Getting to Scotland
Until recently, there were few direct international services to Scotland, meaning many travellers would have to fly into London or Manchester and then transfer to a Scottish airport on a UK domestic flight. However, there are now a growing number of European and long haul destinations served by the five international airports in Scotland:
- Aberdeen Airport , 8 miles north west of the city, has direct flights from Alicante, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Bergen, Copenhagen, Dublin, Esbjerg, Faro, Groningen, Kristiansand, Malaga, Murcia, Oslo, Palma, Paphos, Paris, Stavanger and Tenerife.
- Edinburgh Airport , 10 miles west of the city, has direct flights from Alicante, Amsterdam, Avignon, Barcelona, Bergen, Bergerac, Bratislava, Bremen, Brussels, Cologne, Copenhagen, Cork, Dortmund, Dublin, Faro, Frankfurt, Galway, Gdansk, Geneva, Hamburg, Helsinki, Ibiza, Katowice, Krakow, Madrid, Mahon, Malaga, Marseille, Milan, Munich, Murcia, New York, Nice, Oslo, Palma de Mallorca, Paris, Pisa, Poznan, Prague, Pula, Rennes, Rome, Shannon, Sharm el Sheikh, Stockholm, Szczecin, Tenerife, Toronto, Toulouse, Warsaw and Zurich.
- Glasgow International Airport , 8 miles west of the city, has direct flights from Alicante, Amsterdam, Athens, Barcelona, Belfast, Berlin, Bourgas, Calgary, Copenhagen, Dominican Republic, Dubai, Dublin, Faro, Geneva, Gran Canaria, Halifax, Heraklion, Las Vegas, Madeira, Malta, New York (Newark), Nice, Orlando, Ottawa, Palma de Mallorca, Paris, Philadelphia, Prague, Pula, Reykjavik, Sharm el Sheikh, Tenerife, Toronto and Vancouver.
- Glasgow Prestwick International Airport , situated 30 miles south west of Glasgow, is a hub of budget airline Ryanair with domestic flights to London Stansted and Bournemouth; and international flights to Brussels, Bergamo, Budapest, Cork, Dublin, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Girona, Gothenburg, Hamburg, Kaunas, Krakow, Milan, Murcia, Oslo (Torp), Paris, Pisa, Reus, Riga, Rome, Shannon, Stockholm, Warsaw and Wroclaw. Be aware that there is an additional train journey of up to an hour from this airport into Glasgow city centre. Aer Arann flys twice weekly from Donegal International Airport into Prestwick.
For those unused to the vagaries of the UK rail network, Wikitravel has a useful guide to Rail travel in the UK.
There are five train operators linking Scotland with England:
- East Coast operate frequent services from London Kings Cross to Edinburgh via Peterborough,York and Newcastle. Some services extend to Glasgow, Inverness or Aberdeen.
- Virgin Trains operate frequent services from London Euston and Birmingham to Glasgow via North West England and the Lake District and slightly less frequent services from Birmingham to Edinburgh via North West England and the Lake District .
- Cross Country Trains connect Aberdeen , Glasgow and Edinburgh to Birmingham via Leeds, Sheffield and the East Midlands. Many services continue on to Reading and the South Coast, or through Bristol to South Wales or South West England.
- Transpennine Express operate services between lasgow /Edinburgh and Manchester (and Manchester Airport)
Note if you are intending to use the Caledonian Sleeper to an intermediate destination north of the Central Belt (e.g. Stirling, Perth, anywhere in Fife, Dundee or up the Angus coast) - the Highland train will drop you off at an unsociable time in the morning possibly before any other public transport is running. For this reasonm it is often more convenient to use the Lowland train to either Glasgow or Edinburgh and use a daytime service to complete the journey.
For further information regarding UK rail travel consult National Rail .
For international travellers, Scottish Rail passes are available, as are BritRail passes.
The main road linking Scotland and England is the M74 motorway which runs from south of Glasgow to Carlisle. The A1 road links Edinburgh and the North East of England; this road is single carriageway in some areas, however, and not considered to be the best route into Scotland. Hence the place name Scotch Corner on the A1 where traffic heading for most Scottish destinations turn to cross the Pennine hills on the A66 to enter Scotland via the M6 and M74.
Bus and coach services are the cheapest way to get to Scotland, but are probably also the longest and the least comfortable. National Express is the main operator, with services from Glasgow's Buchanan Street Station, for example, to most other major UK cities.
- Norfolk Line run a thrice-weekly service for vehicles and passengers from Zeebrugge, Belgium to Rosyth, in Fife. The crossing takes around 19 hours.
- Stena Line ferries link Belfast, Northern Ireland to Stranraer in Scotland.
- P&O Irish Sea ferries link Larne in Northern Ireland to Cairnryan, near Stranraer and Troon in Ayrshire.