Author Topic: A few days in London and Edinburgh-advice?  (Read 1891 times)

RosieTR

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A few days in London and Edinburgh-advice?
« on: October 21, 2016, 07:58:46 PM »
This is a deal we got that includes flight and hotel for 3 days in each! Hotels are near train stations, and because it's short we'd like to stay in the cities rather than venturing further afield (ie not planning to go to Stonehenge).

Any hints for being sorta Mustachian while having a great time? I expect this will be our only trip in which we would purposely stay IN London to see London, and IN Edinburgh to see Edinburgh.  3 days in each will probably be enough because we both are "done" with cities after a few days. I'm expecting to see a few highlights, and hoping to get a glimpse of some stuff that you can't see in the US-especially historical stuff. We've spent most of our respective lives in the western US, where "old" things are 100 years old.

Anyway, any thoughts/hints/etc would be welcome! We have to get everything into a 20lb carryon each, so clothing suggestions would also be great! I'm hoping not to look like a dumb American, but still be warm enough and pack OK. I have plenty of hiking clothes that fit this bill but not sure if that would fit the "dumb American" look.

chesebert

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Re: A few days in London and Edinburgh-advice?
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2016, 08:04:36 PM »
Just got back from London - it was cold.

We bought M&S sandwiches and salads for lunch and went for ethnic food for dinner.

I stayed in London for a week and it wasn't enough - very rushed.

Cromacster

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Re: A few days in London and Edinburgh-advice?
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2016, 08:21:27 PM »
I've only been in london for a total of 16 hrs or so.  I can't speak much to it.

I was in Scotland for about 5 days, 1 being in Edinburgh.  So I can't speak a whole lot to that either.  But I did enjoy just walking the streets.  I did do a tour of the castle which was actually pretty cool, though expensive.  If that's on your list see if you can get discount tickets somewhere.  Calton Hill was also pretty cool and gave great views of the city.  Some of the other historical sites near the old town and royal mile are pretty cool as well.  Most of them were free.  I don't really remember any names as I mostly ambled about.  Grassmarket street (I think thats what it's called) had some cool old pubs if that's your scene.  Spent a long while at the White Hart Inn. 

I was there in January and the weather was pretty mild compared to Minnesota January.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2016, 06:52:33 AM by Cromacster »
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Telecaster

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Re: A few days in London and Edinburgh-advice?
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2016, 08:44:03 PM »
Any hints for being sorta Mustachian while having a great time?

London is...expensive.  But the museums are free!   And there are lot of great museums if that is your thing.  Also you should get a travelpass or an oystercard.  I can't remember the formula for when to decide which one to buy, but bottom line is that either one is a lot cheaper than buying single ticket transportation. 

I really enjoy the walking tours: 

http://www.walks.com/

Never been on a bad one yet, and lot of entertainment for your tourist pound, and on the walk you'll identify more things you want to see and do. 


Leisured

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Re: A few days in London and Edinburgh-advice?
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2016, 06:23:50 AM »
The usual suspects: The London Eye, to get a bird's eye view, House of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, St Paul's and its crypt, Westminster Abbey, and Greenwich, accessible either by bus or by river ferry. Greenwich was founded by Charles 2 as an observatory, to compile navigation tables for British ships, and you can photograph yourself straddling the Prime Meridian, Longitude zero, one foot in the eastern hemisphere, the other foot in the Western hemisphere.

Oyster card is good. It looks like a  oyster, and you move it past a magic machine which reads you credit balance. Take the top deck in double decker buses. Bus stops tell you where the bus comes from and where it goes to.


accolay

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Re: A few days in London and Edinburgh-advice?
« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2016, 08:44:30 AM »
I have not been to Edinburgh, but there's a lot of walking to enjoy in London. The parks- Hyde and Regents, Marble Arch, Wellington Arch, Buckingham palace from afar, changing of the guards, Theater District, Covent Garden, walk around the Tower of London, the Tower Bridge, Interesting (Art?) at the Tate Modern, walking down any high street to see differences from where I live. What a city.

