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Cancelled Paris. Now England and?

Hello,
Due to this horrific attack in Paris, we cancelled our hotel and plans for France. We now have 9 days in England. I have reservations for a hotel in London for the first 3 days. What would you suggest to do afterwards? We are thinking to go to Scottland. Would the train be better than a car?Where should we stay in Scottland? Edinburgh? Glasgow? If we stay in Edinburgh, can we do day trips to other cities? What would you suggest for us to see? Thank you.

Posted by
4637 posts

You better cancel London, too. Several years ago they had terrible terrorist attacks. Choice between Glasgow and Edinburgh? Edinburgh wins, no doubt. When I was there about 2-3 years ago I stayed few days in Edinburgh and then took a tour (by bus with the guide) through the Scottish Highlands. We stayed two nights in Inverness, among others saw Loch Ness and its Monster, several whiskey distilleries with tasting, island Skye and it's towns and villages and also we saw the tallest mountain of Great Britain Ben Nevis.

Posted by
25746 posts

There is no guarantee that the next attack - there will be one somewhere - will be in the same place. The UK is still under a moderate warning , with London severe. It has been at that level for years.

Please don't let the terrorists win. Don't let it get you down, just keep calm and carry on.

Posted by
117 posts

I know, there's no guarantee for anything. However, I know that Paris is on a lock down. My mom is absolutely adamant about not going this time...Sucks. Maybe. I don't know. But I want to have some type of back up choice...Thanks, everyone.

Posted by
8293 posts

"You better cancel London, too. Several years ago they had terrible terrorist attacks"

Really? Really? I guess that means New York City should not be visited either. Lets tamp down any inclination to hysteria.

Posted by
6567 posts

You don't say when you're going to Europe. If you're talking about going 6 to 8 months from now, you might have been a little premature to cancel your Paris hotel and travel plans. Some of my best trips have been during and slightly after trying times.
But you can get to virtually anywhere in Europe in 2 hours on a budget European air carrier from London--cheap. Go somewhere you've never been before. There are so many great places to visit--Budapest, Vienna, Copenhagen, Rome are some of our favorites. Edinburgh would be great when the weather's good.

Posted by
4637 posts

Come on, Norma, tongue in cheek. Personally I would not cancel Paris. But I could not resist to suggest London, too.

Posted by
4637 posts

Well, I can see that I was misread by emma, too, so the same explanation.

Posted by
25746 posts

I had to move to Montreal (to enter McGill University) shortly after several terrorist attacks there. I just got on with it.

Hasn't the US recently had gunmen attacking a movie theatre and and running rogue through a shopping mall? To the dead, what's the difference?

Posted by
12287 posts

Paris will get back to normal in a matter of days. Were you planning to be there tomorrow? Unless your trip is tomorrow or in the next few days there is no reason to cancel your plans. A terrorist attack can happen anywhere in a big western city, not just Paris.

Posted by
117 posts

We will, hopefully, be in London next Friday, November 20th. Of course, the weather is of concern as far as Scottland. That's why I've been trying to search other ideas.

Yes, I've been thinking that it might be very secure in Paris, but, yesterday was just crazy, so I cancelled the hotel. However, the Eurostar is working and there are plenty of the hotels, so it's not a big deal to still go if we decide.

My husband is pretty sat on Scottland. So, we'll take the train to Edinburgh and explore that area for a few days. We might get back to London and travel around or go to Paris for 1-2 days. I have a hotel reservations in London by the Heathrow Airport for 11/28-29. We're going back home on Sunday the 29th.

Thanks everyone.

Posted by
2788 posts

Can't go to Charleston SC either. High school dropout kills people at Bible Study. That actually upsets me a lot more than terrorist attacks-I know they're my enemy. But when someone of my own ethnicity kills 9 people like its still 1960's Birmingham(where I now live), that really shakes me up!

Posted by
21200 posts

As I have posted many times, most people are very poor at risk assessment. The greatest risk of bodily injury or death is the drive to the airport, any bus you take in Europe, and even a taxi ride. However since most risk assessment is emotional and not logical there is no point in arguing with Lina that her mother's possibility of involvement in a terrorist incident is close to zero. Her mother would never believe that.

We loved Edinburgh this Spring but in November it could be cold, windy, and miserable so be prepared for winter weather. Personally I always think the train is better than car unless you going somewhere that the train doesn't go and doesn't have a bus connection.

