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Solo in the UK—My York and Edinburgh trip report

PHOTOS: I’ve posted some of my photos on google photos. (If some look a little fuzzy, they were probably taken from a tour bus.)

https://photos.app.goo.gl/RY3es15YuKxUXibL7

WEATHER. My streak of near perfect travel weather continues, with only 1 day of rain in York and then a few brief periods of drizzle. It was always cool in the morning (usually in the 40s) and then warmed up in the afternoon (50s and even a few days in the 60s). The early sunrise at just after 5am worked to my advantage as I love to get out early and walk before the main sights get too crowded. Yes, I was often out the door at 5am. 😊

FLIGHTS. I flew nonstop on United in and out of Edinburgh on a small, not very comfortable Boeing 757-200. Upon arrival in Edinburgh, I was able to use one of the electronic passport gates. There was no passport control when departing. From the airport, I took the tram to Princes Street (as I had purchased my open return ticket ahead of time, I was able to avoid the group of people crowded around the ticket machines) and walked to Waverley train station to catch a train to York. I found the layout of Waverley to be a little confusing.

YORK—6 NIGHTS I stayed at the Grand York, which was a little fancier than I needed, but it was a great location, in between the train station and city center, and right across the street from an entrance to the city walls. This hotel was fabulous and well worth the price!! I find that by booking hotels early (10-11 months in advance) prices are at their lowest. I had originally planned to stay 5 nights, but I added an extra night due to the train strikes. Speaking of trains, what great service from LNER in first class!!

I won’t mention everything that I saw in York (you can see many of those things from my photos), but my favorite activity was walking the city walls (I was on the walls all the time!!) and just wandering the city early in the morning. I also really enjoyed the York museum garden. To give my legs a break from walking, I took a boat cruise on the River Ouse, which was relaxing, but not very scenic.

Day trip to Knaresborough. I discovered this place when doing research for the trip. It’s a very attractive little town with a castle (Norman castle) and incredible views of the railway viaduct across the Nidd Gorge. I greatly enjoyed being the only tourist walking around here early in the morning. On my way back to York, I decided to stop in Harrogate, which I was not so impressed with.

Day trip to Durham. I had a little trouble getting here as there was a medical emergency on the platform at the Durham train station and the train could not stop. So, I had to proceed to the next station—Newcastle—and then make my way back to Durham. Shortly after, I received an email from LNER letting me know my ticket cost would be refunded due to the delay. My favorite part of this picturesque city was the crook hill gardens.

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Day tours to Yorkshire Moors and Yorkshire Dales. I took two day tours while in York: 1) North York Moors and Whitby with Mountain Goat and 2) Herriot and Yorkshire Dales with BOBH (bob holiday). I highly recommend both tours, especially if this is your only chance to get out of the city. I fell in love with all the dry stone walls and lambs/sheep. The area must look incredible in August when the purple heather is in bloom. You can click on the links below to see the itineraries. And in case you’re wondering, there are no actual goats on the Mountain Goat tour, like my mom and sister thought. 😊

https://www.mountain-goat.com/Yorkshire/Scheduled-Tours/North-York-Moors-and-Whitby

https://bobholidays.com/tours/herriot/

This was my first experience with taking a tour of any kind. What I liked: Getting out into the countryside; great, informative tour guides; there were only 11-14 people on the tours; able to wander on my own at each of the stops. What I did not like: The people!!! 😊 I knew I didn’t like small talk, but what I didn’t realize was how much I dislike listening to other (mostly) American tourists talk. Most people were very chatty when the guide was not talking. I would much rather prefer traveling in peace and quiet while I enjoy the passing scenery. Another negative for me was that I do find traveling by train to be more comfortable, but obviously the trains don’t go everywhere.

