Just returned from England and Scotland

Old Jul 1st, 1999, 06:25 PM
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Just returned from England and Scotland


I just returned from vacation in England and Scotland.
I have listed a few things which might be useful and I would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

1) Arrived at Gatwick. There were 4 of us so we decided to rent a car. Using Autoeurope ( and then Europcar) this cost around 550 dollars for 20 days and we were very pleased with the vehicle. When we booked with Autoeurope we were told we were guaranteed an upgrade upon arrival-note that an upgrade is not necessarily a bigger car, it might be just the addition of a feature such as air-conditioning. We paid 2 pounds a day more for a larger model and we were glad we did. (Renault Scenic, minivan style, perfect for 4 people with luggage).

2) Drove to and through London. This was dumb. If you drive to London, take the M25 to the exit nearest your destination and then go in, even if it means driving 2/3 of the way around the city it's still easier than taking the direct route.

3) We had reserved a room at the Harlingford Hotel in Cartwright Gardens. We paid 103 pounds a night for the family room which slept 4.
Cartwright gardens is a quiet area with several hotels and close to the Russell Sq. and St. Pancras tube stations. I would describe our hotel as adequate. No elevator, excellent breakfasts.

4) Attended the Ceremony of the Keys. I would highly recommend this to anyone.
Ate and drank in the Covant Garden area which was quite a scene on a Friday night.
If you like real ale try the Speckled Hen, Theakston's Old Peculiar is also very good.

5) Visited Stonehenge, Bath, Stourhead Gardens, Exmoor, Dunster castle, and Porlock
If you plan on visiting more than one or two National Trust sites it is well worth getting a group membership. They have a special rate for foreigners- approx 56 pounds for a year- which gets all of you in free at all trust properties in Britain, this is a deal considering most of the sites we visited cost 4-6 pounds per person.

6) Edinburgh was a great place to visit. I have read several postings from people who are crunched for time asking whether they should travel from London to Edinburgh. If you only have a few days I would by-pass London alltogether and go straight to Edinburgh. London may have more to see, but if you're only there for a short time it can be pretty overwhelming. Edinburgh has a much friendlier feel to it, it is in a spectacular setting, and seemed more manageable.

7) Inverness was pleasant but I would not make a point of returning.
We visited the Glenmorangie distillery near Tain and really enjoyed the tour (small group of 6-7 people). My father-in-law had visited the touristy distillery tour in Edinburgh and said there was no comparison with the real thing.

8) From Tain we headed to the west coast and the highlands which were without doubt the highlight of the whole trip. Amazing scenery. Ullapool, Skye, the road from Mallaig, and Glencoe were all unforgettable.

In Scotland we payed between 14 pounds per person (Ullapool) to 20 pounds per person (Edinburgh) for accomodation including breakfast. We got the impression that anyone travelling in Scotland in July and August should definitely have reservations before they go.

If you rent a car in Britain, expect to pay 70 pence a litre for gas. I think that works out at 4-5 dollars per US gallon. Our vehicle (loaded) got about 35 miles to the gallon.

Hope this helps someone.
Andrew Monk
Old Jul 2nd, 1999, 09:17 AM
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Thanks Andrew, that was interesting. Can you tell me if it is a difficult drive going south along the coast from Ullapool? I believe the name of the place I was interested in driving to was called Torridon. Where did you stay in the Highlands?
Old Jul 2nd, 1999, 02:14 PM
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Sounds like a great trip. Just a few questions. 1)What was the weather like in Scotland? Approximate temperature?
2)Did you find driving to be difficult or stressful in Scotland? Would you recommend it for a first time visit to Scotland? (as opposed to going the tour route) Thanks for the info.
Old Jul 6th, 1999, 02:35 PM
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Are you still out there? Just wondering.
Old Jul 6th, 1999, 05:26 PM
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Old Jul 7th, 1999, 11:03 AM
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I will let Andrew tell you about his driving experiences, but in his absence, perhaps I can help with the weather?

In a word, warm and wet.

We're having a summer which could be loosely described as "crummy" It varies from dy to day and place to place, but temp 16 degrees to 22 degrees are about usual; and damp ( or absolutely pouring).

We have had some sunny days, but not many
Old Jul 8th, 1999, 03:18 AM
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