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Getting to Edinburgh by car

Driving to Edinburgh is a viable option from most of the UK, but don't expect to make much use of your car once you're here. What's more, on-street parking is heavily controlled throughout vast swathes of the city - so don't bring a car unless you're sure you have somewhere to park it off-road. Most city-centre hotels charge heavily for parking, though those a little further out often include it for free.

Many visitors from England are surprised to learn that Edinburgh - though on the east coast of Scotland - is directly north of Cumbria. The fastest route from many parts of the south is straight up the M6; once across the Border, cut up to Edinburgh on either the fast A702 or the scenic A701. On the other hand, if approaching from the north-east of England, your best bet is to pick up the A68, which runs arrow-straight through the striking scenery of the Scottish border hills.

Beyond Edinburgh

Even if your main reason for coming to Edinburgh is to enjoy the Festival, if you do have the freedom of your own set of wheels, you may be unable to resist a little exploration beyond the city limits.  Indeed, a stay in Edinburgh makes a reasonable start for a touring holiday of Scotland - though if you’re serious about exploring the Highlands, you’ll want to pick somewhere further north as your main base.

For a more local excursion, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, Scotland’s first national park, is within day-trip distance - as are the beaches and fishing harbours of Berwickshire and Fife.  There’s plenty of good walking nearby, as well, with the Pentland Hills on the outskirts of the city and the Scottish border hills an hour or so beyond.  But public transport outside the major cities is difficult; so if you are planning to venture further afield, it’s worth bringing your car or hiring one while you’re here.

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