EDINBURGH—7 NIGHTS I stayed at the Market Street hotel. This too was a little nicer than I needed, but I liked the super convenient location across from Waverley train station and in between the old and new towns. On the train ride back to Edinburgh (gorgeous scenery by the way), there was a switching problem on the track, and we were stopped for about an hour near Dunbar. Once again, I quickly received an email from LNER letting me know I would be getting a refund for the delay.

Switzerland has the cow bells, but Scotland has the bagpipes, which I also love. Upon my arrival to Edinburgh, playing outside the train station was the Spinning Blowfish, sort of a jazzed-up bagpipe sound. Check out their song “Scotland the Brave” on their website:

https://thespinningblowfish.com/music

I loved it and knew I had arrived in Scotland. 😊

On my arrival day, I had scheduled the Mercat Tours witches, trial and truth walking tour (currently only offered on Saturdays). This was my first experience with a walking tour and I did not enjoy it. There was barely any walking! I apparently have a hard time standing still while someone talks at me. The guide was ok and it was informative, but I would have preferred we walk the entire tour. Or at least walk more than a few steps here and there.

https://www.mercattours.com/tours/history-walks/view-tour/witches-trial-and-truth

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Edinburgh was very crowded. But that’s ok. Once again, I got up very early and went to all the popular places without the crowds. Some of my favorites: calton hill, arthur’s seat, dean village, meadows park (to see the cherry blossoms). Some of my not so favorites: national museum (walking around a museum with a bunch of tourists is just not my favorite thing to do. I prefer to be outside); royal botanic garden (I preferred the gardens I had seen in York and Durham); national art museum (I knew ahead of time that many of the rooms were closed for a large refurbishment project.)

Day trip to South Queensferry. From my research, I knew South Queensferry would be a nice place to escape the crowds for a couple of hours, and it was. Plus, I wanted to get some pictures of the Forth Bridge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Day trip to North Berwick. What another great place to escape the crowds. And who knew, I love the sea!!!! It’s a great walk on the beach from the train station to the Scottish Seabird Center, which has bathrooms and a café.

https://www.seabird.org/

Day trip to Dunbar. Another fantastic coastal location just 20 minutes away by train. I knew I wanted to go here after watching Clan Broonford’s you tube video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ujzmEfdo1i4

I could have stayed here forever watching and listening to all the sea birds. And the scenery was spectacular, with the castle ruins and the boats in the small harbor. I just loved it!!!

Day trip to Stirling. This one I did not love, and I knew it ahead of time, and should have trusted my instincts and not gone. I think I might have enjoyed Dunfermline or St. Andrews more.

Day tours to the Highlands. I took two day tours while in Edinburgh, both with Rabbies: 1) Loch Ness, Glencoe and the Highlands and 2) West Highlands, Lochs, and castles. You can click on the links below to see the itineraries.

https://www.rabbies.com/en/scotland-tours/from-edinburgh/day-tours/loch-ness-glencoe-highlands-day-tour

https://www.rabbies.com/en/scotland-tours/from-edinburgh/day-tours/west-highland-lochs-castles-day-tour

These tours were more crowded than my York tours, with 16 people on each bus, and more busses running the same tour. My Loch Ness tour had 7 Rabbies buses leaving for this tour on the morning I went. So, obviously more people at each stop. And other tour companies too at each stop.

Even though it was a long day on the bus (12 hours!!), I preferred the Loch Ness tour, as it got out more into the Highlands and thus was more scenic. But, I could have done without the boat ride. The Lochs tour was just too many lochs for me. Probably why they call it the lochs tour. 😊

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STEPS. Both cities are very walkable, and I did a lot of walking on this trip, with my highest day coming in at 25,758 steps. I will admit that by my last day in Edinburgh, I was getting a little tired of all the up and down.

