Scotland Travel Information
Scotland is the second largest country of the UK and borders England to the south. The border runs along a rough line from Gretna on the west side to Berwick on Tweed on the eastern coast. It is surrounded by sea and ocean on three sides and includes several main groups of islands. The central area is the most populated and includes the main cities of Edinburgh, the capital, and Glasgow. Further north are the Highlands where there is less population and stunning scenery. The largest peak in the UK can be found here at Ben Nevis. The main island groups are all worth visiting and comprise of the Inner and Outer Hebrides to the west, the Orkneys off the north east point, and even further north lies the Shetland Isles. There are many well known lochs and glens to explore, the most famous being Glen Coe, Loch Lomond and Loch Ness where you can try and spot the legendary Loch Ness Monster.
From England there are two main routes into Scotland dependant on arriving on the west side towards Glasgow, or the east side heading for Edinburgh. For the west side take the M6 through the north west of England which leads into the A74 / M74 right up to the outskirts of Glasgow, on the east side take the M1 motorway north from London (passing many cities along the way) following into the A1 which will eventually bring you to Edinburgh.
The www.nationalexpress.com travels from all over England to Glasgow and Edinburgh, while those on a budget may want to check out www.megabus.com which connects to both the above and other Scottish towns including Aberdeen, Inverness and Dundee.
www.thetrainline.com includes all UK train services and travels from all over the UK to many different cities in Scotland. If booked several weeks in advance the train can be relatively cheap, much quicker than the bus and is more relaxing than driving. The view on the line between Berwick on Tweed and Edinburgh is spectacular. You can also take your bike on most trains.
There are regular ferry services from Northern Ireland from Belfast or Larne to Cairnryan on Scotland's west coast. Ferries also connect continental Europe, travelling between Amsterdam in Holland and Newcastle in north east England (from there it is around 120 miles to Edinburgh).
Scotland has four international airports at Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Prestwick, near Ayr on the west coast. Each airport has direct flights to other parts of the UK and Europe including all the major hubs such as Heathrow, Amsterdam, Paris Charles de Gaulle and Frankfurt. From these you can reach any destination in the world. In addition, both Glasgow and Edinburgh airports operate direct flights to the USA and Canada. For further flight destination information check out www.skyscanner.net.
Travelling within Scotland
This is relatively easy as there is a good network of road and rail links serving the whole country. At some point you will probably wish to visit one or more of the many inhabited islands and therefore will need to take a ferry from a nearby port. Some companies allow you to go island hopping with a single ticket, see www.calmac.co.uk/hopscotch for details of one such deal. The www.nationalexpress.com travels between most major cities and towns and can be an inexpensive way of touring around. The Scottish tourist board has put together a selection of twelve National Tourist Routes which take you off the beaten track to interesting places to visit. They vary in length and are easily followed by distinctive brown road signs. For further details see the www.visitscotland.com websites and follow the travel links.