Posted by
3478 posts

Your mom's feelings are absolutely understandable and it is absolutely normal for anyone to have a heightened sense of apprehension. Having said that, however, consider this. In Paris there will definitely be a great deal more security in places with large crowds and anything to do with transportation. Which is a good thing. Some attractions may be closed, but life will go on and adaptability will be the key to having a good trip should you reinstate you plans for Paris. I would urge you to rethink your plans, but have nothing but respect for your decision should you not go to Paris.

Posted by
21200 posts

When was it ? 20, 30 years ago when England was having the bombings by Irish Republic in London. People thought, especially family, thought we were nuts. There was even a car bombing while we were there. But that was before the internet and instant news. And we are scheduled to be in Paris next September but that is a long ways away.

Posted by
646 posts

We will be in Paris in July (London too for that matter). We aren't changing plans. But if I was going in a week I'd be thinking about being somewhere else.

Have you considered Belgium, or smaller towns around Paris?

Posted by
433 posts

Maybe Amsterdam would be better than Edinburg in cold weather. Take the train and you can stop in Brussels and then Amsterdam. Sad to cancel Paris but understandable.

Posted by
1064 posts

Why is it that whenever someone posts legitimate concerns about traveling to a place, such as Paris, or choosing an alternate destination in a time of crisis, others feel it necessary to criticize the person's reasoning and motives? When you convince people to act against their own instincts to do what you would do, are you prepared for the consequences if your advice proves wrong?

To me, responses that point out the obvious truths that any place can experience disaster and yet most people travel without problem, even to a place in crisis, just feel wrong. Telling someone the odds are in their favor is meaningless. Even in a war zone most troops survive without injury and many never even get into battle. But no one here would want to take a vacation in a war zone. I am not saying Paris is a war zone, although it will seem like that for a few days or weeks as French troops deploy through the city. But there is nothing wrong with waiting until things settle down to go there.

Posted by
205 posts

bombings by Irish Republic in London.

It really really wasn't the Irish Republic that was bombing us it was the Provisional IRA (guns from Libya, money from Boston).

Posted by
1582 posts

Lina,
I'm just going to address the questions you asked. I know it's one thing to make decisions for yourself and another to make them for someone else. And, I know you've put quite a bit of thought into this trip, especially Paris, so that must be disappointing. Perhaps, after you've spent some time in London, your mom might feel more comfortable still making that trip. There is something to be said for being closer to the situation to ally fears.

One thing I haven't seen what your interests are as far as this trip. That might help with suggestions. And, are you used to cold, windy, wet weather? I would recommend the train over driving and I think Edinburgh is fabulous city. There are some easy transportation options to either Glasgow or St. Andrews from Edinburgh. Another option would be the Eurostar to Lille and then a train to Bruge or Ghent.

You might want to add some additional time in London.

Good luck

Posted by
77 posts

Lina,

Just as a thought, if you are worried about Paris you could always visit some of the smaller cities in France. Then you could still have the French experience without canceling it all.

We are scheduled to be in London and Paris in thirty days to stay over the Christmas holidays. Of course my mother has already called me panicked about going to Paris. I told her we will stay out of Paris (not true, sorry Mom, I love you!) and that made her feel a little better.

It's so hard to make the right choice. I guess it's easier for me because I've had to make some of those decisions already -- visiting New York, Disney World, etc. I wish you luck.

Posted by
2627 posts

Hello, lina7277. Now to get back to what this is...a TRAVEL forum...with your questions about travel.
You wrote, "We will, hopefully, be in London next Friday, November 20th."
and "We're going back home on Sunday the 29th."

So Nov. 20th will be the day you arrive. You will maybe have jet-lag that day. So let's count your first full day in London as Nov. 21. The last full day of vacation you will have is Nov. 28th. Just 7 days. EDIT: Nancy is right. Make that 8 full days you will have.

You have barely enough time to see London and Edinburgh area thoroughly. There are many, many interesting places out in the countryside of England that you will be missing. One great stop between London and Edinburgh is York. Another is Hadrian's Wall. Many interesting castles between London and Edinburgh.
Without bringing up any controversy about whether to go to Paris or not because of the attacks, I would suggest that you will not have time for Paris.

You said your husband is pretty set on Scotland. There are many places to explore in Scotland. Easier to drive a car there outside of the cities in the countryside. Or take a train ride across Scotland. Maybe save Paris for another time, because you are going to run out of time.

I think you can have a great trip just including England and Scotland.

Posted by
9363 posts

If your first full day in London is Nov 21 and your last full day is Nov 28, you have eight full days, not seven.