FOOD. I’m not a foodie and prefer not to spend too much time on sit down meals. I love my morning oatmeal and just bring along instant packets with my collapsible travel bowl. Later, I’ll have a snack (scone, sandwich, etc.) and then I eat my dinner around 3 or 4. I never had a problem finding a place to eat. My favorite meal was the Sunday roast at Masons Arms {Edited to correct typo] in York. (Thanks to whoever recently did a trip report and mentioned her meal here. I have a photo of the meal in my photos). There was just something incredible about eating Yorkshire pudding while in Yorkshire. My best meal in Edinburgh was at Gordons Trattoria, also mentioned here on the forum. Both cities have a Pizza Express with decent food and no closures between lunch and dinner. Also in both cities, the Marks and Spencer has a nice little café. The national museum of Scotland and royal botantic gardens have options for quick sit-down meals. For fans of the paprika chips in Switzerland, the Walkers brand in the UK has a punchy paprika chip/crisp that is a close second to the Zweifel brand. My new favorite foods are cheese scones and any flavor of biscuits. 😊

GENERAL OBSERVATIONS. Everyone in both countries were super nice, but I found the people in England to be especially charming. Perhaps it is the way they refer to everyone as “love.” Switzerland is still my favorite, but England and Scotland are a very close second. I’m sure I’ll be back to both.

SOLO TRAVEL. After some challenges on my March trip to Italy with my sister and her husband, I was so happy to return to solo traveling. 😊 I love being on my own schedule and not worrying about other people. I felt completely safe and comfortable when walking out by myself, but I’m never out at night.

NEXT UP: Belgium and the Netherlands solo in Sept./Oct. 2023. Portugal solo (unless my sister decides to tag along) in March 2024. Yet another return to Switzerland in June 2024.

P.S.: I’m happy to provide more info. on any of the tours or any other part of the trip if anyone would like more details.

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2987 posts

Carrie, thank you for a great report. We're spending 8 nights in Edinburgh with various day trips. I'm sure it will be more crowded in July. I have a few questions if I could:

What was wrong with the Stirling trip?

We're also taking the Rabbie's tour to Loch Ness (and a few others). What do you wish you would've done other than the boat ride?

I wholeheartedly agree with people blah-blah-blahing on tour buses. It's OK if they're talking with indoor voices and not continuously. The entire bus does not need to hear the conversation, and it is nice for some quiet reflection when the tour leader is not talking.

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5030 posts

Great report, Carrie, and Edinburg is one of my favorite places, but I love going to The Fringe, and I remember crowds aren't your favorite. On my bucket list is New Year's Eve in the city.
I'll be closely following your next trip itinerary to Belgium and the Netherlands, as an outline for our 2024 trip.
Safe travels!

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2777 posts

Hi Mike, Stirling just did not appeal to me. I know a lot of people here on the forum like it, which is why I went, but it just wasn’t for me. It just didn’t compare to the other places I had been. I did not go inside the castle. It was a nice day and so I just walked around the old town and the cemetery near the castle. It wasn’t a horrible place. I just kept thinking, I should of gone to the coast again.

I’m not sure there was a good alternative to the boat ride on the Loch Ness tour. If you skip the boat, you then have 1.5 hours to walk around, which I think is too much time. The way it worked on my tour, we got to Loch Ness and had to hurry to find something for lunch and then wait in the very long line to board the boat. It was just a mob of people. I didn’t find the boat ride to be very scenic. There are bathrooms on the boat. I always wonder about those things. 😊 So, the boat ride is probably the best option for this part of the tour. I probably would have preferred to skip Loch Ness altogether. But, other than that, I really enjoyed the tour. You will definitely see some great scenery and hopefully some Hairy Coos.

Some general notes on the Rabbies tours, since it sounds like you’re taking a few. They are very well organized. When you get to the bus station, there are 2 people at gates J and K I think it was to check you in. They’ll tell you the name of your driver, who gets there about 15 minutes before the tour starts. They will announce when your driver arrives, and you check in with him/her and get on the bus/van. There is a row of single seats and a row of 2 seats on the bus. I’d try to be one of the first on the bus so you can seats near the front. This will make things easier when getting off and on at all the stops. Free bathrooms at the bus station.

