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Thread: Traveling to Scotland

  1. #1
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    Traveling to Scotland

    I'm thinking of going to Scotland during the last week of March -- specifically Edinburgh, but I'm open to other suggestions and would like to see some of the Lochs/Highlands. Also maybe some whisky tasting/distillery tours. This would be my first trip anywhere abroad. I chose Scotland because weather is irrelevant (at that time of year it's too risky to go anywhere else like France or Italy, but the unpredictable clime of Scotland never really changes), it's an English speaking country, and if anything goes wrong at least I'm in the UK.

    Has anyone been to Scotland before? Warfish, please chime in, and any others as well. FWIW it would be like visiting some kind of homeland -- I'm a quarter Scottish.

  2. #2
    whatever you do, eat loads of haggis. deep-fried especially. about as hard to find as a slice of pizza in manhattan.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan View Post
    whatever you do, eat loads of haggis. deep-fried especially. about as hard to find as a slice of pizza in manhattan.
    Deep-fried innards... I'm sure that would sit well with my own innards.


  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Bonhomme Richard View Post
    I'm thinking of going to Scotland during the last week of March -- specifically Edinburgh, but I'm open to other suggestions and would like to see some of the Lochs/Highlands. Also maybe some whisky tasting/distillery tours. This would be my first trip anywhere abroad. I chose Scotland because weather is irrelevant (at that time of year it's too risky to go anywhere else like France or Italy, but the unpredictable clime of Scotland never really changes), it's an English speaking country, and if anything goes wrong at least I'm in the UK.

    Has anyone been to Scotland before? Warfish, please chime in, and any others as well. FWIW it would be like visiting some kind of homeland -- I'm a quarter Scottish.
    Enjoy...

    http://www.list.co.uk/article/32385-...-in-edinburgh/

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    I would love to go back to Scotland. All I did for a week is play golf every day and get hammered. Would like to go back one day just to see the place.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Bonhomme Richard View Post
    I'm thinking of going to Scotland during the last week of March -- specifically Edinburgh, but I'm open to other suggestions and would like to see some of the Lochs/Highlands. Also maybe some whisky tasting/distillery tours. This would be my first trip anywhere abroad. I chose Scotland because weather is irrelevant (at that time of year it's too risky to go anywhere else like France or Italy, but the unpredictable clime of Scotland never really changes), it's an English speaking country, and if anything goes wrong at least I'm in the UK.

    Has anyone been to Scotland before? Warfish, please chime in, and any others as well. FWIW it would be like visiting some kind of homeland -- I'm a quarter Scottish.
    Edinburgh, and being home in Scotland with my wife, was the single greatest experience of my life.

    If I can help in any way, PM me, and I'll be happy to answer any questions I can.

    Scotland is a very safe first-choice for international travel, a great "warm-up" thats totally worht it in and of itself. The Castle, the Royal Mile, and the Palace of Holyrood, the Huge great-to-climb mountain right next to old town (Arthur's Seat), the shops and shopping, the food 9which was brilliant, don't believe the haters), and on and on.

    If youw ant some extra pomp, go during August, and watch the Edinbugh Millitary Tattoo. You'll never forget that.

    Mass transit in Scotland is great, trains take you every where you'd want to go in-country, cities have busses, taxies everywhere too. Lodging ranges from cheap to ultra-high end ( I went moderate high-end, and stayted in two different places, the first of which had a Castle view from our room.....wow, is all I can say.

    Have a Full Scottish Breakfats at least once, and don't aks what any of it is till AFTER Yyou eat it (trust me, it'll taste great, and you'll love it if you like breakfast).

    ****, I'm half tempted to ask if you want a travel buddy but I think that would sound a little too e-creepy.

    I strongly suggest brushing up on the City and it's History, start here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edinburgh and then buy a travel guide (trust me) and pick what you want to see in advance. Have a travel itinerary, a plan for each day to do something.

    Visit the pubs each night, it'll be a blast, it's no like being in Manhatten trust me. City has plenty. Be aware tho, only New York is still open at 3 am, most cities close alot earlier, and Scotland is no exception. Pubs stay lateish, but not ultra-late like home.

