Now that we are back in the USA, I can look fondly back on our trip and say what a great experience it was.
Things that were great:
- train travel: no driving (and getting lost), toilets (with a 3 year old need I say more?), and the ability to bring lots of snacks and drinks along
- packing light: for my 2 children and myself I used only one carry-on suitcase and each one of us had a backpack. Yes, you don’t have a lot of clothes this way and you’ll have to do laundry, but as soon as you see all the other American tourists lugging their large suitcases up a flight of stairs or trying to find a spot for it on a crowded train laundry won’t seem like such an evil anymore
- Welsh people: by far the friendliest people we met. Overall though most people in the UK are quite helpful.
- The Lake District (specifically Keswick): English walking at its best
- Glasgow: one of the most underrated cities in all guidebooks. Its not nearly as industrial as most people make it out to be and it has some great museums and not (that) many tourists.
- double decker buses: the biggest thrill ride for my children, especially when you can get a front seat up top!
Things that were not so great:
- crowded train travel: even though you do not have to reserve a seat in the UK you may wish that you had. Several times we had difficulty finding a place to sit down for all 3 of us.
- Brighton: reminded me of a spring break town here in the US
- confusing streets in Edinburgh: some are higher than others in the old city so make sure you have good directions to your hotel if you are walking