Posted by
77 posts

Oh, I did not realize your amount of days. Yes, I agree, you have some great things to do already in the UK. It would probably be too much to tack on Paris.

Posted by
250 posts

Lina7277 - if you are going to go north, I would say definitely take the train. Traffic here can be a nightmare (as anyone who has dealt with the M25, M6, M1, or A1 can tell you). If you are looking for a stop along the way, York is lovely. If I knew I was going north, my choice would be London for 3 or 4, York for 1 or 2, and Edinburgh for 3.

As an alternative, London makes a great base for day trips by train. You could spend three days or so exploring the city, and the rest of the time taking day trips, never having to check out of your hotel.

EDIT: If you decide to either train north or stay south and day trip, there is plenty of train knowledge on the board to help you out.

Posted by
117 posts

Thank you, everyone for all you suggestions. I truly appreciate all of them, very thoughtful. Thank you!
Yes, we were thinking Scotland, but I looked up the weather and it is going to be pretty yucky...cold and windy and rainy. I am thinking that maybe Scotland should be a separate visit in the summer?
The more I think about Paris, the more I am thinking we should go. It was my mom's dream...My dad passed away last year and they never made it to Paris, so this trip was specifically for my mom. Sucks its happening under these sad circumstances, but I think since we were already set on going there, we will. The only thing is that as far as I know, the city is still on a lockdown, so that might pose a problem. Plus, some of the major attractions might be closed...We are leaving for London on Thursday evening. I am hoping the situation with Paris will be a bit clearer by Wednesday and then we'll decide. If Paris is out of the question, then we might stay in London and do the day trips here and there. Maybe to Amsterdam and Belgium...

Posted by
2627 posts

Keep in mind that there are tons of things to see that are day trips from London. And great places to travel to in England. You don't have to go to Amsterdam and Belgium to find more stuff to see. Some of the posters here could keep you busy for a month with stuff to see just in London and all around England and Scotland. Have a great trip, whatever you decide to do.

Posted by
6507 posts

Lina -- as I posted on another link, most things are reopening in Paris today and tomorrow. I can certainly understand and respect your decision if you decide not to come, but do know that most sites will be reopen by tomorrow (Louvre as of 1 pm and the Orsay as of the morning). The Pompidou Center and the Eiffel Tower reopened today.

I'm with Roy that it really bothers me when people denigrate people's considerations in the face of such horrible attacks; we can all only decide what's right for us and our loved ones in any given context.

If you come to Paris in a few days, you will see a city that is still shaken. However, the City of Light remains beautiful even in its sadness, and as a tourist, I'm not sure how much different you'll notice (we already had all sorts of increased police and military presence since the attacks in January).

Posted by
92 posts

Lina, I understand concerns about Paris, but I think you need some updated information. Paris is not "in lockdown," whatever that means, and of course you can travel there, or not, as you choose. It's your trip and your time and money. You might take a look at the Fodor's France travel forum and the Trip Advisor Paris forum if you would like more info from travelers/locals in Paris.

You could, of course, spend your entire 9 days in London and still not scratch the surface. (We just spent three weeks in London.) If you can give us more of an idea of your interests, you will get better suggestions.

Posted by
5561 posts

You can have a wonderful trip to Scotland. Edinburgh has lovely museums, the castle, and more. Two of my favorites are The Georgian House in New Town and Gladstone's Land on The Royal Mile. Holyrood Palace is interesting and if you are interested in today's Scotland and their current parliament, you can tour the new Holyrood Parliament. Glasgow is easy to get to by train as is Stirling. You can also sign up for a day tour to Roslyn Chapel and other sites in the Borders. And for that matter, the new Borders Railway just opened with lots of options. And if you want a bit of time in a small town, head for Birnam and Dunkeld on the Tay River in Perthshire it's a lovely little village that has a great pub, The Taybank. You could also take the train a few more stops to Pitlochry and tour the Blair Atholl distillery.

Posted by
6507 posts

Actually Paris has been in a bit of a lockdown the last few days. However, it is slowly opening back up.

But still last night, leaving a place near the Opera about 10:30 pm to go home, I was stunned that I could stop in the middle of the crosswalk and take a photo of the Garnier without a single car in sight anywhere. That is not normal. People are still staying in quite a bit.

Posted by
117 posts

Gosh, we've changed our plans about a hundred times in the last 3 days. We really do not have any specific interests. We want to see the classic, well-known places and things. We love the architecture and history. But my mom and husband have never been to either London or Paris, so they want to see everything. We will really have to play it by ear when we get to London to see whether it's going to be Paris or something else.

