We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Driving in Inverness

Which Inverness hotels are on sale?
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
See hotels
St. Louis, Missouri
Level Contributor
269 posts
8 reviews
Save Topic
Driving in Inverness

My husband and I are Americans and we are planning to pick up our rental car in Inverness for a tour of the Highlands area, the Isle of Skye and then back to Stirling and Edinburgh airport. We have travelled in Europe but never by car.

I am planning to use Inverness as a base for travel in the Highlands and I am currently trying to figure out a place to stay.

We will be new to driving on the left and I would really like to pick a place that will have parking and will also not be awful to drive to or out of Inverness for day trips.

So with that long preface(sorry), how difficult is it to drive in Inverness if you are not used to driving on the left? Are there areas we should avoid simply because the streets are narrow or convoluted?

I would like to have a place to stay that was within walking distance to the center city for strolling and dinner. That is, I want to park the car where we are staying and access Inverness on foot, saving the car for day trips out of Inverness.

Is Rocpool Reserve reasonably accessible by road?

Are there other places to stay or areas with easier roads to drive? (Am I worrying too much?).

We drive a lot in the States and live in St. Louis, Missouri.

Thanks for reading this!

Boston
Level Contributor
923 posts
1 review
Save Reply
1. Re: Driving in Inverness

Skatermom, my son and I have been going to the highlands for years for our annual fishing trip. I too was worried about the driving. IMO the biggest concerns are the numerous roundabouts or as we call them, rotarys that you will encounter leaving the airport. They can be challenging at certain times of the day but the secret is to get in the flow. Getting an automatic will also alleviate some potential distractions. Otherwise, driving on the left will actually come easy. Even now, I constantly say out loud, stay to the left. The first year I made a small sign and put it on the dash that said stay to the left.

To tour the highlands and Skye, IMO maybe you plan each stop at the end of the day at a different hotel or B & B where there is a pub or restaurant nearby rather then as day trips. You will see more rather then turning around to drive back to Inv each night. Also, to really appreciate Skye you should spend a few nights there.

Edinburgh, United...
Destination Expert
for Edinburgh
Level Contributor
4,760 posts
240 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Driving in Inverness

Hi. Thousands of tourists manage (and even enjoy!) their UK driving experience every year, so I wouldn't worry too much.

Make sure you have adequate insurance and request an automatic transmission (stick shift is the normal in the UK unless you specifically request automatic).

Inverness is a small city, but the city centre roads are quite narrow and built up (different to the wide streets of most American towns).

I learnt to drive in Inverness, and as an unconfident learner I used to dread driving down Academy St, which is the street outside the rail station. I drive it now without difficulty, but it is one of those annoying streets where the "ahead" lane drifts from side to side to make way for "left/right turn only" lanes. (if that makes sense?!)

There are a few one way street systems in Inverness city centre as well, which may be confusing. I would have a look at the Highway Code online before you arrive, to familiarise yourself with our road signs. Our signs tend to be more pictorial, with fewer explanatory words!

There is plenty of parking in the city. There are 2 large multi storey car parks, one beside the bus station and one beside the Eastgate shopping centre (mall). These are only about 500 yds apart. What I would recommend, though, would be to park in the Morrisons (grocery store) Carpark on Milburn Rd. it is flat, open air and reasonably priced, and only 2 min walk to the High St etc. it would be much easier to manoeuvre your car in Morrisons Carpark than trying to battle with poorly lit, cramped multi storey!

There is metered on steer parking too.

Rocpool Reserve is easily accessible by car. Use Google streetview to fly through a "trial run" - to give you an idea of the roads.

The drive in from the airport (assuming you are collecting your car from the airport) is pleasant and easy to navigate. That will start you off gently!

Any more advice, just ask :)

Abs :)

London
Level Contributor
9,102 posts
61 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Driving in Inverness

The driving on the left will become natural quicker than you think.

Rocpool reserve is an easy walk into the city centre - but it's uphill on the way back! However, I would not base yourself in Inverness for the whole stay - better to pick other places to stay along the way. The driving may take longer than you think.

