October 2017 Jump to London 2015 postings. Jump to London 2016 postings.
Our Virgin train leaves Edinburgh Waverley station at 8:30 a.m. There will be a few stops along the route and estimated time of arrival at London King’s Cross station is 12.50 p.m. Our ticket cost £25 as we’ve booked way in advanced, otherwise expect to pay more than £100. Better to fly then.
A short stop at Berwick-upon-Tweed.
Newcastle was also one of the other stops.
York was a busy station with lots of passengers getting on.
Outside York, you’ll pass by this power plant on your right. If I’m not mistaken, it’s located in Eggborough.
Although along the journey there was an 8 minute delay getting into some of the stations, we eventually arrived King’s Cross only a couple of minutes late.
King’s Cross London train station.
Fellow passengers getting off the train at King’s Cross.
Bicycles parked just off the platform inside the station.
The train head looks a little tired and aged but it got us from Edinburgh to London safely and almost on time.
Our accommodation in London will be at Point A Hotels, Praed Street, Paddington. This hotel was formally Tune Paddington when we stayed last year. We found the hotel’s location to be very convenient. Just in-front of this hotel, behind a row of shop lots is Paddington Basin where you’ll find Merchant Square. This is the spot where the movie Jason Bourne was shot.
Previously Tune Paddington, now under new management known as Point A Hotels.
After lunch, we headed to Merchant Square, in Paddington basin. Naturally we’ve been here last year (2016) and we can see there are some ‘upgrade’ project that’s been done. Notably is the ‘Pocket Park’, a 730 sq metre floating park in the basin that provides green space on the water for the public to enjoy and mooring spots for canal boats
Merchant Square, Paddington Basin.
Pathway leading to the ‘Pocket Park’ a small 730 sq metre floating green.
Further down, canal boat moored by the canal.
Something that wasn’t here in 2016. Free canal tour by water taxi from Paddington Basin to Bishop’s Bridge.
A clip from the movie Jason Bourne. Credit : movietrip.me
Photo taken from the spot Malcolm Smith (above) waiting for Bourne at Merchant Square. View towards St Mary’s Hospital in the background.
A short walk from Merchant Square we boarded a bus at Edgware Road and got off at St John’s Wood a few stops up. Across the road from the bus stop, you’ll find Clifton Court flats. These flats were built in the traditional black & white colonial design. We are here just to photograph these buildings and to pass our time for the evening.
The colonial styled, black & white designed flats.
Clifton Court is at the junction of St John’s Wood & Maida Vale.
The Clifton Court is quite a stretch.
Another view of the flat.
Having taken enough photographs of the Clifton Court, we headed back to Edgware Road. Before heading back to our hotel, we strolled along Cabbell Street starting just besides the Edgware Road (Circle & District) tube station. Hyde Park mansions is located on this street and the red-brown coloured facade is nice to photograph.
Finding Halal food in Edinburgh isn’t difficult, there are plenty of halal eateries. We spotted them through the word ‘halal’ either in Arabic or in English on their store front.
Kindly bear in mind, on this page we’ve listed them based on seeing the ‘halal’ logo and/or wordings on their premises. For your peace of mind, please confirm with the store owner or personnel beforehand as ownership of an eatery may change and so would the menu and the status of the food.
Close to our hotel at Dalry Road, there are two such eateries. One is ‘The Chicken Crew’ and the other, in-front of it is ‘Ali Baba Kebab House’ (24 Dalry Rd, Edinburgh EH11 2BQ, UK). Apologies for not having pictures of Ali Baba store front but there is a ‘halal’ logo in Arabic on the signboard. Both eateries are about 5-10 minutes walk from our hotel.
Halal eateries around Haymarket area.
‘The Chicken Crew’. Arabic ‘Halal’ wording on center top left glass pane. Location : 25 Dalry Rd, Edinburgh EH11 2BQ, UK
The order counter. We had dinner here. Naturally, they specialise in chicken.
Right in Edinburgh’s old town on South Bridge road is where you’ll find even more halal eateries. Notably is ‘Mosque Kitchen’, a big establishment with dining area, good patronage and serves delicious food. We had chicken Briyani for lunch and drinking water is free. Oddly, on it’s premises, there was no halal logo on the front unlike it’s takeaway section as few doors away which has on it’s signboard. There is an Arabic ‘halal’ logo on their menu if I’m not mistaken.
A short walk from ‘Mosque Kitchen’ is Edinburgh Central Mosque.It’s located at 50 Potterrow, Edinburgh EH8 9BT.
Halal eateries around South Bridge & Royal Mile. Very close to ‘Mosque Kitchen’ is Edinburgh Central Mosque.
The list of halal eateries found in Edinburgh old town area. There could have been more that we’ve might missed, so do look around.
