Going to London and Scotland for the first time. Places to see, what is a "must-see"/"must-do"
I am going to London and Scotland for about 10 days in May. I've looked up for details on the net and read bits of Lonely Planet. However would appreciate tips from travellers who have been there.
I would like to know places in and around London that are worth visiting.
Also, I'd like to go to Edinburg and Glasgow - is this a good idea or should I travel elsewhere?
Also, should I pick up passes like 'London Pass' or 'UK Pass' or is this a marketing gimmick? I should just pay entry tickets when I reach London/Edinburg?
If you are keen to see historic sites such as castles, I think the Explorer Pass
from Historic Scotland can work out at good value - you can buy a 3 day pass for £21.
Edinburgh is a fantastic place to just walk around and Glasgow is only 40 minutes away by train so you can do a day trip there easily. Edinburgh has more of the traditional tourist sites and I think is generally considered to be more old and picturesque and Glasgow is more industrial and modern(ish), with a more progressive feel - shopping, modern art and architecture.
You don't mention what kinds of things you enjoy - if you like the great outdoors and fantastic scenery, I would recommend heading to the West Highlands - Glencoe and Skye in particular. May is usually the best time to visit as the midges (little biting flying beasties) aren't out yet and the weather is generally quite good (famous last words).
Hope that helps, happy planning!
Thanks Vikki - this info does help.
I would like to visit historic sites, so the Explorer Pass does seem like a good idea.
How do I get to Glencoe & Skye from Edinburg? Is there is bus service and ideally how much time should I spend in each of these places to enjoy them enough? Not too short that I feel I missed out & not too long bcoz I need to head back to India.
I think if you are on a tight timescale you might find it easiest to take a 2 or 3 day West Highland tour. The public transport to these areas is fairly limited and could make it difficult to make the most of your time. If you want to do any walking, I guess you'll need longer but if you are happy just to skim the surface and take in nice views I think that would be ample.
I live in Edinburgh so haven't actually used any tour services and would be hesitant to recommend anyone specific but the names Rabbies Trail Burners and MacTours always seem to be very visible so might be worth googling!
If you are coming from London and fancy using public transport, one good option could be to take the Caledonian Sleeper from London to Fort William. From there you could take a train onwards to Mallaig and get the ferry across to Skye. The West Highland rail line is meant to be be one of the most spectacular train journeys in the world, you get some amazing scenery and the journey from Fort William to Mallaig can be done by steam train (although I think the steam train seasonal and not sure if it runs in May so it could just be a normal train) - going across the viaduct at Glenfinnan and getting the view down the loch past the Bonnie Prince Charlie memorial is beautiful. You could then pick up a bus from Skye to Fort William and Fort William to Glasgow. Or you might be able to pick up a tour from Skye back down to Edinburgh...
You can sometimes get cheap deals on the sleeper from London if you book far enough in advance. Check out the First Scotrail
website for all train travel in Scotland. Most of the main bus routes between cities and large towns are serviced by Citylink
coaches. Some routes also have Megabus
who usually offer the cheapest fares. Although when I went to the Citylink website to get the url I just noticed that they do an explorer pass which gives you 3 days of travel for a set price which could be a good deal.
If I can be of any further help, just give me a shout!
Thanks so much...this is really useful!
Hi - Does anyone have any suggestions about London? Would be really valuable while plannin my trip.
I lived in London for 18months and travelled to scotland twice.
London: In my opinion many of the attractions of London are very gimicky and not worth the entry. Ones that I believe are worthwhile are the British Museum (free), Tower of London (entry fee), wander from London Bridge to Westminster bridge along southbank on a nice day, hit a market (burough,spitalfields,greenwich,nottinghill) I find covent garden market to be not worth the visit, west end show.
The best advice I have is to remember that the underground map is not to scale, what looks like a big distance between stops might only be a few hundred meters walking and you will see more of the city itslef (the true attraction).
lastminute.com has many deals on theatre tickets, never pay full price for a ticket. Many attractions will give you two for 1 entry when you have a valid train ticket for that day.
Day trips from London:
Stonehenge and bath in one day (very worth it, I forget the company name but they are the cheapest at arund 50 pounds for the trip)
Head to the Bristol beach (pebble beach but nice)
Edinburgh - well worth the trip
Invernes - well worth the trip (loch ness day trip)
Isle of Skye if your a nature lover who doesn't get bored easily, beautiful and uneventful
Hope some of this helps.
Thanks Phil! This is really helpful.
Also, does anyone know if its alright to travel to UK now? Or is it unsafe bcoz of the swine flu?
The newspapers here have asked us to avoid "unnecessary" travel.
If you're in London - one of the latest attractions is in Piccadilly Circus. If you follow the arrow from the bow on the Statue of Eros and stand where the bow would have landed - you can claim a kiss from any passer-by.
Take a look at http://tinyurl.com/prvsxy
Haha....that is cute...I'll visit for sure!
Swine flu is still a risk in London at the moment, but it is currently still a small risk and you will find that all Londoners are still going about their daily business as normal. We've been hearing about it a lot on the news and people with colds have been told to stay at home but aside from that no one is particularly bothered by it.
Thanks for the update...I've changed my travel plans and will be in London in the first week of June, so guess by then all will be fine...
BBC News reported two new cases of Swine Flu. So you better be careful when you're traveling. Check this link.. It should help you..
according to wikipedia
On April 29, the Emergency Committee had their third meeting, and decided to raise the pandemic alert level to five, the second-highest level, indicating that a pandemic is "imminent," and that human-to-human transmission cases have been recorded in multiple countries.
Thanks for the advice but guess I'll just cross my fingers and travel.
Any suggetions on accomodation in Edinburg? And what is the max I should pay for a bed n breakfast kind of deal? Nothing fancy, since I'm on budget but clean n safe.
How you traveling to Edinburgh gurl?
I have the option of taking the train or the coach - the coach takes much longer but is quite cheap. So, I'd rather take the coach. Any suggestions?
I suggest you go by road. There are many cheap car hire
companies available and offering the best deals. My friends have tried it and they found the services affordable. You can always take the coach but you know you cant stop the coach, get off and enjoy right?? 😊
first off, let me say that i hope that you had a safe journey, tanya!
definitely belated, but i'm guessing that anyone else on the forum trying to decide what must-see/must-do stuff to include on their itinerary would come here..... so i'm going to use this as a place to list my top places.
definitely london (but you're going to be landing there anyway, most likely! st. paul's, the changing of the guard)
hadrian's wall (definitely, if you took lots of latin like me)
anyway, for me, those are the must-sees if you are going for a whirlwind, first-timer see the sites sort of trip. here's a link to some other good ideas of ways to for first-timers. yeah, it's a tour, but i figure, see what the professionals are doing, and make your own itinerary around that.
Hi Jonathan - thanks for the revert!
I did return from my trip to UK and I've managed to cover all the places above except for Belvior Castle - would look it up on my next trip!