Posts filed under edinburgh

Overnight Train to Scotland (A Vlog!)

It’s been a long time since I did a vlog… like maybe 3 years, but for some reason, I’ve been in the mood lately to switch gears a bit and add this format to my site. I think because I’m starting to love the idea of falling down the rabbit hole of Youtube channels, it feels right to join the fun.

And besides, I thought for certain things/topics- well, it’s really just a more effective format of communicating.

So a few weeks back, I headed up to Scotland on the Caledonian Sleeper train. It runs nightly from Euston Station to Scotland. It leaves late (like midnight!) and gets in early (like 7am!), so you really have full days wherever you are coming/going from to enjoy without loosing much to travel.

I’ve taken it a few times before, and I’ve always liked it…. And I thought, since so many people seem to want to know what the easiest way to get to Scotland is from London, it may help to just show you what way I prefer. While I’ve done the others (drive, fly, train) many times before… and, to be honest, will continue to do in the future, I can’t help but prefer the sleeper train over the rest. It feels nostalgic and efficient to me… and when I’m not with my tiny kids, it’s the best way for me to get to Scotland.

So without further adieu, my vlog of my overnight sleeper over-party-for-one on the Caledonian Sleeper train. Enjoy!

And make sure to subscribe to my Youtube channel so you don’t miss any of my upcoming adventures. (Hmmm… maybe my “nesting” phase involves creating new blog projects, because I’ve been lining up so many of these for the weeks to come. Don’t miss out on what’s in store!)

Have you traveled between Scotland and London? How did you get there? Weigh in with your experience below and share what you liked/disliked about how you traveled. It’s always so helpful to share your experience, so please do!

Find more of my posts on traveling to Scotland here, and check out my full travel guides to Scotland & Edinburgh.

*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Edinburrrrrrrgh & St. Andrews

With the way my fall terms are set up, it typically lands us in the Northern UK at the start of the Christmas season and the chilly winter weather that accompanies the holiday.

I love visiting these places in the sunshine of the long summer days when daylight stretches across the day from 3am until midnight... but the dark months here are alluring, too. Dark, windy streets that are void of chatter and whistling windy cries for only you to hear. Cuddling in small family-run cafes over warm drinks and filling treats like crumbly shortbread and warm mince pies. 

Not every moment of our wintery visits are magical (some are just fussy windblown and soggy)... but hey, the pictures could fool you. 


And no trip to Edinburgh would be complete without a day in St. Andrews. And no rainy winter' day in St. Andrews would be complete without a warm afternoon tea at the Old Course Hotel. I prefer tea time to tee time.

A quick walk on the beach to collect some seashells and... result in our socks being completely gritty for the train ride home. Ha! Worth it though.

The best family pics/selfies are going to be for a few years. :) (You should see the others!)

Also, we found a fantastic pizza place in Hunter Square, just off the Royal Mile, called Civerinos. Huge slices of pizza (£4), hot bowls of pasta (£7 at lunch) and a small mountain freshly made Italian donuts complete with Nutella and homemade vanilla whipped cream (£5) were just the right type of food after getting drenched that morning.


Check out my Edinburgh travel page for all our favorites in this special city. Find my St. Andrews suggestions in my Scotland page


*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on November 21, 2015 and filed under travel, scotland, edinburgh.

Pack Your Bags: Edinburgh's Elephant House

If you go to Edinburgh,

you're bound to visit


main historical sites

of the town...

The Edinburgh Castle.

Holyrood Palace.

John Knox's House.

The Royal Mile.

But these days,

most people visiting the city

also stop by a place of more recent

historical importance...

You know, where JK Rowling famously penned

the first of the Harry Potter stories on napkins

while she would nurse a single cup of coffee all day

instead of sitting around in her flat

that she couldn't afford to heat.

It's a bit dorky to want to go there, 

but hey-

if you do want to go,

just know that you're in good company.

{I've been loads of times.}

Plus, it's so close to the historical sites

that you won't be putting yourself

too far off track

 from the "respectable tourist site list."

The room is really pretty and has great lighting...

with a killer view of the castle.

It's the perfect place to come for a light lunch....

.... or to relax with a book

at tea time.

{Sidenote: they have such good desserts.}

So make sure you add a quick visit to

The Elephant House

to your trip to Edinburgh!

*all images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on May 30, 2013 and filed under "books", "edinburgh", "scotland", "travel", edinburgh, scotland, eat.

Pack Your Bags: Edinburgh (Family Style)

My parents came to visit

and we decided to take them to see

a few places that they have never seen.

Ok, well one place really: Scotland,

with a lot of little stops along the way.

The first stop was Edinburgh for two nights

until Tyler could wrap up work and join us.

While I typically run around the town

with college students

or with our awesomely low-budget.

But this time around,

oh friends,

I came with mama & papa.

I may or may not have persuaded them into the ways of Barbour upon arrival in the rain.

And traveling with mama & papa

can always make things a bit more fun.

We had such a good time.

We saw all the sites

like the

Edinburgh Castle

and the Queen's Edinburgh palace,


we ate tons of food

at cozy places like

Under The Stairs

and lunch at the famous

Elephant House,

ok, actually haven't eaten one yet... but will work up the nerve to soon.

& we slept like kings

while staying at

The Balmoral.

Enormous rooms, cozy robes & REN bath products. Oh, yes.

Fun fact:

JK Rowling finished Book 7 of HP

in a suite at the Balmoral

as a way to enjoy her success as an author.

From her starting point over a single cup of coffee at The Elephant House

to a suite at Edinburgh's grandest hotel-

I like her style!

So do I recommend the splurge for a stay at

The Balmoral?

If you can swing it, of course!

Or if you want to go for something more modern,


Hotel Missoni

draws me in big time!

Edinburgh + Missoni = Awesome doormen in kilts.

Though if you can't swing it,

which is the camp I most often fall into,

I also highly recommend an apartment through

Advocate Apartments


The Fraser Suites...

either will give you great rooms at a great price in fantastic locations.

More soon as our journey continues...

the next stop is one of my favorites:

St. Andrews!

*all images original to Aspiring Kennedy via my instagram. Username: aspiringkennedy

Pack Your Bags: Edinburgh, Scotland

Oh man, you guys...

time flies when you're having fun.

I've been having such a good time

over the Jubilee weekend,

I kinda didn't realize it'd been 5 days sinc

e I last blogged.

Not like I've ever been the best example of consistency in blogging...

but still, 

that's a bit long even for a slacker like myself.

Today, I've found myself in Scotland.

I'll be near Edinburgh for a few days

before heading up north to the amazing Isle of Skye.

It's not nearly as sunny as when I was here the other week

during that glorious heatwave.

The city was alive with people

strolling in the sunshine along the Royal Mile.

In other places, you'd find masses of scantily-clad people melted over patches of grass

or enjoying a drink outside a cafe with friends.

ps. this is my favorite hotel in edinburgh,

the fraser suites

. luxe rooms, amazing location, you can always find great rates...

and the rooms have small kitchenettes!

Today that burst of sunshine-beaming-tank-top-wearing weather

is totally & completely gone.

But as I look out the window of the 200 year-old house

I'm staying in this week

and work my way through a hot cup of tea,

it still feels pretty lovely.

PS. Tyler stayed back in London, 

and got to see the entire Royal Family pass by

near our flat after I left this morning.

He said they were waving hello to everyone on the street

and looked so happy & friendly.

Obviously, I'm completely jealous & not speaking to him.

*all images original to Aspiring Kennedy