Car Hire in Scotland: 6 Hidden Treasures
Scotland is one of those countries that takes time to absorb. It’s not the kind of place that you just tick off a list. We love old faithfuls like Edinburgh Castle and Loch Lomond, but we’ve searched to bring you some other Scottish delights that reveal the soul of this unique northern beauty and are easy to access with car hire from Nova.
About 79km south-west of Edinburgh, take a five-mile detour off the M74 to Wanlockhead (Scotland’s highest village) and you will discover what is arguably the best museum of working life in Britain. The Museum of Lead Mining offers guided tours down a once-lethal mine, as well as a village trail that incorporates the miners’ cottages, a library, a mining exhibition, an 18th-century beam engine, and a graveyard.
Mount Stuart, Isle of Bute, Argyll
The 19th-century craze for high Gothic architecture is not to everyone’s taste, but if you like its style and flamboyance, you will love Mount Stuart. Located on the Isle of Bute in Argyll, 69km west of Glasgow, Mount Stuart is quite simply a palace. Work started on the building in 1877, when the former Mount Stuart burnt down, and so extravagant was the project that works continues on it to this day. With its setting among appropriately magnificent gardens, it makes a great day trip from Glasgow.
Surgeons’ Hall Museum, Edinburgh
Anyone with a fascination for the macabre will enjoy a visit to the Surgeon’s Hall Museum in Edinburgh. One of the city’s less famous museums, it showcases a gruesomely intriguing 2,000-year-old history of surgery. The pathology section, for example, displays body parts of individuals who have been dead for more than 200 years. With lighter inclusions featuring an exhibition on Joseph Bell, the person on whom Arthur Conan Doyle based his fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes, grislier displays include a book made from the skin of the notorious body snatcher William Burke.
The people of the Bronze Age certainly knew how to pick a site for a houses. The beautiful Loch Tay is home to a number of crannogs built in the Bronze Age and used right up to the 17th century. Set on man-made islands or supported on stilts, these roundhouses made excellent defensive homesteads. Visitors to the Scottish Crannog Centre today can explore a recreated thatched crannog for a glimpse of the lives of ancient crannog dwellers and even attend an underwater archaeology course.
As one of the loveliest places in Scotland, Glencoe is not really a secret, but it deserves to be far more famous than it is. Scotland’s most historic glen – and recently voted its most romantic – Glencoe is a centre for hillwalking and mountaineering and an ideal base from which to explore the Highlands of Scotland. Located 142km from Perth, it is home to Bidean nam Bian, one of Scotland’s highest mountains, as well as the sinuous River Coe.
Dunstaffnage Castle & Chapel, Oban
If you are flying into Edinburgh and hiring a car, an interesting holiday might include a few days in Inverness (take the A9), a night in Skye, and then onward to Oban. This fishing port is lovely in its own right, and makes an ideal base for visiting the numerous small islands off the west coast, but it is also home to Dunstaffnage castle, the impressive 13th-century stronghold of the McDougalls. The imposing curtain wall is one of the oldest standing castle remains in Scotland. Dunstaffnage Chapel, hidden among the trees, is an extraordinary ruin with an atmospheric graveyard.