Twin Pioneer at the National Museum of Flight Scotland
I discovered that the first return Atlantic crossing by air was made in 1919 by the airship R34 which departed from East Fortune for its 10 day journey to Mineola, New York.
Model of R34 airship at National Museum of Flight Scotland
I must admit I was curious to board Concorde, but as the timed tickets were suspended for the free entry day, that entailed queueing for around 45 minutes.Â I’m not sure if I should have bothered as I found the interior a bit disappointing compared to the exterior.
Concorde at the National Museum of Flight Scotland
The most interesting part was the cockpit and the myriad of controls and dials.
I then walked up to the Civil Aviation Hangar.
The Scottish version of The Flying Doctors at the National Museum of Flight Scotland
During a downturn in the aviation industry in the 1960s, work was done on the development of electric cars. TheÂ Scamp, pictured below, had a range of 20 miles but the battery only lasted for one year.
Yellow Scamp at the National Museum of Flight Scotland
Surprising I found the military aviation hangar the most fascinating.Â The video below includes a Spitfire and a Tornado.
The Messerschmitt ME 163 Komet was a rocket powered German plane, capable ofÂ speeds of just under 700mph and was in active service during WW2.
Komet at the National Museum of Flight, Scotland
There’s a great hands on exhibition called Fantastic Flights, were you can do a simulation of an airship landing and understand how planes fly.
The normal admission fee for the National Museum of Flight Scotland is Â£9 per adult, Â£7 for concessions and free for kids aged 12 and under. From April to October the museum is open every day from 10am – 5pm, November to March it’s weekends only 1oam to 4pm.Â The majority of displays are indoors but you’ll be exposed to the elements walking between the hangars.
You can see all my National Museum of Flight Scotland photos and videos on Flickr here.
Staffa Island is a tiny spec of land in amongst the hundreds of islands off Scotland’s west coast that make up the Hebrides. Many of these islands are uninhabited and rather uninteresting to visit, but one desolate place makes for a spectacular visit: Â Staffa Island
Those strange formations of rock cover the island and are made up of hexagonal basalt, a rock that creates this formations that look as if some strange human colony of centuries past chiseled their way around the island. Â The highlight is Fingal’s Cave, pictured, which makes the most wonderful sounds as the waves blast against the back wall.
You can walk all over the island, if you can get your way through the mud. Â There are cliffs with no railings and you can hop along those hexagonal columns right out into the sea if you so wish. Â It’s hard to believe Mother nature created such a bizarre yet beautiful piece of land. Â It’s well worth the visit if you find yourself down on this part of the coast.
Getting to Staffa isn’t easy. Â The simplest option is to get yourself to Oban, a mainland port with ferries to many of the Hebrides islands. Â Catch the ferry to Mull, about 45 minutes away. Â Then once you leave the ferry in Craignure, take a left – it’s easy as there’s only one road on Mull. Â This takes you down a single track road for about an hour into Fionnphort, which is where the ferry departs for Iona. Â Here or in Iona you can take a smaller pedestrian ferry for the 40 minute journey out to Staffa island.
It’s actually cheaper to not drive and let Bowmans take you – for some reason the Oban-Craignure ferry is very expensive for cars compared to other island ferries.
And unsurprisingly, this is a miserable trip in poor weather, so try to aim for a sunny (or at least dry) day. Â Sturdy footwear recommended.
The accommodation included in this best Edinburgh Airport hotels post is within 3 miles of the Airport, receives verified guest ratings averaging more than 70% and is accessible to the airport either by walking, hotel shuttle bus or direct public transport. I checked prices for a double room for one night on Wednesday 20 April 2011. (Prices and shuttle bus details correct on 7 September 2010).
The Hilton Edinburgh Airportis the closest hotel to the airport and you could easily walk to the terminal in less than five minutes, on a dry day and if you’d no heavy luggage. There’s a free airport shuttle bus which runs 24 hours a day. The hotel has a health club with swimming pool. I stayed at hotel for one night in February 2011, you can my review of Hilton Edinburgh Airport. It received a rating of 74% from 365 guest ratings. The price was Â£74 for room only.
Deluxe twin room at the Hilton Edinburgh Airport
Norton House Hotelis just over one mile from the terminal building. The hotel offers free airport transfers if the driver is available, if not, you’d have to arrange a taxi which would cost around Â£8. The hotel has a spa with swimming pool. There’s free wifi in the lobby and free wired broadband in the bedrooms. It receives an impressive average of 92% based on 116 guest ratings. The price was Â£108 including breakfast.
