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Trip Report (Long)

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posts: 166
reviews: 15
Trip Report (Long)

As this trip was planned nearly entirely using resources from TAGF (especially purpleceltic!), here I go.


Premier Travel Inn (187 George Street, Glasgow G1 1YU, Scotland) – please see independent review.

Marriott Hotel (500 Argyle Street, Anderston, Glasgow G3 8RR, Scotland) – please see independent review.

Premier Travel Inn (1 Morrison Link, Edinburgh EH3 8DN, Scotland) – please see independent review.

Airport/hotel transfer:

Glasgow Int’l airport is compact. Head down the moving walkway, book a roundtrip ticket on Citylink (Round trip GBP 5.80; One way GBP 3.50; www.citylink.co.uk/), then bear immediately far left for international arriving luggage. Step out on the curb and jog a bit to the right for the 905 bus stop. It is fifteen (15) minutes to city centre with approximately ten (10) stops located close to the various hotels, high street and depots (Queen Street, Central Station, and Buchanan Bus Station). If you have more than one (1) piece of checked luggage and/or children, take a taxicab (One way GBP 15).


· Glaswegians are the friendliest single subset of people encountered. Full marks.

· George Square is the metro centre. Determine everything (convenience, noise level, access) based upon distance from your place of lodging to George Square, which is boundaried by George Street, St Vincent Place, Fredrick Street and Queen Street. If you exit Queen Street station, you will spit onto Buchanan Street or George Square. High streets are Argyle Street, George Street and Sauchiehall street (running parallel to the Clyde), and Buchanan Street (perpendicular to the Clyde). Most hotels and tourist centres have free phones to dial a taxicab. Taxicabs are aplenty.

· The weather was pleasant. It rains intermittently and briefly. It is absolute to wear lightweight raingear (which is hooded) and not lug an umbrella. Juggling your backpack, a yoghurt drink, your lovely camera and am umbrella is a fait accompli in itself. If it rains, duck into a porte cochere and admire some architecture. Step into one of several gastropubs for a wee dram of whisky. This is at least 50% w/v alcohol. Be aware that all of the wee drams sneak up on you. Mix in a bit of water or ice cubes to enhance the flavour.

· One (1) CCTV per 14 inhabitants. I was panhandled only once and felt remarkably safe wandering the streets at all odd hours, be it 0015 or 0630. The crime bureau has statistics that this is the most dangerous city in the UK but it is like any major city – you take precautions and you do not get foolish.

· As per usual, I always take the hop on/off open top bus the first day. This one has 21 stops and is valid for 48 hours. I hope you too get a live guide each time. You get a 10% discount for any additional ticketing but everything is just a brisk walk or a small cab ride away. I get a lot more walking about with my head looking up at the spires, steeples and mouldings.

· The Visitor Information Centre in George Square is a function of the persons staffing it. I was given incorrect information on two separate days, an incorrect tour booking (which was subsequently accommodated by another operator) and has differing hours on different days. There are many leaflets and guidebooks in the office. There is no facility for left luggage. All observations are applicable for its counterpart on Princes Street in Edinburgh. I inifinitely prefer "I do not know" to wanton disposal of incorrect information. I clung to my Frommer’s guide the entire time.

· Most museum admission is free. I enjoyed most the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Hunterian Museum (check opening times), St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art, Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA), Peoples Palace & Winter Gardens, and the Museum of Transport. Glasgow University and the Glasgow School of Art have conducted tours – book ahead of arrival. Children will enjoy the Science Centre, which is close to the SECC (“Armadillo”), Finnieston Bridge (“Squinty”) and Finnieston Crane. A tearoom is planned at the apex of the Crane, whereat will hopefully be served high tea. For now, the Charles Mackintosh Willow Tea Rooms (closes at 1600) will have to do. Nearly all taxicab drivers are rich historians. This is not always good when you are in a hurry to get to a concert from Gartnavel General Hospital.

· Walking along Cathedral and Castle roads are an architect’s delight. The Necropolis and Glasgow Cathedral are must stops. For over-the-top interior design, you must immediately go to City Chambers (off George Square; with tours daily at 1030 and 1430; check listings).

