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Scotland and the Single Girl: Highlands Tours and Eating Out in Edinburgh

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Feb 27th, 2009, 11:35 AM
  #1
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Scotland and the Single Girl: Highlands Tours and Eating Out in Edinburgh

Hi Everyone,

I'm new to the forums and have a few questions regarding Scotland. I'm planning a trip on my own in May of this year. I've got my plans pretty much worked out -- flying into London for a three night stay, taking a train to Edinburgh where I'll be based for five nights.

I'm planning to take a tour of/through the Highlands to the Isle of Skye. I'm a New Yorker and I don't drive so I've been looking at lots of tour companies. My problem is they all look a like!
I've found a 3-day , 2-night tour to Skye with company called Viatour. Here's the url: http://tinyurl.com/ag8or7.

Has anyone heard of them? I'd love suggestion on other companies, just to cover my bases. I'm looking for small tours that cater to a younger (40 and under) audience. Cost is a consideration -- something under $500 would be best. The tour should include entry into sites along the way.

On another issue:
Can anyone suggest restaurants in Edinburgh that offer good bar menus? I don't have a major issue eating alone at a table, but I'd rather not do it every night.

Thanks!
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Feb 27th, 2009, 11:56 AM
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I saw a couple MacBackpacker tour busses while I was on Skye - and they definitely catered to the younger crowd The tour guide was very fun. I think his name was Ewan. We chatted a bit at the Fairy Glen (still can't believe they got a bus up through that thing!)

For eating, find a pub that serves food (most have menus posted outside for you to see) and sit at the bar. That usually gets you included in conversations

You can check out my trip report to Scotland last summer (granted there were 6 of us, not 1!) if you like You'll have a great time~!
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Feb 27th, 2009, 12:17 PM
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A pub with a good menu where we ate in Edinburgh is the King's Wark at 36 The Shore, in Leith. Also The Compass, at 44 Queen Charlotte Street, also in Leith.
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Feb 27th, 2009, 01:41 PM
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I know nothing for or against Viator but I'd strongly advice you look at Mac Backpackers, Haggis and Rabbie's.

I think we may have a language issue re "bar". It doesn't mean you eat at the bar if there's a bar menu. Bar, in that context means the same as pub.

So, in a restaurant you'll eat at a a table and in pub you'll eat at a table. Lots of lovely places to tray and some of them are bars!!
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Feb 27th, 2009, 02:32 PM
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Thanks everyone for the advice. I'll check out MacBackpackers and Haggis -- I've looked into Rabbie.

I was planning to eat several meals at pubs so that covers some of my "bar" eating.
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Mar 1st, 2009, 01:45 AM
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So, describe teh eating experience you're looking for?
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Mar 1st, 2009, 02:12 AM
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I went on a great Rabbies tour to the Highlands, but the group was made up of mostly older people...there were a few younger, so it may not suit your criteria. Other than that I highly recommend them.
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Mar 5th, 2009, 06:18 AM
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Sheila,

I guess I'm trying to avoid always eating at a table alone when I'm in a "fine dining" restaurant. Here, even very good restaurants usually have bars and will serve you dinner there instead of at a table for one. Does that make sense?
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Mar 5th, 2009, 01:28 PM
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ah ha! You are looking for the slightly classier pub. Generally restaurants here don't have bars, although there are lots of restaurants which are not so posh that eating in them on your own would make you feel iffy.
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Mar 6th, 2009, 09:10 AM
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Ok, thanks Shelia. I look for classier pubs.
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Mar 16th, 2009, 11:59 AM
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I am also traveling to Edinburgh, girl on her own too, from April 26 to May 6, 2009. It is my second trip. There is an international rugby final over the last weekend, which should provide eye candy for us single girls! I have lots of favorite pubs and eating alone is not a problem anywhere I've been. I liked Bert's (Burt's?) pub. It's a total Edinburgh experience. Little fireplace, great pub food, nice wait staff, all locals. I also liked The Witchery, but it can be crowded. The pub at the Caledonian had some of the best fish and chips. I am staying at the Inchgrove House in New Town and plan to take day trips, plus do the historical scene. It's also Homecoming 2009 where everyone Scottish or Scottish descent is invited HOME! Special events are happening all over the country for the entire year. I'd definitely do a pub crawl or two and a literary pub crawl can be really fun. Glasgow is honoring the publishing of Adam Smith's Moral Thought so that is another possible day trip. Anstruther (sp?) on the way to St. Andrews has a great fish and chips place (renown) overlooking the marina and Perth is another stop you can make. Look for fresh water pearls from the Tay River. A jeweler near St. John's Church in Perth had beautiful and well priced Scottish jewelry. If you need more detailed info like names, numbers, email me at [email protected] and I'll send you some stuff.
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Mar 20th, 2009, 08:39 AM
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alamojt,

Thanks for that report and info. I'll definitely email! When you eat alone at a pub -- do you eat at the bar or a table? I really just want to make sure I’m not isolated.

Are you doing daytrips by train? Or opting for an organized tour? I think I’ve settle on an organized daytrip tour to the Borders (which unfortunately doesn’t include a stop at Floors Castle) - but I’ll just hop a train to Glasgow.
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Mar 20th, 2009, 09:17 AM
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You don't really ever eat at the bar, or, indeed, sit at the bar here. Unless you want to be picked up
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Mar 20th, 2009, 10:07 AM
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Really?? Well, I'm not aginst getting picked up, but I don't really want to send that signal everytime I want to eat lunch. So what's your take on how a solo woman traveler should approach dining or going out alone? That is -- how to meet locals without always sending out the wrong signal?
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Mar 21st, 2009, 07:05 AM
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That's actually quite difficult. You definitely want to eat at a table, not at the bar. That's not going to be a problem. The problem is getting to speak to folk without looking overeager.

Quite hard, especially in the city. in the country, the bars are more mixed- by which I mean they are community places, and people from all sorts of backgrounds are likely to be there. The sort of place you are likely to want in Edinburgh, will presumably be more trendy and have fewer people with no point to prove.

Hmmm. Anyone else got a clue here? I'm struggling.
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