Edin, Aber. & Dund. by Rail

May 16th, 2004, 12:14 AM
  #1  
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Edin, Aber. & Dund. by Rail

We will arrive in Edinburg on a Monday morning in September and want to explore the East by rail. We like seaside towns, whiskey tours, castles, dining, shopping and gardens.
I was thinking of doing the week days in Aberdeen as a base because of ease of rail travel. Dundee sounds pretty too.
How does Monday and Tuesday nights in Aberdeen, Wednesday and Thursday nights in Dundee, and Friday and Saturday nights in Edinburg.
There is a Thistle hotel that they say is not far from the rail station in Aberdeen. I figure we can go to Inverness from there or where ever else by rail. I was thinking of the Thistle in Edinburg too. I think I would like to enjoy a very charming place with a lovely veiw in Dundee if there might be one convenient to the rail station and/or nice shopping and dining.
Are their Deeside tours from Dundee that we can use to see the Craithe and Balmoral Castles?
Which rail pass is the most inclusive in this area? I understand that one of them offers a 30% discount on our sleeper service to and from London.
Any suggestions? Does this make sense?
jimily is offline  
May 16th, 2004, 01:27 AM
  #2  
 
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I would like to stamp my little red heels and say "this isn't Kansas, any more"

You are going to have difficulty doing this. The coastal rail line stops at Aberdeen (you DO get a little more coast between Nairn and Inverness but not much.) Between Aberdeen and Dundee there are rail stops in Stonehaven, Montrose, Arbroath, and Carnoustie (if you are careful about which train you're on). In Fife, you have.... well, none.

None of these places have distilleries. Dundee has a couple of second rate castles; Stonehave has a foirst rate one, but it's 3 miles out of town. You could get within 3 miles of Flakalnd Palace by train.

There is good dining in Edinburgh and sporadically in Fife and Aberdeenshire. There is good shopping in Edinburgh and Aberdeen. There are good gardens in Edinburgh and Aberdeen, and Falkland Palace


I tried to find a Deeside tour from Aberden for someone last year, and short of using a private hire, it can't be done.

Dundee is the armpit of the Universe. Even its greatest adherents wouldn't call it pretty. It has some nice things in it, like the Discovery Centre and the Unicorn


Is there a particular attraction to Thistles? Do you get discount? There are two in Abedeen and one is very good and the other isn't

You could certainly get to Inverness by train from Aberdeen but there is not really much "wherever" If you stop in Elgin, you can see the Cathedral and buy some great cashmere.

I can't remember which is the Thistle in Edinburgh. Dundee and "charming" are words that don't feature often in the same sentence. If you took a top floor room overlooking teh river at the Earl Gray, that might be OK.



There is no nice shopping or dining in Dundee. In case you think I am exaggeratig, I would point out that I have the Hardens guide to UK restaurants and Dundee, Scotland's third largest city doe not have a single entry. I have the Good Food Guide, too and, guess what, null points. Scotland the Best, the same.

There might be tours from Dundee but I doubt it. There are from Edinburgh.

I'm afraid I don't do rail taickets. You need someone with a brain for that

I'm sorry to sound so negative when you sound so enthusiastic, but I suggest that, if you want to ue teh trains, you need to alter your priorities for sightseeing and if you would perfer not to alter your priorities, you need to use a car.
sheila is offline  
May 16th, 2004, 04:47 PM
  #3  
 
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Sheila is right. Dundee is to be avoided at all costs.I lived in Arbroath 40 years ago and it was a nice town then. The last time I was there(10 years ago) it was like a town in East Berlin. Fishing had gone, tourism had ceased, the outdoor pool had been demolished and shops were closed all over the place.All the things you want to do can be done best from Edinburgh.Take the train to North Berwick and enjoy the beach there if the weather is kind. Go to St. Andrews and walk around. There is much more to do there than golf.The Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh take some beating.
When I lived in Scotland, I was an East coast man, but the West is far superior to my mind. Think of Inverness as a centre for touring. There may be day bus yours from there which could fulfil all your needs. Once you have done one whisky tour, you have done them all.
almcd is offline  
May 16th, 2004, 11:11 PM
  #4  
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Thank you for setting me straight. I was having difficulty planning this holiday. Maybe we will start from Inverness and rent a car.
I just got no enjoyment in Ireland while having to navigate and riding shotgun with my darling husband who is a real road warrior.
I was thinking that if we did rent a car I might not plan any hotels and loosen up the plans and see were we end up at the end of each day.
I really liked the train last year, to Stirling, then to Oban. Very relaxing and scenic.
jimily is offline  
May 17th, 2004, 02:20 AM
  #5  
 
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jimily:
Sheila is less than fair to Dundee. She didn't mention the city's unique contributor to English literature, William Topaz McGonagall. His birthplace is easily equal to Stratford on Avon.