All free. Trying the interesting unknown candy in another country is also always cheap fun. Shop at grocery stores for cheaper meals.

One carry on is definitely the way to go! You may have to plan a day for laundry if you haven't packed like that before, but if it's only 6 days you should be able to pull it off. Dress for coldish weather. Not dry cold, wet cold. Have a hat and layers, maybe at least light gloves. If you don't enjoy tea now, you might have at least developed a taste for it when you exit England. A rain jacket doubling as a wind barrier would be an excellent idea too. Small umbrella?

AshStash

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Re: A few days in London and Edinburgh-advice?
« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2016, 08:54:04 AM »
I recommend the Rick Steves guidebook and his walking tours (download through his app when you have wifi). The London Eye is good (but pricey) if the weather is nice. Another way to enjoy city views is to have lunch at the Ting Lounge (not restaurant, sit in the Lounge for the best views over the river) in the Shard. You will have to reserve ahead but for roughly the price of going to the top of the Shard or doing the London Eye, you will get great views and lunch!

As Telecaster said, the big museums are free! Only special exhibits require a ticket. The Natural History Museum can have quite a queue to enter, so if there's an exhibit you want to see there, it's worth paying for the ticket as you get to skip the queue and go straight to the main entrance (it doesn't say this on the ticket usually, but you can, just go straight up to the main door).

If you want to do a fancy afternoon tea but don't want to pay fancy afternoon tea prices, you can go to the 1st floor cafe + ice cream parlour at Fortnum & Mason, get their plate of two scones to share and 2 teas (same tea you get at their fancy afternoon tea!) for about 25 total.

For navigation in both cities, if you have international data on your phones, the app Citymapper is the best for getting around. Do you know how you're getting from London to Edinburgh? If you're taking the train, don't just look at standard fares--sometimes first class is nearly the same price and includes wifi, food, and drinks. If you're traveling in a pair or group by train you may want to look into a Two Together railcard--sometimes the discount on the fares to Scotland more than pay for the railcard.

In Edinburgh, the Castle is interesting and if the weather is decent, climbing Arthur's Seat gives you some great views.  In Edinburgh and London, expect rain and wear layers. If you are short of space/weight, you can buy very small umbrellas on the cheap at grocery stores like Tesco and Sainsburys (my brollies were on sale for 6 from 8 at Sainsburys).

 I used to live in Scotland and in London, so I feel like I could go on and on!

FIRE Artist

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Re: A few days in London and Edinburgh-advice?
« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2016, 09:05:05 AM »
Mary King's Close in Edinburgh is a cool place to visit. 

Someone already mentioned the walking tours of London and the fact that the museums are free.  The British Museum is one of my favourite places on earth. 

seattlecyclone

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Re: A few days in London and Edinburgh-advice?
« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2016, 10:49:44 AM »
In London, I really enjoyed visiting the British Museum (free), Greenwich Observatory (free), and the Tower of London (not free). The Tate Modern was interesting, but not really my cup of tea. I also enjoyed walking around looking at the architecture in the City of London and other areas with bunches of historic buildings.

In Edinburgh, I enjoyed climbing up Arthur's Seat. We bought some things for a picnic lunch at a grocery store and ate it up there. It was super windy! I don't remember much else we did there.
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pachnik

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Re: A few days in London and Edinburgh-advice?
« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2016, 03:23:51 PM »
My husband and I spent two weeks in London and Paris last month.

In London, we went to the Tower.  If you like looking at Old World stuff, it is a great place.  I think the original part of the Tower was built in the 11th century and different monarchs added buildings through time.  If you go to the Tower make sure to go on a tour with the Beefeater guards.  It is included in the price of the ticket and is excellent and lots of fun.  We also went on tour through the Buckingham Palace state rooms but I think it is closed for the winter season. 

