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I'll be in London...what to do?

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I'll be in London...what to do?

Postby jeffk » Sat Nov 19, 2005 11:21 pm

Hey guys, I'll be in London in March and have an extra day or two after my work is done to do some whisky fun stuff. Any recommendations?

I was thinking of hopping a flight up to Glasgow and then getting a car there and visiting some distilleries. A better plan seems like a bus tour of distilleries but I don't know if that exists. Since I only have 2 days max I guess I'm better off hitting them on my own. But what about in London? Anything extra cool to see there?

I'm coming from California, so even a good pub would be acceptable :) The pubs here are pretty worthless.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Sun Nov 20, 2005 4:41 am

Stay in London. I'm sure you will get plenty of advice here on things to do; I actually have never been to London. But I don't think it would be a good use of your two days to fly up to Glasgow and back.

Having said that, if you really want to go north, get a flight to Inverness or Aberdeen instead, and go stay in Craigellachie or somewhere else in Speyside. I think you'll still need a car--check CityLink for intercity bus schedules--but you can actually visit a number of distilleries easily by local bus once there. You can see dozens with a car, and visit the fabulous Gordon & MacPhail shop in Elgin. And if you stay in Craigellachie, you can hang in the Highlander and the Quaich Bar at the Craig.

If you decide to do something like that, do your research and plan ahead.
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Postby Jeroen Kloppenburg » Sun Nov 20, 2005 9:48 am

Two days is pretty hard to get to the place of action, and back again to London AND have some time to see some stuff inbetween. Getting to and from Glasgow or Edinburgh isnt the hard thing, but its the transfer to where you want to be afterwards ...

The Speyside might be an option, but depending on what flights you take, you might even try Islay if you can get a proper connecting flight after your arrival. The density of distilleries on Islay allows for heaps of fun ina single day as well. But you'd still want 2-3 THE MINIMUM on the island itself.

If you really want to go up north and taste a little of the Scottish life, then I can whole heartly recommend Edinburgh! This city simply rocks. Visit the castel, the roral mile, with the most famous royal mile whisky shop, the Whisky Heritage Center, some of the classic whisky bars, and if time permits, you could go and visit Glenkinchie. I did that once with public transport, but the ride will take some time, so this is preferably done if you have 2 full days the minimum.

Glasgow maybe has access to a few more distilleries (glengoyne and Auchentoshan are the only ones that come to my mind that are close enough for your timeframe, but even then, Glengoyne still needs quite a ride on the bus (line 10 IIRC)), and to be honoust (I hope I dont get fried by Glaswegians (Hi Iain!)) personally I dont like Glasgow that much compared to Edinburgh. If you like a good nightlife you'll have a good share of fun in Glasgow however.

Hope this was of some use to you :)
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Postby Iain » Sun Nov 20, 2005 10:39 am

No problem Jeroen. I'm not sure I'm very fond of Glasgow right now :( .

Like you, I wouldn't recommend flying London-Glasgow-London for a whisky related trip, if it's only for 2 days. I'd check, but think a visitor would have to book ahead to get into Glengoyne and/or Auchentoshan - and with that tight schedule, he'd need a car because using public transport would eat up too much valuable time.

But there wouldn't be much time to visit places on Speyside either, if one flew into Aberdeen or Inverness. I haven't looked at flights from London, but would it be possible to land before mid morning? And then there's a drive of an hour/hour and a half or so to Elgin, Craigellachie or where-ever on Speyside.

But it's certainly feasible. My oddest trip was a few years back, when I flew Glasgow-Aberdeen and took a hire car to Keith for a meeting, then drove back to Aberdeen for a late-afternoon flight to London. There was time for a bite to eat and a pint before bed. Stayed in the West End then went to a long meeting next day, then returned to Heathrow and flew back to Glasgow in time for a late-ish dinner. And a long sleep...
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Postby jeffk » Sun Nov 20, 2005 5:21 pm

Thanks guys, sounds like Edinburgh it is...

Do you have any suggestions on a nice B&B, maybe one right above a pub, that's easy to get to from the airport? :)

I've been to London many times, but never to Scotland. I think I'll pass on getting a car, as this will be mostly a little side trip to hit the pubs and I don't wish to do any drinking and driving.
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Postby Jeroen Kloppenburg » Sun Nov 20, 2005 6:13 pm

The airport and city center are well conencted with busses etc. There is a wealth of hotels and b&b's in Edinburgh, I think a Google search will help you best to find soemthing that suits your needs and budget :)

Edinburgh is a very good choice, I love that city :) And nothing like the view on the castle from below!
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STAY IN LONDON

Postby Deactivated Member » Sun Nov 20, 2005 7:06 pm

Personally, I'd stay in London and combine sightseeing with visiting all the wonderful specialist whisky stores.

A stroll around Covent Garden could be capped off by a visit to "Cadenheads" (Springbank's independent bottling company's shop).

Then, right near the British Museum, there's "Royal Mile Whiskies".

On into Soho, an there's the wonderful "Milroys". Also, the unparalleled "Vintage House" in Old Compton Street.

See the sights and get the whiskies.

Don't spend most of your spare time in airport lounges.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Sun Nov 20, 2005 8:05 pm

If you go to Edinburgh, try the Castle Guest House (http://www.castleguesthouse.com). Great location and reasonable prices.
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Postby Admiral » Mon Nov 21, 2005 3:09 am

You guys have a funny perception of distance! :)

London to Glasgow is only 570km (352 miles)!!.

That's considerably less than the distance between Australia's two biggest cities, Sydney and Melbourne.

However, we here in Oz would think absolutely nothing of flying from Sydney to Melbourne (flight takes 1 hour) and spending a day or two in the other city before returning.

Maybe it's because Australia is a huge country and we have a different perspective of distance, but it strikes me that Glasgow is so ridiculously close, why wouldn't you make the small trip and enjoy a little piece of Scotland???

Cheers,
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Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Nov 21, 2005 3:30 am

Yes--and of course, as everyone knows, there's just nothing to do in London. :P

I think one question you have to ask yourself is whether you have any prospect of visiting again soon. If not, I wouldn't blame you for making a blitzkrieg visit. There are thirteen nonstops to Edinburgh from Heathrow daily, six more from Gatwick, and five from London City.
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Postby bamber » Mon Nov 21, 2005 10:05 am

As already suggested - get down Old Compton Street and check out the Vintage House (watch out for friendly well groomed men in the vicinity :)). They've got so much great stuff in there. It's worth checking out Royal Mile whiskies and Cadenheads also, but I would not bother with Milroy's overpriced and moderate collection. There is also the SMWS bar (Farringdon), but you'll need to be a member for that.

After that I would just see the sites and hit the pubs and clubs, because there really is no little Scotland in London (even though many Scots consider Edinburgh to be little London).

Alternatively you might get time to get up to Glenkinchie, but otherwise I think you'll be doing more travelling than enjoying yourself.
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