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Thread: Greece & UK

  1. #16
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    If you drive to Scotland on the East coast, you can stop at Alnwick Castle, assuming your kids might be Harry Potter fans? Part of it was used as Hogwarts in the films. Not far is Bamburgh castle, a coastal castle which dominates the view from the town of Bamburgh. Worth stopping in Bamburgh for ice cream at least, though you can tour the castle, bamburghcastle.com

    Your kids are much older than mine, so I think they will get more out of Edinburgh than mine do. Yours might enjoy the ghost tours that leave from the Royal Mile when it gets dark.

    If you would like a slightly out of the way walk, I would recommend taking a wander through the beautiful Dean Village along the Water of Leith, starting at Lynedoch Pl/Dean Bridge Road and coming out in Stockbridge, then stopping for lunch on Raeburn Place and walking to the Botanical Gardens.

    Glasgow also has a lot going for it, not least its proximity to Loch Lomond and Argyll & Bute, the former accessible by train or coach and the latter by car or the Waverley Paddle Steamer if you'd like to travel along the Clyde River.

    In Glasgow you could take the kids to Glasgow Green, a large public park in the city center. In the eastern part of the park there is a group called Freewheel North where you can ride bikes along their track, and you pay a couple of pounds and can try out different bikes, trikes, pedal carts, etc. there is also a big kids playground there. It's far far too big for my little ones, you have to be tween/teen sized to even get on it!!
    Freewheel North, Templeton St, Glasgow, G40 1AT

    Whether you're in Edinburgh or Glasgow, if you like cheese, stop at IJ Mellis cheese shop, it's fantastic!!



    Quote Originally Posted by haraya View Post
    Thank you for the suggestions!!



    We still haven't hammered out if we're flying or driving to Scotland. #indecisive I love the idea of some spur-of-the-moment adventuring, though!



    Great angle! We live in a city, and are not super-outdoorsy, though we're happy to walk around as part of sightseeing. We've been to the beach already this summer and will of course have some time by the pool when we are in Greece, so I don't have a strong need to see the British beaches, except that it would be fun to see the Jurassic coast (we loved Broadchurch, haha). Our 15yo has expressed interest in studying abroad so we would be willing to drive to/through a campus or two. Kids would probably enjoy a bit of history and outdoor exploring - e.g. a castle, a scenic overlook. I love shops and markets (bookstores, local artisans), some local food, a bit of people-watching, city strolls. I think I can probably convince everyone to do at least one museum-type experience in each location.



    Super - I'm all ears! (well, eyes in this case I guess )



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  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by haraya View Post
    Thanks, good thought! Looked it up and it's quite expensive...maybe because we are booking last-minute? But what a great way to travel!
    Caledonian train is overnight so that would include one night of lodging if you book it. Breakfast might be included as well, so think of it as a moving one-night B&B for cost purposes. Plus itís time-efficient as you sleep through a large part of the trip.

  3. #18
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    It's a 1:30 drive from London to Oxford. It's 6:00-6:30 drive from Oxford to Edinburgh. Parking in Oxford is not easy. Better to do it as a day trip from London by train.

    Where are you picking up your car? Not in London, I hope. Parking and traffic are ridiculous, there is a congestion charge you could be hit with, and it is more pain than anything.

    My suggestion is take the regular train from London to Edinburgh and rent a car there as you need it. (You don't need it in Edinburgh.) The train system is very good in the UK and not like in the U.S. If you buy your tickets in advance you can save a lot of money. There is a train almost every half hour between London and Edinburgh, and unlike driving, you can get up, get something to eat or drink, use the toilet and everyone is relaxed. You can even reserve a table seat for four people. I use the trains all over the UK and have taken the London-Edinburgh train numerous times both way. The trip by train is about 5:30.

    As for a day trip out of Edinburgh, if you really don't care about scenery, then I would suggest Stirling Castle and perhaps Loch Lomond.

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  4. #19
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    I spent 10 days in London with my family last summer. They wanted to take a side trip up to Edinburgh where the oldest kid did a semester abroad in college, but they decided it was too much time on the train. I agreed that it was a lot of money to spend for two days on a metal tube when we might spend that time in museums and parks, restaurants and shows. Going to Edinburgh from London is like flying to NYC, then taking a road trip to Boston. Boston's great, too, but I would want to do it in its own trip.

    If I did do it, I'd go to Edinburgh first, go straight from the plane to the train, spend the day on the train sleeping, crash in the Edinburgh hotel, and really start sightseeing on day 2.

