Over the Memorial Day weekend we flew to the UK for our first visit to Scotland. Since we left on my birthday the lounge staff in RDU gave me a chocolate cupcake! This paired nicely with the Mumm champagne.
We spent two days exploring Edinburgh, then another two days driving around Trossachs National Park. One trait that quickly became apparent was the chattiness of Scots — these were definitely Leandra’s people! Over the course of our trip we also learned about Scotch whisky, enjoyed many panoramic views, sampled the craft beer scene, and viewed a number of old castley buildings. The mix of city and countryside gave us a nice overview of the region and we definitely want to go back.
Apex European, Edinburgh
As part of a British Air promotion, our airfare included two nights at this hotel, located about a mile from the tourist core. Even though the hotel was located on a busy road into town, our first floor bedroom faced a side street and the windows kept the noise out. The room was also fairly dark (the sun rose at 4:30am!) and the bed was comfortable.
Breakfast was included in our rate and consisted of a small buffet area with granola, juice, pastries, etc, plus hot entrees off the breakfast menu. Leandra tried the Scottish breakfast (including black pudding and haggis!) while Eric stuck to the scrambled eggs and toast. Overall it was good but not memorable.
Given the hotel location and the lack of a tram or metro system we became acquainted with the complex Edinburgh bus system. Thankfully I had printed a bus map before we left, as it became pretty clear that the bus line really wants tourists to use the £12 tourist bus exclusively and doesn’t provide a lot of help to use the city system (which had a £3.50 daily pass). Overall I would say that location was the only issue with the hotel, and we’d likely stay closer to town if we were paying for the hotel directly.
Westcot B&B, Callander
We decided on the small village of Callander as our central point for exploring the Trossachs National Park and it turned out to be a very good decision. Along with the good weather on our drive into town we also hit an unexpected 30 minute traffic snag which initially had us worried about our plans to stay in town, especially since the B&B had no off-street parking. Thankfully it was the only time we experienced traffic in the area and had no problems with parking during our stay.
Our room, the Crags, was comfortable with a large window looking into the back yard, small desk and a private bathroom. Breakfast was ordered the night before and made fresh each morning. Leandra again had the haggis and quite liked their version. As with many B&B’s the proprietors were pleasantly chatty. We would have enjoyed staying a few more nights to better explore the area.