Scottish Highlands Travel & Transport

The transport system in the Scottish Highlands offers visitors a number of ways to get around including taking public transport including buses and trains to using the road with car hire, coaches and ferries.

The Highlands are served by bus network that links a number of towns and villages in the region including the City of Inverness, Fort William, Aviemore, Dingwall, Culbokie, Resolis, Cromarty, Ballachulish, Kinlochleven, Campbeltown and Inveraray.

Local bus services and timetables are shown at: Stagecoach Bus

Trains in Inverness serve a number of routes across the Highlands and the surrounding areas. Inverness station has services to London King’s Cross station with a journey time of approx 8 hours 10 minutes. Edinburgh Waverley station is the largest station in Edinburgh and is used for services on the East Coast mainline to Birmingham New Street and London Euston. The service is operated by East Coast. The approx journey time from London to Edinburgh is 4 hours 30 minutes.

There are local services to Nairn, Forres, Elgin and on to Aberdeen with services to Edinburgh Waverley station with a journey time of 3 hours 30 minutes. There are services to Glasgow Queen Street with a journey time of 3 hours 15 minutes.

Other railway stations in the Highlands include Wick, Thurso, Carrbridge, Kingussie and Fort William.

For more information including timetables, connections and tickets please see Scotrail

The Highlands region is a place that can be explored by bicycle via a number of cycle routes where cyclists can see the city of Inverness and experience the delights of the Highlands wilderness up close. The environment with its wide open spaces, hills, forests, woodlands, lochs, sparse population and quiet roads present cyclists with a wonderful opportunity to enjoy exploring the scenic area.

There are a number of established cycle routes visitors can explore, for more information please see: Active Scotland

Public Transport Safety Tips
Most journeys on public transport in the Scottish Highlands go ahead without incident, in order to minimise the chances of any incidents, passengers may wish to consider the following safety tips:

- Be aware of your belongings at all times.
- Do not leave your bags and belongings unattended at any time.
- Stay alert and aware of your environment and those around you.
- Do not show valuables including money and jewellery in public.
- If you are carrying a bag/handbag, ensure you use a bag that has a strong good quality strap and wear it across your shoulder (not on your shoulder), with the pockets closed facing towards your waist. Carrying the bag on your shoulder makes it much easier for criminals to snatch the bag or cut the strap.
- Be careful and cautious in crowds and beware of pickpockets, do not leave anything valuable showing in public including wallets in back trouser pockets.
- Sit in carriages with other passengers do not sit in carriages with no/fewer passengers.
- Try not to use smaller/isolated stations especially at night.
- When waiting for buses, trains, boats and taxis stand with other passengers in an area that is well lit, do not stand/wait in isolated areas.

There are a number of car hire firms in the Highlands that offer car rental services for both short and longer term car hire offering a range of vehicles from small budget cars to family cars to larger mini-buses and luxury cars.

The Highlands are linked by road to other areas in Scotland, the A9 links Inverness to southern Scotland. Both Glasgow and Edinburgh are 3 hour to 3 hours 30 minutes drive from Inverness via the A9. The West Coast of Scotland is accessible via the A86 and A82 to Fort William. Whilst the A96 links Inverness to Aberdeen on the east coast.

Drivers should be aware there are winding, narrow and hilly roads in the Scottish Highlands Borders.

Parking in Inverness city centre includes a number of pay and display and pay on exit car parks. Major car parks in and around the city centre include Old Town Rose Street Multi Storey Car Park, Castle Street, Rose Street, Portland Place and Bishop’s Road.

The Highlands are accessible by coach with coach services from a number of UK towns and cities including from London Victoria coach station where there are regular coach services to Inverness with a journey time of between 12 hours 30 minutes to 13 hours depending on the service. There are also services from London to Aviemore. Services are provided by National Express

Megabus offer coach services from London Victoria coach station to Inverness, with a journey time of 12 hours. There are also coach services to Aviemore from Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Whilst travelling by coach to the Highlands is usually more time consuming than using rail and road, it is usually more cost effective.

Caledonian MacBrayne operate ferries to over 20 destinations off Scotland’s west coast, including in the inner and outer Hebrides and Firth of Clyde. Destinations include the Isle of Arran, Isle of Skye, Isle of Bute, Isle of Mull and many others. The ferries provide visitors with a great way to see some of the most inspiring and truly stunning scenery and landscapes in the UK.

There are passenger ferries from Amsterdam to Newcastle which is approx 2.5 hours drive from Edinburgh. Services are operated by DfDS Seaways.

From Larne and Belfast in Northern Ireland there are services to Stranraer and Cairnryan in Dumfries and Galloway in Scotland. Services are provided by both P & O Ferries and Stenaline.

Inverness Airport is located approx 9 miles to the east of Inverness city centre, with a journey time of approx 20 minutes by car. The airport has flights to holiday destinations across Europe and includes flights to both London Gatwick and London Luton airports with a flight time of 90-100 minutes

For more information on public transport in the Scottish Highlands including travel information on public transport and timetables please see: Transport Scotland

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