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A 5-Day Scotland Road Trip

We’ve partnered with Scottish oatcake company Nairn’s on a 5-day insiders guide road trip in Scotland starting from the capital city of Edinburgh. On this route, you will have a chance to explore some of Nairn’s staffs’ favourite places, including historical monuments and stunning lochs, and to experience a range of outdoor activities, delicious cuisine, and much more!

scotland road trip with nairns

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Set off on your road trip in Scotland!

scotland road trip people smiling near lake

Day 1 – Edinburgh

Before starting your road trip there’s plenty of history, culture, food, and drink to enjoy in Edinburgh.

Climb Arthur’s Seat for unparalleled views of Edinburgh, and its surroundings, visit Holyrood Palace (the Queen’s Scottish residence) at the base of the Royal Mile, and after, make your way up the medieval High Street to see Edinburgh Castle, passing historical buildings and famous shops, bars and restaurants on your way. Stop by Dean Village, a real hidden gem tucked away in the city centre that showcases some of Edinburgh’s stunning architecture, then take a short walk along the picturesque water of Leith to Stockbridge, packed full of brilliant restaurants, traditional pubs, cocktail bars, and shops.

Heading East

Leaving Edinburgh and heading East you will pass the world-famous Kelpies sculpture; acting as a gateway to the Forth, the 300 tonnes, 30m high sculptures are definitely worth a stop and are particularly stunning after dark, when the bespoke lighting installation throws the Kelpies into breathtaking relief against the dark backdrop of the surrounding hills. Continuing along the M9 you will pass Stirling, the former Scottish Capital, which boasts its own castle and the famous Wallace Monument, commemorating Sir William Wallace, the Scottish hero, and the basis for the movie Braveheart. The monument is located on a hilltop overlooking the fields where Wallace led his troops to victory at the Battle of Stirling Bridge.

Day 2 – Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park

A short journey from Stirling lies the stunning Loch Lomon & the Trossachs, there several stunning lochs (Scottish word for lakes), with plenty of water sports on offer. We recommend hiring kayaks and heading out to Inchconnachan Island to see if you can spot Scotland’s only wild wallabies, which have been living on the island since being introduced just after World War 2. If you are into hill walking you can bag yourself a Munro (Scottish word for a mountain over 3000 ft) and climb Ben Lomond for amazing views over the surrounding Lochs and hills.

scotland road trip loch lomon

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Day 3 – Going North

Beyond Loch Lomond, it’s definitely worth stopping by Loch Tay, another beautiful area, with plenty of forest and lochside walks to choose from, or if you fancy conquering another summit there is the Munro called Schiehallion, with its very distinctive peak, which overlooks the loch (if you don’t climb the mountain, definitely try the excellent local beer of the same name). The Taymouth marina on Loch Tay has some great pubs and restaurants worth visiting and the loch-side Hot Box Sauna is a must-visit, offering saunas with views of the loch and slides that take you from the door straight into the loch for a refreshing dip. It also offers paddle boarding and a range of other water sports including sailing, motor boat hire, and fishing.

Day 4 – Cairngorms National Park

From Loch Tay you can then head further North towards the Cairngorms Mountain range. On the way, you can stop for lunch in the town of Pitlochry or visit Blair Atholl slightly further up the road to take in some local history. Depending on the time of year you can ski at Glenshee or in the summer months visit Aviemore which is a highland town and hub for plenty of outdoor activities including mountain biking, quad biking, fishing, and no end of forest and loch-side walks. You can also visit the Scottish reindeer herd in Glenmore, just a short drive West.

North of Aviemore you can stop by Boat of Garten, where at Loch Garten you can find the Scottish Osprey Centre and try to spot the famous birds of prey in the wild along with plenty of other Scottish wildlife including red squirrels and deer. The Green Lochen is also worth a visit and has a great walk route that will take you through the forest to the Lochen (Scots for small Loch/lake), which is famously green and looks incredible in the summer sun.

Day 5 – Making your way back South

Stop by the Tomintoul Distillery for a tour and try their award-winning Single Malt Whisky. They offer guided tours and tastings sessions. There is no shortage of other distilleries nearby if you are a whisky fan!

Further South you can stop by the small town of Ballater for lunch at a local pub or café and then make your way towards Balmoral, the Queen’s Scottish holiday residence. There are several walks nearby including one up to the Price Albert Cairn, a huge stone pyramid to commemorate Queen Victoria’s husband.

Next, you can make your way South, either along the coast, which is slightly longer if you have the time, and stop by historic St Andrews, the home of golf, or straight down the A9, stopping in at Scone Palace on the way to look round the crowning place of Scottish kings. Finally, make your way back to Edinburgh to finish your trip.

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