While there’s a lot to see and do in the Scottish city of Glasgow, you can have some wonderful day trips from the city if you have a rental car.
Advantages of Hiring a Car
- Flexibility – You are not bound by public transport destinations and timetables.
- Cost – It could be cheaper to rent a car than pay public transport fares, if there are at least two people in the car.
- You Don’t Have to Carry Your Gear – You can be prepared for the Scottish four seasons in one day, or take a picnic/BBQ to eat at a scenic spot.
Finding a Hire Car in Glasgow
I believe that May is a good time to visit Scotland. The days are are long and the weather often pleasant, although you never know in Scotland.
I had a look at prices to rent a car in Glasgow on the Discover Car Hire website for one week in mid May next year. The website compares prices from many different car rental firms.
The lowest price was £146 for an economy grade of car e.g. a Renault Kangoo through Alamo. Strangely, the cheapest mini car cost more than this, coming in at over £200 for the base price.
If you would prefer a slightly larger car, I found a compact car e.g. a Peugeot 308 for £168 through SIxt. An intermediate car e.g. a Skoda Octavia cost £269 through Alamo. For a standard car such as Vauxhall Insignia, which could very comfortably seat four adults, the price was £288 through Sixt.
When my husband and I rent a car we generally go for a compact. We never have a lot of luggage, just two carry on suitcases, so they can easily fit in the boot of a compact car.
You can opt to pay an additional fee to full coverage. This means that you don’t have to pay any excesses for damage, breakdown expenses or lost keys. I always select this option when renting a car. For the compact car that added another £48, approximately 40%, bringing the price up to £173.
When you make a booking on the Discover Car Hire website, you pay a deposit of around 30% of the total price at the time of booking, You can cancel free of charge up to 48 hours prior to pick up time. You pay the balance when you pick up your hire car.
Some Driving Tips for the UK
In the UK, we drive on the left hand side of the road. If you are from a country in which you drive on the right hand side, it can take a little time to get used to the gear stick being on your left side instead of your right. There are lots of roundabouts in the Scotland, so remember to give way from the right.
In general, the road signage in Scotland is very good. Google maps is a very useful navigation tool. However, as you may lose your mobile broadband signal is some rural areas, I’d recommend that you also have a map. Look at the route on the map before you set off on a journey, writing down the destinations and road numbers.
Ideas for Days Out by Car from Glasgow
Oban is a coastal town which lies in a horse shoe shaped bay. It takes around two hours to drive there from Glasgow.
The first part of the drive takes you along Loch Lomond. There’s a nice parking area at Inveruglas at the north of the loch.
You’ll drive through Glen Coe as you head west on the A82.
Once you are in Oban, you get some great views over the bay from McCaig’s Tower (a folly built as a job creation scheme by a banker).
Stirling/ Callander Circular
The city of Stirling, where I live, is a 30 minute drive by motorway from Glasgow. It’s well known for Stirling Castle and the Wallace Monument. But I suggest that you also visit Cambuskenneth Abbey and the Battle of Bannockburn.
As you head towards Callander, you can stop to see Doune Castle. The castle was one of locations used in the Outlander series. There’s a level walk along the old railway line in Callander if you feel like stretching your legs. From Callander the return route to Glasgow is on the A811 passing through Garmore and Killearn.
Ayrshire is reached by driving down the M77 motorway from Glasgow. The recently renovated Burns Birthplace Museum is in Alloway, just south of the town of Ayr. There are two buildings. Burn’s Birthplace and the museum. You can walk between them along Poet’s Walk on which there are several sculptures related to Burn’s poems.
If you are an art lover, Rozelle House, is worth a visit. It’s only a few minutes drive from the Burn’s Birthplace Museum.
Culzean Castle lies further south. It’s located in a beautiful spot on the coast. There’s a walled garden, a lake and extensive grounds to explore.
If you don’t want to drive too far south, you could head east from Ayr to visit Dumfries House. The Queen Elizabeth Garden there is fantastic.
I hope that you find my tips for days out by hire car from Glasgow useful and that you have great holiday in Scotland.