Here's what the great Poet and Tragedian had to say about Dundee:

"Regarding some of your beauties of the present day
And virtually speaking, there's none can them gainsay;
There's no other town I know of with you can compare
For spinning mills and lasses fair,
And for stately buildings there's none can excel
The beautiful Albert Institute or the Queen's Hotel,
For it is most handsome to be seen,
Where accommodation can be had for Duke, Lord or Queen,
And the four pillars of the front are made of Aberdeen granite, very fine,
And most beautiful does shine, just like a looking glass,
And for beauty and grandeur there's none can them surpass.
And your fine shops in Reform Street,
Very few can with them compete
For superfine goods, there's none can excel,
From Inverness to Clerkenwell.
And your Tramways, I must confess,
That they have proved a complete success,"


Sheila:

Great reply, but:

1. jimily really does deserve some kind of award for the sentence "I would like to enjoy a very charming place with a lovely view in Dundee if there might be one convenient to nice shopping and dining." Is it possible to cram more misconceptions into a single sentence?

2. You failed to use the word "dreich". No reference to the former jute capital of the world is ever complete without that invaluable Scottish invention

3. For your information (I love introducing the Scots to the charms of their delightful region), the Thistle - or at least one of them - in Edinburgh is the one in the St James' Centre.
Some years ago, I was being bought dinner there by the hotel's then holding company. The service was so spectacularly awful that my hosts walked out of their own hotel.

In fairness, its survival since then probably means it can only have got better.
flanneruk is offline  
May 17th, 2004, 08:58 AM
  #6  
 
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Hello,

Stayed in Edinburgh Thistle last year. It cannot be called charming by any stretch. It is, however, clean, in a great location,has a nice diningroom and bar, and they were great about storing luggage while we took a small-van tour. We got a good deal through a promotion. Stayed at Express by Holiday Inn in Aberdeen--small rooms, good location, nice lobby and bar. Pleasant and clean. (Thanks to Sheila for putting me on to this one.) Went in the very lovely looking Thistle right downtown in Aberdeen--it is in a lovely old building and looked great. Don't know if this is the good Thistle or the bad Thistle to which Sheila is refering.
gmin is offline  
May 17th, 2004, 09:40 AM
  #7  
KT
 
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While I agree that Dundee is less than charming and not a prime destination, I did have an interesting day trip there a few years ago. I went there because I was interested in Antarctic exploration, so I visited Scott's ship, the Discovery. I also enjoyed the Verdant Works, a former jute mill now a museum that addressed both the social and technical aspects of jute's glory days. There was a lot of construction going on in the city center -- I understand they've tried to remedy the worst of the previous center-city modernization, but I haven't been there since 2000 to see what's up.

Sheila mentioned the good castle near Stonehaven. That's Dunnottar. I had no trouble getting a taxi there from the main square in Stonehaven, and then I walked back along the path. If you want to sightsee by train, consider adding on taxi rides, bus rides, or good old-fashioned walking.
KT is offline  
May 17th, 2004, 12:06 PM
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I have just had another idea. Does a bus tour appeal to you. I took one several years ago and it was ideal. We drove to Inverness from Edinburgh and stayed in Inverness for four nights. Every day the bus took us on tours from our hotel, one of which included a whisky tour. We returned to Edinburgh on the fifth day. he tour was run by David Urquhart Travel and they can be contacted at:
www.davidurquharttravel.co.uk
Ask for their brochure. It could be ideal for you if the timing is right.
almcd is offline  
May 17th, 2004, 01:53 PM
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I have done a few train trips in Scotland and do prefer the West coast. One thought would be the train from Edinburgh to Perth and then up to Inverness and then to Kyle of Lochalsh. From Kyle you can visit the Isle of Skye. You could do a similar route from Edingurgh to Aberdeen and then over to Inverness and Skye. Another trip might be from Edinburgh to Glasgow then up to Oban where you can hook up with a bus tour company to take to Mull, via ferry, and then another to Iona. Just a couple of thoughts.
Roger is offline  
May 18th, 2004, 05:22 PM
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I just got back from a business trip to Aberdeen and stayed at the Thistle Caledonian. It was very nice, about 2-3 blocks from the train station, and in a great central location--steps from the main shopping area and about half a dozen blocks from the harbor which is very interesting. The walk from the station to the hotel is uphill, so if you're laden with luggage I'd spring for a taxi.

