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Availability of Styrofoam ice chests and buying bagged ice on the road in Britain

Our plan for an eight day road trip in Britain was to buy a small Styrofoam ice chest in a supermarket and buy ice cubes or blocks along the way to keep perishables like cheese, meats, fruit, leftovers, etc. for lunches and snacks. In the States, you can pick the ice chests up in any supermarket pretty cheap and any corner gas station, supermarket, or liquor store sells bags or blocks of ice. It occurred to me that maybe that isn't the case in Britain. Europe in general has a curious lack of availability of ice in hotels and restaurants and may not sell it at roadside gas stations or supermarkets. Does anyone know the feasibility of obtaining bagged ice (and the ice chest for that matter), in Great Britain?

Posted by
16852 posts

Unless you buy ice at the same time, I think it will be best to buy smaller quantities of perishables. Fruit or juice can last a day without refrigeration. So can aged cheese, if the weather's not too hot.

Posted by
50 posts

I guess I misspoke about ice in restaurants. But I was in Trier, Germany many years ago and, being naïve, I asked the hotel clerk if I could have some ice. He gave me a bit of a look and went into the back room whereupon I heard a bunch of chipping noises. He came out with about 5 ice cubes melting on a plate. I got the message. Good question what you do with all that ice in American hotels. One thing is you fill your cooler (cool box in your vernacular) which they expressly tell you NOT to do. Or you can put your beer or wine in it to cool or have ice water to drink. But, thanks for the reply & info.

Posted by
5652 posts

Styrofoam coolers and ice in the country that "invented" celler temperature beer? 30C is a warm day in England. Who needs ice other than Americans who pack sandwiches of white bread and mayo.

Kidding aside, styrofoam is an environmental concern. As a tourist are you planning on bringing the styrofoam cooler back to the States or dumping it in England? Even Texas discourages styrofoam coolers: "Styrofoam is strictly outlawed on the Comal and Guadalupe, and may be on other rivers as well. Styrofoam may float, but it's not a floating cooler. Foam breaks too easily to withstand the jarring of the river. After the first set of rapids, your cooler will break apart, your beer will float away, and the river be littered with pieces of foam. Never, ever, bring styrofoam on the river.". http://www.tubetexas.com/floating-cooler.html

And even Miami, Fla. http://blogs.miaminewtimes.com/riptide/2014/06/miami_beach_is_banning_styrofoam.php

Posted by
50 posts

I thought I was fairly environmentally sensitive (for an American, at least), but you are right about Styrofoam. It is disastrous to the environment. There was once a huge flood on the Salt River that flows through Phoenix, Arizona that tore out a huge bank of a landfill on a local Indian reservation. The broiling chocolate colored river (normally dry) was peppered with pieces of bobbing Styrofoam (as well as a host of other junk). But I like the idea of using soft-sided cooler bags with reusable cooler packs that can be frozen at our B&B's. Thanks again for all the tips & input.

Posted by
1276 posts

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Styrofoam coolers and ice in the country that "invented" celler
temperature beer? 30C is a warm day in England. Who needs ice other
than Americans who pack sandwiches of white bread and mayo.

Do you all drink beer in America or the stuff that is called 'beer' but is really a soft drink?

Kidding!

One of the issues I recall about ice is concern in getting short measures, ie I am paying for 500 mL of Coca Cola, not 400 mL of same and 100 of water in the form of ice cubes. Traditionally houses had the pantry where stuff needing cooled was kept. The rule over shell fish not being eaten in the months without an R was they are the hottest month and shell fish in those conditions is either fresh and under water, or off.

As said above cool bags and ice packs can be bought in most major supermarkets. Personally I do not use ice cubes at home but have the fridge turned down quite low, just 1 or 2 degrees C. As for ice machines in hotels, to be honest the only place I have come across them is Disneyland Paris where the hotels are 'American' as part of the theme,

Posted by
5652 posts

MC of Glasgow:

You're correct about most Oregon, USA brews being more than just beer. Most of our local Orgun brews are ales, served cool with no ice. Some Oregun microbreweries will do a pilsner, buts its mostly ales. The watch word here in Oregon is "microbrewery" (commonly batch processed) or "craft beer".
http://oregoncraftbeer.org/oregon-beer/

Posted by
3696 posts

You could purchase one of those folding plastic coolers in the us and take your own hardly takes up any room or you could stuff it full of clothes and use as carry on. They are insulated so if you put all cold items in and can't find ice it will help. Don't know if you can find an Aldiss but I think I have seen coolers in them if you wait till you arrive

Posted by
1276 posts

Edgar of Oregon, I've never been an 'of' before, makes me feel gooey and want to gather the troops together and invade Edinburgh!

Most mass produced lagers are served cold here as they tend to be imported or UK-brewed variants of the same. Of interest we are one of the few markets that sells both Budweisers (US and Czech) as Budweiser, the latter being Budweiser Budvar in the UK. Like your Oregon microbreweries there are a lot of similar breweries in the UK, I can see them in my eye at the local supermarket, but cannot recall the names as I don't drink beer of any type. Give me a nice Spanish or Italian red wine any day.

That said, there is a brewery near Aberdeen that has produced a beer stronger than some whiskies. Not for the half hearted!