    Watch a Football Game. Both Hearts and Hibernian play in Edinbugh, and experiencing a match there is something to behold as well. Kinda like a rabid NFL game, kinda didfferent. Hibernian even wears green and white and hasn't won a title since 1952. Sound familiar?

    See the Museums. It's worth it.

    And Edinburgh has no shortage of bus tour companies to do 1, 2 or 3 day tours of the rest of the country. I did a one-day tour from there all the way to Loch Ness and back. Was great, if a little tiring by the end of the 9 hour tour day. Get alot of history in the tour I took.

    But aye, go. It's safe, easy, a great test run if you want to travel the world in life.
    Last edited by Warfish; 01-03-2013 at 10:56 PM.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the input Warfish, it really does sound like a no-brained when you put it that way.

    I'll definitely put together an itinerary before I go. I'll probably be there for 4 days and I don't want to waste a minute. Do you have any recs on must sees that you absolutely will never forget or really really enjoyed seeing? I'm starting to make a list of things I definitely want to do.

    What exactly is the Royal Mile? I've been reading up on Edinburgh and have seen this mentioned on numerous travel boards, but I'm not sure what it is. A row of old shops/pubs? More of a focus on monuments, etc?

    Also, if you want to shoot me any hotel recs, that would be appreciated too. Feel free to PM me that.

    And thanks for the travel buddy offer, but I managed to convince my fiancée that Scotland in March is the best place for spring break.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Bonhomme Richard View Post
    Thanks for the input Warfish, it really does sound like a no-brained when you put it that way.

    I'll definitely put together an itinerary before I go. I'll probably be there for 4 days and I don't want to waste a minute. Do you have any recs on must sees that you absolutely will never forget or really really enjoyed seeing? I'm starting to make a list of things I definitely want to do.

    What exactly is the Royal Mile? I've been reading up on Edinburgh and have seen this mentioned on numerous travel boards, but I'm not sure what it is. A row of old shops/pubs? More of a focus on monuments, etc?

    Also, if you want to shoot me any hotel recs, that would be appreciated too. Feel free to PM me that.

    And thanks for the travel buddy offer, but I managed to convince my fiancée that Scotland in March is the best place for spring break.
    I'm cool with hotel recs here

    I've been trying to convince the wife to go but she likes to keep it beachy for vacations... There's only so much sand and ocean one can look at...

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Bonhomme Richard View Post
    What exactly is the Royal Mile?
    Edinburgh Castle (on Hilltop over City) ---> Royal Mile (High Street/Cannongate), a road Leading From Castle downhill ~1 mile to the Palace ---> Palace of Holyrood (and the Scottish Parliment now as well next door).

    It's as historic as Scotland gets. The buildings are amazing, and the shops in them great for shopping (alot of tourist stuff of course, but great restaurants, puds, and other shops too). The Palace at the bottom is very cool to tour (it's the historic Royal palace of Scotland, as is the Castle of course, and the current Royal Dwelling of the Queen (of England) when she's in Scotland).

    It's history we simply don't have here in the States, given everything old here was burned in the Civil War only 150 years ago. The Chapel at the top of Edinbugh Castle is, for example, from 1100 or so. Almost 1,000 years old.

    http://mapq.st/Xpcx1h

    One of the places I suggest would be here: http://www.apexhotels.co.uk/en/hotel...ational-hotel/



    Castle view, 4-5 pubs right across the street, Fish & Chip and Breakfast place next door on either side, and a short walk to pretty much everything in Old Town Edinburgh (the City is semi-divided in two, Old and New Town, Old Town is Cooler, New Town is more modern (built in 1750-1850 or so) and is more about shopping (tons of stores). But the City (both sides) is very small compared to the U.S. It has a huge Suburb, but Old Town and New Town are at most 20 minute rides end to end. A good thing.

    Bookmark this site: http://www.scotrail.co.uk/ It's the trains. If you can figure out the LIRR, you can Figure out ScotRail.