The Quality Hotel Edinburgh Airport lies one mile from the airport. There is a 24 hour shuttle bus which costs Â£1.50 return per adult. It receives an average guest rating of 76% from 511 reviews. The cost was Â£85 for room only or Â£90 including breakfast. We stayed here a couple of years ago, the room was comfortable, quiet and the free wifi had a very good signal. We walked the airport in around 15 minutes, at that time was no charge for the shuttle bus.
TheMarriott Hotel Edinburgh is located two miles from the airport, just off the main route into the city centre. The hotel doesn’t run its own bus but the Airlink Express bus, stops close to the hotel with a return ticket costing Â£6 per adult. The hotel ha a gym and swimming pool. You can walk to the Gyle Shopping Centre in five minutes from the hotel. It receives 86% in guest ratings based on 112 reviews. The price was Â£115 for room only.
Edinburgh Airport Parking Options
Some hotels will also include parking for up to 15 days either in a fly-park room rate or on payment of a supplement. This may be a cheaper option than arranging parking directly with a car park provider. However, when comparing costs, remember to factor in any costs for getting to and from the terminal if transfers arenâ€™t included in the hotel car parking rates, as transfers are generally included in the price quoted by car parks. You can find the cheapest prices for parking at Edinburgh Airport by using the price comparison search box below.
Which is the best Edinburgh Airport Hotel?
I’d plump for the Hilton Edinburgh Airportas it’s the cheapest at Â£74 for room only and also the closest to the airport. I don’t think I’d be tempted to pay Â£90, another Â£16, to have breakfast included at the Quality Hotel Edinburgh Airportespecially as there would be another Â£3 on top of that to pay for the shuttle bus for two passengers. The Norton House Hotel really need to have clarity on their airport transfer policy e.g. during which hours/days is the free transfer included, it’s no good to potential guests saying it depends on availability of the driver.
If you have an early departure or late arrival at Glasgow International Airport in Scotland, not to be confused with Glasgow Prestwick Airport, you’ll need somewhere to stay close to the airport. To determine the best Glasgow Airport hotels, I’ve only included hotels which are within walking distance to the terminal and receive at least 75% in verified (i.e. the person actually stayed in the hotel) guest ratings. I did a price check for a double room for one night on Friday 5 November 2010 (prices accurate on 2 September 2010). However, November is low season, so expect to pay more for accommodation in peak holiday periods.
The Holiday Inn Glasgow Airport is less than a one minute walk from the terminal building. You can check in from 2pm and checkout deadline is 12pm.The hotel receives an average guest rating of 76% from 280 verified reviews. The price was Â£49 for room only.
The Express by Holiday Inn Glasgow Airportis a two minute walk from the airport terminal through covered walkways. A buffet breakfast, served from 6am – 10am is included in the room price. Check in is from 2pm and latest check out is 11am. The hotel receives an average guest rating of 76% from 411 verified reviews. The price was Â£49 including breakfast.
The Premier Inn Glasgow Airport is situated 400 metres from the airport on the other side of the motorway. You could walk to the terminal in 5 – 10 minutes but if you have heavy bags or it’s raining, there’s a shuttle bus which costs Â£1 per adult each way. Check in is available from 2pm and latest check out is 12pm. The hotel receives 84% from 78 verified reviews. The price was Â£29 room only on Premier Offers Advance Booking but you have to book at least 21 days in advance.
Ramada Glasgow Airport lies a 500 metres from the terminal building but there is a shuttle bus which costs Â£2 per person each way. Check in is from 2pm and check out by 12pm at latest. There’s free wifi in the lounge. The average guest rating is 78% based on 247 verified reviews. The price was Â£45 for room only.
Some hotels will also include parking for up to 15 days either in a fly-park room rate or on payment of a supplement. This may be a cheaper option than arranging parking directly with a car park provider. However, when comparing costs, remember to factor in any costs for getting to and from the terminal if transfers aren’t included in the hotel car parking rates, as transfers are generally included in the price quoted by car parks. You can find the cheapest airport parking using the price comparison search below.
Which Glasgow Airport accommodation would I choose?
