UK 2015: overview

by | Jun 14, 2015 | International Travel, Travel, Uncategorized

In late April we traveled to the UK with a group of friends. Altogether we spent eight days traveling around Scotland, where Leandra drove over 900 miles (!) in six days; then onto London for two nights. Our adventure took us past many castles, quite a few hills and lochs, a sun-filled snow storm, and elevated our Scotch whisky experience to a new level.

Scotland-Driving-Map
click to enlarge map

Where we stayed

Park Inn by Radisson, Glasgow

We knew parking in Glasgow would be challenging given the downtown location of this hotel, so we emailed a week before and were given the address of a parking garage that would charge us 7 pounds for 24 hours.

On arrival we pulled up to the hotel to find no available loading zone plus a giant trash bin blocking the front of the hotel. With nowhere convenient to unload the car we just drove to the recommended parking garage about 6 blocks south walked our luggage back to the hotel. On check-in we asked if we needed to do anything special to validate our parking, and found out we had to leave the car in the garage for 24 hours and couldn’t take it out… so basically there was only a special rate if we parked for a whole day, something that was definitely not clear in their communication. Because we parked the car for less time (16 hours), we had to pay the standard garage rate of 14 pounds. We later discovered that street parking was free overnight on the weekends.

Our room was on the 2nd floor and along the main road, so it was a little noisy at night. As usual we had our earplugs so it wasn’t an issue. The room size was fine, with a good size closet and enough space to open our bags. The desk had easy-to-access outlets too.

glasgow-bath  glasgow-bed

The hotel itself has a great location, with the train station quite convenient and quite a few great bars and restaurants very close. (Though the front desk staff didn’t have any specific suggestions on that front either.)

Ben A’an House, Callander

Our group of 5 had all three rooms in this B&B. Our room had an ensuite bathroom, and a low bed and large wardrobe in a room with high ceilings and detailed crown moldings. Not too fancy and certainly comfortable enough. Our room faced the street, but Callander is pretty quiet at night so noise was not a problem.

calender-bed

Breakfast was fine with the usual selection of eggs how you like, bacon, blood sausage, haggis, beans, tomatoes, mushrooms and toast.

The other two rooms shared a bathroom across the hall. Showers in both were a little tricky as you needed to start the hot water with a pull chain. Street parking was easy as we found a spot within a block each time we needed one.

Strathallan Guesthouse, Grantown on Spey

The Strathallan Guesthouse was a wonderful experience. On arrival the exterior was wonderfully decorated, and even had a bit of snow!  We received a warm reception from the owner who gave us a quick tour.

scot-101

Our room was large with plenty of space to spread out. There was a small table in the window with two chairs, and very comfortable four-poster bed. Our hosts had included several nice touches like a glass of whisky and chocolates on the dresser.

gos-bed

The bathroom had a marvelous soaking tub and a lot of space.

Breakfast was also quite filling and tasty. Each evening we made selections for the next morning, with plenty of options available. Leandra thought this was the best haggis she’s tried in Scotland. Definitely a good choice for the area, we would easily consider a return on a future trip.

Clamshell Land Apartment Royals Mile, Edinburgh

You definitely can’t beat the location of this apartment – in the middle of the Royal Mile, a few minutes walk from the train station. The apartment itself was fairly modern with high ceilings and lots of technical touches. We had a small bedroom with en-suite bathroom, while the other two bedrooms shared a huge bathroom.

royalmileviews
our view of the Royal Mile just outside our front door!

Both bathrooms were a little weird. For example, the light switch activated the locks for the doors – if you hit the lights before you closed both doors the lock wouldn’t engage, and you had to hit the lights to properly unlock the door. Both were a little difficult for people to remember. Our bathroom was quite narrow with the shower head right in the middle. While it looked cool, it meant that the entire room got wet each time the shower was used and you had to wade across a wet floor to use the toilet. Given the large sauna that was attached, it would be a lot nicer to have a bath/shower room with a door instead.

The living room was nicely sized and comfortable. Given the technology theme, it was equipped with a Sonos player, and the TV had netflix and amazon streaming. The kitchen was well stocked with supplies too.

One item to note: it was a bit difficult to get a hold of the owner/manager via email or text, so we resorted to phone calls. Also, they were quite late to show us around the apartment; however, he was quite apologetic, and gave us a bottle of sauvignon blanc wine as an apology.

Premier Inn London St.Pancras

With a great location one block from the tube and train station, the Premier Inn was a convenient spot for us on this trip. The hotel had check-in via kiosk, which was relatively easy, and our room was ready at 2pm. The room itself was rather small, consistent with London rooms in general, and had a very small window to an interior courtyard. There was no closet, just a small rack with a few hangers available for clothes. The bathroom was fine, a bit more spacious than the rest of the room with an all-in-one body and hair wash dispenser in lieu of bottled amenities. Overall it was clean, in a good location, and reasonably priced.

Tagged with: hotels | London | Scotland | UK | UK 2015 | UK 2015 LDN

Our Itinerary

2024 Trips

San Diego, CA (Jan)
Sarasota, FL (Feb)
Valencia, Spain (Mar)
Mallorca (Apr)
Croatia (May)
Faroe Islands (Aug)
London, UK (Sept)
Bari, Italy (Sept)</br />Rome, Italy (Oct)
Frankfurt, Germany (Oct)

2022 Trips

Florida (Feb)
NC Mountains (Apr)
Washington DC (Apr)
Valencia, Spain (May)
Hilton Head, SC (May)
Pacific NW (Jun)
Long Island (Jul)
Florida (Sept)
Chicago (Sept)
Poland (Sept)
NC Mountains (Nov)
Euro Xmas Markets (Dec)