How To Take A Motorhome Holiday In Scotland

Scottish motorhome
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Disclosure: This article may contain links to products or services (including Amazon) that pay me a small commission. This is at no extra cost to you.

This is a sponsored post from OMCMotorhomes.

Camping and motorhome holidays are great ways of exploring Scotland. Nothing can compare with an open road trip: you can drive along the coast or through the open Scottish countryside on a vacation you will never forget. Here are some top tips for enjoying your motorhome holiday in Scotland.

Plan Ahead For Your Motorhome Holiday In Scotland

Before you leave home in your caravan, learn the Scottish Outdoor Access Code. And find out how to be responsible while traveling around Scotland. CaMPA (Campervan & Motorhome Professional Association) offers helpful advice on where to stop while you travel. They also provide tips for disposing of any waste that you might create during your trip. The Great British Toilet Map is an interactive map that shows all available toilet facilities in the UK. It helps you plan ahead.

For more general planning of your trip, and advice on sustainable travel, you might like to look at Lonely Planet’s “anti-guidebook” Experience Scotland (you can read a review of the book here).

Be A Responsible Traveller

It is advisable to use designated overnight parking areas or official campsites when you travel in a caravan around Scotland. This will preserve Scotland’s natural beauty and help local residents and communities. You will find hundreds of campsites along scenic beaches or coasts across the country. These sites have facilities and docks that can accommodate your motorhome.

Make sure you always stay in a designated area (photo copyright MemoryCatcher via Pixabay)

Remember to:

  • Plan and book ahead. It is always helpful to have a plan B
  • Be careful. Contact nearby campsites if you arrive at a campsite that is full. You should not spend the night in undesignated areas
  • Dispose of your trash properly and clean up after your pet (if you have one)
  • Avoid any land management operations which might occur on your route
  • Be careful not to damage or disturb any plant, bird or animal
  • Be particularly vigilant on cultural heritage sites
  • Be a considerate driver, and learn the rules before you travel.

Note that access rights do not include motor vehicles. You should follow the rules of private or public landowners that restrict or regulate parking on their property.

Owning Or Renting: Pros And Cons

In many cases a motorhome for sale is better than a rented vehicle, especially if you will be making frequent trips. You can even paint it if you want to change the colour, something you cannot do with a vehicle that is available for rent! The downside is that you will need to pay more upfront to buy a motorhome than to hire one. You must make regular monthly payments, or the financial institution that provided the loan may repossess your vehicle.

On the other hand, you may be able to save money by renting or hiring a motorhome. The cost is determined by the vehicle you choose and the distance you are going to travel. (You might be charged a daily rate rather than a mileage rate, depending on which motorhome and hire company you choose.) If you only drive to one location per month, renting could be cheaper overall.

One advantage of hiring is that owners must pay to keep their motorhomes in good condition. As a renter you are not responsible for maintenance, and there is a significant potential saving if you are a regular motorhome user. However, you can’t make the motorhome your own by adding permanent accessories to it.

You can usually get a wider range of automatic motorhomes for hire at a far lower price than if you owned a more expensive, higher-end model.

Why Travel Through Scotland In A Motorhome?

Scotland is beautiful in summer and perfect for camping holidays, from family fun to romantic escapes to weeks away with your friends. Although summer is the most popular season for holidaying in Scotland, you can enjoy the country’s beautiful landscapes at any time.

On the open road at Glen Etive (photo copyright Neil Williamson via Flickr)

Travel To Scotland By Motorhome In Winter Or Autumn

It’s not worth beating about the bush: Scotland can get very cold in winter. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t winter camp in Scotland. You will see snowy peaks and lakes with cold water, seals pupping, and deer rutting.

Scotland is especially magical in autumn and winter. The air is fresh and clean, there are fewer tourists on the roads, and landscapes are perfect for photographers thanks to sharp winter light rays. Enjoy a hike around lochs, along rivers, through hills, and into valleys.

Tips For Travelling To Scotland In Winter

Rent a motorhome that can withstand extreme weather conditions, is well-insulated, and has a heating system. If you are in poor road conditions, winter tyres can be a great option. Bring plenty of warm clothes, including waterproofs. Plan for backup in case certain attractions or amenities are closed during low seasons. Flexibility is key! If the weather turns icy, you might need to alter your route.