I really enjoyed just walking around the city.  A few of the places - British Museum and National Gallery - asked for donations at the door so you can put in a few pounds.

Regarding food, we thought the food in pubs was fine.  .  If you are interested in historic pubs, just do a google search.  I really liked it at Ye Old Cheshire Cheese which has been around since the 1600's.  Also, Paul and Pret-a-Manger are two chains that specialize in sandwiches and they are really good.  Usually on baguettes so not like at home.

Have fun!

daverobev

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Re: A few days in London and Edinburgh-advice?
« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2016, 07:03:32 PM »
Anyway, any thoughts/hints/etc would be welcome! We have to get everything into a 20lb carryon each, so clothing suggestions would also be great! I'm hoping not to look like a dumb American, but still be warm enough and pack OK. I have plenty of hiking clothes that fit this bill but not sure if that would fit the "dumb American" look.

Don't worry about how you look; just don't make a fuss, stand in an orderly queue. Hiking gear is just fine. Something to keep the wet/wind out.

Suggestions depend on what you are interested in. Tate Modern, National Gallery, etc, etc - lots and lots, and as mentioned, free.

I like the riverside - walk along the bank for a way. London Eye is good (if short). If you're into hiking, you could go a looong way out on one of the towpaths for one of the canals. Pretty awesome, and see loads of houseboats and all that too (not sure in London itself, I've always walked along the canals outside London, but London is where they go *to*). Lots of pubs along the way, no doubt.

Hotels near train stations... ok... there are lots and lots of train stations in London.

Get an Oyster card at the airport - it's only good for London, but paying for public transport with cash/credit costs a fortune vs tapping your Oyster card. You will get a refund when you turn it in. You can get them everywhere, any newspaper seller should sell one (purple/blue logo).

Edinburgh castle is cool I think. Can't remember if I've been in it or not. Try some deep fried haggis if you get the chance.
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chesebert

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Re: A few days in London and Edinburgh-advice?
« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2016, 08:59:00 AM »
We used London Pass. It costs money but skipping the line was well worth it for me. I was darting in and out of meeting and to not waste time waiting in line to get tickets/pay for tube was huge for me.

FIRE Artist

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Re: A few days in London and Edinburgh-advice?
« Reply #12 on: October 23, 2016, 11:40:02 AM »
We used London Pass. It costs money but skipping the line was well worth it for me. I was darting in and out of meeting and to not waste time waiting in line to get tickets/pay for tube was huge for me.

If you are only there for two days, this is a great option. 

MandalayVA

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Re: A few days in London and Edinburgh-advice?
« Reply #13 on: October 23, 2016, 12:36:06 PM »
We used London Pass. It costs money but skipping the line was well worth it for me. I was darting in and out of meeting and to not waste time waiting in line to get tickets/pay for tube was huge for me.

Mr. Mandalay and I were in London not too long after Pachnik.  We bought the London Pass but in retrospect we would have been better off just paying admission and buying an Oyster card by itself; we didn't get any special perks from the pass.  That being written, if you have only three days hit these up:

Tower of London
Westminster Abbey
British Museum
Hyde Park
Piccadilly Circus (the Times Square of London)
National Portrait Gallery

A fun walk is--take the tube to London Bridge, walk across, wander down through central London past the Tower, cross Tower Bridge.
 

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RosieTR

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Re: A few days in London and Edinburgh-advice?
« Reply #14 on: October 23, 2016, 02:34:57 PM »
I really appreciate all the great advice!

We both really like museums (esp history or science-themed) so will block off a whole day for the British Museum! And, much of our other vacation time is spent walking (ie hiking) so will be sure to take a walking tour. If we can fit in the Tower of London tour, that may well be worth splurging a little. My hope is not about being penny-wise, pound-foolish as much as picking a few "worth it" activities.

As for Edinburgh, we head there first. This is part of a package, so all the transport between countries is taken care of. That city seems a little more low-key so will be nice to chill and get the jet lag figured out. I have a Scottish ancestor and we know the clan, so I will likely look around shops for a small object (like a scarf) with the tartan, as well as doing castle visits!

