Subject: Re: UK Travels
Hi Megan,

some random inputs....

> 1. Does anyone know a good cheap hotel in Edinburgh, preferably central.>
> Would like a single room, but don't mind shared facilities.

What about a bed & breakfast? I once stayed in one which was quite ok (nothing fancy though) and which was definitely cheaper than the hotels. Do a search on the internet and compare the prices...

IIRC mine was called The ivy but I might be wrong, was 5 years ago. In Britain (and Ireland) I always try to stay in B& Bs, it's good in sens of what you get for your money compared to hotels and often you have the chance of getting insight information from your hosts as well.

> 2. Any good recommendations for tours out of Edinburgh (I will be there for
>5 days, but would like to see the Highlands if possible)

Generally speaking, did you ever try to compare prices of rail passes resp. train tickets plus such a tour with renting a car? That would make you much more independent and I think you'll get much more impressions that way.... Maybe I have to add - of course I do a lot of preparations for my trips on my own (female, too, had no problems travelling solo in Britain up to now).

> 3. I am planning on doing a Paddywagon Tour of Ireland - has anyone had any
>experience with this company? Any thoughts?

Never did that. But I saw others on the road doing it. Especially the Ring of Kerry is crowded with those horse wagons plus tour coaches, not the biggest fun maybe. So I decided to do not that much of the Ring of Kerry, but rather Dingle and Beara peninsula. Plus having a car brought me up in the mountains which was great, too, having wonderful overview. If you want to be out on the fresh air, why not do some stops and hike? Btw - the Irish themselves pretend it rains in their country every day (a bit of an exaggeration though) and can never understand why foreign tourists try to use things like horsewagons or even bikes to get around the country. At least that's what I was being told several times. ;)

> 4. What's the best way to get to Hampton Court from London? Can I use a
> Zone
>1-6 Travelcard to get there? Also Windsor Castle as well, I would love to
>visit both places. Would I need a full day for each?
>and finally...

Not sure about the zones but if the tide is right, you can even get to Hampton court by boat (starting at Westminster bridge). If the tide of the Thamse is lower you can at least get to Kew gardens usually, which is a nice thing, too.

When I was in Hampton Court more than a decade ago, the thing I liked most was a tour of the kitchens.... No joke, that was (then, no idea about nowadays) the only castle where I was able to get a feeling how such a castle works behind the curtains. For me it was fun not only to see the grand rooms (not much furniture btw iirc) but the working areas of such a building.

Another thing if you are in London in August. At Bank holiday (last weekend of August where then is added a free monday for the working population) there is Notting Hill carnival in London. Maybe a chance to visit that.

hth Baerbel near Stuttgart, Germany