Jump to the Bottom for the short version
Day 1: Being in London there is so much to do and see. We had an overnight flight so we hit the ground running as soon as we landed. We took a black taxi to our hotel.....don't do that they overcharge take the tube. We stayed at the mad hatter hotel in Southwark which was a fantastic location. We were able to leave our bags at the hotel even though check in wasn't til later in the day. We walked over to the Tate Modern which was a short walk and saw the millennium bridge as seen in the harry potter movie right outside the entrance. The museum is extremely modern so the art work is from the anything goes era which can be confusing without background info. The globe theater was close by so we walked past that but it was really busy and couldn't go inside. It was time for food though so we headed over to borough market. Highly recommend it they have so many choices and something for everyone. This is where I learned that our fudge and their fudge is not the same. Theirs is still really good and also addicting. Refreshed from food we walked over to the shard but decided not to go up. It was time to check in to the hotel so we did that and settled in when I found out that there was a VAN GOGH exhibition at the Tate!! So I dragged Michelle because he's my favorite, cliché I know, but the texture of his paintings is beautiful. We took the tube which was much easier to navigate then I thought it would be and we got their fairly quickly. The exhibition was amazing and the museum as a whole was also a really good spot to see. Our hotel and a pie shop by the hotel didn't look far on the map so I thought walking back was a good idea. It wasn't it was pretty far and we had already walked a ton and to add to it the pie shop was closed when we got there! We went back to the hotel and ate at the restaurant attached to it, I still got a savory pie and it was delicious!
Day 2: The first stop of the day was Hampton court, Henry the 8ths favorite palace. The grounds were beautiful and there was a lot to see. They had people dressed up like Henry and his wives and put on some cute shows. I would suggest blocking out a large chunk of time for this since there is so much to see. We had a packed schedule and headed over to Kensington gardens, I had to see the Peter Pan statue, and Michelle knew the quote on my feet was from it and is how our friendship started. The park was nice there were people lounging and it was a great day. Once we made it through the park we walked past Buckingham palace which is nice but you can only see the outside when the Queen is in residence. We had tickets for the Warner Brothers tour which is a bit of a hike outside the cities center. It is 100% Harry Potter based and it was cool to see the props from the movies so its a must see if you are a fan. Dinner was necessary when we were done and the café had closed so we ate at Fuller's next to the tube station. Another good meal but the time we finally got back was late and tomorrow was another packed day.
Day 3: We took a tour this day with Premium tours that went to Windsor castle, Bath, Lacock and Stonehenge. The tour offered a good amount of time in each location with a late lunch at a traditional British pub where I got some fish and chips. The day ended at Stonehenge which is a sight that is worth seeing. There isn't a whole lot there but coupled with the tour gave us plenty of time. The locations were great the tour...eh the guide made bad American jokes that no one laughed at and not much information about the places we were headed to. The bus ride in between was a bit longer then I had realized.
Day 4: One of my favorites of the trip and another jam packed day! We started at the London Dungeon which is a fun way to learn about the gruesome history behind the famous city. The London eye is right next door which was really nice. It offered great views of the Thames. We also had an adorable young child that would ask his Mum for some facts and then rattle off all this information that I could never retain, Being a Peter Pan fan I wanted so badly to see Big Ben, it had scaffolding all around it and I only saw the clock face. We walked over to see the extraordinary Westminster abbey that is really gorgeous. Snowflake gelato was a great place for a snack that was earned with the amount of walking we did. We had reservations for afternoon tea at the potions room which was a really fun way to do it. It was "wizard" themed, you mixed various things that you ate and drank, I learned I don't like tea though. There was souvenirs included in the price of admission which is always great. The food was good, there was also a shop upstairs with delicious looking treats if it wasn't enough. We had some time before our next scheduled activity and decided to walk around the National portrait gallery which offered more beautiful, traditional art to behold, which made me happy. Our scheduled activity was a west end show. We got to see SIX the musical, which surrounds the stories of the wives of Henry the XIII. It was a spectacular show which I would suggest to anyone. I'm not sure about the US version but this one had the correct accents which I think added to the experience. After the show we were wide awake and went for a drink. The alchemist is a cool bar which specializes in creative drinks. I got a bubble gum daiquiri which was SO good. Michelle's drink was lit on fire. It was very impressive.
