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Ty Oct 11th, 2001 06:01 AM

London/Scotland in December
I have so much appreciated the responses to my questions. We are going to be leaving the states the end of November and will be in London and Scotland for the first week of December. We will be staying at the Caledonian Hotel in Edinburgh and will see whatever we can in 2-3 days there. We have about the same number of days in London at the Metropole hotel. Has anyone stayed in either of these two places? And any advice about eating out? The two men are meat and potatoes kind of guys and none of us really want to worry over dressing for dinner much. Want to pack light and not have to fuss over alot of clothes. Just good food and atomosphere. None of us drink alcohol. Pubs, I hear, are the norm but that doesn't bother us at all. I hear they are warm, cozy places to be. So, any suggestions would be much appreciated. Also, will Christmas be evident in the area the first week of December?

Linda Oct 13th, 2001 11:45 AM

Yes, Christmas will be evident in London the beginning of December. I highly suggest you try to attend a pantomime. This purely British entertainment is wonderful, no matter what your age. <BR> <BR>Pubs are probably your best bet for simpler, good food. Yes, most pubs are cozy, friendly affairs, especially those not in hotels. You don't have to drink alcohol to be accepted. Try the shephers or cottage pie, for real meat and potatoes (not really a pie, but a ground meat mixture--usually beef--with a mashed potato crust--very good). And you certainly won't have to dress up for a neighborhood pub. <BR> <BR>Have a ball on your trip. It sounds wonderful.

Rhonda Oct 13th, 2001 12:14 PM

I think you'll find Christmas evident in Edinburgh in early fact I think in the first week they have a parade where they light all the christmas lights in George Street. I'm sure the people at the Caledonian will be able to tell you when..if not try the tourist information in Princes Street. As for meat and potatoes...good meat (sirloin steak etc.) is expensive. Expect to pay at least 12 - 15 or more for a steak in a restaurant. We just had dinner at Bar Roma in Queensferry Street..not far at all from the Calley. You may need to book on a weekend or go early. Italian place, usually busy and quite nice food. Pasta, pizza and usual Italian fare. Pizza and Pasta dishes around 8.00 Neat casual would be fine. Another place we go is Browns in George Street. Nice place..also might need to book..not over the top. Usually have a nice fish special of the day. Sirloin is 14. I think they also do a Steak and Ale pie...plenty to choose from. I'm trying to think of good pub meals but can't think of any at the moment. If you don't want to take any chances (kind of dull really but at least you know what to expect) the Sheraton is just up Lothian road (10 minutes walk if that) and they have a buffet 17 approx for two courses. When you say meat and potatoes it doesn't sound too adventurous so I've chosen a few places that most people could find something they like. In my experience eating out in the UK is expensive compared to the US. If you give me some kind of idea of how much you'd like to spend on a meal and what kind of foods the boys would be prepared to eat I'll try and think of some other places that will suit. <BR>Happy holiday! Rhonda

Ty Oct 17th, 2001 12:34 PM

Hi Rhonda, <BR> <BR>Thank you very much for such practical advice. We really aren't too picky. Will need to eat breakfast as well and have heard that English breakfasts are very good. Also, would love to do 'tea' in a couple of places. Nothing fancy just good tea, scones, clotted cream and jam! <BR> <BR>Any advice would be greatly appreciated. As for cost, we will eat a good breakfast and dinner probably and light lunches. The prices you quoted didn't surprise me. <BR> <BR>Thanks again!

Beth Oct 17th, 2001 01:12 PM

If the hotel you are refering to is the Hilton Metropole on Edgeware Road, I would STRONGLY suggest something else. My husband stayed there prior to our relocation to London (from the states) and there's not much in that area. Most of the restaurants serve Arabic cuisine. I would recommend finding a B&B or small hotel in Notting Hill, High Street Kensington or South Kensington - all of which are more centrally located. <BR> <BR>Also, we just came back from a weekend in Edinburg and had a wonderful meal at Petit Paris in Grassmarket and enjoyed some folk music at Sandy Bell's on Forrest Road (off Princes). The musicians were a group of friends that gathered there for an hour or so to play. Very informal - try the cider. Have fun!

Merilee Oct 17th, 2001 02:14 PM

Love London, love the people...the pubs are warm and cozy, BUT the cigarette smoke is so thick in many of them that you can barely see the people sitting across the table from you...I'm not kidding...

