Last Friday, I wrote about getting to Europe and visiting Dublin. Today, we’ll be visiting Edinburgh, St. Andrews, and the British Open; especially special this year because it was held at the the birthplace of golf, of which I was reminded multiple times by my golf loving husband.
Getting to the Royal Mile
After a quick 24 hours in Ireland, we hopped on a plane to Scotland. I wasn’t excited about flying again so soon, but it was the quickest and most cost effective way to get over the Irish Sea. Buying three tickets well in advance was only $184. The flight was uneventful and we were at the Edinburgh airport before noon.
The airport is about 30 minutes from the city, but there is excellent bus service. The Airlink 100 stop is right outside of domestic arrivals and offers express service to Waverely Bridge, which is the train station for Edinburgh. At £4.50 per adult and £2.00 per child, the cost is much cheaper than taking a taxi.
From Waverely, the Royal Mile is a short, although uphill, walk of about 10 minutes. We booked the Holiday Inn Express Royal Mile for two nights, spending 70,000 IHG points. For having the IHG credit card, 7,000 miles were redeposited back into our account because they give 10 percent back after a reward stay, making the total cost only 63,000 points. It wasn’t fancy, but the hotel was clean, had an awesome hot breakfast, decent wifi, and somehow, we ended up in a handicap accessible room that gave us much appreciated extra space.
The location was fantastic and within easy walking distance to Edinburgh Castle, a must see site if you are in the area. The view alone is worth the £16.50 price of admission, but you also get something for everyone; including cannons, suits of armor, crown jewels, and prison dungeons.
St. Andrews and the British Open
The main reason we went to Scotland was so Jim could watch the British Open. Originally, I wasn’t going to go to the golf tournament, but I did want to visit a small coastal town It made sense to get train/bus passes to St. Andrews.
Even if you aren’t into golf, the train ride over the Forth Bridge that spans the Firth of Forth (gotta love Scottish names) is something to behold. I am pretty hard to impress scenery wise coming from Colorado and all, but the Scotish country side was impressive.
After an hour train ride and short bus transfer, we arrived at the Old Course of St. Andrews. There were still day tickets available for the Open, so I decided to take advantage. When would I get another chance? Children were free with a paying adult and we all set out for a day of golf watching.
There was a rain delay in the morning, but we actually lucked out weather wise. It was cold, windy, and mostly cloudy, but from what I was told, this is excellent weather for Scotland!
I don’t really follow golf, but my Dad is a huge fan. We’ve watched many a tournament from the comfort of our living room. It was actually pretty exciting to get to see everything in person, especially the famous Swilcan stone bridge that players must cross to get to the 18th green.
Golf is Kind of Cool
After lunch, my daughter and I were
bored with golf wanted to explore, so we walked into town and spent a few hours checking out the
university and exploring the coastline. St. Andrews is truly a beautiful place. I would love to go back and spend more time in the area.
Our original plan was to catch the train back to Edinburgh before dinner, but we were all having fun and decided to stay until almost dark. The big names didn’t start until late in the day due to the morning delay, but we got to see most everyone, including Zach Johnson, the eventual winner. It was very cool to watch my Dad’s favorite, Phil Mickelson, and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little star struck by Tiger Woods. I really don’t want to like the guy, but he has an undeniable aura surrounding him.
All in all, I loved every minute we spent in Scotland, cold weather and all, and hope to go back and stay longer next time. Jim got to check an item off his bucket list, and I decided that golf is kind of cool to watch. The British Open will be back at St. Andrews in about five years, so that might be a good time to revisit.
Have you ever watched a professional golf tournament? Is it ever warm in Scotland?