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Scotland: Rabbies, Kids, and Potter-mania

Scotland: Rabbies, Kids, and Potter-mania

Jul 20th, 2015, 04:34 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 68
Scotland: Rabbies, Kids, and Potter-mania

My family (2 adults, 2 children ages 10 and 14) took a ten-day trip to Scotland at the end of June, and we benefited greatly from advice on this forum (thank you, thank you!). I lurked instead of asking questions, but now I feel like I have some answers to common questions that may be of interest to others. Here goes...

We flew into and out of Edinburgh. We rented a great apartment from this company: http://innercitylets.com/ (recommended in my hard copy of Fodors' Scotland), and I would definitely recommend them to others. Our apartment was right on the Royal Mile, and an easy walk everywhere. We stayed there six nights, and did one day trip to Glasgow (via train) and one day-trip with Rabbies to Alnwick Castle, where they filmed early Harry Potter films and some episodes of Downton Abbey. This trip was one of two with Rabbies (the other was the three-day Isle of Skye) and we enjoyed both. The trip to Alnwick was long, especially for the ten-year old, but they loved the castle--despite the fact that it was pouring rain. Really pouring. The castle and setting are spectacular.

We did a few tours in Edinburgh including the Potter Trail tour (a huge hit! the guide was fantastic), the Ghost bus tour (the kids loved it, and we had an excellent guide, but it was pricey), and the Mercat Tour (another great guide).

For our last three days in Scotland, we did the Rabbies 3-day Isle of Skye tour. We really loved it. we were on the bus for a long time, but we got to see a lot of the country we would not have seen otherwise. My experience of both Rabbies guides was that they were wonderful storytellers, so it did not feel (at least to those 14 and up) that the drives were too long. Everyone really loved Skye, even though we had another downpour and some mist. We stayed at a B & B in Portree arranged by Rabbies--I suspect they only serve Rabbies--and it was very comfortable with an excellent breakfast. We had two bedrooms right across the hall. Portree is really busy in the summer, and dinner reservations or a willingness to wait are key. We saw some great scenery on the way there and back, with plenty of stops for bathrooms and sightseeing. I would definitely recommend this tour to others.
rosalicious is offline  
Jul 20th, 2015, 06:22 PM
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Lovely report. Glad you enjoyed the Rabbies tours.
janisj is online now  
Jul 20th, 2015, 09:43 PM
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Read your report with great interest as we leave for Scotland in just a few days.

Surprised you had heavy downpours in June. I have been monitoring the July/Aug. weather and it seems it will be raining every day during our trip. Hope we can manage to enjoy our trip with umbrellas and raincoats!

I am looking forward to doing some shopping for unique Scottish items. Wondering what your family discovered that was worth buying and bringing it home.

Did you all enjoy eating some authentic Scottish food such as haggies? Do share some info. on food.

Glad you enjoyed the Rabbies tour as we are also planning to use them.

Hope you took lots of lovely photographs.
ileen is offline  
Jul 21st, 2015, 04:13 AM
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ileen - seafood is excellent - my favourites are scottish scallops, langoustine and squat lobster/squat lobster tails. I recommend the followingbr />


Venison and scottish beef. Also anything with berries in - the UK arguebly has the best berrries in the world because of the climate. On the sweetie front, tablet and ice creams.
RM67 is offline  
Jul 21st, 2015, 04:26 AM
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For bringing back, sweets, marmalades and shortbread as per my other thread. Maybe some oatcakes and a sharp scottish cheddar. To be honest though the fresh produce is what it's all about and you are better off enjoying it while you are there.
RM67 is offline  
Jul 21st, 2015, 04:54 AM
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Thanks for reading and for your questions! We bought some souvenir-type items, and also went shopping in the New Town section of Edinburgh. I insisted that we only go to stores we do not have in the U.S., and the girls bought some cute clothes (and the 14-year old a Hard Rock Edinburgh t-shirt). I bought a lovely scarf, but I could not convince anyone in my family to buy any tartans.

