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visiting Edinburgh and Glasgow in Jan 2010 for the first time - anyonce care to help?

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  • visiting Edinburgh and Glasgow in Jan 2010 for the first time - anyonce care to help?

    heyy all

    my friends and i will be visiting scotland for the first time next january and we're realy excited but we've got load of questions. we're students travelling before uni term starts for us so we'd be pretty much on a tight budget. i hope you guys would be able to help us!

    first, what kind of weather should we expect? we know its winter but what sorta/how much clothes should we pack?

    also, what's there to do in edinburgh at that time? winter season seems like a lull period for tourism, especially during winter so will shops stay open? what about attractions? can anyone recommend a few good places to see or things we ought to do? we'd probably be in edinburgh for 3-4 nights.

    lastly, anyone able to recommend good budget places for lodging? i've read about hostels which sound awesome but is it possible to get a room to ourselves? there's 5 of us, all guys.

    oh, it'll be great if someone could tell us where to buy kilts that aren't too pricey. i've read about the royal mile shops selling cheap kilts and Lidl doing likewise. anyone know of better places?

    thanks soo much. i'd really appreciate any feedback! =)


  • #2
    Re: visiting Edinburgh and Glasgow in Jan 2010 for the first time - anyonce care to h


    Edinburgh is GREAT in winter or anytime of year! I arrived there on January 25th, which happened to be Robbie Burns' Birthday (famous Scottish Poet) and so everyone IN EDINBURGH was out drinking to Robbie!! It was unbelievable!! The Scottish treasure their history in a way that I cannot's very charming and I respect it immensely.

    I stayed at the Parliament House Hotel, it was very reasonable, up near Carlton Hill; I didn't have it pre-booked, I just arrived into Edinburgh train station in the evening, went into the tourism office, acted all kind of "needy" & "very blond" LOL, and the gent in there hooked me up big time at that hotel. It was really pretty, included breakfast, in my budget and great location - walking to everything.

    I don't know anything about where to buy kilts, but I saw LOTS of stores to buy WOOL goods and so I imagine there would be kilts in there for sure, along with sweaters, caps etc. Since I'm not a dude, no kilt for me; also not Scottish!

    LOTs to see and do; as you mentioned, the Royal Mile can take up AT LEAST 1 1/2 days; There's Edinburgh Castle at one end, St Giles Cathedral along the way, another Royal Palace (still in use at times today) Holyrood Castle - if the Royal Standard is flying, it means the Queen is in residence. Tours can be taken if no one is there.

    I should note that alone the Royal Mile, I found a great tour agency that I signed up with to take my Highlands trip with. If I hadn't just recently moved, I could find the info in my files for me but I can find it better in the day (right now it's close to 2am!) and locate the name of the tour company......things still a bit unsettled in here yet! Anyway, I had a fabulous time with a SMALL little group as we went up into the Highlands and visited Loch Lomond (famous in the true story of Rob Roy) :::advice:::in advance, rent Braveheart & Rob Roy before you go because YOU ARE GOING TO SEE IT ALL when you get there!!!!!
    Saw Stirling Castle, on the site of the biggest battle between the British and Scottish in the fight for Scottish Independence. And a bit off in the distance from Stirling Castle, there is an obvious, but non-descript (they had to be low-key about it) structural monument to William Wallace. It's really cool. The Highland country side is SO beautiful, words cannot describe - almost mythical looking, to be honest. Saw little highland ponies......and long haired highland cows. I even had a "moment" with one particular highland cow.....we got out of the van, I walked over to the corral, and he sort of looked at me, then slowly came over, right up to the fence post and we just sort of looked at one another. SO COOL. Even the guide said, "wow, you had a moment there didn't ya?" and I said, yeah, I think so! Loch Lomond is just so amazingly beautiful and we had a good climb up to a great vantage point for a really fantastic vista. Part of that was hopping across small waterfalls, or just standing by them for a moment to just absorb all the natural beauty we were surrounded by - just breathtaking. Ah wait, it just came to me.........Rabbie's Tours. On the Royal Mile. Do the Loch Lomond tour, skip Loch Ness for crying out loud - she's NOT THERE!!!

    Then to take up more time there is "New" Edinburgh, which runs down Prince Street, lots of shops and all, including random bagpipe players. There's a Giant Spire running down the left side of the street, it's a monument to St Stephen, if memory serves (and is where the bagpipers are) and it's beautiful. At some point you can turn off of Prince street (turn right) and walk into beautiful Charlotte Square.......historic and beautiful. Also, You and your mates will have a blast walking down Rose Street, which is parallel, and behind, Prince street and FILLED with Pubs that are FILLED with people. Honestly, I have never seen places so full in my life and remember, it was JANUARY!!!! These folks like to have fun.

    ****WARNING: DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT, try to keep up with a Scot on their drinking. You simply cannot do it. They have a much higher tolerance for drinking than most people and I do not recommend trying to keep up. I don't want to see your trip get ruined or any of you get sick. Do have fun, but stick to what's normal to YOU. What's THEY can do, is not NORMAL for most of us. It's just a cultural thing......nothing against the Scottish, especially since I am Irish and much the same can be said for their drinking too (actually there are a lot of Irish in Scotland!) so it's just an observation........I couldn't finish ONE pint of cider to guys at another table who were on their 4th full pint, then onto "drams" (shots) of Scotch. So be careful but have fun.

