For anyone travelling to Scotland, there is no shortage of sights to see and roads to explore. From the picturesque villages of the Highlands to the rugged coastlines of the Isle of Skye, there are countless destinations to discover on this wee country’s roads.
In this blog post, we’ll be rounding up the 8 must-see sites on your Scottish road trip, perfect for first-time visitors or seasoned explorers alike. Our list will take you to some of the country’s most iconic landmarks, including the historic Edinburgh Castle, the mystical Loch Ness, and the awe-inspiring Eilean Donan Castle. From coastal drives to mountain passes, we’ll provide you with the ultimate Scottish road trip itinerary.
1. Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle is a must-visit destination on any Scottish road trip. Built on an extinct volcano, this historic fortress towers over the city of Edinburgh and offers stunning panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. The castle has a rich and fascinating history, dating back over 1,000 years. Visitors can explore the castle’s many exhibits and see some of Scotland’s most important artifacts, including the Scottish Crown Jewels and the Stone of Destiny – a symbol of Scottish monarchy since the 14th century. Guided tours are available, offering a comprehensive look at the castle’s history and architecture. Make sure to allocate enough time for your visit, as there is much to see and experience at this renowned Scottish landmark.
2. Loch Ness
If you are planning a Scottish road trip, then 2. Loch Ness must definitely be on your list of must-see sites. Loch Ness is located in the Scottish Highlands and is one of the biggest and deepest bodies of freshwater in the entire British Isles. This lake is approximately 23 miles long and over 750 feet deep. Loch Ness itself plays a significant role in Scottish legends and it is rumored to be the home of the infamous creature, the Loch Ness Monster. However, if you’re not interested in looking for Nessie, Loch Ness offers breathtaking views of the Scottish countryside and is a popular spot for outdoor activities such as hiking, boating, and fishing. There are also numerous trails that run alongside the loch, so it is possible to go on a long walk or hike if you’re feeling adventurous.
3. Isle of Skye
Nestled off the west coast of Scotland lies the breathtaking Isle of Skye, a must-see destination on any Scottish road trip. The island is famous for its rugged landscapes, picturesque villages, and stunning lochs. Visitors to Skye are immediately struck by the island’s unique geology, which features soaring peaks, dramatic cliffs, and rocky formations carved by glaciers. Exploring Skye’s incredible natural scenery is a true feast for the senses, with sights like the iconic Old Man of Storr and the towering Cuillin Mountains leaving visitors spellbound. With plenty of charming towns and villages to explore and an abundance of outdoor activities on offer, a trip to the Isle of Skye is an unforgettable experience.
4. Stirling Castle
Stirling Castle is one of Scotland’s most significant historical landmarks and is a must-see on any Scottish road trip itinerary. The castle has a rich and varied history and was the location of numerous important battles throughout the centuries, including the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297 and the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. The castle was also the childhood home of Mary, Queen of Scots and has been linked to many other famous historical figures, including Robert the Bruce and William Wallace. Visitors to Stirling Castle can marvel at its impressive architecture and explore its many exhibits and displays, which showcase the castle’s fascinating history and its importance to Scottish culture. With its stunning views and fascinating historical significance, Stirling Castle is truly a must-see destination for anyone exploring the wonders of Scotland.
5. Glenfinnan Viaduct
If you’re planning a road trip in Scotland, the Glenfinnan Viaduct is definitely a must-see site. This iconic structure is a 21-arch railway viaduct located in Glenfinnan, Lochaber. Constructed in the late 19th century, it spans the River Finnan and was an engineering marvel at the time of its construction. Today, it is perhaps best known for its appearances in the popular Harry Potter movies, where it served as the route taken by the Hogwarts Express to the wizarding school. Visitors to the Glenfinnan Viaduct can enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding Scottish Highlands and the famous viaduct itself, making it an essential stop for any Scottish road trip itinerary.
6. Eilean Donan Castle
Eilean Donan Castle is an iconic landmark located in the western Highlands of Scotland, just a short drive from the bridge that connects the mainland to the Isle of Skye. This magnificent castle, founded in the 13th century, sits on a small tidal island at the point where three sea lochs meet. Visitors to this site can expect to be greeted by breathtaking views of the castle, the surrounding mountains, and the lochs. The castle, which has been destroyed and rebuilt over the centuries, has been used as a filming location for many movies, including the James Bond movie, “The World Is Not Enough”. Eilean Donan Castle is a must-see site on any Scottish road trip and it is a true testament to the rich history and culture of Scotland.
7. The Kelpies
The Kelpies is an absolute must-see site on your Scottish road trip. These stunning horse-head sculptures are the largest equine sculptures in the world, standing at an impressive 30 meters tall. The Kelpies are a breathtaking sight, designed by artist Andy Scott as a tribute to the importance of horses in Scotland’s history and economy. These architectural marvels are made of structural steel, making them not just beautiful but also sturdy, and are located in Falkirk, on the Forth and Clyde Canal. Visitors can admire the Kelpies from afar or take a guided tour inside the sculptures, learning more about the history and construction of these magnificent works. A visit to the Kelpies is a unique and unforgettable addition to any Scottish road trip itinerary.
8. Culloden Battlefield
The Culloden Battlefield is a vital site for those interested in Scottish history. It was the location of the 1746 Battle of Culloden, which resulted in the defeat of the Jacobites and the end of the Highland way of life. Today, visitors can walk the battlefield and learn about the significance of the battle through interactive exhibits at the visitor center. The site features a well-preserved battlefield, complete with monuments and markers that offer visitors the opportunity to reflect on the lives lost during the conflict. Visitors can immerse themselves in the history of the battle by taking a guided tour, during which they can learn about the tactics and weapons used during the confrontation. Overall, the Culloden Battlefield is a must-see site for anyone interested in Scottish history or who wants to better understand the culture and traditions of Scotland.
In conclusion, Scotland offers a remarkable road-tripping experience that will surely leave you in awe. From the breathtaking landscapes to the rich history, Scotland has something for everyone. While this list highlights some of the must-see sights while on a Scottish road trip, there are many more unique and fascinating experiences to discover. Scotland remains one of the most naturally stunning and welcoming countries in the world, and exploring it by car is the perfect way to experience it all. So, pack your bags and head off on an unforgettable adventure through the remarkable landscapes of Scotland.