We ate a lot of fish and chips, and burgers. I ordered haggis one night so others could try it; but no one ordered it again. In Edinburgh, the Pizza Express on George IV bridge is quite nice, and my kids enjoyed the pizza. And, of course, we ate in the Elephant House cafe! We also really loved Gurkha Cafe Indian restaurant on Cockburn St.--in fact, we ate there twice.

The baked goods are phenomenal--I had a scone almost every day. The best one was on the side of a lake on the way to Skye. I had some delicious mussels at the Granary Restaurant in Portree. As RM67 says, the berries are wonderful. Eat as many as you can!

I definitely recommend trying some whisky--I had it for dessert on a couple of occasions .
rosalicious is offline  
Jul 21st, 2015, 05:25 AM
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Sounds like a great trip. I did a tour and you are so right about a loooong time on the bus. Made me very antsy. Can you link your apartment?
flpab is offline  
Jul 21st, 2015, 07:34 AM
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Enjoyed your report. I was also there in June. Yes, a lot of clouds and cool temperatures along with some rain. It is Scotland and absolutely no one can predict the weather. One man on our Rabbies tour couldn't understand why we were having so much rain as he had looked at weather charts/ reports for the last 50 years and June was supposedly one of the driest months. He had never been to Scotland before.
historytraveler is online now  
Jul 21st, 2015, 08:10 AM
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I too used Rabbies for Isle of Skye....it was great! In Portree I stayed in a lovely hotel right on the harbor and near some good Seafood restaurants. They will make the accommodation arrangements within a range in price.
It was in July a few years ago and we also had not only heavy rain but heavy winds...but, it didn't ruin my trip at all.
SusieQQ is offline  
Jul 21st, 2015, 08:30 AM
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Here is our apartment: http://innercitylets.com/YSY-201412-106

The company has a great variety of places, in different parts of Edinburgh, and the manager is great to work with.

My plan is definitely to go back when the youngest is in college: then we can focus on hiking. I was quite envious of all the walkers in the highlands!
rosalicious is offline  
Jul 21st, 2015, 09:23 AM
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ileen: >>Surprised you had heavy downpours in June. I have been monitoring the July/Aug. weather and it seems it will be raining every day during our trip<<

Rain is never surprising in Scotland. Monitoring future weather is a futile exercise -- unless you are looking at tomorrow's forecast. There is no way to know what the weather will be next week let alone next month. Just be prepared w/ layers/waterproof.

Did you happen to see any of the Open just competerd at St Andrews? In the space of 5 days there was EVERYTHING. Warm, dead calm, sunny, 45 mph winds, downpours, mist, overcast, cold.

rosalicious: That flat is in a terrific location.
janisj is online now  
Jul 21st, 2015, 04:15 PM
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Thanks for all the replies to my questions.

Yes, Janis, I was glued to the television a lot watching the Open in St. Andrews. Although not really a golf fan, I was more eager to catch a glimpse of the town, the people, etc.

Of course, saw the crazy weather and how the players had to bear with it.

I do understand the weather pattern, but just sharing my concern. I actually like a little bit of rain and walking around with an umbrella. But hope I will not miss too much with there are downpours.

It is okay, it is part of travel and the adventure. We will enjoy whatever weather we get and will adjust our plans accordingly.

Today I packed my suitcase! I seem to have everything I will need in every sort of weather.

Thanks for everyone's help, I am looking forward for a real fun time in Glasgow and Edinburgh.
ileen is offline  
Jul 21st, 2015, 06:03 PM
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It sounds like you had a wonderful time. I was there around the same time as you (end of June and beginning of July). There was rain but I have to say it wasn't as bad as on my other visits. I always go around this same time of year. We also took a Rabbies tour with a few days on Isle of Skye. I have taken their 3 day tour of Isle of Skye before but this time, we did see some of the same things but a lot of different things as well.
sassy27 is online now  
Jul 21st, 2015, 06:45 PM
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ROSALICIOUS, thanks for your informative report. I have only heard great things about Rabbies. And you apartment looks great.

I am sure the kids will have great memories of this trip...
latedaytraveler is offline  

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