    I'm very sorry to tell you, 4 days won't get er' done old boy. Need to go a week, minimum, and even thats really not alot of time. I took two full weeks, never stopped the entire time I was there (rare for me, I'm usually a fat lazy slob vacationer) and needed another full 2 weeks to do everything I wanted to do.

    As a suggestion, if you do go longer, take a train east to the town of North Berwick on the coast. Scottish Seabird Center is there, small town and great ocean views and a huge bloody rock out int he water to look at. Can't go there, sadly, as it's a protected place fo rbirds (of course), but the trainrides alone are full of great views, and the town itself is wonderful fun.

    By the way, odds are you'll have to fly into Glasgow, not Edinburgh. No worries that, it's a hour train ride from one to the other, and again, the ride and the views on the way are totally worth it. You'll see tons of history just on the train, including Linlithgow and a few other sights. As I said, mass transit is easy enough, but it can be scary if you're not armed in advace. We flew in, took cab from Glasgow international to train station (30 min) train to Edinburgh (hour) and short cab ride to hotel.

    Glasgow is much more a "working city". I didn't spend any time there really, it's a bit industrial and dank for me, but I hear from locals that it's much better than it looks, with plenty to do as well.

    If you have four days, I'd suggest this:

    Day 0: Travel Day, Get to Hotel, Go to Pub, Eat and Drink and Be Merry. You're in f'ing Scotland (*****es!)

    Day 1: Edinbugh Old Town. Castle tour. Walk the Mile (Stopping at the Scotch Museum). Palace Tour. Walk up/ound Arthurs Seat, see City. Dinner, pass out, sleep.

    Day 2: Royal Museum of Scotland in am. Train to North Berwick and Town Walk in pm.

    Day 3: Train ride to Stirling. Walk the town. Visit Stirling Castle. Visit the Wallance Monument. Train Back to Edinburgh. Walk Calton Hill in Evening.

    Day 4: Tour Day. Bus Tour from Edinburgh up to Loch Ness. 8 Hours in a Bus, short stops, mostly seeing stuff, not being in stuff, but best way to squeeze alot in in one day.

    Day 5: Cry a little, go home.

    Well ****, now I'm sad. I want to go back. I want to go home.

    /goes off to look for jobs in Scotland again....
    Last edited by Warfish; 01-04-2013 at 12:44 AM.

  10. #10
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    March will be cold and damp.

    Suggest going in the summer months.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Warfish View Post
    The Palace at the bottom is very cool to tour (it's the historic Royal palace of Scotland, as is the Castle of course, and the current Royal Dwelling of the Queen (of England) when she's in Scotland).
    One bit of advice ... if you want to get out alive ... the Queen is the Queen of GREAT BRITAIN (of which Scotland is part) and Northern Ireland - not just England!!!

    Take it from a born-and-bred Scot, confusing Britain and England, and their relationship to Scotland, is not a good idea.

    And if you really want to get on the locals' good sides, anything to slag off Glasgow and praise Edinburgh usually goes down well (though obviously, vice versa when in Glasgow ).

  12. #12
    Paulie, you lucked out having Warfish as a travel advisor. What a resource.

    Have a great trip.

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    BTW, I think Edinburgh has a city "buried" under the city. You should see if you can get to tour it. Chicks may not dig it, but I think that'd be pretty cool.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Big L View Post
    BTW, I think Edinburgh has a city "buried" under the city. You should see if you can get to tour it. Chicks may not dig it, but I think that'd be pretty cool.
    wait, they're even building underground cities in Scotland now??


    I guess the Mayans were right, after all

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by JamesR View Post
    One bit of advice ... if you want to get out alive ... the Queen is the Queen of GREAT BRITAIN (of which Scotland is part) and Northern Ireland - not just England!!!

    Take it from a born-and-bred Scot, confusing Britain and England, and their relationship to Scotland, is not a good idea.