Mosque Kitchen 31-33 Nicolson Square, Edinburgh EH8 9BX, UK
Kebab Mahal 7 Nicolson Square, Edinburgh EH8 9BH, UK
Palmyra Pizza 22 Nicolson St, Edinburgh EH8 9DH, UK
Roti 42 South Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1LL, UK
Zuhus 29-30 South Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1LL, UK
Zenobia 14A South Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1LL, UK
Shamoli 105 High Street, (First Floor), Edinburgh EH1 1SG, UK
‘Mosque Kitchen’ is probably the favorite of many. Spacious dining area..
The varieties of dishes for your choosing.
Front section of the dining area.
Few doors away, is ‘Mosque Kitchen’ takeaway counter. ‘Halal’ logo in Arabic on the signboard.
‘Mosque Kitchen’ takeaway menu.
The takeaway counter.
Directly to the side of ‘Mosque Kitchen’ across the Nelson Square is ‘Kebab Mahal’. Arabic ‘halal’ logo on the signboard & store front.
Diagonally opposite ‘Mosque Kitchen’, is ‘Palmyra Pizza’. ‘Halal’ wording in English on front glass pane.
From ‘Palmyra Pizza’, walk towards Royal Mile and there is ‘Roti’. ‘Halal’ logo in Arabic on signboard.
Walk further up from ‘Roti’ and you’ll reach ‘Zuhus’. Arabic ‘halal’ logo on front glass pane within the small red circle.
Walk further up from ‘Zuhus’ and before the junction to Royal Mile, you’ll reach ‘Zenobia’. ‘Halal’ in English on the signboard.
Walk further up from ‘Zenobia’ and turn right to Royal MIle. Walk a further 20m and to your left is ‘Shamoli’. ‘Halal’ wording in Arabic written on display banner. The eatery is on the 1st floor.
Having completed our visit to the list of attractions in Skye, we return to Edinburgh. Although we’ve arrived into Scotland via Edinburgh, we’ve only seen the airport.
We left Skye early at 8 a.m. during a light drizzle. Our return route to Edinburgh isn’t the same as the one we came. We will be returning via the east coast with a stop at Pitlochry. The whole journey is close to 240 miles with a driving time in excess of 5½ hours. As we progressed further, the rain got heavier only to clear before reaching the Skye bridge. Well that’s OK as we’ve no plans to stop at any other attractions in Skye.
The drive to Pitlochry from Portree is 165 miles taking 4 hours. A change of route from A82 to A86 few miles after the site of Commando Memorial will take you into the town of Spean Bridge. Previously we’ve by-passed this town to get to the Isle of Skye. From the junction of A82/A86 it’s 1½ hours drive to Pitlochry covering 66 miles. They’ll be few more road changes along the distance namely, from A86 to A889 and into highway A9 and finally the A924 for Pitlochry. Along the way, the scenery are mostly country side, nothing compared like driving through the Highlands, although a couple of spots were picturesque.
Town of Pitlochry.
Pitlochry is the largest town in Highland Perthshire and is a tourist hub. It has been established as a tourist destination from the time the railway was built 150 years ago. The buildings in Pitlochry was built in Victorian architecture style which gives the town a special character much to the liking of photographers and visitors alike.
Street seems busy with passing tourist.
We arrived Pitlochry around lunch time and the main street, Atholl Road (A924) is in a hive of activities. Most shops along the main street are souvenir shops and restaurants. Pitlochry is a tourist destination in itself but the crowds in the streets are mainly tourist passing through. This could be due to Pitlochry’s location being a 2 hours drive to Edinburgh, is a convenient stop to have lunch for the returning tourist from the highlands, or from the North.
Main street, Pitlochry.
A classic Austin Minor passing through the street of Pitlochry. We used to have a lot of these on our roads back home in the 60’s.
Continuing our drive from Pitlochry to Edinburgh, we will be back onto the A9 and later M90. Nearing Edinburgh, we will be crossing the new Queensferry Crossing Bridge which carries the M90. This bridge was officially open on 4th September 2017 about 2 weeks before our arrival. It was built parallel to the ‘old’ Forth Road Bridge now open only to buses, taxis, cyclists & pedestrians. There is no toll for the use of this new bridge. To the other side of these two bridges, the red coloured Forth Rail bridge is still in operation. We took a short detour to Newhalls Road for pictures of the bridge.
Approaching the new Queensferry Crossing bridge.
The red coloured Forth Rail bridge, Forth Road Bridge and Queensferry Crossing Bridge. (R-L).
The new Queensferry Crossing bridge with three towers in the background and the Forth Road bridge in-front.
We than headed to Dean Village close-by to Edinburgh city. The village is a tranquil green oasis on the ‘Water of Leith’. The quaint area of Dean Village is far removed from the normal bustle of busy Edinburgh city life. There used to be eleven mills along the river, driven by the river’s strong current. Housing for the mill workers sprung up around the mills and river, and the remnants of the industry can still be seen today.
‘Water of Leith’ flowing through Dean Village, Edinburgh.
Dwellings now line up the banks of Dean Village.
Apartment on the other side of the river bank.
