We traveled through Europe on a whirlwind trip last summer. As soon as I returned to Boulder and the room stopped spinning, I wanted to go back. Two locations touched my soul, imagination, and heart. I will return to London and Edinburgh in October. Read on for travel ideas, castle hotel recommendations, a new bucket list, and lots of photos.
Why I chose London and Edinburgh
This is a last-minute trip. Norwegian Air flies direct to many locations from Denver and the prices are cheaper than a flight to Wisconsin. I want to take my time and enjoy these amazing locations.
English speaking countries are less taxing and stressful for me.
Although I have run into people of Scotland and England whose dialect was so heavy or sentences so laden with slang, I had to say, “What?”
First stop, London.
Last summer, revisited:
London is full of history, amazing architecture, restaurants, bakeries, pubs, shopping, and theater. I find the monarchy truly fascinating.
I’m aware of the Tube aka, subway, but I bring comfortable shoes or “trainers” and put in lots of miles. There are amazing things to see on every block.
My husband and I did the Buckingham Palace thing.
Taking a walk with Charles Dickens:
Then we walked in the shoes of Chuck Dickens to his favorite pub crawl. Then we took a tour of his first home. I would highly recommend it.
Ready to cool our heels, we enjoyed a splendid tea time at Covent Garden’s Ladurée.
According to my app, we walked 12 miles. Note to self: Buy new “trainers.”
Hotel recommendation in London:
I drew this for a contest last year. It’s the lobby of the Grange Wellington Hotel.
I recommend The Grange Wellington for your next visit. It’s quite reasonable and the location is hard to beat being near Victoria’s Station, Kensington, and Buckingham Palaces. We stayed there last year for the Bloggers Bash where I met the most fantastic people!
One day of touring wasn’t enough to see all of London. This time, we’re planning ahead.
Plans for London:
October should be a lot quieter than June, so I want to tour the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, see a play, indulge in some amazing restaurants, tea time, and hit Selfridges. Their displays alone are worth a trip. I’ve also researched some secret places and will report my findings…
Onward to Scotland
Having less than a week to tour the whole country last year made traveling a blur. Its pristine beauty, amazing castles, and historic sites, along with being a huge Outlander fan, drew me back. And the best part? It was a lot less touristy than other parts of Europe. I would imagine it’s what Ireland was like fifty years ago.
Some tips if you travel to Scotland I learned from the school of hard knocks:
Last year’s trip began with soggy suitcases in Glasgow. (Their luggage conveyor glides in and out of the terminal, even if it’s a deluge. Expect a long line for checking passports, like everywhere else. Bag your clothes if your suitcase is fabric.
From there we drove to Edinburgh. I immediately drove into head-on traffic even though I discovered a great way to learn how to drive. In my defense, it was a wide boulevard street with a median and a slight slope. Do I sound defensive, much?
I would highly recommend staying in Dalhousie Castle outside of Edinburgh. So authentic, I half expected to see knights jousting on the lawn.
We toured Rosslyn Church, Melville Castle, and Edinburgh Castle, and walked a block or two on the Royal Mile, but didn’t spend much time exploring the city at all. We didn’t even sit on Arthur’s Seat! Too many things.
From there we hit a breakneck pace driving north to Inverness via Perth.
After shopping in Inverness, we drove along Loch Ness. I didn’t see the point in taking a boat ride since the views from shore were amazing.
We took a tour of the Loch Ness Museum. Yes. Nessy caused quite a stir back in the day. Then I spied TWO little Loch Ness Monsters!!
We woke at the crack of dawn and made the ferry to Arran Island. After a wonderful meetup with Barb Taub, we flew out.
This time I’d like to relax and enjoy the charming Scottish people, so much like the friendly Midwesterners of my youth. Wow, that sounded so Dickensian. Being Outlander fans, there are quite a few castles, standing stones, quaint villages, and historical locations to check out. Some secret places too… We’re staying at another castle hotel. I can’t wait.
I’ll keep you posted!
Live in the UK and want to meet up? Let me know in the comments and we’ll make a plan.
Have you been to England or Scotland? Do you have any recommendations? Where would you like to go next?
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