On my first tour in York, I had to listen to a couple of guys comparing rooster stories. Yes, roosters!! It nearly drove me insane!! Hopefully, you’ll have better luck with the passengers. One of my Rabbies tours was mostly non Americans, and that was a much more quiet and pleasant tour.

Hi Pat, yes I do everything I can to avoid the crowds. 😊

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2733 posts

I enjoyed your trip report and photos, Carrie. You went to some of my favorite places.

I know what you mean about constant chatter. Silence is golden!

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Hi Carroll, The passenger chatter bothered me more than I had expected. This was such a big negative for me that I don’t think I could tolerate a weeks-long tour. Well, unless someone comes out with a “no talking on the bus” tour. 😊

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2619 posts

Thank you for the wonderful report, Carrie! I was just beginning to consider a trip in September to London & Edinburgh and this has pretty much made up my mind for me.

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2987 posts

Carrie, I appreciate your generous response.

I guess Loch Ness is one of those "I've been there" things.

Yes, men of a certain age appreciate bathrooms. In that light Paris was quite the challenge, but that was before they put in the street urinals, which apparently are mostly gone now after an uproar.

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733 posts

Great report. Sorry you didn’t enjoy Stirling. Years ago we rented a nearby cottage for a week and used it as a base to visit many of the sites you visited in Scotland. It was on a farm with horses so our daughters loved it. Of course we had a car.

I’m another person who loves quiet! Something to think about when considering tours.

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4243 posts

I mentioned this in two other Trip Reports posted this morning, that my favourite reports are those of places I've been so I can experience it through someone else's eyes. That some of your opinions were completely different than mine is amusing and enjoyable. I just wish more tourists had your opinion and would stay out of my way😁.

Thanks for the photos. I need to learn how to create a Google album.

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4243 posts

I’m another person who loves quiet! Something to think about when
considering tours.

Maybe it's a guy thing, but much to my wife's annoyance I have the ability to tune out everybody and everything around me.

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2461 posts

I always enjoy your photos. I think you have a real knack for it.

What did you mean by this?

Upon arrival in Edinburgh, I was able to use one of the electronic passport gates. There was no passport control when departing.

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2777 posts

Hi christa, I’m glad the report was helpful. I’m not a city person, but I found Edinburgh to be both manageable and enjoyable.

Hi mike, you’ll be happy to know there are frequent restroom breaks on the rabbies tours. I think the longest we went without one was 2.5 hours. One or two required cash, I can’t remember which tour or which stop. It was 20 or 30 pence.

Hi nick, thanks for the cute video. 😊

Hi Barbara N, the cottage sounds nice. The area outside the city certainly looked nice.

Hi allan, I completely agree. I’m certainly glad there was plenty of people that enjoy all the museums. Frees up the outdoor space for me. 😊

Hi roubrat, there was no passport control when departing the Edinburgh airport. So, you just go from security right to the gate. I googled it on my phone when I got to the gate. I was thinking I had somehow missed it and wouldn’t be let back in the US. 😊

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3813 posts

Thanks for writing your great trip report! I've enjoyed reading it.
I'm with you about the chatter on the tour bus getting to be too much.
Glad you enjoyed your visits to the coastal areas and the seaside, for some peace and quiet.
I like that, too.
Glad you had a good trip!

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2777 posts

Hi Rebecca, I’m glad you enjoyed the report. I was really surprised how much I liked the coastal towns and will be looking for more on future trips.

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SOUVENIR SNACKS: Of all the snacks that I brought home from this trip (biscuits, fudge, tunnock’s caramel wafers to name a few), the big favorite by far has been the Scottish tablet I brought back. I learned of this treat from one of my Rabbie’s tour guides. It’s similar to fudge, but has a slightly crunchier texture. Definitely pick some up if you’re going to be in Scotland. The brand I bought was Highland Croft.

ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL: I did not watch this show before the trip, but now that I’m back, I decided to give it a try after visiting the Yorkshire Dales and Grassington/Darrowby. After the first episode I am hooked!!! I love seeing all the spectacular scenery and saying “hey, I was just there!!” Any fans of the show should definitely check out a day tour to the area if you will be in York. As mentioned above, the one I took was by BOBH.

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2461 posts

Where did you buy the Highland Croft tablet? Supermarket?

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9780 posts

What I did not like: The people!!! 😊 I knew I didn’t like small talk, but what I didn’t realize was how much I dislike listening to other (mostly) American tourists talk. Most people were very chatty when the guide was not talking. I would much rather prefer traveling in peace and quiet while I enjoy the passing scenery.

Carrie -- I haven't even finished reading your entire trip report but HAVE to respond -- I think you are my soul sister !!! Hahahahahaha

Ok so far York and your day trips sound great -- except for the chatterboxes. Back to reading now.

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6839 posts

Carrie, great trip report! I'll bet it feels good to get back to solo travel!

I am one who loved Stirling but I think in part it's because I went inside and went on one of the free tours they offer. The guide was really funny and knowledgeable and that made a lot of difference. FWIW, I did not like Edinburgh Castle that much.

I also went to Dunfermline Abbey and it is beautiful but the palace and refectory are closed, so all that is available to see is the Nave. It's gorgeous and worth seeing but there's just not a lot there. You can go in the church, of course, to see the tomb of Robert the Bruce (sans a few body parts). And there is all the Andrew Carnegie stuff there, like Pittencrieff Park and his museum. I enjoyed Pittencrieff Park a lot, but did not make it out into the city to see other sites.

But you might like St. Andrew better. I've known several people who went to Scotland and loved St. Andrew but Stirling not so much. I really like history so for me, Stirling was a winner. But I think I would like St. Andrew a lot as well. I do love castle and cathedral ruins. :)

Regardless I'm definitely going back because I keep thinking of more and more places I didn't see in Scotland that I would like to. :)

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6839 posts

I found the layout of Waverley to be a little confusing.

I agree - I've never had problems with train stations until I got to Waverley and I found it confusing as well. Glasgow was so much easier.

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9429 posts

“men of a certain age appreciate bathrooms. In that light Paris was quite the challenge,”

Mike, how was Paris a challenge?
There are cafés on almost every street with a bathroom.

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9429 posts

For All Creatures Great and Small fans (i loved the 1st one in the 80s and now the current one) Thirsk is a town close to York where James Herriot (real name James White) lived and worked. His house is open to the public and fantastic to tour. The town is lovely too. Well worth a day trip from York. Very easy to get to on your own by train (22 min) from York.

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6474 posts

Even I find Waverley station layout confusing, and I've been using it for more years than I can remember. It's also been simplified over the years, used to be worse. One of the few UK stations where I have to think.

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2777 posts

Hi roubrat, a lot of the souvenir shops on the royal mile were selling snack items. You shouldn’t have a hard time finding some tablet. I checked my credit card statement and I think I may have gotten it at Taste of Scotland.

Hi kim, glad to hear I am not alone in my dislike of the chatterboxes. 😊 It’s really unfortunate how they can spoil an otherwise fantastic tour.

Hi mardie, I did not go inside the castle at stirling, so I can not speak to that. When I was walking around the city center, I just did not get the “I’m in Scotland” vibe. But at this point in my trip, I had fallen in love with the coastal towns. So, I don’t think any city would have measured up.

Hi susan, Thrisk sounds like a nice, easy day trip from York.

Hi isn31c, glad to hear it’s not just us tourists confused at Waverley. When I first arrived, I entered from princess street and made my way to where the grocery store and bathrooms are located. Then I was checking the departure boards, and I’m looking around, and I’m thinking “where’s the trains?” I couldn’t figure out where the platforms were from there. I eventually found them of course, but it was the first time I had been inside a train station and didn’t know where the trains were. 😊

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497 posts

Carrie, so nice to read your TR. sounds like a great trip. I think it’s great you stay at slightly nicer places while solo, makes things easier plus you don’t spend a lot on meals so that helps with budget.

