Friday marked the day when our June 2019 trip was officially paid for in whole! We’re 83 days out from leaving on our adventure. In my previous post, I detailed why we decided to travel through EF Go Ahead Tours. They are taking care of the big details for the trip including airfare, transportation, hotels and some meals. But they’ve also built in free time to explore Great Britain on our own! Today, we’ll go through the planning of our first stop on our great tour: Edinburgh, Scotland.
Shani, “S”, my mother-in-law Paula and I will depart from Boston on a red eye flight the night of June 8, arriving in Edinburgh the next morning. We’ll have time to settle in to our hotel after EF Go Ahead Tours picks us up at the airport. That evening, we’ll be having an arranged dinner with the other members of our travel group (18-35 total people). The next morning, Go Ahead will take us on a general tour of Edinburgh, including a visit to Edinburgh Castle. That afternoon, we’ll have free time in Edinburgh to explore on our own. We’ll also have a full day to explore the following morning. Unfortunately, these will be our only days in Scotland before departing for our other stops in England.
This leaves us with a day and a half to explore Edinburgh and any other location in Scotland we would like to experience. This is a tall order for a country so rich in culture and history. Sacrifices will need to be made. Enter, Shani the Master of Planning!
A tough challenge any time one plans a family trip is balancing the varied interests of multiple people. My desire to soak up experiences laced with rich history are much different than “S’s” desire to experience things more related to her own interests. At the point of writing, that means a lot of exposure to places and events related the book and movie series surrounding Harry Potter. Fortunately, exploring Edinburgh provides us with plenty of opportunities to please the whole travel party!
Shani and I determined that we will spend our half day of free time exploring Edinburgh. While being a large city, there is a lot of exciting things to experience in a relatively small portion of the central city. Old Town offers a significant historical experience and doubles as being the inspiration for many aspects of the Harry Potter franchise. Win/Win! From adventures exploring under the current streets of Old Town, featuring parts of the town that existed before modern development, to the cafe where Jo Rowling wrote much of the first iterations of the Harry Potter book series, this will do quite nicely. Fortunately for “S”, Shani and I both appreciate the creativity and art involved in crafting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, so we’re bound to be entertained as well.
The next day, our full free day, we decided to tour the beauty of the Highlands of Scotland. Shani began doing research and settled on a day tour company located in Old Town Edinburgh, that offered several Highland itineraries; Rabbie’s Tours (https://www.rabbies.com/en/scotland-tours/from-edinburgh). We quickly narrowed down our options to include two different Highland itineraries, ultimately deciding on their West Highlands, Lochs & Castles tour. It includes a stop at one of the castles used in the filming of Monty Python’s Holy Grail. Sold!
The next day, we’ll begin our journey to England, first visiting the city of York. Stay tuned for the next installment in this series about planning our Great Britain adventure!
Do you have any experiences in visiting Edinburgh and Scotland? We would love to hear about those! Leave a comment and let’s discuss!