The best way to explore Scotland is by car. You can then be sure to discover as much of the countryside as possible in a day trip. Better still, you can stick mostly to the ‘off the beaten track’ routes that will reveal some of the true Cotswold magic
North Coast 500
Scotland’s answer to the legendary Route 66, the spectacular North Coast 500 weaves around the Scottish highlands from Inverness. The 500-mile open road route can be tackled in five bite size chunks using an interactive map and takes you past dune-backed beaches, turreted castles – including the fairytale Dunrobin Castle in Golspie, the Queen Mother’s favourite holiday home – crumbling ruins, and windswept moorland with plenty of pit stops to keep the little ones entertained.
Slurp hot chocolate at artisan chocolate factory Cocoa Mountain in Durness , enjoy a fish super fresh off the boats at award-winning seafood restaurant the Captin’s Galley in Scrabster or dodge the seagulls and book a waterfront table at the famous Applecross Inn.
2.Borders Historic Route
Turn off the motorway and take the road less travelled from Carlisle to Edinburgh. The A7 snakes through the Scottish Borders, an area that was once the backdrop to ancient battles and still peppered with sturdy castles and forts today is now a peaceful patch of countryside often overlooked by visitors racing north towards the Highlands.
Stretch your legs with a charming walk around the picturesque hamlet of St Boswells just outside Melrose or grab a cappuccino and stock up on your cashmere at the Johnston’s of Elgin mill and café in Hawick.
3. Argyll Coastal Route
From Tarbet on the bonny banks of Loch Lomond to Ballachullish the gateway to the brooding grandeur of Glencoe, this long and winding road bends for miles – and miles (almost 150 in fact) along Argyll’s craggy, indented coastline.
Enjoy oysters on the shore of Loch Fyne or a warm brew and slab of cake overlooking Loch Lomond at the Wee Blether tea room, travel another short 10 miles up the road you’ll be able to take in the majestic mountains at the infamous Rest and Be Thankful viewpoint. Take your time and enjoy the picture-perfect panoramic views.
4.Perthshire Tourist Route
A 45-mile scenic journey which takes you from the stunning cultivated farmland to the rugged splendour of the Sma’ Glen, just north of the quant and picturesque Crieff. Continue on from the pretty town of Aberfeldy to see the oldest tree (5,000 years and counting) in Britain, the Fortingall Yew, and take a Highland safari to explore Glen Lyon one of the most beautiful glens in Scotland.
5. Deeside Tourist Route
Britain’s highest main road the A93 starts in picturesque Perth on the banks of the River Tay and tracks through to the craggy peaks of the Grampians in the Cairngorms National Park along to Aberdeen.
Don’t miss Balmoral Castle or Scone Palace just outside Perth, home to the Stone of Destiny where Scottish Kings, including Robert the Bruce, were crowned and make a beeline for Cairnton Farm’s shop and restaurant, where matured Aberdeen Angus beef is the star of the menu.
The BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer is the perfect vehicle to journey across the Scottish highlands. With its spacious seven-seat interior and optional BMW xDrive, an intelligent four-wheel drive system, you’ll be able to explore in comfort.