I kept hoping to read about sheep or goats that would be an addition to the roster of Swiss cows! Your photographs are excellent, you have a talent. But glad to hear there is an equivalent to paprika chips!

Thanks for the report.

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8530 posts

Stirling Castle is one of my favorite castles to tour. I’m sorry you didn’t go in at all. It might have changed your mind.

I am glad your trip went so well and that you have even more ahead.

I hate just standing around during walking tours as well. I’ll let you know that several RS tours have multiple of these (Heart of Italy comes to mind). If you ever want to try a RStour, read the itinerary carefully and note how many of these there are before signing up. Best of South England was probably the tour with the fewest “standing around” and most “go explore for a few hours.”

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6474 posts

When I was at Waverley this week I never even got to the main concourse as the inbound train arrived into what I call the back station- Platforms 8 and 9 which are a separate island platform behind and on the Royal Mile side of the main station.
Then I had to visit the Lothian Transport enquiry office on my way to Leith so vanished up the old cab road, which is before the concourse- a less well known station exit.
Then on the way back I was running very late, so had to take the short cut from the Royal Mile down the long flight of steps past the Scotsman Cinema then in the back door of Waverley, then more or less literally skidded to a halt when I realised that my return train was also leaving from Platforms 8 and 9.

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2777 posts

Hi cchapin100, Hotel location is super important to me and I’m willing to spend a little more to stay in a place I feel comfortable with. I knew my other trips this year would be less expensive, so I could afford to spend a little more on this one. Also, I will admit that I got a little goofed up with the pounds to dollars conversion. The rooms seemed a little cheaper when I booked them in pounds. 😊

All the animals I saw were from the bus and too far away. ☹

Hi carol, I appreciate your insight as I know you have traveled both using tours and on your own. I’ve had my eye on the 2-week Ireland tour, but I just don’t think it would be a good fit for me. I’m not a social person (and I don’t drink), so I think all time on the bus, the group activities, and then the shared meals would be too much “people time” for me. I’ve started to look at a 5-day Rabbie’s tour. I would still have to deal with the chattiness on the bus, but there are no shared meals. So, I can have a quick meal and get back to walking around.

Hi isn31c, I think the best advice for those reading this about Waverley is to get to the train station earlier than you might think.

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2777 posts

UPDATE: Does Scotland have the slowest mail ever????

The postcards I mailed from York arrived 2.5 weeks after I mailed them.

The postcards I mailed from Edinburgh on May 18th are just now starting to arrive. I had given up hope weeks ago. But my aunt just called to say she received hers. Crazy!!!!!

Posted by
1995 posts

Interesting trip report.

I do love-and I'm guilty of this at times-people who go to sites and then say that there are too many tourists, but forget they themselves are tourists.

Posted by
2862 posts

Hi Carrie. Thanks for a great trip report. Very thorough with to good and not so good. Helpful idea providing links. And I appreciate that you answered people’s questions.

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3241 posts

What I did not like: The people!!! 😊 I knew I didn’t like small talk, but what I didn’t realize was how much I dislike listening to other (mostly) American tourists talk. Most people were very chatty when the guide was not talking.

Answer: Headphones. It's an easy solution to the 'noise'.

Posted by
8815 posts

Thanks for the trip report.

Ditto on small talk.

I’ve traveled solo for decades. Plan my own itinerary to view the “ sites,” but amble as well.

Have taken two RS tours; Istanbul and Florence.
In Florence did love getting to see David before the hordes were let in. Magical time as tour guide brought in a young and passionate art historian who provided fascinating intel about Michelangelo and the sculpture.

