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One-Way Car Hire
London to Edinburgh
London to Edinburgh

Drive to Edinburgh by car

Driving from London to Edinburgh gives you the unique opportunity to explore the whole length of Britain, stopping wherever you choose and taking as much time as you need - or have! As the respective capitals of England and Scotland, the drive between these two stunning cities showcases the diversity of the counties in between. With hundreds of miles of scenic countryside, innumerable sites of historic interest and a host of culturally and socially important cities to stop at, there is no shortage of things to do along the way. Pick your car up at one of SIXT's car rental branches in London, including at Heathrow, Gatwick, and then drop it off at Edinburgh Airport, or one of our branches in Edinburgh city centre.

Find out how to drive from London to Edinburgh

The distance between these two animated capital cities is just over 400 miles and the journey can be made in under 7 hours (when the roads are clear), but its a much better idea to take your time and split the journey up. With our one-way car rental you don't even have to worry about making the return journey, so don't hesitate to start your trip from London to Edinburgh with Sixt!

The Quick Route: Dart from London to Edinburgh using the M1 and M6


For those in a hurry, its best advised taking the M1 and M6 route. There are no tolls on this route and it takes you directly north. If you were hoping to catch a little break from the road, you can use the opportunity to explore Birmingham, England's second city, and just a short detour from the route will take you to Manchester. 

How to drive to Edinburgh from London:

  • The M1 from London takes you northward out of the city, before curving west up past Milton Keynes. Just as you approach Birmingham, you will need to switch onto the M6, which will take you all the way to the Scottish border. Once you have crossed into Scotland you can use the A74(M) and A702 for the remainder of your journey. 
  • Without any hiccups, this route will take you from London to Edinburgh in 6 hours and 51 minutes
  • The exact distance from London to Edinburgh is 405 miles
  • The estimated fuel cost for this journey is £77.54  

The Scenic Route: Exploring the North-West

  • For those lucky enough to have time on their hands to enjoy the myriad sights of England as they weave their way north towards the Scottish border, you are in for a treat. First, take the A40 out of London westward, whereas it crosses the M25 it will become the M40. Curving upwards through the Chilterns, Oxford is the first stop on the list.
  • Oxford is unarguably most famous for its university colleges; the oldest English-taught in the world. Take the opportunity to stroll the cobbled streets and book a tour of the Bodleian Library. There are numerous small pubs and B&Bs where you can enjoy the charm and history of the setting, with students passing by all around you.
  • If the historic charm of Oxford has you smitten, then you would be well advised to make Stratford-upon-Avon your next stop. Famously known as the birthplace of William Shakespeare, this medieval market town gives you a fantastic impression of what life would have been like many centuries ago. As to be expected the Royal Shakespeare Theatre has some of the most famous works performed throughout the year, but in summer months a walk along the canal is beautiful and charming enough to satisfy an afternoon in itself. 
  • Continuing north you will pass some of the UK's most famous cities: Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool. These incredible places have something unique to offer and you could easily spend days in each of them. For a complete change of pace, make sure to stop at the Lake District National Park. Famous for its glacial ribbon lakes, fell mountains and epic scope, this is one of the most celebrated parts of the UK for outdoors enthusiasts and provides endless opportunities to get accustomed to local Yorkshire culture. 
  • As you pass the border into Scotland you will take the M74 towards Glasgow. Recognised as the largest city in Scotland, Glasgow is famed for its victorian architecture and art nouveau design. Packed with things to do, it is located only 46 miles west of Edinburgh, meaning that you can take this final stage of your journey at your leisure. 

The Seaside Route: Heading South Along the North-East Coastline

If you are hoping to make the most of your car hire and explore Great Britain to the fullest, then consider making your journey to London from Edinburgh by car along the northeastern coast. Witness the famous beaches that stretch down from the Scottish border, passing major cities such as Newcastle upon Tyne and Middlesbrough. You can take the M1 the whole route north but make sure to stop off at York to see its famous Minster, which is the largest of its kind in Northern Europe.

Additional information

  • During busy times you can utilise parts of the M6 toll road to avoid congestion – but please be aware of the extra costs involved
  • As this journey is an extended commute, we recommend taking frequent breaks and pauses
  • Avoid travelling during bad weather (such as heavy rain or snow)
  • The speed limit on UK motorways is always 70mph unless stated otherwise
  • For additional information about driving in the United Kingdom please visit our UK driving tips page here!

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