There’s any number of reasons to plan a London to Edinburgh road trip. From the cosmopolitan culture, world-class restaurants and dynamic nightlife of London through to Edinburgh’s combination of Georgian and medieval architecture, scene-stealing castle, and the sweeping views from Arthur’s Seat, the two capitals offer so much to see and do.

With that said, it’s also worth plotting in some more rural spots along your London to Scotland road trip. Whether it’s quaint architecture, hiking opportunities, or northern city breaks that you’re after, we’ve packed them all in.

What to do on a London to Scotland road trip

Driving from London to Scotland in one go would likely take you eight hours (traffic permitting). Break the journey up by taking in the sites, scenery and cities along the way.

London

Start your London to Scotland road trip in England’s capital city. Take the well-trodden tourist path by jumping around highlights like the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, the Science, British, and Natural History Museums, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and the London Eye.

Alternatively, dig deep into one of London’s many boroughs – Islington, Hackney, Camden, Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea will offer you a flavour of the capital city’s diversity.

The Cotswolds, via Oxford

Head to the Cotswolds next, via Oxford. Home to the oldest university in the English-speaking world, this city has plenty to offer. Tour the university’s hallowed halls, visit the Ashmolean or Pitt Rivers Museum, go punting on the river Cherwell, or head slightly out of the city to visit Blenheim Palace.

From Oxford, drive to the picturesque country charm of the Cotswolds. Take in the idyllic villages and dine out at some exceptional country pubs. You could always walk a section of the Cotswold Way to stimulate your appetite.

Peak District National Park

Once you’ve had your fill of pretty villages, get your walking boots ready for an adventurous few days in the Peak District. Hiking, mountain biking, trail running – choose a trail that suits you and off you go. You can even go canoeing and fishing at Carsington Water.

If the weather’s poor and you’re not feeling adventurous, you can tour the stunning Chatsworth House or medieval Haddon Hall.

Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool

Next, head north to Manchester, Leeds, and Liverpool.

Each of these cities has a vibrant history and pulsing seam of culture. Excellent eateries, thought-provoking galleries, lively nightlife, and an energetic live music scene – you’ll find any number of ways to fill your days.

Don’t miss Liverpool’s UNESCO World Heritage Site of Royal Albert Dock and William Brown Street, or Tate Liverpool. Head to Kirkstall Abbey near Leeds and be sure to visit Manchester’s Northern Quarter.

Yorkshire Dales or Lake District National Park

Get outdoors again at either the Yorkshire Dales or Lake District National Parks.

Famed for the lakes and held in international esteem by hikers everywhere, the Lake District will afford endlessly stunning vistas. Alternatively, head to the Yorkshire Dales – also known as ‘God’s own country’ – for your fill of all things wild and windswept.

If you choose to visit the Dales, you can also divert to the east for a trip to either York or Whitby. Admire the resplendent York Minster and amble around the Shambles or discover why Bram Stoker took inspiration for Dracula from Whitby Abbey.

Edinburgh

Next, you’re headed across the border. Don’t forget to admire the scenery as you take the winding route into Edinburgh. Once in the city, enjoy the culture, art, entertainment, and food on offer.

Stroll through Holyrood Park and climb Arthur’s Seat, or feed your brain at the National Museum of Scotland. If you plan your London to Edinburgh road trip to coincide with the Edinburgh International Festival or Fringe Festival, you can take in some of the incredible comedy and theatre on show. Finish the day by watching the sun set from Calton Hill whilst clutching a dram of whiskey (or two!) – once the car is parked up, of course.

Glasgow

No London to Scotland road trip is complete without a Glasgow visit. Famous for its architecture, music scene, nightlife and culture, Glasgow is Scotland’s biggest city which offers something for everyone.

Wander the Botanic Gardens, admire the Cathedral and visit Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. Catch a show from either the Scottish Opera, Scottish Ballet or National Theatre of Scotland. Attend a gig at one of the city’s many live music venues, including The Glad Café, Cathouse Rock Club, King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut and more. Enjoy a spot of shopping and take in the architecture of Buchanan Street. You could even head out of the city for a tour of Glengoyne Distillery.

Argyll Coastal Route

Take the Argyll Coastal Route from Glasgow up to Inverness. You’ll take in exceptional coastal landscapes and can also enjoy some of the excellent walking around Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. Stop off at Loch Fyne Restaurant for exemplary seafood before following the A816 up Argyll’s stunning west coast. Finish your route in Fort William, the UK’s outdoor capital, and discover the Nevis Range Mountain Experience.

Isle of Skye

From Fort William, head to the Isle of Skye. Dramatic, rugged landscapes will take your breath away as you travel around the island’s various peninsulas. You’ll likely face rain, but the crystal blue fairy pools, imposing peaks of the Black Cuilins, and Old Man of Storr provide ample distraction. Don’t miss the Talisker Distillery, which offers particularly peaty whiskey.

Finance a car to see you through your London to Scotland drive

If you’ve got your heart set on a London to Scotland road trip but don’t think your current vehicle could hack the distance, upgrade to another. Get a car loan quote for a spacious, safe, and weatherproof vehicle and start planning your journey today.

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