Thursday 30 November 2017

UK-Paris Day 6: London to Scotland, Dalwhinnie Distillery & Loch Ness Inn

We set our alarms for the first time since arriving in London as we had to wake up at 5am to check out of the hotel by 5.45am. We lugged all our luggage to Hammersmith Station to take the Piccadilly Line (blue) for the last time for this trip to King's Cross Station to catch our 7am train to Edinburgh.

King's Cross Station
Check this board for details of your train and the platform to board

We booked the Virgin Train to Edinburgh via Rail Europe, which cost us S$85 per adult per way and S$43 per child (4-12 years old) per way (this is excluding the S$40 booking fee).

I'd have to admit that we randomly Googled various websites and chose this one out of convenience because they charge in Singapore dollars. You might prefer to book directly from Virgin Trains as they provide free WiFi on their trains if you book with them.

Do note that you'd have to collect your physical tickets from King's Cross Station at the self-collection machines. We collected ours 2 days ago when we visited Platform 9 & 3/4, just in case we were late this morning and rushing for time.

I got us seats with a big table for ease of blogging, eating and chatting. There are other seats with fold down tables if you're travelling alone and don't want to interact with strangers =)
Love our window seat view of the passing scenery
One of the many beautiful sights we saw along the way

I quite enjoyed the train ride even though the journey was 4 hours 20 minutes. I took the opportunity to catch up on blogging since I had a nice table to work on. Definitely more hassle-free than flying in my opinion! 😃

We arrived at Edinburgh Waverly Station at approximately 11.30am and we were right on schedule.

Edinburgh Waverly Station
Our Virgin train at its final stop in Edinburgh

We were informed by our rental car company, Alamo, to pick-up our rented car from New Street Car Park.

New Street Car Park
(Address: Edinburgh Waverly Station, New Street Car Park, Level -2, (Basement 2), Edinburgh, UK EH88BH)

It took us a while to find Alamo because the signboard was actually "Enterprise Rent-a-Car" and they were one and the same!

Alamo aka Enterprise Rent-a-Car

Our ideal car to rent was the Volvo XC60 but it was way too expensive. Hence we had to go with our alternative, which was the Mercedes C Class at £175 for 4 days (plus £77 for added insurance).

Our rented Mercedes C Class for the next 4 days
The boot of our rented car

The boot was simply too small for all our luggage! It can only fit two large luggage. The rest of our bags (filled with our London shopping) had to be piled at the back seat, which meant that there was barely enough space for my girl and mum! Oh how I miss our Azura... ☹️

Interior of the Mercedes
Very happy hubby, who got to drive a continental rented car for once 😄

We also paid to rent a GPS and thank God we did because there were areas in Scotland where we did not have any reception. We would have gotten completely lost if not for the GPS!

Beautiful architecture of Edinburgh
Off we go on a road trip in Scotland!

Our first stop was Dalwhinnie Distillery, approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes away from Edinburgh.

We stopped over at a Marks and Spencer Cafe to eat a little something before continuing our journey

Dalwhinnie Distillery is located in the very beautiful Cairngorms National Park.

Our drive was filled with awesome sights like this of castles amidst a back drop of mountains
(yes, it reminds me of Ed Sheeran's Castle on a Hill!) 

We actually witnessed snow falling on our car as we drove through Cairngorms National Park (Highlands of Scotland) to get to Dalwhinnie Distillery.

Dalwhinnie Distillery
(Address: Dalwhinnie PH19 1AA, UK)
Tastings of whiskey came with a complimentary whiskey glass and hot chocolate to accompany the whiskey
Very pleased with his purchase!

We had wanted to join the Distillery Tour as it happened to be free when we were there! However, they did not allow children under the age of 8 years old to join the tour and my girl was 7.5 years old! We were so disappointed! 😔

Admiring the beautiful mountains from the car park

We proceeded next to ASDA Inverness Superstore, the biggest supermarket in Scotland.

Can't get enough of the awesome views as we drove

ASDA Inverness Superstore was approximately 1 hour away from Dalwhinnie Distillery. The best thing about ASDA is that it is opened for 24 hours!

ASDA Inverness Superstore
(Address: Sir Walter Scott Drive, Inverness, IV2 6BZ)

We got all of our groceries that we needed from ASDA. Then it was a 30 minute drive to our first accommodation in Scotland, Loch Ness Inn.

Loch Ness Inn
(photo taken the next morning)
(Address: Lewiston, Drumnadrochit IV63 6UW, UK)
Their check-in counter was their bar!
I didn't know so initially I was wandering around clueless as to where to check in!

Loch Ness Inn was very cosy and warm. A staff brought us personally to our room. We had booked the Family Suite, which accommodates 4 persons, via Agoda for £145 per room per night. The room came with breakfast for 4 (more details in the next post, link found at the end of this post).

The main door leads to two rooms within a room.
One room has twin beds while the other has a double bed.
The room with the double bed
Common toilet shared by both rooms.
Has a heated rack for drying wet clothes.
The shower section was really tiny!

As it was late, we had dinner at the restaurant downstairs.

We got a lovely table near the window
All excited to eat after a long day! 
Some appetisers to start
Fish and Chips
Super awesome white wine mussels!
End off with delicious home made dessert!

The food was so yummy!!! We really enjoyed every bite!

It was later that we found out that Loch Ness Inn was opened by the same owners of Applecross Inn. Applecross Inn was highly recommended by my friend as the best fish and chips in Scotland. Glad that we didn't have to travel so far to eat good fish and chips! 😁

Just a note on Scottish hotels, they usually do not have lifts, a safe, a fridge or air-conditioning. It's usually really cold so most people just open the windows.

I had organised my packing in such a way that we only brought whatever we needed to the hotel and left everything else in the car. This helps to ensure that we don't have to lug heavy luggage up and down the stairs!

So far so good for our first day in Scotland!

Continue to >> UK-Paris Day 7: Urquhart & Eilean Donan Castle, Portree, Bosville Hotel
<< Back to UK-Paris Day 5: Borough Market, Piccadilly Circus & Lion King The Musical


Visit MADPSYCHMUM TRAVELS for the rest of my posts on UK and Paris, France
as well as other travel itineraries!

You can also follow my travel adventures on Instagram via the hashtag #madpsychmumtravels! =)
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