Favorite discovery on my own was walking around the Istanbul bazaar. Saw a small sign saying restaurant with an arrow pointing up some stairs. Still think about the lentil soup I had there. No other customer. Good find, great memory!

Decided that as pleasant both tours were ( no grumps) that I’m happier to meander solo.

Another fun surprise was on a London trip and saw a flyer in a church lobby advertising the Eel Pie island artisan enclave’s Christmas open house.

Honestly, who doesn’t want to explore a place called Eel Pie Island.

So no small talk and no tours.

It’s how I roll!

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2777 posts

Hi roubrat, maybe mail all of your postcards from York. And if you buy any in Edinburgh, just mail those when you get home. 😊

Hi heather, My intent wasn’t to complain about tourists, just to mention where there were lots of them and that I preferred to be somewhere less crowded. You certainly can’t travel to popular places and then get upset others want to see the same things. I do try to minimize my time in the crowded areas and find some less popular places to visit. I feel like I had a good balance on this trip.

Hi horsewoofie, Thanks!! I do try to help and answer questions when I can. I’ve certainly learned a lot from this forum and am happy to contribute.

Hi Wray, Good suggestion, but then I’d be worried that I would miss when the guide was talking. I certainly want to hear the guide, but I get enough of talking Americans at home. 😊

Hi Claudia, reading here on the forum about others traveling solo is what gave me the confidence to do it myself. I’m about 99% sure I will finally tackle London in 2025. I just have to accept the fact that I won’t be able to step out of my hotel and walk/wander to everything I’d like see. Everyone says the transportation is easy, but I think this is just one of those things I won’t believe until I try it myself.

Posted by
3813 posts

"I’m about 99% sure I will finally tackle London in 2025. I just have to accept the fact that I won’t be able to step out of my hotel and walk/wander to everything I’d like see."

You can get pretty close to doing that. There are many hotels in the Westminster area, Trafalgar Square area, and along the South Bank. Walking distance to many sights.
And yes, transportation is easy in London.

Posted by
9780 posts

Carrie, if you travel with data on your phone, then use the CityMapper app to guide you - and you will be a whiz on public transportation !

Posted by
2777 posts

Hi Rebecca, thanks for the location info. I am adding it to my London trip notes. I’m sure once I start to research and map out where everything is, it won’t seem so intimidating.

Hi Kim, yes, huge data fan here! Thanks for the tip.

Posted by
170 posts

Carrie, I reread your trip report yesterday because I'm already planning another Edinburgh trip for next year. I'm thinking about a jaunt to North Berwick, so that part of your report stood out for me this time.

But the talk about Scottish tablet also stuck with me, to the extent that I ended up ordering some homemade tablet from an Etsy seller! :) The packaged Gordon & Durward bars I bought in Anstruther have been kind of a disappointment; they're quite hard and taste slightly stale to me. I'm hoping some fresh homemade tablet will show me the full potential of this sugary treat.

On the other hand, the Island Bakery shortbread I brought back from the same shop and gave to my mom got a rave review. And I've been enjoying (too much) the Irn Bru-flavored hard candy I bought there.

Posted by
5356 posts

The postcards I mailed from Edinburgh on May 18th are just now starting to arrive. I had given up hope weeks ago. But my aunt just called to say she received hers. Crazy!!!!!

Two possibilities. One you used the economy service of Royal Mail and hence they have gone by sea. Second is that you used stamps that were not Royal Mail but one of the "souvenir" stamp companies that batch them up and route the mail then via a cheap country. The one people used to have most trouble with here was Universal Mail but I thought they'd gone out of business. There may be more.

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2777 posts

Hi Nancy, North Berwick was one of my favorite days of the trip. I hope you get a chance to visit. And I’m happy to hear I’m not the only one who likes the try the local snack foods. 😊 I haven’t heard of Irn Bru-flavored candy. How did I miss that?!?

