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Uk first trip

I was totally surprised on my visit. American's in general have this impression that people in the Uk stop and have afternoon tea. Well, I was hard pressed to find a tea shop anywhere in the UK. Starbucks on every corner with brit's drinking coffee. When I did find a few they were great, the best being in Scotland. I fell in love with clotted cream(still trying to find that in FLA) also porridge made in Scotland(no not oatmeal).I also loved the icecream cones with the flake candy stick.
When staying at hotel's no air conditioning, except in London! WHAT! Also, no top sheets on the beds. The daylight was an adjustment to, didn't get dark till after 12 midnight and light at 4 am. But loved it all!!

Posted by
1 posts

Thanks for the information. I am traveling to UK for a few nights this month (prior to continuing in Paris) and I never realized the sunrise/sunset issues(!). Also, no top sheet sounds gross for lack of a better term. Would you recommend taking a sleep sack (like a silk one?). Tell me more about the ice cream/candy stick situation and any particular tea places in London itself you'd recommend if you get a chance. :) Cheers!

Posted by
8117 posts

Thanks for your trip report. Much of Europe is located in the higher latitudes, think of Scandinavia, where they have garden parties at midnight on 21 June. Scotland is close to the same latitude. Much of northern and central Europe has no need of A/C as it seldom gets hot enough to use it, so they feel this is a huge waste of money as well as energy. They just open the windows. Duvets are the most popular form of blankets, and the blanket is put into a sort of sheet envelope, thus, you don't need a top sheet. They change those every few days if you are staying for a week or more in the hotel, and they change them of course at check out. Much, much cleaner than those gross fuzzy blankets and bed spreads in the US that probably seldom get washed. There is nothing yucky about this at all, as it is a freshly washed cover put on for each new guest. You do not need a sleep sack.

Posted by
1834 posts

I'm glad to hear you got out and experienced some of the world. We have slept under duvets in Scotland and Europe so often that we much prefer them. Its not easy finding duvet covers in this country though. We have summer weight and winter weight, use them without covers and wash them often.

Posted by
518 posts

When there is no top sheet, it is because there is a duvet which is inside a large cover, much like a pillow slip but for a duvet. It is fresh when you check in, washed like a sheet. There is nothing gross about it. It is a very easy and attractive way to quickly make a bed.
If the weather is not cool though, I do prefer when some hotels add a sheet below the duvet. That allows the duvet to be thrown back and still have a sheet for minimal cover. We asked a few hotels where we stayed multiple days to add that extra sheet. They did so gladly.

Posted by
48 posts

The duvet's-yes that's what they have, I sure hope they wash them every time! Maybe I'm spoiled, but we have sheets. It's ok once you get use to them. No air conditioning-well, we are from Florida and we have air or ceiling fans for circulation. In London that was the only place that had air conditioners. We even asked for a fan and they looked at us like we were crazy. Tried opening the window for air movement and it cracks like maybe 3 inches, and then you have street noise. Then there is the problem of trying to wash and "dry" clothes.We solved that problem by drying them with the hotel iron. It seems like I am ranting about everything-but really-I totally enjoyed the challenge! I didn't end up in tears! Yes-I stepped out of my comfort zone and faced a different culture then mine! The Ice cream cones with the Flake chocolate stick-they can be found in all the tourist spots in England. I went to a store and bought some Flake sticks to have at home.
We found a couple of really great spots for tea and scones-Bath, it was called Boston Tea. In Edinburgh, a shop off the Royal mile. : )

Posted by
11450 posts

Duvets are popular here too ( Canada) and they are most definately not gross. I have duvets on all my beds in my home, nothing is a nice as a nice fluffy down duvet.
Air conditioning in Scotland, er that sounds odd, who would need it? Its not Florida.. I agree that one would want to book hotels not on busy streets so one could open windows and not have too much street noise .. I think you may just be over used to A/C.. we don't really need or use it here mostly either (pacific northwest) .. sure its hot enough about a week a year.. but otherwise why would anyone waste electricity?

Posted by
8406 posts

We've been using duvets with covers at home for years. I won't book a hotel that uses blankets and bedspreads, only duvets that are changed with each new customer. Hamptons and Radisons use duvets and probably many more in the US are switching over. Too many of us have seen the investigative TV reports of the variety of bodily fluids found on bedspreads in every category of hotel, from the lowest to the five star. Only duvets for me, gang. Be sure to always request a room away from the street, so you can open your windows. Now you know for next time.

Posted by
8295 posts

Monte, check out Macy's and Bed, Bath and Beyond Online for duvet covers. I've been using duvets (we call them down comforters here) and duvet covers (comforter covers) for 30+ yrs. I know lots of people who do. I've never had a problem finding duvet covers in any store that sells bed linens. And every catalog with bed linens that I've seen sells them. It's not common to find ac in SF, or the area where I live (across the GG Bridge) either. Lots of areas in the US don't have ac. Glad you had a good trip and hopefully you'll return for more and experience even more diverse cultures... it's all part of the fun I think.

Posted by
594 posts

It's a long time since I went into a Starbucks (now known in the U.K. as one of the companies that has complicated financial systems to avoid paying U.K. tax) but every other coffee shop I have ever been to in the U.K. sells tea as well as coffee, and they have cakes and sandwiches as well. It is not a common practice to regularly stop whatever you are doing and have afternoon tea with thin-cut sandwiches, fancy cakes and maybe scones, jam and cream. That is very much for special occasions, although a cut-down cheaper version is often available at stately homes and other visitor attractions.

Posted by
27744 posts

Yes, I now never go into Starbucks. I do support Caffe Nero and occasionally Costa Coffee and while I always have coffee many others have tea and cakes there, and reasonably tasty (for a central kitchen chain) it is.

Posted by
4689 posts

Daylight in Northern Scotland is great in June - less so in December. UK largely shifted over to duvets from sheets / blankets 30-40 years ago.

Posted by
12897 posts

I'll confess that I went to Starbucks once in Europe to try the coffee, that coffee of the day. That was in Berlin soon after the one located on Friedrichstrasse near Bahnhof Friedrichstrasse opened up, wanted to see if the taste was the same as you get here. It wasn't, so I never back to a Starbucks in Germany or in Europe.

Posted by
993 posts

Luckily, or unluckily for my waistline, I've never had a problem finding a place for tea in England. My sister and I make it a policy to have a cream tea every day we're there. Was that at Clarindas on the Royal Mile you had the best one? Cancha just hardly wait to go back??

Posted by
2081 posts

the ONLY reasons i went to starbucks. 1. They had lids for their to-go coffee cups. 2. they had bathrooms.
3. they were open earlier than the places i was going to. happy trails.

Posted by
521 posts

For Laurel: My daughter (sweet 16 and enjoying her holidays between GCSE exams and 6th Form) has a summer job as a waitress in one of the tea rooms in our village. It's packed with tourists and does English breakfast, lunches and teas. We dropped in there a few weeks ago and had the cream tea. There is a choice of 3 types of homemade scone, so we chose the sultana and cider, which seemed fitting because it's part of a cider farm. The clotted cream came in miniature old fashioned milk churns and the jam in miniature Kilner jars. The tea could have been stronger, but it was as good as you could wish for at £5.95.