I'm hoping it isn't *pouring* rain, but weather is weather. Plenty prepared for rain, via hiking gear which is packable and breatheable (pants and jacket). I just was a little worried about sticking out too much, clothing-wise. In Colorado, you generally don't get turned away even from a fairly nice restaurant, if you're wearing jeans and maybe nicer hiking shoes. But heh, DH and I have totally been on a train in NYC as the only two people wearing poofy coats, while literally every single other person was wearing a wool peacoat. In some areas, sticking out is not ideal in terms of pickpocket targets and service, so that's why I wanted to know that. A funny side note: in NY it seems like folks use umbrellas for rain, while in Seattle or Portland you look like a noob with an umbrella. According to my sister, who has lived in both. Sounds like London is pro-umbrella!

ShortInSeattle

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Re: A few days in London and Edinburgh-advice?
« Reply #15 on: October 23, 2016, 02:53:08 PM »
We were in London for the first time this summer and it was huge! I recommend the Tower of London, for good historical tourism. Plenty to see just walking around as well.

Edinburgh is one of my favorite cities! If you like hiking, walk down the touristy royal mile, through Holyrood park, and up the big hill to King Arthur's seat. A spectacular view! The castle is really interesting and there are plenty of walking tours. For a really good burger check out "Bread Meats Bread." Also, Brewlab made me the best mocha I've had, ever. And this is coming from a Seattle coffee snob.

Have a blast.

marty998

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Re: A few days in London and Edinburgh-advice?
« Reply #16 on: October 23, 2016, 02:56:16 PM »
There are a number of day tours by coach that leave from Edinburgh (near the castle) that go all around Scotland. I took one that went all the way up to Inverness and back, which included a short boat trip in the afternoon down Loch Ness.

Really stunning countryside.

vern

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Re: A few days in London and Edinburgh-advice?
« Reply #17 on: October 23, 2016, 05:55:18 PM »
Don't watch the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, go to the Horse Guard Parade at Whitehall.  Far superior!

If you're in to sci-fi, Forbidden Planet is like a big museum.  (Just don't bring too much money!)

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crazy jane

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Re: A few days in London and Edinburgh-advice?
« Reply #18 on: October 23, 2016, 06:50:04 PM »
I used to live there. Skip The National Portrait Gallery. It's like looking at someone else's yearbook. Do go to The National Gallery. Go up the steps in the building take the first right. Rooms of fabulous art. When you exit look across the square for a cool view of Big Ben. I second the walks. I did about 50 of them while living there. The pub walks were my favorite. Go to Borough Market for lunch. Eat lots of small bites. Camden Town is my other favorite place for interesting people watching.  Holland Park is my favorite off the beaten path place for an afternoon stroll. Eat a bacon sandwich for me. Cheers.

RosieTR

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Re: A few days in London and Edinburgh-advice?
« Reply #19 on: October 23, 2016, 08:52:30 PM »
I used to live there. Skip The National Portrait Gallery. It's like looking at someone else's yearbook. Do go to The National Gallery. Go up the steps in the building take the first right. Rooms of fabulous art. When you exit look across the square for a cool view of Big Ben. I second the walks. I did about 50 of them while living there. The pub walks were my favorite. Go to Borough Market for lunch. Eat lots of small bites. Camden Town is my other favorite place for interesting people watching.  Holland Park is my favorite off the beaten path place for an afternoon stroll. Eat a bacon sandwich for me. Cheers.

OK, I had to look up "bacon sandwich". OMG. I never even conceived of somwthing like that, not even when I lived in Texas. Oh myyyy.

MandalayVA

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Re: A few days in London and Edinburgh-advice?
« Reply #20 on: October 24, 2016, 11:28:51 AM »

OK, I had to look up "bacon sandwich". OMG. I never even conceived of somwthing like that, not even when I lived in Texas. Oh myyyy.