If you're heading over to Skye, you may also want to read up about how to deal with single track roads. There's a useful summary here

undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/usfeatures/single…

Fife, United Kingdom
Destination Expert
for St. Andrews
Level Contributor
8,663 posts
158 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Driving in Inverness

If you can get yourselves round the first large roundabout when you come into Inverness from the airport (is it the Raigmore Interchange?) then you can do anything! Just beware that some roundabouts have traffic lights on them so you must stop if its at red. I think they are easier to see than the ones in the USA which are ABOVE the road - these are beside the road so you know which ones will affect you. You will find that because the traffic is all going the same way you will get used to driving on the "wrong" side and not have to think about it when you are in lots of traffic...the problem will be when you are on quiet roads with no traffic, then you will really have to concentrate and remember to DRIVE ON THE LEFT! Pucktime's suggestion is good about the sticker - I would recommend you do the same.

Some where to stay beside the river would be nice but I cannot recommend anywhere as I have not had the need to stay in Inverness living in Grantown on Spey!

On the left of this page(starting beside the first reply) there are recently reviewed hotels so maybe choose one of those?

Enjoy your trip - I am sure you will love the Highlands

Regards

Woody x

New York City, New...
Destination Expert
for Madison
Level Contributor
1,254 posts
24 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Driving in Inverness

Hi, I've driven in Inverness many times and you'll be fine. The thing that is frustrating is traffic. It's a busy little city with lots of people doing business and then there are the tourists too! But all that said, it's nothing even close to what you deal with in St. Louis.

I think that Inverness is a great place to base yourself. Plan out the day trips that you want to take, but try to have some flexibility. If you see that the weather is good in the west, stop all plans for going north, east or south and take advantage of fair weather! The weather is amazingly changeable and tends to get more rain in the west. Watch the Scottish weather (not BBC) and look for where there is sun, sun and cloud, or white cloud. Steer away from the black cloud. ; ). Continental weather like we have in th US, particularly the Midwest has totally different patterns and time frames.

Pam

Fife, United Kingdom
Destination Expert
for St. Andrews
Level Contributor
8,663 posts
158 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Driving in Inverness

That's good advice Pam and one which I think makes planning anything a bit last minute - but that's what we have to do in the UK! definitely go where the weather is better - mind you sometimes being near mountains can make things a wee bit unpredictable.

Good luck

W x

St. Louis, Missouri
Level Contributor
269 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Driving in Inverness

Wow - thank you all for the great advice. I love the sticker idea to remind us to keep left. I will make sure we look at the driving manual before we leave.

I also will use the idea of having the Scotland weather radar for our day trip planning - I was just in Kauai, Hawaii and I got in the habit of looking at the NOAA weather radar before planning our day and I managed to get in just about all our day trips even with all the rain we had.

Rest assured that I am not using Inverness to go far afield in day trips.

Our plan so far is 4 nights in Edinburgh, 4 in Inverness to see the Highlands(We thought we would take the train to Inverness and pick up a rental car there) and for my husband to try a golf course, 3 in Skye and 3 in the Trossachs. This leaves whole swathes of the country unseen but my husband always remarks that we can come back. Our travel preference is to get to a place and spend a few days looking around. He hates moving every night. We spent 7 nights in Paris and after a few days, it's like you are living in your own neighborhood. It was very pleasant.

Thank you again and I am sure I will have more questions later.

Fife, United Kingdom
Destination Expert
for St. Andrews
Level Contributor
8,663 posts
158 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Driving in Inverness

FYI there are many beautiful golf courses in the Inverness area as well including Nairn, Castle Stuart just outside Inverness, and the courses around Speyside e.g. Grantown on Spey, Boat of Garten, Nethy Bridge and Carrbridge as well as a newish one at Aviemore. This may help...

www.highland-property.co.uk/highlands-golf

Thats a great idea about taking the train to Inverness and hiring a car there - gets you up the road and BOTH of you can look at the scenery!

W x

9. Re: Driving in Inverness

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 9:43 am, June 20, 2013