    And if you really want to get on the locals' good sides, anything to slag off Glasgow and praise Edinburgh usually goes down well (though obviously, vice versa when in Glasgow ).
    Aye, good points. I'd also add be careful what football team colors (i.e. soccer) you wear in each City, Fans there are all like Raiders Fans, you might just get a full can of Tenants Lager thrown at you if you're in the wrong colors in the wrong city.

    As to the Scotland part of the United Kingdom part, I need to figure out how (and if) I can vote in Scottish Referendum (as a born Scotsman entitled to UK Citizenship) for the big one coming in 2014.
    Last edited by Warfish; 01-04-2013 at 10:00 AM.

  16. #16
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    Great info again, thanks Warfish.

    I'd love to dive into the the general history of the place before I visit so I can get a fuller perspective -- something a little deeper than Braveheart. I should look up some good books on Scotland and its history.

    I'm excited. First, though, I have to find my passport and make sure it's up to date.

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    Quote Originally Posted by crossfire View Post
    I would love to go back to Scotland. All I did for a week is play golf every day and get hammered. Would like to go back one day just to see the place.
    I did a trip in similar fashion...got to see some, but not nearly enough.

    Paulie - Even if you don't get a chance to play golf, going to St. Andrews is a pretty cool experience. If its a Sunday, you can walk the old course and the city is old and charming. The Dunvagan Hotel is a great place to get a drink and take in all the golf memorabilia. And if you think you can carve out some time to play, there are no better courses than in Scotland. Every small town has what seems like a Championship caliber course. At the very least, bring your shoes and some cold weather gear if the situation arises and you are able to jump on for even 9.

    I stayed in Arborath which is a quaint fishing village. Very nice but I'm not sure it would be on the top of your list for places to go if you only have 4-5 days. But, be sure to try Arborath smokies - a local delicacy of heavily smoked fish. I thought they were great

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Bonhomme Richard View Post
    Great info again, thanks Warfish.

    I'd love to dive into the the general history of the place before I visit so I can get a fuller perspective -- something a little deeper than Braveheart. I should look up some good books on Scotland and its history.

    I'm excited. First, though, I have to find my passport and make sure it's up to date.
    If it's not, March may well not be possible for you. It can take up to 6 months to get a Passport Renewed and in your hands. Can take less too of course, but generally you want to be on that asap.


    I would suggest two books, first:



    For Scottish History, I would suggest:



    And with that, I think I've sperged enough, and will leave some room for others to comment.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Warfish View Post
    If it's not, March may well not be possible for you. It can take up to 6 months to get a Passport Renewed and in your hands. Can take less too of course, but generally you want to be on that asap.


    I would suggest two books, first:



    For Scottish History, I would suggest:



    And with that, I think I've sperged enough, and will leave some room for others to comment.
    The passport thing is a little worrying, but March is the only time we can go. So if I have to, I'll go into the city and get the renewal expedited.

    Thanks for the book recs. Please, continue sperging, it's much appreciated.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Warfish View Post

    If you have four days, I'd suggest this:

    Day 0: Travel Day, Get to Hotel, Go to Pub, Eat and Drink and Be Merry. You're in f'ing Scotland (*****es!)

    Day 1: Edinbugh Old Town. Castle tour. Walk the Mile (Stopping at the Scotch Museum). Palace Tour. Walk up/ound Arthurs Seat, see City. Dinner, pass out, sleep.

    Day 2: Royal Museum of Scotland in am. Train to North Berwick and Town Walk in pm.

    Day 3: Train ride to Stirling. Walk the town. Visit Stirling Castle. Visit the Wallance Monument. Train Back to Edinburgh. Walk Calton Hill in Evening.

    Day 4: Tour Day. Bus Tour from Edinburgh up to Loch Ness. 8 Hours in a Bus, short stops, mostly seeing stuff, not being in stuff, but best way to squeeze alot in in one day.

    Day 5: Cry a little, go home.

    Well ****, now I'm sad. I want to go back. I want to go home.

    /goes off to look for jobs in Scotland again....
    Great insight, Warfish! I'm sure BH will have a great time following that itinerary. I'd be fine just doing the bolded part everyday!

    I guess distillery visits are off the table due to travel time and the shortness of the vacation?

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