Travelling in the UK? Give me foreign shores any time.

30 Apr

Now before you judge me on the above comment, let me explain.

I spent years working abroad in some far flung destinations.  Azerbaijan, Colombia, Indonesia, Italy – ok Italy is not so far flung but it was a lot of fun.  This meant I was lucky enough to travel to nearby countries like Georgia, Singapore, Brazil and other places it would have taken me years to travel to if I hadn’t been living nearby.

And to be honest, I felt guilty that in spite of making it to all these destinations, I’d never been to Wales, Ireland or Scotland.  This was especially true when I spent two days driving through the Welsh countryside in the summer of 2007.  It was absolutely stunning and I loved it.

Scottish Highlands

The beautiful Scottish Highlands

So, when I put together my bucket list for this year, I added “Visit Scotland” as one of my things to do.  I’ve seen Braveheart – I know the Scottish Highlands are beautiful.  Besides, I also had “climb a mountain” as another bucket list item and thought I could kill two birds with one stone.

I’d also seen loads of deals on websites like KGB deals, Groupon and Wowcher for very cheap weekend stays in country manors and castles set in picturesque scenery serving homemade bread, butter and jams for breakfast.   I’m easily swayed by good food so this was an added bonus.

dumfries-friars-1

£119 for a two night stay in this amazing place with KGB deals

Feeling pretty pleased and excited at the thought of a weekend break in the mountains, I sat down to Google images of the Scottish Highlands and how to get there.

Obstacle 1 – the nearest you’re going to get to the Scottish Highlands by public transport is Inverness airport or train station.  You then need to hire a car to get you around from there.

Obstacle 2 – a flight will cost you around £100 return with Easy Jet and the train is an overnight sleeper from Kings Cross taking 11 hours and costs around £200.  You then need to add the cost of car hire onto this which is quoted as £25 a day on Easy Jet or £75 for a weekend.  Even with relatively cheap accommodation at around £100, the minimum cost you’re looking at is about £300.

Sleeper train

London to Scotland sleeper train

Obstacle 3 – lots of people will tell you how easy it is to get to Glasgow and Edinburgh.  I’ve heard very good things about Edinburgh (not so much about Glasgow – sorry to any Glaswegians reading this I’m sure it’s a lovely city) but I have a very specific idea of a Scottish holiday and it’s all about enjoying the natural beauty of Scotland.

It’s a bit like planning to do the Trans-Siberian Express but being told to go to Moscow.  Both would be brilliant experiences but very different.

Obstacle 4 – you’ll start thinking about the other trips you could go on for £300 per person.  My husband and I went to Malta last year and paid £200 each for flights so this was already in my mind as I was searching for my dream Scottish trip.

Just to prove this last point, I did a quick internet search and found that I could easily get the following trips for £300 or less:

  • A three night break in central Rome at a hotel with an outdoor pool.
  • A seven night, all inclusive stay on a 4 star resort in Greece or Turkey.
  • Two weekend breaks somewhere in England – there are great online deals for weekend stays in Wiltshire (near Stonehenge), Bath or Yorkshire and relatively cheap train tickets can be found.  Failing that, the coach could definitely get you there cheaply.
  • A self-catering holiday for four nights in the Black Forest area of Germany.

After much thought and deliberation, we decided to forgo the Scottish holiday for the time being.  Instead we’re going to Germany for some spa action surrounded by mountains and beautiful woodlands.  If I’m honest, it’s also the closest we could get to a highlands type holiday.

Scotland is not off the bucket list but it’s just going to have to wait a while…

germany-black-forest

Black Forest region

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