Should we go to Scotland?
February 19, 2006 12:19 PM   Subscribe

Where should we spend 2 nights in the British Isles?

Where should my boyfriend and I go for my Birthday from Lodon? We want to spend the second weekend in March away. Neither of us has been outside of London in the British Isles, and we were thinking Glasgow or Edinburg.

Here's what we want out of it: See some sort of nice looking green-ness, or possible countryside. Would like to also be able to experience a foriegn culture, have full days, and enjoy some night life. Would like to do it as cheaply as possible.

We don't have a car.
posted by Packy_1962 to Travel & Transportation around Scotland (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
This is obviously a very subjective question, but I think you would have a great time in Edinburgh. There's plenty of interesting places to walk if you don't want to spend a lot of money.
posted by teleskiving at 12:37 PM on February 19, 2006

Not in Ireland if you are going to persist in using the term 'British Isles'...

However.. I've personally never found Wales to be avery exciting place to go (sorry, is just personal experience), and Ireland is not a cheap place to go, even though you can get very cheap flights on Aer Lingus and Ryanair, so Scotland is probably the best option.

If you book ahead, you can get very very cheap train travel to Edinburgh on GNER and Glasgow on Virgin (I once went midweek to Glasgow on Virgin, first class, for under £20).

But if you don't want a city break, and it sounds like you don't, you may wish to consider flying to Inverness.

If you're willing to spend a little more, consider flying to Galway in Ireland. Connemara (the area around Galway) has some spectacular scenery, and parts of the area are probably as foreign as you'll find without leaving Britain and Ireland.
posted by ascullion at 1:10 PM on February 19, 2006

Glasgow rocks. There are a fair few AskMes about it too, and we're always up for an impromptu pileup.
posted by bonaldi at 2:18 PM on February 19, 2006

Southwest England - Devon, the coast. People are a lot different from London, completely different pace of life. Maybe northern Wales for the "foreign" angle. The first time I went to a Sainsburys supermarket in Wales and heard everybody speaking Welsh I felt like I was in some kind of science-fiction alternative England universe.
posted by zaelic at 4:19 PM on February 19, 2006

Seconding ascullion, go to Galway (City). Cheapish B&Bs, amazing countryside within a handful of miles, lotsa nightlife in a small space. Keeping it cheap, you can fly to Shannon or Knock with RyanAir, rent a car at the airport to get you the 50 miles or so to Galway, then use it to drive around Connemara during the days.
posted by holgate at 5:28 PM on February 19, 2006

The lake district. I stayed for ten days in Windermere last June and I loved the serenity. You can get buses to almost everywhere--though I don't know how much will be open at this time of year.
posted by brujita at 10:06 PM on February 19, 2006

I'd give Edinburgh a chance - dark imposing granite, monumental buildings and a huge great mountain the middle. Excellent culturally too. It has a nicely Bohemian air to it.

In Wales both Snowdonia and the Brecon Beacons are nice, but if you're looking for more traditional Wales, stick to the north - although there's not much night life that I'm aware of.
posted by BishopsLoveScifi at 11:36 PM on February 19, 2006

the other thing to think about is how long you want to spend travelling if you're only going for a couple of days... Perhaps Bath or York may be easier?
posted by brettski at 3:34 AM on February 20, 2006

I'd agree with Edinburgh too, good nightlife, bags of culture and easy to get away from and see good countryside. See if you can get cheap flights (e.g. bmibaby, easyjet)
posted by biffa at 6:13 AM on February 20, 2006

Edinburgh is a great town to visit, but you wont scratch the surface in one day - so I recommend this:

The London - Fort William 'Caledonian Sleeper' on Rannoch Moor...Easily the most amazing train ride in Britain is the Caledonian Sleeper from London to Fort William, sometimes known as 'The Deerstalker'...

Why? Imagine the convenience of a train that leaves rainy central London after work at 21:00 and arrives at Fort William in the glorious Scottish West Highlands at the foot of Ben Nevis (the highest mountain in Britain) at 09:43 next morning.
Imagine a trip where you go to bed as the train speeds through familiar London suburbs at 80mph, then wake up in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by mountains, streams and woods, sunlight streaming through the window, deer bounding away from the train, a diesel locomotive struggling to haul the two sleeping-cars and lounge car up the gradients and around the sharp curves of the scenic West Highland Line at 40mph.
Imagine a train that has almost 'cruise train' facilities - private sleeping compartments and a plush lounge - yet on which 'Bargain berth' fares start at only £19 one way.

Regular fares start at £99 return sharing a 2-berth room or £169 with a room to yourself (passengers travelling alone can opt to book a berth in a 2-berth room and share with another passenger of the same sex, if they don't want to pay the 1st class single berth fare). Anyone who lives in London or the South of England but who loves the Scottish West Highlands should know about this train. If you fancy a weekend away in the heart of the Highlands, this train makes it possible..! Book online at

posted by Lanark at 2:38 PM on February 20, 2006

Edinburgh suggestions are good, but I'd say go to Glasgow instead (I'm biased, because that's where I live, but hear me out): you get the fantastic architecture (brief summary, but by no means all of it, here), you get the Cathedral, the museums (13 of them), the parks, as well as the nightlife (if that's your thing), concert venues, theatres, etc etc. And if you want the countryside, you can jump on the train and be in the highlands in an hour. Alternatively, half an hour on the bus takes you to Loch Lomond.
posted by Len at 4:50 PM on February 22, 2006

Edinburgh's great if you go by train from London. GNER do an excellent old-fashioned restaurant car service on most of their trains, with really well-cooked food.

Another alternative is Bristol, to the west of London. Good museums, theatres and night life, and very green. Stay in Clifton and see the suspension bridge and lots of open space. Also lovely countryside around, like Cheddar Gorge etc. More spectacular than the Cotswolds and less full of tourists.
posted by athenian at 11:26 AM on February 24, 2006

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