There are direct flights to Scottish airports from Britain, lots of European countries, the Middle East, the US and Canada. From elsewhere, you'll probably have to fly into a European or Middle Eastern hub and get a connecting flight to a Scottish airport – London has the most connections. This will often be a cheaper option anyway if flying in from North America.
Airports & Airlines
Scotland has four main international airports: Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Glasgow Prestwick, with a few short-haul international flights landing at Inverness. London is the main UK gateway for long-haul flights. Sumburgh on Shetland has summer service from Norway.
Aberdeen Airport Located at Dyce, 6 miles northwest of the city centre. There are regular flights to numerous Scottish and UK destinations, including Orkney and Shetland, and international flights to several European countries.
Edinburgh Airport Eight miles west of the city, this airport has numerous flights to other parts of Scotland and the UK, Ireland and mainland Europe, as well as long-haul flights to the US, Canada, the UAE and Qatar.
Glasgow Airport Glasgow's principal airport offers connections all over Scotland, Britain and Europe. Long-haul destinations include the US, Canada and Dubai.
Glasgow Prestwick Airport Southwest of Glasgow near Ayr, this airport is a Ryanair hub serving mainly holiday destinations in southern Europe.
Inverness Airport At Dalcross, east of the city, this airport has direct flights to several British and western-European destinations.
London Gatwick (www.gatwickairport.com) London's second airport, with numerous flights to Scotland.
London Heathrow (www.heathrow.com) Britain's principal international airport.
An Air Passenger Duty, essentially a departure tax, is payable for air travel originating in the UK. It's included in the ticket price. If you have to cancel a flight, you can reclaim it even if the rest of the ticket is non-refundable.
Buses are usually the cheapest way to get to Scotland from other parts of the UK.
Megabus One-way fares from London to Glasgow from as little as £1 if you book well in advance. Has some fully reclinable sleeper services.
National Express Regular services from London and other cities in England and Wales to Glasgow and Edinburgh.
Scottish Citylink Daily service between Belfast and Glasgow and Edinburgh via Cairnryan ferry.
Car & Motorcycle
Drivers of EU-registered vehicles will find bringing a car or motorcycle into Scotland fairly easy. Note: this may change following the UK's exit from the EU on 29 March 2019; check the latest situation before travelling.
The vehicle must have registration papers and a nationality plate, and you must have insurance. The International Insurance Certificate (Green Card) isn't compulsory, but it's excellent proof that you're covered.
If driving from mainland Europe via the Channel Tunnel or ferry ports, head for London and follow the M25 orbital road to the M1 motorway, then follow the M1 and M6 north.
In many country areas, especially in the Highlands and islands, you will find single-track roads that are only wide enough for one vehicle. Passing places (usually marked with a white diamond sign, or a black-and-white striped pole) are used to allow oncoming traffic to get by. Remember that passing places are also for overtaking – you must pull over to let faster vehicles pass. It's illegal to park in passing places.
Travelling to Scotland by train is faster and usually more comfortable than the bus, but it's more expensive. Taking into account check-in and travel time between city centre and airport, the train is a competitive alternative to air travel from London. The National Rail Enquiry Service has timetable and fare info for all trains in Britain.
Virgin Trains East Coast (www.virgintrainseastcoast.com) Trains between London Kings Cross and Edinburgh (4½ hours, every half-hour).
Eurostar (www.eurostar.com) You can travel from Paris or Brussels to London in around two hours on the Eurostar service. From St Pancras, it's a quick and easy change to Kings Cross or Euston for trains to Edinburgh or Glasgow.
Caledonian Sleeper (www.sleeper.scot) This is an overnight service connecting London Euston with Edinburgh, Glasgow, Stirling, Perth, Dundee, Aberdeen, Fort William and Inverness. There are two departures nightly from Sunday to Friday.
Virgin Trains (www.virgintrains.co.uk) Trains between London Euston and Glasgow (4½ hours, hourly).
Crosscountry Trains between Wales, central and southwest England to Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.
TransPennine Express (www.tpexpress.co.uk) Trains from Manchester to Glasgow and Edinburgh.
The complex British train-ticketing system rewards advance planning, particularly on long routes. A one-way fare from London to Edinburgh, for example, can cost over £150, but a fare purchased well in advance, at off-peak times, can be as low as £30. Regional fares in Scotland have a lot less variation.