    But I don't really like the actual travel to and from places, and really only enjoy being at the place I'm visiting. Maybe you love the in between time doing the traveling, in which case, have at it!

  5. #20
    Forum Member haraya's Avatar
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    Alas, the Caledonian looks to be sold out for our dates. Perhaps another time...

    Quote Originally Posted by allanorn View Post
    Caledonian train is overnight so that would include one night of lodging if you book it. Breakfast might be included as well, so think of it as a moving one-night B&B for cost purposes. Plus it’s time-efficient as you sleep through a large part of the trip.

  6. #21
    Forum Member haraya's Avatar
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    Ah, maybe the Tolkien history tour will have to wait for another time then.

    We're still comparing options - latest scenario is train up, fly back. We do love seeing new vistas so driving/training are pleasant options. Trying to strike a balance between seeing more places and not rushing about.

    Do you have a preferred portal for looking at train fares and schedules? (DH is doing most of the trip logistics but when I looked at RailEurope all our dates seemed to be sold out. Then when I looked at Trainline it had plenty of seats. And then there's a whole universe of railcards to choose from! (I did look at the guidebook but I guess they don't even bother including that sort of info in books any more. The research continues...)

    Thanks for all the insights!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank II View Post
    It's a 1:30 drive from London to Oxford. It's 6:00-6:30 drive from Oxford to Edinburgh. Parking in Oxford is not easy. Better to do it as a day trip from London by train.

    Where are you picking up your car? Not in London, I hope. Parking and traffic are ridiculous, there is a congestion charge you could be hit with, and it is more pain than anything.

    My suggestion is take the regular train from London to Edinburgh and rent a car there as you need it. (You don't need it in Edinburgh.) The train system is very good in the UK and not like in the U.S. If you buy your tickets in advance you can save a lot of money. There is a train almost every half hour between London and Edinburgh, and unlike driving, you can get up, get something to eat or drink, use the toilet and everyone is relaxed. You can even reserve a table seat for four people. I use the trains all over the UK and have taken the London-Edinburgh train numerous times both way. The trip by train is about 5:30.

    As for a day trip out of Edinburgh, if you really don't care about scenery, then I would suggest Stirling Castle and perhaps Loch Lomond.

    Sent from my Vivo 8 using Tapatalk

  7. #22
    Forum Member haraya's Avatar
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    I admit, Harry Potter is a huge part of the attraction of visiting Scotland! More for me than the kids, in fact, though they've both read the whole series and we all watched the films. (Also Kate Davies is one of my favorite bloggers, and of course all the scenery in all sorts of movies. #coughskyfall

    That Dean Village walk sounds amazing. I love that sort of thing.

    I'm not at all sure we'll be able to fit Glasgow into this trip! It all depends on what engages this crew of mine. Sometimes it's just about variety and picking something different from what we did the day before. I realize this will cause planners to break out in hives.


    Quote Originally Posted by Cristina View Post
    If you drive to Scotland on the East coast, you can stop at Alnwick Castle, assuming your kids might be Harry Potter fans? Part of it was used as Hogwarts in the films. Not far is Bamburgh castle, a coastal castle which dominates the view from the town of Bamburgh. Worth stopping in Bamburgh for ice cream at least, though you can tour the castle, bamburghcastle.com

    Your kids are much older than mine, so I think they will get more out of Edinburgh than mine do. Yours might enjoy the ghost tours that leave from the Royal Mile when it gets dark.

    If you would like a slightly out of the way walk, I would recommend taking a wander through the beautiful Dean Village along the Water of Leith, starting at Lynedoch Pl/Dean Bridge Road and coming out in Stockbridge, then stopping for lunch on Raeburn Place and walking to the Botanical Gardens.

    Glasgow also has a lot going for it, not least its proximity to Loch Lomond and Argyll & Bute, the former accessible by train or coach and the latter by car or the Waverley Paddle Steamer if you'd like to travel along the Clyde River.

    In Glasgow you could take the kids to Glasgow Green, a large public park in the city center. In the eastern part of the park there is a group called Freewheel North where you can ride bikes along their track, and you pay a couple of pounds and can try out different bikes, trikes, pedal carts, etc. there is also a big kids playground there. It's far far too big for my little ones, you have to be tween/teen sized to even get on it!!
    Freewheel North, Templeton St, Glasgow, G40 1AT

    Whether you're in Edinburgh or Glasgow, if you like cheese, stop at IJ Mellis cheese shop, it's fantastic!!







