How do I get to a Scottish castle hotel?
Public transportation reaches just about anywhere in Scotland; however, you need to be flexible, travel light, and plan carefully. All Scottish castle hotels are within a few miles of bus or train lines.
In general, the main transportation routes are in the more heavily populated areas around Edinburgh and Glasgow. Out in the Highlands or Islands, it’s a different story.
Scotland can boast some of the most scenic rail journeys in Europe (Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh and to Wick, and Inverness to Aberdeen as examples). Reliable trains connect all major cities and towns.
First Scot Rail sells tickets at stations, over the phone, or on the Internet. They also offer passes, such as the Freedom of Scotland Travelpass, which offers unlimited rail travel within Scotland and on some buses and ferries. Discounts are available on Northlink ferries to the Orkney and Shetland Islands. Other passes include the Highland Rover, good on trains in the Highland region, or Central Scotland Rover, which is good for travel between Edinburgh and Glasgow, Stirling and Fife.
If you plan on traveling throughout Great Britain, you might want to look into a BritRail Pass, which must be bought in your home country. EU residents have the option of an InterRail Pass.
The National Rail Service website has a handy journey planner, downloadable maps, ferry connections, and links to the mainland train operating companies.
The national bus operator is Scotland is Scottish Citylink. Buses are cheaper than the train (book ahead for weekend travel), and express service links cities, large and small. Discount cards are available. If you plan on covering much of Scotland, you might consider the Explorer Pass, which offers unlimited travel over a set period of time. If you plan on going down to England and Wales, look into the National Express Tourist Trail Pass. Megabus has fantastic deals if you book ahead on the Internet.
Local buses and the postbus network cover rural areas and is a great way to see the country on a local basis. Service on the postbus is generally in the morning and afternoon. Consult the Royal Mail Postbus for more information.
Traveline Scotland is a one-stop resource for travel planning, with bus, train, and ferry schedules.
Driving in Scotland is a lot of fun. Outside the cities, roads are lightly traveled, and a rental car gives you the freedom to explore off the beaten path. Rentals can be expensive, however, so its best to book from home if possible.
You do not need a car in Scotland’s cities. Parking is exorbitantly priced if you can even find a space. Be warned, too, that speed cameras are everywhere in Scotland. It doesn’t matter if you’re a renter, you will be fined.
Most castle and palace hotels in the Scotland are in the countryside, not too far from towns and cities, and are ideal for those traveling by car. You won’t have any parking problems either.