I’d probably go for the Premier Inn Glasgow Airport budget option, at Â£29 room only. I’ve stayed in a few Premier Inns and the rooms are usually fairly spacious and comfy. I’d be tempted to book at Express by Holiday Innn Glasgow Airport if the price differential was less than Â£20 and if my check in time allowed for a leisurely breakfast or if I was at the hotel after a late arrival back to the airport I’ve stayed at several Express by Holiday Inns and although the rooms can be a bit on the small side, the breakfast buffet is really good.
The Scottish city of Glasgow has undergone a successful metamorphosis from unappealing post industrial gloom to a popular global tourist destination.Â How was this achieved?Â What lessons can be learned for other cities keen to make themselves more attractive to potential visitors with so much competition from other possible destinations.
Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland, located on the River Clyde, in western central Scotland.Â It was home to the famous Clydeside ship building industry which fell into terminal decline in the second half of the 20th century turning swathes of the city into industrial wasteland and leading to high unemployment among the blue collar workforce. By the late 1970s the city’s reputation was one of grime, crime and deprivation. However plans were afoot to change this.
Landmarks in the lead up to 1990s
Glasgow’s regeneration started in the early 1980s. The specially commissioned Burrell Collection building in Pollok Park opened in 1983.
In 1985 the Scottish Exhibition & Conference Centre (SECC) opened on the site of the Queen’s Dock at Finnieston Quay on the northern bank of the Clyde.Â In 1998 the Glasgow Garden Festival was held on the site of the former Princes Dock in Govan on the southern bank of the River Clyde.
1990 The Year of being European City of Culture
The 1990 European City of Culture encompassed 3,400 events throughout Glasgow, from large international to small local events over the the whole year. There were 60 world premieres, performers from 23 countries and over 150 sporting events. Glasgow City Council judged Glasgow’s year of being the European City of Culture to have been very successful partly because the definition of culture was wide ranging not merely focussing on music, theatre and visual arts but also sport, design and education.
Dr Beatrix Garcia asserts that Glasgow’s stint as European City of Culture in 1990 was the first successful, high profile use of arts as a catalyst for urban regeneration. This was partly due to the fact that there was grassroots involvement from local communities in the 1990 event and the observation that the arts can make a difference even in socially and economically disadvantaged districts. There is feeling that cultural legacies have a longer term, deeper effect on a city’s psyche as they can attain a deeper level of involvement and meaning in the resident’s lives than economic or physical projects.
However Glasgow’s cultural identity doesn’t hinge only on showcase events and the opening of new cultural venues, there are many other factors too.Â Moving towards a new cultural identity also means embracing what is good from the past.
Architecture is an important aspect of Glasgow’s heritage. There is a plethora of grand Victorian buildings such as the City Chambers and the University of Glasgow.Â The Willow Tea Rooms, Scotland Street School and School of Art are three examples of early 20th century work by Charles Rennie Macintosh.
Scotland Street School
Glaswegian writers such as James Kelman winner of the 1994 Booker Prize, Alasdair Gray author of “Lanark”, poet and playwright Liz Lochead and Ian Pattison, creator of Rab C Nesbitt the sting vested philosopher, all make their mark on the city’s cultural identity. The famous Glasgow sense of humour, exemplified by Billy Connolly, contributes to the local resident’s reputation for friendliness.
Glasgow is the second biggest shopping city of the UK after London. From the traditional weekend open air Barras Market in the city’s East End, the 1827 Parisian style Argyll Arcade (the first covered shopping mall in Scotland) and one of the oldest in Europe, to the trendy Princes Square and Buchanan Galleries, you really can shop till you drop in Glasgow.
Music has always been a strong part of Glasgow’s cultural identity, famed for its diverse range of tastes said to be helped by its status as a thriving port, absorbing influences from Europe and the US as well as its industrial background and lively arts scene.Â This has given rise to many interesting bands and artists over the years, from the Jesus and Mary Chain’s riotous 1980s performances to worldwide commercial successes such as Texas and Travis. Also its proliferation of universities and colleges, including the aforementioned School of Art and the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, have helped fuel the scene with fresh new talent. Our son Simon Bryan is part of the Glasgow music scene as a DJ.
