There are a million reasons to visit Edinburgh, but before you visit, consider the following 7 reasons why driving your rental car should not be one of them.

1.     City centre restrictions. Several key city centre streets, including Princes Street, are off-limits to private cars. Princes Street and Shandwick Place are restricted to buses, trams and taxis only and "Bus Lanes" to speed progress of public transport at peak times can slow yours in a car.   The long-running tram construction project is, however, now finished and the tram line is now open. Using the Park & Ride schemes on the outskirts of the city and taking the bus into the city centre can save a great deal of frustration at minimal cost.   There are Park & Ride locations at Ferrytoll (other side of Forth Bridge), Ingliston (on west - which also links to the tram route), Hermiston (south west) Straiton (south), Sheriffhall (south east), Wallyford (east) and Ocean Terminal (on north side).  

2.    Potholes and cyclists. The quality of the road surfaces in Edinburgh has notably deteriorated in recent years. This can make for a tiring and bumpy journey. Whilst potholes are a nuisance for car drivers, they are a particular hazard for cyclists who may need to swerve to avoid them. Furthermore, relations between the increasing number of cyclists and motorists are not always the friendliest.  Add to this the more traditional cobbled streets found in many places and it's a recipe to set your teeth on edge.  

3.     You won’t be able to read street signs until its too late.  You may find street signs on building walls or sign posts in a myriad of sizes, fonts, and colors that were probably once quite useful when traveling by horse and carriage but amid all the cargo vans, and double-decker buses by the time you focus enough to read the sign you’ll be past the intersection.  And if you try to drive slower to see better, the taxi driver in your rear view mirror will appear so close you’ll be tempted to charge him a fare.

4.     What signs?  Some roads appear to have been around so long that you’re supposed to know them innately.  If you're not intimately familar with the roads or don't have a GPS system that's been updated in the last 30 minutes, you may find yourself circling the city centre endlessly with multiple detours around roadworks.  And just because you may find one sign with the direction to Glasgow, don’t expect every other turn you have to make to actually get to Glasgow to be similarly signed.  Just be happy that you’re temporarily heading in the right direction and keep scanning your map or GPS for something you can recognize.

5.     Parking is expensive, if you can find it.  If you're planning to drive in and and park overnight or just for the day, you'll have a choice between expensive car parks which may not be conveniently located to your accommodations, and limited on-street parking requiring plugging of coins or cards into 'pay and display' machines and frequent moving to comply with a myriad of parking rules (provided the cars around you haven't boxed you in hopelessly).  Many areas of the centre also have parking restricted to residents/permit holders only.  The parking wardens are notoriously keen and fines are expensive.

6.     Smarter people will point out to you why it was stupid to drive.  When you finally stop to ask directions (and you will), the first response will likely be “Why did you drive into Edinburgh?” as if you hadn’t already asked that yourself. Traffic congestion can be extremely frustrating, particular in peak hours.

7.     You don’t need a car in Edinburgh.  Edinburgh is a fantastic walking city with everything a short stroll away.  In one day, you can tour a castle, gawk at $$$ jewels at a palace which is a vacation home to the Queen, see great artwork, get scared by ghosts below the city, climb a mountain, and hear great music all without straying outside Old Town and without a car.  And if the day ends with a single malt or two, you shouldn’t be driving anywhere - the drink driving legal limit changes introduced recently encourage almost total abstention.  Save yourself the hassle; leave the car and enjoy Edinburgh on foot.  There are buses, trams, trains and taxis that can get you into and around the city quickly - such as a train service to Glasgow that operates every 15 minutes for much of the day and takes only 50 minutes. If you need to keep your rental car, consider parking it outside the city centre (there are options near the airport) and rely on drivers who know the city to get you to the centre. For more information on buses visit www.lothianbuses.com or trams at www.edinburghtrams.com