    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  8. #23
    Forum Member haraya's Avatar
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    I would love to have a month, or a year, to spend in London or Edinburgh alone! But, we have 3.5 weeks to split between two major regions. I don't think we're spreading ourselves too thin - three main cities over 25 days is not too ambitious, lots of people try to do the whole continent in that amount of time! I am hopeful that this trip will whet our kids' appetite to travel more, and we can come back some day to delve more deeply into certain areas. Maybe my eldest will live her dream of studying in the UK and we can come visit her for an extended stay.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lia View Post
    I spent 10 days in London with my family last summer. They wanted to take a side trip up to Edinburgh where the oldest kid did a semester abroad in college, but they decided it was too much time on the train. I agreed that it was a lot of money to spend for two days on a metal tube when we might spend that time in museums and parks, restaurants and shows. Going to Edinburgh from London is like flying to NYC, then taking a road trip to Boston. Boston's great, too, but I would want to do it in its own trip.

    If I did do it, I'd go to Edinburgh first, go straight from the plane to the train, spend the day on the train sleeping, crash in the Edinburgh hotel, and really start sightseeing on day 2.

    But I don't really like the actual travel to and from places, and really only enjoy being at the place I'm visiting. Maybe you love the in between time doing the traveling, in which case, have at it!

  9. #24
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    Greetings,
    Here are a couple things that can be done from your base in Edinburgh. I've been to most of them.

    Check out the Falkirk Wheel. It's a modern engineering marvel in Falkirk, Scotland and you can ride a boat while the wheel does it's thing. https://www.visitscotland.com/info/s...-wheel-p248061

    Rosslyn Chapel, where part of the Da Vinci Code movie was filmed, is beautiful. https://www.rosslynchapel.com

    Tantallon Castle is nice if you want to explore several stories of castle ruins with a fabulous ocean view. It's right on a cliff overlooking the ocean. It's a lovely drive along the coast, just east of Edinburgh.
    https://www.historicenvironment.scot...tallon-castle/

    In Edinburgh, there are lots of things to do. Here are a few I found, in no particular order:

    1. The Real Mary King's Close was both educational and interesting. https://www.realmarykingsclose.com/

    2. Calton Hill was excellent for the view and the interesting architecture.

    3. It's an easy hike/walk to climb to the top of Arthur's Seat and then you can say you climbed a volcano.

    4. The Innocent Railway tunnel is now a bike path and might be fun if you want to walk or rent bikes.

    5. The botanical garden in Edinburgh is lovely, too. I only had an hour, so it was a rushed visit, but very memorable.

    6. There are several things worth checking out in and near the Water of Leith area of Edinburgh, although I didn't get a chance to see them myself.

    You know we would love to see your packing list, itinerary, and trip report, along with any and all related photos you choose to share. Good luck! elisa

    Edited to correct formatting.
    Last edited by AlaskaGirl; 07-12-2019 at 06:29 PM.

  10. #25
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    RailEurope is the absolute worst site to buy train tickets. Trainline isn't bad but both are resellers.

    Almost every person in Britain I know uses

    nationalrail.co.uk

    It is the official British site for train schedules. (Be aware that most trains aren't available for purchase more than 90 prior to the date of travel.) Once you decide on which train to take, go to that company's website to purchase. (As an example, most trains between London and Edinburgh are run by LNER.)

    I travel by train all over and use nationalrail.co.uk. I use their app.

    Regarding an overnight train, some people have a hard time sleeping due to the movement.

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    Last edited by Frank II; 07-12-2019 at 06:27 PM.
    Editor--One Bag, One World: News, Reviews & Community for Light Travelers. http://www.1bag1world.com

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  11. #26
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    If your kids are Harry Potter fans look into the Warner Bros Harry Potter tour at the studio where the film's were shot. This needs to be booked way in advance.

    London Walks offers two Harry Potter tours in London taking you to filming locations. If you are not familiar with London Walks you should be (walks.com).

    And, the steam train used in the Harry Potter film's can be ridden between Fort William and Mallaig in northwest Scotland. (The train ride from Glasgow to Fort William is amazing.)

    May I also suggest you go to the Rick Steves forum to get lots of advice. (ricksteves.com)

    Sent from my Vivo 8 using Tapatalk
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    Aeronaut(2), Tri-Star(2) Cadet , Large Cafe Bag, Travel Tray, Travel Money Belt, Absolute Straps(3), Side Effect, Clear Quarter Packing Cubes (2), 3D Organizer Cubes (4), Aeronaut & Tri-Star Packing Cubes, Clear Organizer Wallet, numerous Organizer Pouches,, Guardian Dual Function Light, Vertical Netbook Cache, Nexus 7 Cache, RFID Passport Pouch, numerous Key Straps.