· On Saturday evening, there was a choral performance at the Cathedral. In just a few days, I experienced diverse forms of entertainment from a sing-along ABBA show and 80s drama (“Angels in America”, a double header), to Maxim Vengerov (with the UBS Verbier Festival Orchestra; all 17-29 years of age) and a community theatre rendition of “The King and I”. Opera is occasional and was not in season. Many of the pubs have amusing quiz and karaoke events nightly. The buzz is young and casual.

· Shopping is plentiful and conventional: St Enoch Shopping Centre, Buchanan Galleries, small shops in Merchant City and along the high streets. You can top off your mobile and pick up SIM cards almost as often as you espy a Costa coffee outlet or Starbucks corner. I did most of my shopping in the Highlands and countryside for clothing, honeys, whiskeys and Arran cheese. Tacky souvenirs are quite the must.

· Nearly all major cuisines are well represented. The best variety (but variable quality) is on Byres road and around Glasgow University, unsurprisingly. For pick and runs, there are Sainsbury’s, Tesco Metro and Tesco Express, and M&S Food. I had a lovely meal with wine at Amarone. Pick and run pizza can be dodgy, but the corner shop near Sainsbury’s on Buchanan Street was yummy.

· Short trips to the Burrell Collection, and Pollok House are in order. I also booked guided coach tours (all day long) to the Highlands from leaflets at the Visitor Information Centre. These are not to be missed. Different operators offer different itineraries depending on the day of the week. Your combination should include Stirling Castle, Bannockburn, Aber Foyle, Balloch, Glen Coe, Glen Etive, Pitlochry, Loch Lomond, Loch Katrine, Loch Ness, Inverness, Falkirk and Linlithgow. I am a bit of a glutton for history and naturescapes. While in the Highlands and Lowlands, please take the usual precautions for tick borne Lyme disease. The best tour was a minicoach (9 guests only) run by a native Glaswegian named Stewart Hunt; have the Visitor Information Centre arrange a bespoke tour with him. All the tour operator companies have similar names so save your tickets and check time and location of pick up (one leaves from Buchanan Bus Station Stance 6). Tour operators may cancel the tour if they do not meet viability quorum. This was disappointing but the operator arrived at the appointed pick up time and arranged for an alternative, going so far as to pay the difference for the more expensive tour! I was touched.

· I railed it to Edinburgh (Virgin Rail; Queen Street to Haymarket GBP 9.50 Standard Each way; Premier Travel Inn at Morrison Link) where I did the hop on/off open tour bus, usual visits to the Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre (discount coupons at www.whisky-heritage.co.uk), Edinburgh Castle, Camera Obscura (check timings), The Gallery of Modern Art, The Museum of Scotland, Palace of Hollyrood House, Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Queen’s Gallery (lovely exhibit on “Amazing Rare Things”), and the Scottish Parliament (no guided tours on days when Parliament is in session but you can hear their flowery prose and drama: pick you poison). Witchery tours (the earlier ones in the evening are more child-friendly, but you soon realize you get more scared more easily than your wee ones) start near the Castle (check timings) that are a bit of fun. Children will also enjoy Dynamic Earth and the Zoo. Discounts are enjoyed with the Day Pass (www.edinburgh.org). Regrettably, my three days were peppered with heavy rain and I could not walk about much to enjoy the local flavour. I caught “Man of La Mancha” (Royal Lyceum, Lothian road) and some stand up comedy.

posts: 1,329
reviews: 12
1. Re: Trip Report (Long)

Glad you seemed to largely enjoy your time. I must take exception to one thing in your report though...

Never, ever, EVER put ice in whisky!!! Whereas a little water will help to release the flavour in most whiskies, ice can only ever lock up and impair taste!


United Kingdom
Destination Expert
for South Ayrshire, Glasgow
posts: 14,109
reviews: 242
2. Re: Trip Report (Long)

SNDP, are you a professional travel writer? If not your should certainly consider it. I would say this trip report is a 'must read' for anyone (with or without family in tow) thinking of a stay in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

I'm so glad you enjoyed it, I just pray the accommodation passed muster (fingers firmly crossed).