Rhonda Oct 17th, 2001 11:57 PM

Ty <BR> <BR>Good scones? A tough question for me because I've yet to taste anything that compares with the ones my Mum makes. I've been trying to think of "traditional" tea rooms and most that spring to mind are in rural areas. I wonder if somewhere like the "Balmoral" which is a traditional very "establishment" kind of hotel in Princes Street might have a "high tea"...I've not been but I'm sure they would and that it would be of good might not need dinner that night. My husband truly enjoys the breakfasts here..bacon, eggs, lorne sausage (flat sausage no skin), black pudding, baked beans and anything else he can fit on his plate. I'm not that keen on "fry ups" but I'm sure the Calley will have a comprehensive buffet. <BR> <BR>If it was tea that you were passionate about I can recommend Plaisir Du Chocolat, 251-253 Cannongate, EH 8. This is in fact in the "Royal Mile". The royal mile has Edinburgh Castle at the top and right down the cobbled street pretty much to Hollyrood Palace. I've no doubt you'll be in that area in fact it isn't too far from the Caledonian. Now Plaisir Du Chocolat is obviously french but they specialise in tea. They're very "particular"...not keen on you asking for milk and treat tea like some would wine. They have a tea menu..don't ask for coffee..they don't serve it but they do have a variety of hot chocolates..some like chocolate soup. They make and sell fine chocolates and french pastries and cakes. As I said they take it all very seriously so don't be offended if they look at you strangely when you ask for milk for your tea. I mention this because in a street that very much caters for tourists (mainly tartan souvenir shops etc.) and places like Starbucks (which I'm sure you can visit at home) it is often hard to find something a bit different. I've also eaten at the "Reform Restaurant" also in the Royal Mile. They have a very reasonable lunch special usually..once again not a franchise on a fairly touristy strip. They usually display the days menu outside so the "boys" can check to see if there is anything to their liking before they go in..all nice fresh produce with a daily menu change. Just mentioned these because you'll almost certainly be in the area. <BR>I've also enjoyed eating at a restaurant called "Stac Polly". They call themselves a "Scottish Restaurant" but it isn't all tac and tartan. I think they just use very good local produce of the season. So I guess you could expect things like game, salmon, Scottish beef and haggis etc. on the menu. It is located in Dublin Street which is in the New Town area about a 5 or 6 taxi fare from the Calley. An uphill walk on the way home but really only about 20 minutes at the most...I used to live just around the corner and walked these hills all the time and I was pregnant. New Town is a nice old area (new as in 1800's compared to the Old Town where the Castle is). The Restaurant is in a typical building of that era in the basement (a little cavernous). We celebrated my Mum's 70th birthday there when she visited from Australia and we all enjoyed the meal..and that is saying something. As far as appropriate dress for this place...I maintain as long as you're neat and clean it doesn't really matter. It appears in one of my books as a "medium" priced restaurant approx 30 for three courses without wine, coffee etc. <BR> <BR>It is often difficult trying to find a good meal in areas that have a lot of tourist traffic and given that you only have a few days I hope this helps and that your time in Edinburgh is enjoyable. Regards Rhonda

Barbara Oct 18th, 2001 08:01 AM

Ty, we had afternoon tea at the Balmoral last Christmas. Years ago, it was a lovely place for afternoon tea (not high tea), there was a big lounge area with big, comfy chairs and sofas. All that is gone now and afternoon tea is served in what seems to be a bar, with tables and restaurant-type chairs. It is very expensive and the overall experience is not very good. The Caley (local nickname for the Caledonian) used to have a great afternoon tea, but I have no idea what it's like currently. We were actually staying at the Carlton, and their's was good - huge scones, not too expensive and quite a nice seating area.

Rhonda Oct 18th, 2001 10:12 AM

Ty <BR>I was surprised to read Barbara's comments about the Balmoral but it would seem that she is right in what she says about the afternoon tea being served in a bar type area. It is called "Palm Court" apparently and as she says is more like a bar. I couldn't believe it and phoned to check. It also seems expensive as Barbara mentions (18.50 for sandwiches, scones cakes, tea & coffee). So apologies for the misinformation but as I said I hadn't been there for Afternoon Tea just knew it was a well regarded traditional hotel and expected that you would be likely to find a nice afternoon tea there. <BR> <BR>In the hope of locating a decent scone for you I referred to "Scotland the Best" a book we frequently use and they recommend..Queen Street Cafe located in the National Portrait Gallery as having the "best scones in town". So let me go and see...homework for this weekend..we'll try the cafe and scones and report back. If nothing else, I'm sure the National Portrait Gallery will be interesting. Rhonda

Ty Oct 18th, 2001 11:12 AM

Hi Rhonda, <BR> <BR>Thanks again for the advice and for the kindness of doing 'homework' for us! How good of you! <BR> <BR>We will take your opinions to heart. <BR> <BR>Ty

Ty Oct 18th, 2001 11:18 AM

Thank you very much for the info on the Metropole. We want a good hotel and had originally booked the Kensington Moate (sp)but had heard that the Metropole was nicer. I will call our travel agent and check it out.

Rhonda Dec 10th, 2001 04:40 AM

Topping for Barbara..

Aaron Johnson Dec 10th, 2001 07:05 AM

Hey guys,<BR>My bride and I are headed for the UK for our 20th anniversary. We are looking for a good place to stay in London, something with the local flavor, close to the tube, and doesn't cost a fortune. Can you give me some advice?<BR>Thanks,<BR>Aaron Johnson<BR>

Barbara Dec 11th, 2001 03:44 PM

Rhonda, I found this post you topped for me. Thanks. Several of your meal suggestions will work their way into my plans. And definately Plaisir Du Chocolat.

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