The opening of the SECC, the Clyde Auditorium and the Royal Concert Hall provided large spaces in which to house performances ranging from pop to classical music. At the opposite of the spectrum the city boasts many small pubs which provide a breeding ground for many local acts such as King Tuts, The 13th Note, Nice & Sleazy, and the Captain’s Rest. Those preferring more traditional tunes can find plenty of live jazz and folk bands in pubs all over the city, often with no admission charge. Meanwhile the Barrowlands Ballroom, famous in the mid 1900s as one of the city’s most popular Dance Halls, is now a 2000 capacity venue and along with the Academy and the ABC is a frequent stop of many international bands’ touring schedules.Â Glasgow’s music scene goes from strength to strength and it is recognised as by far the best city in Scotland for music.
Evaluation of Glasgow’s cultural transition
Glasgow certainly now enjoys a reputation as a hip city to visit, probably best known for it’s shopping and nightlife. It’s a popular short break destination for UK residents and is the fifth most popular UK tourist destination for overseas visitors. Glasgow was riding high in travel guide headlines in 2006. Conde Nast proclaimed Glasgow to be the UK’s top city destination after analysis of a readers poll where Glasgow’s strengths were listed as its people, hospitality and vibrant nightlife. Glasgow was listed as the only “Top 10 Must See” destination in Europe in the Frommers Guide and the Lonely Planet Guide labelled Glasgow as “one of Britain’s largest, liveliest and most interesting cities”. Fodor’s commented on the city’s friendly atmosphere and amazing shops and National Geographic was impressed by “innovative design, eclectic boutiquesâ€”and unpretentious attitude”.
River Clyde Walkway
So it looks like it’s mission accomplished in the transition of Glasgow from the dark days of post industrial gloom to top global tourist destination in a couple of decades – no mean feat, propelled by the catalyst of being European City of Culture in 1990.
During my Summer 2010 Scotland Blog Tour, I visited the Biblical Garden in Elgin which is just across from Elgin Cathedral.Â I don’t know if I happened to go at the most colourful time of year, or if it’s always as beautiful. As I’m not religious I enjoyed Elgin’s Biblical Garden for the floral displays. This Scottish garden contains all 110 plants mentioned in the Bible.Â Sculptures around the garden portray various parables including the Good Shepherd, Moses and the Ten Commandments and the Prodigal Son.
It’s free to get into the Biblical Garden in Elgin.Â It’s open from 10am – 7pm everyday from May through to September.
I visited the town of Elgin in north east Scotland one evening during my Summer 2010 Scotland Blog Tour.Â Elgin Cathedral is an example of Scottish medieval architecture, dating from the 13th century.Â It was known as the “Lantern of the North” as it was such a landmark in the surrounding flat terrain.Â I didn’t pay to go in Elgin Cathedral, as I thought I could see it quite well from the perimeter fence. I’m already a member of the National Trust for Scotland but Elgin Cathedral is managed by Historic Scotland. I just wish the two organisations would merge, so I could have pay for one membership to get into all Scotland’s historic buildings.
If you visit Elgin Cathedral between May to September do walk across to the Biblical Gardens.
I stayed at the Premier Inn Stirling for one night in August 2010 on the final night of my Summer 2010 Scotland Blog Tour, on a complimentary basis. The hotel is located on the outskirts of Stirling, just down from the services roundabout where you can join the motorway to Edinburgh or Glasgow. There’s a Brewer’s Fayre restaurant next door where we ate on the 2 main courses for Â£9 offer last year. It’s a couple of miles into the city centre if you want to find a choice of restaurants.
The receptionist who checked me in was super friendly. There were baskets with tea bags, standard and decaf coffees sachets and milk on the reception desk. I’ve already commented that Premier Inn are a bit mean with the in-room tea, coffee and milk supplies, only giving you two sachets of regular coffee, four milks and two teabags. Therefore it’s a good idea to stock up when you check in, to save you having to come back down to reception later when you run out or milk of fancy a decaf coffee.
My room was on the first floor at the side of the hotel with a lovely view towards Stirling and the distant mountains.
The view from my room at Premier Inn Stirling
The room had obviously been recently refurbished and was looking very good with a spacious desk and a separate small shelf for tea and coffee making attached to the wardrobe. I though it was practical to have the kettle away from the desk, to give more desk space and in case of spillages on mobile phones or laptops. My only niggle with the room was the double glazing which wasn’t effective in blocking the exterior noise from the nearby road. The window did look quite old, so I reckon that new double glazing could probably mean no road noise at all. In saying this, I have to admit that it’s very quiet traffic wise where I live, so I am easily disturbed by the whoozing of passing traffic.
