For planning your drive down to the finest detail I would suggest using the travel planner on www.theaa.com
This automobile association travel planner tool can handle direct routes, or you can feed in a 'via' route if you want to take a detour from the most obvious and convenient roads. It will also give you a map, sector/trip timings, and a written route.
If you arrive at Stranraer and head north then the coast road will offer you great views out towards the Firth of Clyde and the Island of Arran. From a personal perspective, whilst I find the route picturesque, it is a fairly winding road, so its not a drive you can rush.
This route will take you past Culzean Castle and Country Park which is the stunning clifftop castle run by the Scottish National Trust and is its most popular property in the country, with good reason!
Culzean (pronounced Cullayn) also has strong connections with the USA through Dwight Eisenhower who had fond memories of staying at the castle in his apartment there. His family still make trips back occasionally. You can find further info on Culzean Castle on my Inside Pages (click on Avatar).
On the approach the coastal market town of Ayr its well worth stopping in the lovely village of Alloway, the birth place of the poet Robert Burns and now a Heritage Park and visitor attraction in its own right. Its a lovely spot to while away an hour or so, (especially down by the Doon river) stretch your legs, and maybe take in a little literary history too.
I'm afraid I can't help on the scenic route from there to Edinburgh as we always skip up the A77/M77 and head thru Glasgow and across to Edinburgh on the motorway. However it is fairly easy to work out an alternative route, as there aren't that many alternatives!
In my mind the first part of the journey from Stranraer is the best bit - if youre not in a rush that is. Should you arrive at Troon, then much of what I have written will be irrelevant.
Hope that helps a bit.
Think it all depends on what times you're going to be driving at.
From Ayr I'd be tempted to pick up the A70 and follow it all the way to Edinburgh - some nice small traditional towns and villages, and the drive along the "land whang" after Carnwath if very picturesque, bringing you into Edinburgh south side.
www.viamichelin.com is another good route planner, and like the map/guides of the same name, it can indicate scenic routes.
Another great site is www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk and visitscotland.com. Both should have driving suggestions.
Don't forget, unless you take a big detour north of Glasgow, you won't be in the Highlands - you are in the Lowlands. However, there a range of hills called the Southern Uplands that stretch across Scotland. Although not as high or impressive as the Highlands, they can be scenic (wild, bleak) as you drive across to Edinburgh.
One of my favourite roads is through Wanlockhead, about an hour from Troon). The highest village in Scotland (?), and has a lead mining museum and narrow railway.
If you take the A75 from Stranraer then the A76 from Dumfries heading for Kilmarnock you can turn off on to the B797 (or Mennock Pass as it is known locally) which will take you through Leadhills and Wanlockhead (highest village in Scotland). Some amazing scenery along this route and particularly on the 'pass' where you cut through the hills. The pass ends at Abigton where you can join the M74 or continue to Edinburgh on the more picturesque route through Biggar etc.
Most visitors to Scotland tend to whizz through the Southern parts on their way to the more well promoted 'scenic' spots like Loch Lomond and the Highlands but the south has some amazing scenery to!
Thanks so much for all the suggestions, and I'll take the ferry to Stranraer based on that. The AA planner shows about 3 hours drive, not bad.
After Edinburgh, I'll head south to London with a stopover at Cambridge. Along this route (Edinburgh to Cambridge), any suggestion for a route of nice ride? Any interesting place for a 5-year old kid?
I really love to visit Cambridge (with the memory of all those poem/books I've read about), besides University, any other place for visiting around there? Good B&B on my way to London?
-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-
This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.
To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html
We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.