Bacon butties!  And full English breakfasts!  And beans on toast!  And warm scones with clotted cream and jam at tea!  And pork pies!  And shepherd's pies!  At least with the shepherd's pie I could point out to Mr. Mandalay that I was eating vegetables.  :D  We also got addicted to G desserts, or puds as they're called there.  It's a good thing we did a lot of walking there because I ATE ALL THE ENGLISH THINGS.  And now I want beans on toast for dinner.
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KCM5

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Re: A few days in London and Edinburgh-advice?
« Reply #21 on: October 24, 2016, 12:24:52 PM »
For Edinburgh (all free unless noted):

The National Gallery is nice. A good place to warm up if you're in the area and I really enjoy it.

The National Museum of Scotland is excellent. I love the clock. And the shells and rocks and fossils. But that's kind of my thing, I'll admit.

Climbing up Arthur's seat is a must - a nice vigorous climb and the views are lovely.

Another nice "hike" is to go up Calton Hill and see the monuments. It's a really lovely part of town, too.

The Botanical Gardens are small but nice - if you're going in December or something there's probably not much flowering but they do have hothouses as well.

Edinburgh Castle - this is a quite extensive historic castle, and the tour is excellent. It does cost quite a bit to get in. If you like castles and historic military engagements, definitely go here.

Palace at Holyrood House. There is an entrance fee. I've never been here - have never heard a bad thing about it. I just think I'd be remiss not to mention it.

Check out Greyfriar's Kirk/Greyfriar's Bobby. Greyfriar's Bobby is a cute story, the churchyard is quite interesting and I didn't know anything about the Covenanters before spending time around there. 

If you want to get out of town for a bit, I would either get out to the Pentland Hills for a bit of hillwalking (hiking! And challenging hiking at that!) or out to North Berwick. There's are two castles near North Berwick (Dirleton and Tantallon) and a the Scottish Seabird Centre. Everything is accessible by bus.

Edited to add: Two more castles I loved - Stirling Castle. Historically important, well preserved/restored. Excellent tour. Doune Castle - if you like Monty Python, they'll give you some coconuts to augment your tour by pretending you're riding a horse.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2016, 12:29:49 PM by KCM5 »

RosieTR

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Re: A few days in London and Edinburgh-advice?
« Reply #22 on: October 25, 2016, 09:06:40 PM »
For Edinburgh (all free unless noted):

The National Gallery is nice. A good place to warm up if you're in the area and I really enjoy it.

The National Museum of Scotland is excellent. I love the clock. And the shells and rocks and fossils. But that's kind of my thing, I'll admit.

Climbing up Arthur's seat is a must - a nice vigorous climb and the views are lovely.

Another nice "hike" is to go up Calton Hill and see the monuments. It's a really lovely part of town, too.

The Botanical Gardens are small but nice - if you're going in December or something there's probably not much flowering but they do have hothouses as well.

Edinburgh Castle - this is a quite extensive historic castle, and the tour is excellent. It does cost quite a bit to get in. If you like castles and historic military engagements, definitely go here.

Palace at Holyrood House. There is an entrance fee. I've never been here - have never heard a bad thing about it. I just think I'd be remiss not to mention it.

Check out Greyfriar's Kirk/Greyfriar's Bobby. Greyfriar's Bobby is a cute story, the churchyard is quite interesting and I didn't know anything about the Covenanters before spending time around there. 

If you want to get out of town for a bit, I would either get out to the Pentland Hills for a bit of hillwalking (hiking! And challenging hiking at that!) or out to North Berwick. There's are two castles near North Berwick (Dirleton and Tantallon) and a the Scottish Seabird Centre. Everything is accessible by bus.

Edited to add: Two more castles I loved - Stirling Castle. Historically important, well preserved/restored. Excellent tour. Doune Castle - if you like Monty Python, they'll give you some coconuts to augment your tour by pretending you're riding a horse.