Day 5: Today we started at the globe theater for a tour. It's not a super long tour but the guide had some fun facts. From there we had a very fun walk to the tower of London. We walked right by the bridge, took pictures of it, kept going. How is the London bridge so boring?? It has a song! Sooo we thought the London bridge was the tower bridge and walked to far past it. Kind of embarrassing but the tower bridge is beautiful. I even took a picture of the tower of London thinking it was a cool building..... Once we circled around we crossed the bridge to the tower, had to see where the beheadings happened! There's a lot to see at the tower and is hard to pack in to one of my schedules. It was time for a break and in the heart of London not far from the tower is St. Dunstan in the East, a quaint little park of church ruins which is calming and absolutely beautiful. On the way to St Paul's cathedral we were a bit tired to go in because food was necessary. We ate at Gabriel's Warf for dinner, the food was great and filling enough to get through the rest of the night. The west ends prices are much nicer then Broadway's so we got to see Comedy about a bank robbery which was very home like with the American accents and jarring when they spoke at the end for real. We had an early morning so we headed back.
Day 6: This was the day we left London to head up to Scotland. We rented a car, which was on a side of the car I wasn't used to, on the wrong side of the road and a manual. It was a hefty drive but I like driving (especially once I got the hang of being on the wrong side and shifting with the wrong hand) and we had the SIX sound track to keep us rocking out. Once we arrived in Glasgow, we dropped our bags and hit the ground running. We wanted to see the Glasgow Cathedral which closed its doors as soon as we got to them. Haha then we walked over to a pie shop because savory pies are delicious, everything tastes better in a pie shell. It was also closed. So we gave up and ordered take out back in the room. Burgers and shakes! Since we arrived in the evening a lot was closed so we called it a day.
Day 7: We had breakfast and tried Haggis. Michelle didn't mind it, I was good after the one bite that counted as me trying it. Very sausage like, not my thing. We hit the road Scotland has so much to see and it's all gorgeous! We went to Kilchurn castle, which is some ruins off a lake and through a field. It's gorgeous and often photographed. It's also where I first saw a highland cow and instantly became obsessed.
They're so FLUFFY! After exploring the castle we got back on the road to Oban for our whiskey distillery tour. The town was adorable. and the tour was really interesting see and their whiskey, delicious! We stopped at Dunstaffnage Castle which was right off the road, ruins and didn't seem worth the price of admission. Being Harry Potter fans we had to go to the Glenfinnian Viaduct. Also doesn't need much time but a nice view. we stayed the Morar Inn which was an old hotel with not much around but very close to the ferry we needed in the morning.
Day 8: Sing me a song of a lass that is gone! Say, could that lass be I? Merry of soul she sailed on a day Over the sea to Skye. After exiting the ferry onto Skye we tried to visit Spar cave which was impossible to find, you have to go through someone's yard to get to which we didn't realize nor did we think we should. So we learned that a lot of the roads on Skye are one lane dirt roads with little out cropping's here and there for passing when someone is coming head on at you. Slightly terrifying but Skye is worth the near death driving experiences. We headed over to the fairy pools and hiked up the trail where there is water fall on top of waterfall for the most gorgeous walk you'll ever take. Definitely a highlight of the day and a high recommendation to visit. We checked into a pod behind a cute little post office. It was a tiny cabin with a bed and pull out couch with a bathroom. Don't need much more when there is so much to see outside. After checking in we went to Niest point and light house which offered some more hiking and more gorgeous views. I got my favorite British foods that night at the waterside cafe, Steak and ale pie with sticky toffee pudding! We stayed outside the main town so there wasn't much to do at night.
Day 9: The next day was another outside packed day. We started at Kilt rock pass where it started raining a bit. We backed up to hike up the Storr, As we started the hike it was drizzling and as we got further the rain got harder. We saw the famous rock formation and climbed towards it. As we got close the hail started! It was time to go the hail started to hurt. It was the first time we had seen the UK weather, We drove over to the fairy glen and the rain stopped by the time we got there. We got out to explore but by then we were soaked to the bone and pretty cold. It was time to find somewhere was with some great food. We ate that night at the Edinbane Inn where they had Venison on the menu, very good.