Hi Marco, thanks for the info. The stamps the Edinburgh tourism office sold me had pictures of Highland cows on them. So, I’m guessing souvenir stamps. 😊 But, they did also give me a little sticker that said something like Royal Air Mail to place next to the stamp. Only 3 of the postcards have arrived. I’m still waiting for mine. ☹ Maybe it will arrive this week.

I’m not having very good luck with international mail lately. My sister and I recently ordered some candy from Austria and that package seems to have gotten stuck in New Jersey customs.

Posted by
8815 posts

Carrie be sure to PM me regarding your 2025 trip. Loads of intel to share.

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2777 posts

Hi Claudia, I will for sure be calling on your expertise, thank-you!! Right now I have a big London map on my office floor and I’m trying to get a sense for where everything is and how far it is. Everything looks so close together on the map. 😊 I’m starting east on the map and so far the things that appeal to me are tower bridge (of course), St Katharine Docks, and Greenwich. I definitely prefer to wander around outside all day as opposed to being inside museums.

Posted by
170 posts

Carrie, I got my fresh Scottish tablet today and it is a revelation! So much softer, fresher, and more delicious than the bricks I brought back home. I crumbled some over a dish of good vanilla ice cream and I am in heaven.

Posted by
2777 posts

I crumbled some over a dish of good vanilla ice cream and I am in
heaven.

What a great idea!!!!

Posted by
15 posts

Thank you for the great trip report. I am glad you had a great trip. I have never traveled solo, I'm really scared to do it. But I have heard amazing opinions about traveling alone from everywhere. A few of my friends recommended it to me and I would really love to try it, but I just don't know how to overcome my fear. I'm also afraid I would feel lonely, which is a feeling I really hate. However, I really feel encouraged by your post, so I think I might plan a solo trip in the near future, thank you!

Posted by
2777 posts

Hi jack.elev454 If I can travel solo, anyone can. 😊 If you had asked my friends and family 10 or 20 years ago, I would have easily been voted least likely to travel alone.

You have to identify your fears and see what you can do to overcome them.

I spend a lot of time researching—probably more than most. But, that’s what I need to do to feel comfortable. My sister has anxiety over finding bathrooms. So, when she’s coming along, I research where those are.

It sounds like you would benefit from some day tours or hour-long city walks to get in some interaction with others. That might help with the fear of being lonely.

I still have fears that I am trying to overcome. I keep putting off London because I’m intimidated by the transportation. But what’s the worst that can happen? I get lost in a country where everyone speaks English and is nice and would help me? 😊 That’s a little silly, but there you go. Fear is not always rationale.

Posted by
12 posts

Hi Carrie!! You commented on my forum question. There, you said you liked the West Highlands tour better, but here in your travel log you say you liked Loch Ness better. Both tours were on my short list. Did you change your mind after reflection and more time had passed?

I LOVE your photos. They are exactly the types of locations that I hope to see and why I will most likely skip Glasgow for my first trip.

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2777 posts

Did you change your mind after reflection and more time had passed?

Nope! Apparently, I got the 2 tours goofed up. 😊 I did like the loch ness one better.

But, if you do decide on the west highlands one, I would suggest visiting the optional Inveraray castle at the lunch break. I did not, but those that did seemed to really enjoy it.

I don’t think you can go wrong with either tour. But, as I mentioned above, I felt the loch ness tour had better scenery.

Posted by
6839 posts

My favorite meal was the Sunday roast at Masons Armor in York.

Carrie, I have not been able to find that online and was hoping to enjoy Sunday roast at a pub while I'm in York. The only thing I found was The Mason Arms. Do you think this could have been it? http://www.masonsarmsyork.co.uk/

Posted by
2461 posts

Mardee, that is the one she meant. The Masons Arms. I went there on her recommendation (I still think about the sticky toffee pudding I had there 🤤)

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6839 posts

Thanks, Mary! And oh my goodness, sticky toffee pudding too!!! Be still my beating heart! I cannot wait!!!!!!!!!!