I took the train from Glasgow and thought the ride was lovely--beautiful rolling countryside, some rivers, and several miles right along the coast. Also, the trains themselves are new, spacious, and immaculately clean. Be sure to buy your tickets at the station, not on board--they're a bit cheaper that way. Also, rush hour is a bit more expensive than midday. There are many pricing plans, so sort through all your options at the station to choose the one best for you.
Linda0515 is offline  
Jun 25th, 2004, 10:42 PM
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Well I certainly appreciate your candor and I had a real chuckle at the comments about how many misconceptions about Dundee were compiled in one sentence. That's why my husband trusts me to plan our holidays.LOL I pick all your brains for advise and then I look like a hero.
We did Stirling, Oban, and Mull last year. I enjoyed it so much that I want to do the east coast this year. We like to do little geographical chunks of a country at a time.
This is what I have come up with after a couple emails to a friend in the Aberdeen area...
Night train to Inverness...anyone know about the Haughtly Waterside Hotel? they say they have refurbished it last spring but they have no website. I hate to book anyplace that I can't see a picture of the room.
Would like to cruise the Lochness for an afternoon and leisurely stroll around Inverness on our other day there(since I have found that this IS a nice city from you all).
Train to Stonehaven and hope to stay at the Ship Inn for two nights. Rent a car for a day and explore Deeside.
Train to Edinburgh and stay for two nights. I would like to take the bus to Leith and see the Brittania and the shopping area there.
Then the night train back to London and we will stay at the Thistle Victoria for easy travel to Gatwick a day later.
My querrie at this time is concerning the Waterside Hotel in Inverness and the Ship Inn in Stonehaven. I have not even begun to look for a place to stay in Edinburgh. We couldn't stay in Edinburgh last year because of the Festival, one would think I would have learned something about procrastinating. NOT!
Geezle Peezle! I can barely find time to try to plan this holiday and I may have a hard time relaxing while I'm there since I am just starting a new business in August. I hope Scotland has not lost the wonderful ability to calm and charm us that we experienced last year!
Thank you all for your candor and your gentle humor while critiquing my feeble first drafts of vacation plans.
Emily
jimily is offline  
Jun 26th, 2004, 12:19 AM
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I think your tour idea is a great one.

I don't know the Waterside as such. I do know it by sight (have you looked at http://www.haughdalehighlandhotel.co.uk/?)

It's in a nice location beside the river, and my only negative is that I associate it with bus tours. And that could be wrong.

Loch Ness cruise is a good idea. As you may know from elsewhere, I'm NOTa huge fan of Inverness. A stroll round would not take me more than 15 minutes and 10 of them would be in Marks and Spencer's

The Ship is in a lovely location (eat at the Tolbooth, one night, if you like sea food). I think, however, that the accommodation may be a bit basic. It's more than 10 years since I was in them (I sold it once) and it could have been hugely upgraded since then. I wouldn't put you off it- it's exactly the sort of place I'd like- but if you want somewhere classier, have a look at the St Leonard's.

You might like to have a look at the Holyrood or the Crowne Plaza in Edinburgh. The new Express by Holiday in Picardy place is getting a good word, as a budget hotel
sheila is offline  
Jun 27th, 2004, 10:03 PM
  #13  
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Thank you Sheila! I just booked our room in Edinburgh at the Express Holiday Inn. Double bed with a sleep sofa 85 BPS. Yippee!
jimily is offline  

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