In anticipation of our Travel Journal launch on April 20, we're sharing travel stories, tips, and advice for each of the four destinations that inspired the four Travel Journal colors! Read more about the colors and destinations here.
The Grey Tweed Travel Journal was inspired by Scotland! Below, Promptly Journals Graphic Designer Steph Hammer answers prompts from our Travel Journal and shares the details of her recent trip to Scotland with her husband, Nick, and their two little boys.
SCOTLAND TRAVEL GUIDE
NAMES OF TRAVELERS:
Steph, Nick, Ally (for 2 weeks), and the 2 boys.
WHAT INSPIRED THE TRIP AND THE DESTINATION?
Nick's summer research fellowship at the University of Edinburgh Napier.
We love the Isle of Skye and the highlands, specifically Glencoe in the highlands and the Fairy Glen on Skye. We loved the National Museum of Scotland and went all the time. It's both educational and exciting, and the boys could never get enough. The penguin parade at the Edinburgh Zoo was sooo cute. Arthur's Seat and Calton Hill were both really amazing for views of the city!
FAVORITE SHOPS YOU DISCOVERED:
We loved the Red Door Gallery on Victoria Street, it had the most beautiful and unique local art based on Scotland and Edinburgh. I also loved The Paper Tiger near Usher Hall for its SO PERFECT inventory of paper goods and trinkets. Golden Hare Books in Stockbridge (near Circus Lane) was a really cute bookstore that had a little kid's reading section with the best book selection. We lived around the corner from this cute lifestyle boutique near the Meadows called Bohemia (sooo trendy and European.)
MOST INSPIRING OR MEMORABLE MOMENT:
We took a bus to Leith and explored with no agenda, then bought a bagged salad and fruit at a Tesco and walked up to Calton Hill where we had dinner overlooking the city and the boys played until it was too cold, then we went home and had hot chocolate, tea and biscuits to warm us up.
Our rental flat was right near The Meadows and situated above a donut shop, where we were a hop skip and a jump away from museums, the park, yummy food and shops, and had a giant free standing tub so mama could relax in peace. Also, the Morar Hotel near the ferry on the Isle of Skye was a hidden gem. We booked it on a whim and it was cute and quaint and quiet, but the best thing about it was the traditional Scottish breakfast in the morning overlooking the water.
Salvatore's and his fish & chips. The Piemaker's macaroni pie, tattie dogs, chocolate donuts, and traditional pies. Mary's Milk Bar for blow-your-mind good gelato. R. White's Sparkling Lemonade with Pear and Elderflower. Patisserie Valerie's Strawberry Gateau. Illegal Jack's for Tex Mex (when in Scotland?). And almond croissants from the shop downstairs!
ANY FUNNY/AWKWARD MOMENTS OR MISHAPS?
My oldest had just learned to throw tantrums of mega size, and my youngest was teething. I was fortunate to catch them one day both losing their minds while I pushed them down the Royal Mile in a stroller trying to get home while people gaped and stared.
WHAT DID YOU LOVE ABOUT THE LOCAL CULTURE?
Everyone's Scottish accent! Bagpipes everywhere in touristy areas, music filling the air. Really though I love just how friendly everyone is. You hardly run into a local who is not kind and respectful. Plus you feel safe in the city which is almost weird but really cool. I also love how shop owners randomly decide when they do or don't work. If they feel like leaving early for the day, they'll just close up shop and go home without notice, but they'll leave a kind note or something saying why they're not open. I love that.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE OTHERS GOING HERE?
Be prepared for the wonderful amount of cloudy and rainy days you'll experience! Try all the food (yes even the haggis and the black pudding) and find a way to go to tea time somewhere. Take advantage of all the museums and national galleries around because they're awesome (especially if you have kids!) If you want to go to the Isle of Skye, book your accommodations well in advance, especially in the summer, and expect not to have cell service. And have so much fun!
Stay tuned all week for more Promptly Journals Travel Guides! And don't forget to mark your calendars for April 20 when our new Travel Journals land in the shop!