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 road trip from Edinburgh to Inverness?
From Edinburgh, head into the countryside, to the natural paradise of the Trossachs and glorious Loch Lomond. Next, head north towards Fort William into more untamed wilds. Then head to Inverness and Loch Ness, home to everybody’s favourite mythical monster.
And finally, round up the Edinburgh to Inverness round trip by going down 'Snow Roads', one of the most epic drives in Scotland, with amazing scenery and a pool of outdoor activities.
First up on your trip from Edinburgh to Inverness, 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 destination on your way to Inverness 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 it 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 from Edinburgh to Inverness by taking the A82. 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.
On the way back from Inverness to Edinburgh, the detour through Snow Road and will definitely be worth the visit. The trip through Cairngorms, one of Scotland's most picturesque national parks, offers unique nature and a range of fun activities.
Take left off to A938 towards Grantown-on-Spey. Make a pitstop at one of the many activity providers, like Craggan Outdoors, for some ultimate family fun. You can find an activity that fits your trip, with anything from 'foot golf', to kayaking, hiking and White Water rafting available in the area.
Next, head into on of the UK most spectacular drives 'Snow roads', Britons highest public road through the heart of the Cairngorms. The 90 mile drive is definitely worthwhile taking slow to experience the most of what the scenery has to offer. The trip takes you through iconic Cairnwell pass, castles, small whiskey distilleries and includes several viewpoints.
Along the way, you will experience wild Scottish nature and hidden gems such as the 300 ft deep Ailnack Gorge, Queen Victorias favourite spot - the Linn of Quoich and the majestic Glas Allt Waterfall. A few years back, art installations by award-winning architects was added along the route at Glenshee, Corgarff and Tomintoul.
Burn O' Vat
Circular walk that goes by a deep water gouged bowl that you can enter.
Scotland's largest glacial melt water channel, a short hike from the village of Tomintoul
Outdoor activities for adrenaline seekers or nature explorers, close to the highland village of Grantown-on-Spey.
Grantown Caravan Park
Cosy campsite in Grantown, with Wi-Fi and full facilities.
Glenmore Campsite, Aviemore
Surrounded by nature, next to to the beaches of Loch Morlich. Electricity is available on site.
Braemar Caravan Park
High-quality caravan park with all facilities at a central location in Cairngorms National Park. Open all year.
The Clockhouse Restaurant
Tasty local restaurant with lots of charm in the center of Tomintoul
Local restaurant with healthy scottish food with several vegan options.
Tomintoul Car Park
A large car park in the centre of Tomintoul village.
Glenmore Ski Lane Parking
Loads of roadside parkeing between glenmore village and snow gates
from Snow Roads
3h 15 mins