Posted by
1132 posts

Outside of Beijing, Tokyo, and maybe Hong Kong, Paris now is probably the safest world capital to spend time in.

Posted by
117 posts

Hopefully, this is my last question: pounds. Would you suggest to bring pounds with us or exchange them there? I do not like to carry cash with me, but of course we need some. I'm trying to see where in US is a good bank for the exchange, but I also read there are some places in London that give a decent deal. One site suggested the Royal Post on Trafalgar square, IC (don't know what that is), and Thomas Global. Can anyone suggest a good bank in US for the exchange? For now I'm only thinking exchange to pounds. Thanks in advance.

Posted by
8293 posts

Lina, you don't need to bring pounds with you, except for a few to get you from airport to hotel. Use your ATM card to get cash in the UK at any bank machine.

Posted by
191 posts

There will be ATMs in the airport, so you can easily get pounds. I do like to bring a little hard currency in USD so I can exchange it if I run into any issues with the ATM, just as back up.

Posted by
626 posts

A warning on ATM's and Credit Cards, I've seen many instances of US cards being blocked in the UK (by the US banks), and the subsequent hardship experienced by the traveller as they attempted to contact their bank and get the cards unblocked, whilst being without funds. Bring some cash! Bring a few hundred dollars just in case, easy to change here and you've lost nothing if you take them home again unused. Also, call your bank and give them dates and locations of your trip and tell them not to block the cards when used.

Also, some ATM's in the UK charge for cash withdrawals, but this must be clearly explained to the user before the withdrawal, with a chance to cancel. If the ATM isn't physically attached to a bank, like if it's in a shop or a pub, there is a good chance there will be a few pounds charge.

Posted by
21200 posts

We have been in and out of London a dozen times, most recently this past May. Never had a debit card rejected. It is possible but not highly probable. Carry two cards tied two different accounts, notify your card issuer, and you will be fine.

where in US is a good bank for the exchange,

It you want a few pounds when hit the ground, Well Fargo generally has good rates but even a poor rate is not a big deal if you only exchange a hundred dollars or so.

I also read there are some places in London that give a decent deal.

Money is never on sale or discounted. If you are using a debit card at a bank owned ATM in London then your exchange will be exactly the same anywhere in London. Don't have to go looking for a deal. The cheapest and most convenient way to obtain local currency is an ATM card at a bank owned ATM - bar none.

Posted by
12334 posts

On "keep calm and carry on" there are a lot of variations, a lot of comical, humourous, or silly, and so on. One of the best I've seen is: " Keep calm and play dead"

On travel safety from terrorism re: Beijing, Hong Kong and Tokyo: There has not been attacks like those we've seen in Mumbai, Paris. Madrid, etc in China, say horrific events in Paris back in January and last Friday took place in the most westernised city Shanghai. If that were the case, there would be a totally brutal response (living up to their reputation for brutality without moral constraints) by the police and PLA regardless of innocence or guilty of those arrested on a massive scale, and one would never hear of them again.

Posted by
12205 posts

If Mike J has seen Americans' debit Nd credit cards blocked, my guess is that these Americans failed to notify their bank of foreign travel. That is essential for both debit (ATM) card and credit cards.

The best way to get pounds by far is an ATM in the UK, one attached to a bank. ( But even the ones in Heathrow do not charge excessive fees any more). We like to arrive with £50-100 in hand, just in case. If I do not have it left over from a previous trip, I buy it from my bank, AAA, or Travelex ( worst rate but convenient). After that it is ATM's. We have never ever encountered a problem withdrawing money with our ATM card. Period.

Posted by
351 posts

I am hopeful that lina7277 and companions are now well into their trip and will have a worry-free time in London and wherever else they decide to venture to. I hope they do decide to venture to Paris but I can understand if they don't feel up to doing so. I also hope she will come back and let us know how it went!

Posted by
12334 posts

Prior to 2007 I had never informed my credit cards that I would be going to Europe. To prevent fraud and the usual reasons from 2007 on I've let my bank know. Still, I had my cards declined, sometimes the bank, usually B of A didn't know why. But, the one card I've never informed prior to departure and always worked over there, ie, transaction always went through was Capital One, which is the card I use the least....strange.

Posted by
4528 posts

In London there are specialist forex brokers who charge less than a 1% rate swing on small cash transactions - however the best rates are for changing from, rather than to £. The other way about the swing is typically around 1.5% on major currencies. This will beat many but not the best banks' ATM transaction.