Scotland is an incredible country to visit only made better when you have your own car to explore it with. There are so many landscapes and historical sites that you could spend weeks taking them all in. Here are some of the most significant places to see.
Callanish Standing Stones
To speak about historic locations in Scotland it seems suitable to start with some of its most ancient structures. They are located on the Isle of Lewis, just above the waters of Loch Roag standing on a low ridge.
With thirteen gigantic stones forming a circle and another nineteen forming “The Avenue” towards it, this bizarre structure still has scholars pondering what it may have been built for. Some leading experts agree it has something to do with lunar patterns and astrology. There is also evidence it was used as a tomb for hundreds of years.
It is hard to say exactly what it is or was – the area was constructed five thousand years ago. So many generations have used and marveled the stones and today we stand on their very frontier still asking questions. Its mystery adds to its beauty and it is well worth visiting if you are in Scotland. Inverness is only two hours from the Isle of Skye by car, itself a great place to explore, from there you to take a ferry to Haris and visit the stones.
Located on the Isle of Mull this is one of the most important and sacred monuments of Scottish history. It is definitive of the Anglo-Saxon raids and indeed the history of Christianity in Scotland and the British Isles.
St Columba first arrived in AD 563 and over hundreds upon hundreds of years the saint’s shrine eventually developed into a Benedictine abbey. Even during the Viking raids of the 12th Century the abbey survived, sustaining a monastic life of work and worship.
Although the area is rich in ancient history the current community have only been there since 1938 and have kept the Medieval areas’ structures maintained and alive. When there you will pass through old roads such as The Street of the Dead, or find chapels decorated in important artefacts. There is even a graveyard where the old kings of Scotland are said to be buried.
If you hire a car from Glasgow you could explore Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park – a truly breathtaking part of Scotland perfect for camping and hiking filled with sparkling lakes and amazing views. From there you can make the five-minute ferry from Fionnphort, Isle of Mull, and explore the Abbey.
Edinburgh is the most visited place in Scotland for good reason. It is a beautiful city filled with history and culture at almost every turn. It has a leading University bringing with it a sense of liveliness as well as good nightlife and bohemian culture. Above the incredible architecture looms its oldest residence high atop a volcanic mound formed millions of years ago.
The hill where the castle now stands was first a Roman settlement until the Angles invaded in AD 638 and named it Edinburgh. Lawnmarket and the Royal Mile, the route royalty would take to reach the castle, were both the first section of houses and the area’s first road. It has changed hands countless times being a cornerstone in Scotland’s Medieval history, housing iconic monarchs such as Robert Bruce.
The castle has been fundamental in the town’s success and defence from raids since its beginnings. Today it holds the Scottish Crown Jewels, the Scottish National War Memorial, and the Stone of Destiny. SIXT has stations in Edinburgh making it a great place to start your journey in Scotland. The country itself is beautiful and there plenty of places, such as those listed here, that are honestly better reached by car as you can see the natural landscape in your own time along your own personal route.
Eilean Donan Castle
This castle is also located by the Isle of Skye set upon an epic background. It is on Dornie, Kyle of Lochalsh, there you must cross an old stone bridge to access its tiny island. Around this sublime structure are mountains and vast waters as though taking you back to a mythical time.
The Castle has ancient origins beginning as a monastic place first set up in 634 AD by Bishop Donan. It remained that way until it was later re-established during the times of Viking Invasions upon the Saxons. Alexander II fortified it so that it encompassed the entire island. There are many mysteries to its history after these times in the dark and medieval ages, changing hands, holding rituals, and much more.
It was later added upon again during the Jacobite uprising and England was pitted against Scotland for sovereignty of the land. Jacobites and Spanish millitary were in hiding in Donan Castle, supposedly safe behind stone wall five-meters thick. Eventually England had to deploy their mighty navy and just managed to seize the castle and blow it up with its own stored gunpowder.
Today the castle remains after its reconstruction in done between 1912 and 1932. It holds Jacobean furniture, artefacts, weapons and more. You can even swing some of the swords, examine the cannonballs and use the spy holes. There are plenty of guides and a restaurant as well as the incredible wildlife all around you such as dolphins and otters.
The great thing is this is only just over an hour and a half away from Inverness. As mentioned, you can easily and affordably hire a car from us here to see this beautiful site.
Glasgow & the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum
If you are planning on travelling to Glasgow then we can recommend using the hire car to take a day trip to the birthplace of Robert Burns. He is considered one of Scotland’s greatest poets, if not the greatest, still celebrated wholly in literature today.
The quaint and humble cottage he was born in is located in the beautiful village of Alloway. Rather than just visiting the cottage itself you’ll be guided down the poet’s path, visiting the buildings and places significant to the Scottish Bard. The journey ends at the cottage where you can see thousands of his possessions including hand-written manuscripts.
In Glasgow itself there are a host of things to take in. The Tall Ship has a maritime museum telling the story of the countless boats built and sailed from Glasgow’s definitive dockyards. There is also the People’s Palace and Winter Garden, which is a huge assembly of Scottish art and history dating back centuries. Be sure to also take in Glasgow Cathedral.
We have cars for hire in Glasgow that will help you with any trips or simply getting around the city. Scotland is an incredible place to take a holiday and far better with top quality transport. Take in all the scenery of ancient Scotland and discover for yourself its enchanting history.