Wow, quite an extensive list! Thanks!

TheOldestYoungMan

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Re: A few days in London and Edinburgh-advice?
« Reply #23 on: October 26, 2016, 12:41:31 PM »
If its still there, the Texas Embassy Cantina is right around the corner from the location of the Texas Embassy in London from back when Texas was its own country.  The food wasn't bad, and it was the only place in London where they would put ice in the water without looking at you strange.

The re-creation of the Globe Theater in London is worth walking past, you might even get to see a show if you're going in the right season (wasn't ever open when I was in town).

The science museum in London (called like, The Grand Imperial Museum of Sciency or somesuch britishness) is hands down my favorite museum in the world on that type of content.  They had a huge industrial era steam engine that was actually in motion.  Really something to see a 3 story tall wheel just spinning away.

It's a really good town for just walking around in.  Doesn't reek like NYC and you can sit in a corner in a pub and just listen to the accents.

Going native for the food is an interesting idea.  I found really good thai, italian, french, chinese, indian, and even some african food.  British food sucks though.  I'm usually all about going local but blegh, they don't even like it.
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tonysemail

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Re: A few days in London and Edinburgh-advice?
« Reply #24 on: October 26, 2016, 01:35:30 PM »
this thread has some more suggestions-
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/mustachian-tourist-in-londonengland/

I wasn't impressed with the London Eye. 
We went during peak tourist season and the line was too long compared to the length of the ride.
IMO - if you're going to do it, then look at the line and upgrade to the express pass.

daverobev

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Re: A few days in London and Edinburgh-advice?
« Reply #25 on: October 27, 2016, 04:28:18 PM »


The science museum in London (called like, The Grand Imperial Museum of Sciency or somesuch britishness) is hands down my favorite museum in the world on that type of content.  They had a huge industrial era steam engine that was actually in motion.  Really something to see a 3 story tall wheel just spinning away.

...

British food sucks though.

Um, that'd be the.. Science Museum. http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/

Food - interesting read https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_cuisine - can't beat a good fish 'n chips.
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accolay

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Re: A few days in London and Edinburgh-advice?
« Reply #26 on: October 27, 2016, 06:21:43 PM »
British food sucks though.  I'm usually all about going local but blegh, they don't even like it.

I rather like a good English breakfast and fairly certain they enjoy it as well.

RosieTR

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Re: A few days in London and Edinburgh-advice?
« Reply #27 on: October 27, 2016, 09:46:32 PM »
I'll try some British food! Probably not black pudding though. The names are so weirdly cutesy (to my American ears): bubble and squeak, toad in the hole, etc. Also, everything is pudding! How to know if it's dessert or savory?

Will check the science museum, thanks! It'll be difficult to choose what to do!

FIRE Artist

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Re: A few days in London and Edinburgh-advice?
« Reply #28 on: November 04, 2016, 05:49:04 PM »
The Royal Yacht Brittania is in Edinburgh, a bit different for a tourist attraction, but surprisingly interesting, especially if royal life is of interest.

MrsDinero

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Re: A few days in London and Edinburgh-advice?
« Reply #29 on: November 04, 2016, 07:55:56 PM »
For Edinburgh (all free unless noted):

The National Gallery is nice. A good place to warm up if you're in the area and I really enjoy it.

The National Museum of Scotland is excellent. I love the clock. And the shells and rocks and fossils. But that's kind of my thing, I'll admit.

Climbing up Arthur's seat is a must - a nice vigorous climb and the views are lovely.

Another nice "hike" is to go up Calton Hill and see the monuments. It's a really lovely part of town, too.

The Botanical Gardens are small but nice - if you're going in December or something there's probably not much flowering but they do have hothouses as well.

Edinburgh Castle - this is a quite extensive historic castle, and the tour is excellent. It does cost quite a bit to get in. If you like castles and historic military engagements, definitely go here.