    I don't know about hostels but it's a university town so I am sure there are some there. I was just a bit too old ( University!) to do the hostel thing; needed my creature comforts, but the benefits of traveling off season means getting into nicer hotels at cheaper prices.

    Anyway, I have blathered on here quite a bit, and right now, I am so tired (working on TWO websites now!) at the moment I cannot recall how many nights I spent in Edinburgh. But I cannot wait to go back; and to go further up into the Highlands and out onto some of the outer islands, Isle of Skye, Orkney Islands, Hebrides etc. See Aberdeen, Inverness..........Scotland really is magical and looks like a dream. And it's FUN!

    Hope this helps
    Colleen Costello
    Message Board Moderator

    Host Bonjour
    Follow on Twiiter @TravelEditor & Facebook
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    • #3
      Re: visiting Edinburgh and Glasgow in Jan 2010 for the first time - anyonce care to h

      Hey there,

      I studied abroad in Scotland at the University of Glasgow for my junior year abroad and absolutely loved it -- you'll have a great time!

      To answer your questions:

      1. Re: weather, the eastern side of Scotland (where Edinburgh is) is much windier and colder than the western side (where Glasgow is) -- blame the Gulf Stream. It never really got much below freezing in Glasgow when I was there, but when I went to places like Edinburgh and St. Andrews I was shocked by the icy wind. Bring a heavy coat and water-resistant boots (it rains a ton, as I'm sure you've heard).

      2. Winter definitely is the low tourist season, so some castles, historic homes etc. may be closed for the season (not so much in Edinburgh perhaps, but in the smaller towns around the country if you're considering day trips). If there's something you really want to see, check ahead of time to make sure it will be open to avoid disappointment. Most shops in Edinburgh should be open, I'd imagine.

      3. As Host Bonjour said, the Royal Mile will definitely keep you busy for a couple of days, and there are a few good museums in town as well. Stirling is an easy day trip from Edinburgh (I believe you can either take a bus or train), as is Glasgow.

      I wrote a trip report about my time in Scotland that you might find useful in deciding what to do...

      4. I don't think I ever spent the night in Edinburgh because Glasgow was so close by, but there are definitely a ton of hostels there -- check or If you can find one that has five-bed rooms, you could definitely get one to yourself.

      5. Haha, sorry, I don't know about the kilts!

      Hope that helps a bit. Let us know if you have other questions!
      "I haven't been everywhere yet, but it's on my list." -- Susan Sontag


      • #4
        Re: visiting Edinburgh and Glasgow in Jan 2010 for the first time - anyonce care to h

        I forgot you asked about what to wear or weather. Again, I was there in late January. I dressed in layers, Scotland really was not that cold in January and I was always on the move so I never really felt cold at all. It was more mild really, than it ever could have been at home in NYC! I wore a cotton turtleneck, and a leather jacket one day with gloves and a scarf. The ONLY place I felt cold at ALL was up top at Edinburgh Castle; it was a cloudy day and I don't know maybe I was tired. But I was not wearing a heavy leather coat; I was dressed as if it were autumn in NY, or Spring (but we don't have Spring anymore!)

        On another day, I wore a turtleneck again and a tartan fleece pullover that kept me warm when I needed to be and then when I was warm hiking up to a high point over Loch Lomond, I took it off! I'm not Scottish so my tartan was just some random red pattern I'd gotten at home; no family tartan for me! But in the spirit, I wore one all the same! It got noticed and there were jolly receptions about it

        So just pack cottons, a sweater, a jacket but not too heavy so you can adjust. Like Ireland, Scotland just doesn't seem to get bitterly cold in winter. You need to adjust depending upon what you are doing, where you are, time of day etc., but you don't need to pack for the arctic! You'll be comfortable.

        I just re-read soliteyah's post, all good advice as usual! I just did not find Edinburgh icy cold by any stretch at all. But everyone has different feelings of what's cold. I wasn't freezing at all, except as I said, it was cold up at Edinburgh Castle but it is exposed and windy overlooking all the city and sea........once I got away from there, I was fine but the cold did not impede my visit there at all. I managed fine and enjoyed it immensely. Once I got back on the Royal Mile, I warmed up.

        I hope it goes well for you.

        Have FUN!
        Last edited by Host Bonjour; 07-26-2009, 04:12 AM.
        Colleen Costello
        Message Board Moderator

        Host Bonjour
        Follow on Twiiter @TravelEditor & Facebook
        Follow on Twitter @FamilyVacation & Facebook


        • #5
          Re: visiting Edinburgh and Glasgow in Jan 2010 for the first time - anyonce care to h

          The weather remains too cold in January. You can expect the temperature dropping to 5 degree Celsius. However, you will enjoy your stay at Edinburgh, as this place offers a plenty of things to do and there is much to see. You can visit different places of attraction at the Royal Mile. There are a lot of historic sites, museums, parks ,night clubs, castles, and more such things, at Edinburgh.