Hope you managed to find a nice kilt!


posts: 166
reviews: 15
3. Re: Trip Report (Long)

Purple! It was perhaps the best holiday in a while, mainly thanks to you. What IS the correct spelling of whiskey/y? I confess the potion is too strong for me (more so than grappa, and on par with uozo) that I needed to dilute it: such a faxu pas. The Marriott passed glorious muster. Both PTIs fell short, sadly.

posts: 68
4. Re: Trip Report (Long)

Both Whisky and Whiskey are correct, but describe different products, Whisky is Scottish and Whiskey is Irish.

I'd second the implorement not to add water and most certainly not ice! Your best bet would be to try a milder whisky. :)

That was a great trip report, thanks for sharing it!

Glasgow, United...
posts: 189
reviews: 6
5. Re: Trip Report (Long)


What a great report. Glad you had a good time.

Just read your review of the Travelinn - sorry it was a disappointment. Like Purpleceltic, I've recommended this place but solely on location, as I've never stayed there, so your comments re: the noise are something I will bear in mind in future.

One thing I would ask is, do you think getting a room at the back of the building would have been any better?


(and I'm going to whisper this......)

Not only do I put ice in if I'm having whisky, but also...<gasp>...

lemonade !!!

Need to go now, I can hear the lynch mob at the door .............


United Kingdom
Destination Expert
for South Ayrshire, Glasgow
posts: 14,109
reviews: 242
6. Re: Trip Report (Long)

JB, I can just imagine the whisky buffs having palpitations at the likes of us. I enjoy it best with a good dose of canada dry and a couple fo chunks of ice, but I don't waste any single malts on myself, as apparently that would be a sin:-)

I've always found whisky a bit too strong for my taste, but following a tip from some regular tipplers I tried a single malt with a spot of water this weekend, and what a revelation, it was actually quite pleasant and I could taste the flavours. A certain whisky drinker not too far from me will be sorely upset that there are now two whisky drinkers in this house, lol!

posts: 166
reviews: 15
7. Re: Trip Report (Long)


In the matter of room location and level of PTI, I specifically sampled different rooms for TAGF reporting purposes. Sampling was partially involuntary after nonfunctioning shower in one property, leaking about-to-collapse roof from the rain on the other property, unacceptable noise on both properties. In each case, I also transfered from second to fourth floor levels with no discernible effect on sound isolation - the walls themselves have to be necessarily dry walled without intervening sound absorbing material and/or insulation.

PTI George Square (Glasgow)

* West facing rooms are on George St: busy thoroughfare, three stop lights, screeching motorbikes

* North facing rooms harbour active construction traffic, construction starts early and ends late; parking lot

* South facing rooms are on Montrose St: rather busy road and streetfare, en route to bars and thus noisy but pleasant drunks, early a.m. rubbish truck pick ups

* Inside facing rooms: graveyard but open space thus transmitting traffic noise from Ingram St; but still your best bet provided you are a middle room, i.e., there are fire exits and separation doors every four or six room door lengths.

PTI Morrison Link (Edinburgh)

* Northwest face rooms are bounded by Morrison Link (public parking lot) and Morrison street (busy thoroughfare; three stop lights, noisy but pleasant drunks, pool bars at kitty corner)

* Southwest face room are bounded by Morrison Link (public parking lot) and W Approach road ( minor artery but a bypass to Morrison road, I think but cannot confirm)

* Inside facing rooms look directly onto the fairly vast hotel parking lot and those rooms that are more southerly would theoretically be less noisy but they are also the smoking rooms

I hope this helps.

Liquids on flight from Glasgow, some notes -

* Honey (practically solid at ambient temperatures in Scotland) is considered a liquid by airport screening personnel and one is well advised to pack it securely in bubble wrap into checked baggage. You will not get anywhere by making lame attempts at justification that the physics definition is of anything that flows freely without restriction, such as water, unless you have a medical condition that necessitates clutching on to honey at all times in case of an emergency. Since I am not Winnie the Pooh, I left it at that as I had at least eight (8) different types of speciality honey with me.

* If you buy any duty-free items that are liquid, you had best consume them inflight if you have a connecting flight as you will not be permitted to board with them (as you have to go through security again). The signpost near the Boots store in the airport waiting lounge erroneously advises you of the complete opposite.

* No little juice boxes come in containers at or under 100 mL. The smallest are 200 mL. Believe me, I looked.

8. Re: Trip Report (Long)

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