Day 10: On our way out of Skye we had one last activity. We went on a Skye Highland adventure and chose absailing. It was an interesting experience and I would suggest finding a legitimate company with an actual store front on the Isle. We met our "guide" in a parking lot of a closed down restaurant. Shady start. Then we went to the beginning of the trail where we changed into wetsuits, in the car, shady sign number 2. We started walking up this hill and ducked under a fence clearly on someone's property or a no trespassing zone. shady sign number 3. The trip down the stream was cool we slide and repelled down waterfalls and jumped off cliffs. He took pictures throughout which he said would be sent to us. As we neared the end of the river, he didn't have a real way out. We practically climbed a muddy mountain, no trail, no path, nothing. Shady flag number 4. Once we made it back to the car we were told the pictures would be sent to us later that day. They never were, still don't have them. We left Skye and stopped at Kyleakin Castle, not much to see but there was a shop with ice cream, so worth it. Then we went to the fairytale distillery which is super cute but wasn't fully open. Last stop was Eilean Donan Castle which was used for movies like Elizabeth the golden age, Made of Honour, James Bond and the tv show Outlander. It's one of the most photographed fortress in Scotland. It was beautiful but when it started to rain again it was time to go. We ended our leg of the day in Inverness where we went to Castle tavern where there was lovely views of the castle and I got some Banoffee pie!
Day 11: I would like to start out by saying the Explorer pass is really great and can show you places you may not have thought of or seen. We started the day at Urquhart Castle on Loch Ness. Another beautiful ruin thats a bit more crowded then others due to its famous Loch beastie. Today we did a lot of driving in between places which helps to see the beautiful country. We saw Elgin cathedral on the explorer pass and it was a drive but we had some time so we decided to take the trip. It was another ruin in the middle of a city but it was gorgeous with so many nooks and Crannies to explore and see. We ended the day with Balvenie Castle which you guessed it is another castle ruin. The lot was small and wasn't a huge one to see but across the way I got too see another coo and this one had a baby! We stayed at the Boat hotel in Garten which was a small town with an older hotel. A lot of the places we stayed in Scotland were older places that didn't offer the name brands we are used to.
Day 12: We started this day at Craigievar Castle which has a unique color, unfortunately we didn't think to look at the time it opened and were outrageously early and couldn't go inside. We went over to Burn O'Vat which was a hiking trail that was on a unique finds list on our was over to Dunnator Castle. This castle looked awesome however when we started walking over to it the sky opened up and unleashed which made the staircase to get there a little unnerving. I'm a large Peter Pan fan so we went to JM. Barrie's birthplace where there is a quaint tiny museum set up again small but good for fans. We stayed that night in Dundee at the Malmaison hotel which is a great town with quite a bit more to do.
Day 13: We started this day at Doune Castle which has a rich history and an even better filming history. A small castle with a audio guide tour led by Jamie from Outlander. Also filmed here was Game of Thrones and Monty Python. We saw Stirling Castle Next which is a larger castle that is visited more heavily and had a bigger crowd. This one had a lot things to see and more rich history behind its walls. The Kelpies statues were next which were much larger then I had thought they would be situated in a nice park. We stayed in Airth Castle which was really cool. We got some dinner at Beefeater where I got another helping of sticky toffee pudding I'm not sure how its that good but it is. We saw the Dreamboys that night which was a fantastic show, for the ladies that is, don't bring the kids or husbands for that matter.
Day 14: We made it to Edinburgh which was our final destination of the trip. We started at Edinburgh castle which was crowded and a worth while tourist trap. It's huge and has so much to see. We walked around the city a bit and stopped in Frankenstein for lunch. They had delicious drinks. We headed outside the city to Craigmillar Castle which was another cool castle ruin to explore. We headed to the hotel because we needed a short rest from all the driving and walking. We went out for dinner to Wings right in the city which I could not recommend any higher the food and drinks were delicious. We ended the day at the camera obscura which had some awesome optical illusions. We headed back after that for an early flight home the next day. Overall Scotland is a beautiful country with a rich history and a lot of ruins. There isn't much to do at night unless you are in a more populated city.
Here's the quick version if you don't want to read:
Day 1: Tate modern
Day 2:Hampton Court
Warner Bro.s Tour
Day 3: Windsor Castle
Day 4:London Dungeon
The National Portrait Gallery
The Potion Room
SIX the musical
Day 5:The globe theater
Tower of London
St. Dunstan in the East
St. Pauls Cathedral
Comedy about a bank Robbery
Day 6: Glasgow
Day 7: Kilchurn Castle
Day 7: Fairy Pools
Niest Point/ Lighthouse
The waterside Cafe
Day 8: Kilt Rock Pass
Day 9: Sky Highland Adventure
Eilean Donan Castle
Day 10: Urquhart Castle
Day 11: Craigievar Castle
Burn O Vat
JM. Barrie's Birth Place
Day 12: Doune Castle
Day 13: Edinburgh Castle