From Dean Village we drove to Circus Lane about a mile away. It has no historical significant but just a spot we found picturesque to photograph. It’s a narrow lane with private dwellings and has absolutely no parking spot. We just got out of our car for a few quick photos and drove on, hardly 5 minutes. In spring, this lane is beautiful with blooming flowers.
Circus Lane, Edinburgh
Private dwellings on Circus Lane.
Next on our attraction list is Ashley Boathouse on Union Canal. It’s a little bit at the edge of town and less than 3 miles from Circus Lane. Again, it is on our visit list for it’s picturesque environment. This spot is not specifically marked on Google map but search for ‘Ogilvie Terrace’ that runs alongside the canal. That boathouse is nice to photograph.
Ashley Boathouse by the Union Canal, Edinburgh.
Boat house on the Union Canal.
We ended our day by driving to ‘My Edinburgh Life’ Hotel, Edinburgh. It’s located at Rosebery Cres and very close to Haymarket train station and Haymarket tram stop and has good bus and tram connections into the city centre .
The operations of this hotel is rather peculiar as it’s unmanned. You’ll get an e-mail instruction one or two days prior to your arrival on how to let yourself in. You’ll be given a 4 digit code to retrieve your room key from one of the small security boxes outside the front door. Thereon, it’s all self service. The wi-fi code is prominently displayed on the side table as you enter the main door.
Entrance to My Edinburgh Life Hotel. The security boxes are to the left of the entrance (out of sight).
The room was clean and decent size. The en-suite bathroom is a little small, comes with a micro basin. The beds were comfortable and there is a small pantry with mini fridge, microwave oven and water kettle. The flat CTV was large and the heater kept us warm. The free wi-fi was weak and keeps disconnecting most of the time and is as good as useless. I’ve literally have to sit at the stairs to get a decent reception.
Comes with flat CTV, fridge, microwave & water kettle.
One very important fact not mentioned on the booking site is the hotel does NOT have lift. We got room No:10 which is on the 3rd floor, the top most floor. We’ve got two, 25kgs traveling begs, two backpacks that we’ve to haul up ourselves as the hotel is unmanned! Imagine us, not young at age, hauling these begs up the flight of stairs. I literally rested for ½ hour before hauling the 2nd beg. The ordeal doesn’t stop. We’ll need to bring the begs down upon check-out. Such an IDIOTIC concept. The check-out process is by placing your room key back into the security box and locking it.
This is taken on the 2nd floor, there’s another floor to go!
Building across the hotel and part of Haymarket railway station (R) in the background. Shot from our bedroom window.
On the next morning, we visited a few attractions in Edinburgh namely, Hard Rock Cafe, Victoria Street for it’s colorful buildings and views of Edinburgh Castle from various locations. We did this by driving our car on a Sunday morning when traffic is scares.
Hard Rock, Edinburgh.
At 8 a.m on a Sunday, the street is still littered.
The colourful buildings at Victoria Street, Edinburgh.
Shot from the other end of the street.
Edinburgh Castle from Castle Terrace.
Edinburgh Castle from Kier Street on a drizzling morning.
The castle from Johnston Terrace.
We returned our rented car back at Edinburgh airport and then took the tram back to town. The tram ride was about ½ hr and cost £5.50. Along the way, we passed Murrayfield stadium which is the largest stadium in Scotland and the 5th in UK. However, it’s a rugby rather than football stadium. We got off the tram at Princess Street and took a bus to the Royal Mile to explore the area and surroundings.
Driver’s console of the tram.
Clean & comfortable. Best of all, it has free wi-fi.
Along the tram’s route, we passed Murrayfield rugby stadium. The largest stadium in Scotland.
Useful transportation alternative to get into Edinburgh from the airport. Credit : Edinburgh Airport.
Royal Mile, Edinburgh.
These crowd is waiting for their tour leader for the free walking tour. Once they left, the street was quiet.
From the Royal Mile, we again took the bus back to Princess Street and dropped-off nearby the Scottish Royal Academy. Princess Street is a shopping street and all along the street are branded stores. Adjacent to Princess Street is the Princess Street Garden. Unfortunately during autumn, only a few patches of flowers remains blooming. Having rested at the garden, we took another bus back to Haymarket for our hotel.
Princess Street with the Royal Scottish Academy on the right.
Royal Scottish Academy.
From the grounds of The Royal Scottish Academy, overlooking Lloyds Banking Group Head Office.
View towards Victoria Hall building from Princess Street.
Princess Street garden.
Early Monday morning, we are set to leave Edinburgh for London King’s Cross. Haymarket Train station is a short walking distance from our hotel. We took a train here to Edinburgh Waverley station for connection to our Virgin train. If you’ve purchased advanced ticket to London or elsewhere, just show that ticket at Haymarket Train station and you can ride the train to Waverley at no charge.
Edinburgh Waverley railway station.
Entrance to departure platforms.
Comfortable seats in the Virgin train. Very clean. This is the quiet section.