The breakfast buffet table in Stirling was constantly replenished with plenty of yoghurts, cereals, fresh fruit salad, milk and the water in the flasks was hotel enough to make a decent pot of tea. There were even freshly baked croissants and there was still plenty left on the buffet when I left at 9.10. Staff were going around the tables asking guests if they wanted anything else from the kitchen. Breakfast isn’t included in the room price, it costs Â£7.75 for a full breakfast and Â£5.25 for a continental breakfast but kids under 16 eat free when accompanied by an adult.
I stayed at four Premier Inns on my Scotland Blog Tour and Stirling was the best overall in terms of the standard of my room, the breakfast and the super staff. I’d rate this as one of the best budget hotels in Stirling, especially if you can find a room for Â£29 with the Premier Offers.
There are many possible day trips from the city of Aberdeen during which you can explore the beautiful surrounding area.Â Here are my ideas for three great Aberdeen day trips, based on my Summer 2010 Scotland Blog Tour and an earlier trip to the area.Â You could do a bit of a hybrid day out, taking in some elements from each of the three suggestions.
The lovely Aberdeenshire countryside in August
The town of Alford lies around 25 miles west of Aberdeen.Â It’s home to theÂ Alford Valley Railway where you ride on the narrow gauge railway to Haughton Park. There are events such as Teddy Bears Picnics on Wednesdays in August and Santa Specials in the run up to Christmas.
On the Malt Whisky Trail you can visit seven working distilleries including Glen Grant,Â the Glenlivet and Cardhu. As a teetotaller and being short of time on my way to Elgin, I only had a quick look around the Glenfiddich Distillery. As I walked down from the car park, I was almost knocked out by the pervasive strong whisky odour.
I hope I’ve given you some ideas for enjoyable Aberdeen day trips.Â If you have any favourite routes/places to visit in Aberdeenshire, please leave a comment.
I stayed for one night at the Premier Inn Elgin, on the third night of my Summer 2010 Scotland Blog Tour, on a complimentary basis. It’s located a couple of miles from the town centre, just off the main road from Inverness. There’s a restaurant attached to the Premier Inn but apart from a McDonalds close by, you’d have to drive into Elgin for a choice of restaurants. You should try to go into Elgin to see Elgin Cathedral and the Biblical Gardens.
Premier Inn Elgin exterior
I was allocated a room facing the car park at the back of the hotel, a good distance from the road, so didn’t hear any exterior noise. I thought my room was looking a bit tired and the chairs had seen better days, one had a stain on the cushion and both were worn and grubby around the ends of the armrests. The bathroom was showing some signs of wear too around the sink and bath plug holes. In my opinion, Premier Inn really can’t claim they are a superior budget brand on the basis of a room like this.
There are only two sachets of regular coffee, two teabags and four small pots of milk (no biscuits) in a Premier Inn room, which seems a bit skimpy. You’re told at reception that you can ask for more supplies but once you’re settled in your room, you don’t really feel like trailing down to reception again. The bed was very comfy so I did have a good sleep.
My room at Premier Inn Elgin
Breakfast at the Premier Inn Elgin was not an enjoyable affair. Serving hours are 7 – 9am on weekdays and 8 – 10am at weekends, which I don’t think is late enough for leisure travellers. I reckon breakfast should be served until 10am on weekdays and 11am at weekends. Anyway, I turned up at 8.20 and had to wait for about 10 minutes to be shown to a table. I ordered my cooked breakfast and had some cereal and yoghurt from the buffet. Every time I went to the buffet table something was missing e.g. no hot water, no cups or no milk. I didn’t see croissants or fresh fruit salad on any of my visits to the buffet table. I went to the buffet table at 9.15 to get some more toast and tea and everything but everything had been cleared away. I spoke to some other guests who were also a bit bemused by the fact that their breakfast had come to an abrupt end.
Premier Inn quote room only rates, a full breakfast costs Â£7.75 and a continental breakfast is Â£5.25, kids under 16 eat free with accompanying adults. I asked if the restaurant had wifi and was informed it didn’t. Fortunately I have an 02 mobile broadband subscription which costs Â£15 a month for up to 3GB, as Premier Inn charge guests a hefty Â£5 for an hour or Â£12 for 24 hours for internet access.
If you need a bed for the night in the Elgin area and can find a cheap room at Premier Inn (rooms start from Â£29 a night), fair enough, the rooms aren’t that bad, but certainly not really premier. Just make sure that you go for breakfast early.