You should confirm that the campsites where you plan to stay are open before you go (especially if your destination is in the far north). Many close between October and April, while others operate on reduced hours in winter. Be prepared for the loss of daylight hours and the potential impact it may have on how much driving you do each day. In some areas of northern Scotland, it can get dark as early as 3.30 pm.

Scotland’s Autumn And Winter Attractions

These are the top spots and activities you can enjoy while on a motorhome trip across Scotland during the colder months.

  • Loch Ness and Exhibition Centre are open throughout this time of the year
  • Glencoe is a stunning valley at any time of the year
  • The Isle of Skye is accessible all year by road
  • Galloway Forest Park: visit from late September until early November to see red deer rutting. This is one of the most famous and spectacular wildlife sights in Scotland.

Touring routes

Routes like the North Coast 500/NC500 or the west coast of Scotland are very popular. Autumn and winter are the best times to drive your vehicle along these routes, so long as you are comfortable driving a motorhome and hire one that is equipped for snowy or cold weather.

Autumn in Scotland (photo copyright caroline legg via Flickr)

Festivals

Edinburgh is well-known for its summer festivals, but there are plenty of winter events. In the weeks leading up to Christmas, check out the Edinburgh Christmas Market and the Glasgow Christmas Market. Then there are St Andrew’s Day (30 November), Hogmanay (31 December) and Burns Night (25 January).

Ski Resorts

There are plenty of ski resorts in Scotland, including Glenshee Ski Resort, Aberdeenshire (the largest in the UK). There is also a centre in the Cairngorms National Park, a haven for skiing and snowboarding. Even if you don’t like skiing, you can enjoy the funicular railway up to Scotland’s highest restaurant.

Travel To Scotland By Motorhome In Summer Or Spring

Is summer the best season to travel to Scotland in a campervan, given the warmer temperatures? Yes and no. Scotland is beautiful in all seasons. Bluebells cover forest floors in Scotland in spring, while purple heather covers the slopes and moors in summer. Midsummer has long daylight hours, with sunrise as early as 3 o’clock in the morning and sunset as late as 11 pm.

Take a summer vacation to Scotland to enjoy beautiful beaches, sunny days, and the opportunity to explore long stretches of rugged coastline, green hills, glens, and shimmering lochs. The average temperature in Scotland during summer is 18-22 degrees Celsius, a perfect temperature for going to the beach.

Tips For Travelling To Scotland In Summer

You should book your campsites well in advance. Popular areas such as the NC500 and the Highlands/west coast are highly sought after in high season. When planning your route, be aware that most campsites require a minimum of two nights for motorhomes during the summer months.

Scottish weather can be extremely unpredictable. Even in summer, you could see rain or wind along with the sun in just a few hours. Layer up and bring waterproofs. You can keep midges away by using insect repellent – it is worth investing in the best. In the peak of midge season (July/August), the coast is less susceptible to these biting insects.

The mountains of Skye in the Inner Hebrides (photo copyright Scozzy via Pixabay)

Scotland’s Top Places To Visit In Spring And Summer

Here are some of the top places to see in Scotland while touring in a campervan during summer.

  • Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and Royal Botanic Garden Glasgow. Both are beautiful in the summer months
  • The Inner Hebrides and the Isle of Mull are must-sees on any Scottish trip, but the ferries don’t sail during the low season
  • Beaches – Lossiemouth, Edinburgh, Ayr, and the beaches surrounding Eyemouth and Dalbeattie are all highly recommended
  • The West Highland Railway, and a train ride by the Glenfinnan Viaduct.

Some Additional Activities

Outdoor activities are available all across Scotland, and the best time for them is in spring or summer. You can rent boats, canoes, and kayaks at Loch Lomond. Or try water sports at Strathclyde Country Park, Motherwell, or go mountaineering around Torridon or Wester Ross.

Scotland is also known for its outstanding mountain biking, with the 7stanes award-winning trails throughout the south. Fort William is regarded as the “outdoor capital” of the UK. In warmer weather, the hop-on/hop-off bus tours in cities like Edinburgh and Glasgow are also enjoyable.

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Karen Warren

WorldWideWriter is owned and managed by Karen Warren.

I have been writing and travelling for many years (almost 70 countries at the last count), and I’ve visited every continent except Antarctica. This website is my attempt to inform and inspire other travellers, and to share some of the things I’ve discovered along the way. Read more…

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