Palace at Holyrood House. There is an entrance fee. I've never been here - have never heard a bad thing about it. I just think I'd be remiss not to mention it.

Check out Greyfriar's Kirk/Greyfriar's Bobby. Greyfriar's Bobby is a cute story, the churchyard is quite interesting and I didn't know anything about the Covenanters before spending time around there. 

If you want to get out of town for a bit, I would either get out to the Pentland Hills for a bit of hillwalking (hiking! And challenging hiking at that!) or out to North Berwick. There's are two castles near North Berwick (Dirleton and Tantallon) and a the Scottish Seabird Centre. Everything is accessible by bus.

Edited to add: Two more castles I loved - Stirling Castle. Historically important, well preserved/restored. Excellent tour. Doune Castle - if you like Monty Python, they'll give you some coconuts to augment your tour by pretending you're riding a horse.

Wow, quite an extensive list! Thanks!

If you are going to do all this, I recommend getting the day pass for the city trolley.  It will take you all over the town.  I forget how much it is, but some of the sites are tucked away from the the main historic district.  You can get off and on as many times as you want.  The guides were entertaining and very knowledgeable.

I also second Sir Arthur's Seat.  I took the hard way up (when I was 4 or 5 months pregnant).  There were some steep climbs.  When I got to the top I realized there was an easier path :( 
~~Mrs. D.

oldtoyota

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Re: A few days in London and Edinburgh-advice?
« Reply #30 on: November 07, 2016, 04:16:58 PM »
Following.

deborah

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Re: A few days in London and Edinburgh-advice?
« Reply #31 on: November 07, 2016, 04:57:28 PM »
It is nice to walk the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, and just drop in on anything interesting (most of the things mentioned above are on the road). I was in Edinburgh for two months and it was really good just wandering around. The park near the station is nice, and you can follow the walls of the old town as many of them still exist. New Town was built after they became part of the United Kingdom, and was planned, so is interesting to walk by because it is very uniform, whereas the old town was crammed. The town hall was built on top of buildings that had the tops knocked off, so you can take a tour of the original town from the Town Hall, and go underneath - very interesting. Holyroodhouse was excellent, and is at the other end of the Royal Mile to Edinburgh Castle.

iris lily

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Re: A few days in London and Edinburgh-advice?
« Reply #32 on: November 07, 2016, 08:01:01 PM »
If you have only three days in Edinburgh and you will be jet lagged on one of them, settle yourself in to see the castle at the top of the Royal Mile and The Palace at the bottom. They are a good example of the difference between fortified castle for military purposes and a home for royalty (the palace.)

Walking between the two you will see fab 16th -18th century architecture, and maybe some earlier.

If you feel able to splurge, have lunch at The Witchery and be sure to look at their rooms online just to bet a sense of the place. What a fun place! Dinner is booked months ahead but you may be able to get in for lunch.

There are a lot of historical things of interest on the Royal Mile, but it is hard to find them snce they have to compete with the endless tourist shops. greyfriers' Bobby already mentioned, John Knox' house, the coffe shop where JK Rowling wrote the Harry Potter books, St. Giles Czthedral where a few imprtant historical things took place, and the grave of Adam Smith, philosopher of economics is there.

The Scottish National Museum is a short way off of the Royal Mile, liked it a lot.

Ive been to the portrait gallery and it is ok, but not great.

I've been to the Botanical gardens and they are decent.

I love Stirling  Castle as well, so if you want to see another castle, that might be a good one. It is a complex of several buildings that sit atop of a hill over the small town of StirIng.  Ut really, for Scottish architecture, the charming 17th century castles that make up Scottish Baronial architectural style are the ones to see. they tend to be scattered on the NW parts. They are not large military castles, they are refined castles meanst for family living and they are slightly castlellated for defence.

But really, with only 2+ days, I would stay in the Royal Mile. I think I visited Edinburgh twice before I bentured over to New Town.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2016, 08:04:24 PM by iris lily »