What you should know before hiring a car in Edinburgh
|Edinburgh city centre|
|Edinburgh Airport (EDI): 5 mi from city centre|
Car hires in Edinburgh: practical information
Where to rent a car in Edinburgh
Most travellers heading to Edinburgh will arrive at the airport, the best place to pick up a rental car. There is plenty of selection when it comes time to compare car hire companies in Edinburgh. Choose from Alamo, Europcar, National, Avis, Budget, Enterprice, Hertz, Sixt, Dollar and Thrifty. Edinburgh is one of the most exciting cities in Europe, especially in the summertime when the festival scene gets started. This is prime time to visit the city and also the busiest. If you rent a car from Edinburgh airport, make sure you reserve it in advance to avoid disappointment upon arrival. Another plus if you have a reservation, if you care is not available the rental company will give you the next best thing, but always biggest and better in features.
You can find all the major, international car hire companies in Edinburgh but you'll likely find better car rental deals at a smaller, local agency. Try Arnold Clark Car Hire, for example.
Driving in Edinburgh: parking and other tips
It's good to note that private vehicles are prohibited on Princes Street and cars have restricted access on George Street, St. Andrew Square and Charlotte Square. It's nearly impossible to find a street-level parking space in the city centre. There is no parking on main roads between 7:30am and 6:30pm from Monday to Saturday. Street parking, if you do happen upon a free place, is paid by the metre and costs around £1.60/hour. You can usually stay a maximum of two hours. The best places to park centrally are in car parks. You can find them at St. James Centre, Greenside Place, New Street, Castle and Morrison Street. If you know you'll be staying within the city limits, then you might consider passing on the rental. If, on the other hand, you're hoping to make some trips out of town, it's essential to rent a car while on holidays in Edinburgh.
Parking fines will set you back £40. If your vehicle is towed, you can expect to pay a minimum of £150 to get it back. At all costs, when entering and leaving Edinburgh, avoid rush hour. Monday to Friday, from 7:30-9:30am and again at 4:30-6:30pm. If you can avoid these two peak times, you'll relieve yourself a headache as well.
Road trips from Edinburgh: what to do, what to see
Located just on the outskirts of the city is South Queensferry, home of the Forth Bridges. The High Street is lovely, with historic houses from the 15th century as well as St. Mary's Episcopal from the 1440s. Dundas Castle to the south is also spectacular.
Glasgow, the second largest city in Scotland, is not more than 45 miles away. It makes a great day trip or over-night jaunt. Grab the M8 and head straight into town. Glasgow rivals Edinburgh in terms of museums and galleries, the city even has some great shopping as well!
Fife, although mostly rural, is a great county to explore if you want a taste of the great Scottish wilderness. The fields and forests are dotted with tiny villages and quaint towns. Don't miss Dunfermline, the old capital of Scotland as well as the historic city of Aberdour and St. Andrews, the famous university town.