the A9 to Inverness. Towns on this eastern route include Perth, Dunkeld, Pitlochry and Blair Atholl. Getting off the road to enjoy the scenery and local attractions is a must. Walk through some of the tallest trees in the United Kingdom at The Hermitage, or step inside the white walls of Blair Castle.
Another alternative for driving out of Scotland’s capital is the east coast route to St Andrews. This town is famous for two reasons: golf and its ancient university. You’ll fall in love with its quaint charm.
You might want to spend some time discovering these cities too.
Despite being the largest city in Scotland, Glasgow is known as the “Dear Green Place” thanks to its many lush parks. In fact it is one of the greenest cities in the United Kingdom. Stroll through the Botanical Gardens to get in touch with nature here.
Travellers also flock to Glasgow to enjoy arts and culture. In particular, the works of Charles Rennie Mackintosh are a big draw. Mackintosh is known for both his art and architecture, including attractions like House for an Art Lover and Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.
As a campervan road tripper, you might enjoy the Riverside Museum. It provides a home to around 3,000 transport-themed items. Opportunities for shopping and dining are additionally abundant in Glasgow.
Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital city is alive with everything from museums to historic architecture to family attractions. Check out the Old Town for cobblestone streets, tiny gift stores and intriguing alleyways. Edinburgh Castle also sits here, presiding over the city with regal elegance at the top of the Royal Mile.
A little to the north of the centre, Edinburgh’s character changes inside the Georgian New Town. Wide streets and grand squares adorn this part of the city.
Edinburgh is great all year round, but if you like the hustle and bustle you should bring your campervan here in August. This is when the Edinburgh International and Fringe festivals arrive too. Showcasing world-class comedy, music, dance, theatre and more, these festivals are some of the best in the United Kingdom.
City life is not for everyone. If you’re really looking to get away from civilisation you should consider the Scottish Highlands. This is a region ripe for campervan trips. Stretching all the way to the very tip of the United Kingdom at John O’Groats, it incorporates Scotland’s true wildernesses. Once you get away from the tourist hotspots of Inverness and Loch Ness, you start charting untamed territory. And it’s beautiful. There are attractions to see along the way too, including Dornoch Cathedral, the fairytale castle of Dunrobin and the Castle of Mey. What’s truly wonderful about the Scottish Highlands is the miles of open road.