  12. #27
    Forum Member haraya's Avatar
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    I love all of these!! Maybe we should travel together?

    Funny, I found this page (Best Places to Visit in Scotland with Teens) and highlighted many of the things on your list.

    >>You know we would love to see your packing list

    Had to laugh when I read this. At this point my packing prep consists of washing the giant pile of laundry that is at the foot of my bed, then holding up each piece once it's cleaned and asking, "Will I need this?" . (though by now, having traveled both for work and for fun, for short and long trips, both DH and I have figured out mostly what works for us, so it's not quite as haphazard as it sounds!) Also at one point there was an almost-drama with extended family about how many beds were in the rental house, and for 12 hours we seriously considered lugging an air mattress across the pond with us. Oy.

    - But I will take a pic once we are in London, because I won't be able to change the contents then! And will of course report back with where we went and how we got there.

    Thanks for all the great ideas!!

    Quote Originally Posted by AlaskaGirl View Post
    Greetings,
    Here are a couple things that can be done from your base in Edinburgh. I've been to most of them.

    Check out the Falkirk Wheel. It's a modern engineering marvel in Falkirk, Scotland and you can ride a boat while the wheel does it's thing. https://www.visitscotland.com/info/s...-wheel-p248061

    Rosslyn Chapel, where part of the Da Vinci Code movie was filmed, is beautiful. https://www.rosslynchapel.com

    Tantallon Castle is nice if you want to explore several stories of castle ruins with a fabulous ocean view. It's right on a cliff overlooking the ocean. It's a lovely drive along the coast, just east of Edinburgh.
    https://www.historicenvironment.scot...tallon-castle/

    In Edinburgh, there are lots of things to do. Here are a few I found, in no particular order:

    1. The Real Mary King's Close was both educational and interesting. https://www.realmarykingsclose.com/

    2. Calton Hill was excellent for the view and the interesting architecture.

    3. It's an easy hike/walk to climb to the top of Arthur's Seat and then you can say you climbed a volcano.

    4. The Innocent Railway tunnel is now a bike path and might be fun if you want to walk or rent bikes.

    5. The botanical garden in Edinburgh is lovely, too. I only had an hour, so it was a rushed visit, but very memorable.

    6. There are several things worth checking out in and near the Water of Leith area of Edinburgh, although I didn't get a chance to see them myself.

    You know we would love to see your packing list, itinerary, and trip report, along with any and all related photos you choose to share. Good luck! elisa

    Edited to correct formatting.

  13. #28
    Forum Member haraya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank II View Post
    nationalrail.co.uk

    (Be aware that most trains aren't available for purchase more than 90 prior to the date of travel.)
    Haha! Oh, we are very much closer than that to date of travel.

    Regarding an overnight train, some people have a hard time sleeping due to the movement.
    Thanks, good to know. I don't like boats and cruises for that reason.

  14. #29
    Forum Member haraya's Avatar
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    I asked the kids if they wanted to go to the studio - the younger one has been to Universal Studios in LA - and they were indifferent, so I figured we could skip that. I also looked into riding the Hogwarts train but all the dates were sold out. Probably cheaper that way! I AM hoping though to catch a glimpse of it at the viaduct when it goes by - that might be enough to satisfy my fannish heart! (And as I typed that, I looked down and realized I was wearing my HP shirt - "Free the House Elves" - that I got at Universal Studios. LOL.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank II View Post
    If your kids are Harry Potter fans look into the Warner Bros Harry Potter tour at the studio where the film's were shot. This needs to be booked way in advance.

    London Walks offers two Harry Potter tours in London taking you to filming locations. If you are not familiar with London Walks you should be (walks.com).

    And, the steam train used in the Harry Potter film's can be ridden between Fort William and Mallaig in northwest Scotland. (The train ride from Glasgow to Fort William is amazing.)
    May I also suggest you go to the Rick Steves forum to get lots of advice. (ricksteves.com)
    Just logged on to poke around. It's funny, I've always known about RS but have never spent much time on the forums there.

  15. #30
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    @haraya I prefer to buy my train tickets from the train operator who runs the service. So for London-Edinburgh it would probably be London North Eastern Railway (lner.co.uk), though all the operators have access to the seats (East Midlands, Transpennine, Virgin, Cross Country). I like the LNER site and the Cross Country site the most.

    Most of the non-operator sites charge a small fee but the operators usually don't.

    If you are able to buy a Friends and Family Railcard from where you are now, you'll save a lot on your tickets. You could maybe even have it sent to where you're staying in London, as long as you have it on your journey that's the important thing.

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