Monday, September 25, 2017

Reader Question for the Community: Holiday Travel to the UK


A Reader Question for the Community:
Dear Muffy: My daughter is studying at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, for the year on a scholarship from the St. Andrews Society of Philadelphia (Dad says, “God bless them!”).  We are traveling there to spend the holidays with her.  I would be interested to know your thoughts and recommendations and/or those of your readers on (i) what to bring, and (ii) what to buy once there.  We know that “warm and waterproof” must be first and foremost for what to bring (e.g. Merrill Moab WTPF).  I should think wool sweaters or items from Cordings might be on the “what to buy there” list.

17 comments:

  1. If you will be in Edinburgh on your way to/from St. Andrews, try the store Gamefish Ltd., a Georgian townhouse shop at 4 Howe Street, near Queen Street Gardens. They stock quality shooting and fishing gear, as well as country clothing for men and women.

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  2. Oh, lucky you. I've never been there, but it's on my bucket list. I'll be saving what responses you receive here. And how proud you must be of your daughter. Enjoy.

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  3. Firstly, many congratulations to your daughter! What a wonderful experience she will have.

    May I cast a vote for visiting the "House of Bruar", which should be a 1 hour 40 minute trip by road from St Andrews. I received the HOB catalogue in the post today and they have a wonderful collection of country clothing.

    In addition, traditional tartan and aran knits are a good choice.

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  4. I forgot to list the what to bring.... My Southern English climate is a little milder than Northern Scotland so take my suggestions lightly, however, no one should ever put a foot on British soil without;
    a cool coat that keeps out the wind
    light layers underneath said coat
    a warm scarf
    something to keep your hair out of your eyes
    and a sturdy pair of warm non-slip shoes.

    Our rain soaked streets (which are rarely pressure cleaned by the council) are treacherous in winter - so very slippy.

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    1. Cool coat? I meant wool. Ha.

      Still, a good warm wool coat is the "coolest" type there is.

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  5. I met my wife on one of those study away things years ago. I imagine it has changed quite a bit since my youth but just off the royal mile was a shop that made lovely sweaters, shawls, hats etc. I was able to have things made for various family members. They also shipped the woolen goods which was very helpful since I had limited space in my luggage.

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  6. My very favorite warm, waterproof, comfortable footwear are my Blundstones. I wear them with pants, skirts, dresses, anything. And easy on/off!

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  7. I suggest a visit to Walker Slater's Edinburgh ladies' store (in Grassmarket, near the castle) - https://www.walkerslater.com/ladieswear. The famous Johnston's of Elgin have a store in St Andrews itself - https://www.johnstonscashmere.com/retail/womens.html

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  8. I agree that you may want to do your shopping before you get to St. Andrews. When I was there, I was disappointed in the lack of nice shops in St. Andrews but things may have changed during the last 10 years though. Enjoy!

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  9. I would start by packing your golf clubs! PCC

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  10. Royal Lochnagar scotch, as many bottles as they will let you carry back . . .

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  11. Whenever I go to the UK I usually do some shopping online ahead and have the packages shipped to me in care of the hotel. (If it's a smaller hotel, b&b, etc. maybe check in advance if they will accept a package from you.) Joules offers some nice Bretons/French sailor shirts...thicker fabrics than many things offered these days. (Look for their 'Harbour' style.) I like them so much I can overlook the small label on the one sleeve. Another good place for women's clothing is Seasalt Cornwall. (I'm not sure if we are allowed to post links to such sites here so if it's not ok I would ask the Salt Water New England to remove them...I don't have any connection to or benefit of either company other than being a happy customer.)
    https://www.seasaltcornwall.co.uk/
    https://www.joules.com/

    Besides clothing a visit to a supermarket is always a must in a different country and even the most basic groceries can be a very nice treat or a souvenir to bring home for yourself or a friend. Tea, marmalade, etc. M&S has some nice food goodies... also they carry good underthings at very reasonable prices.

    Magazines, books, etc....very nice bookshops in the UK.

    In preparation for a trip to England I could suggest reading 'My Love Affair with England' by Susan Allen Toth (as well as the later two books about British travel she wrote.)

    In terms of what to bring or buy once there-- scarves are your friend, for both warmth and/or fashion. Also waterproof boots (which you are bound to need more than anything for snow.) Personally I like Bean boots for this kind of thing.

    Enjoy!

    --EM

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    1. Yes to the magazines! Country Life, The Field, World of Interiors...

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  12. an outer layer that blocks moisture and wind. could be a basic gore tex jacket one might use for hiking or skiing, could be a nice waxed or oilskin cotton jacket (if you don't own one of these, they are more popular over there, and you are more likely to find them at a reasonable price than in the US). one thicker wool sweater, one thinner wool sweater. wool gloves and hat. wool scarf. (anything wool, you mind find some nice things to buy if you are interested in shopping for that).

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  13. St A’s is cold and wet in winter. The town is pretty small with limited retail selection. I highly valued my LL Bean gumshoes and ragg wool socks. They kept my feet dry and warm despite the slushy sidewalks. If taking rail, get off at Leuchars and then take the 99 bus towards St A’s. Dr Beeching ripped up the rail line to St A’s long ago.

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  14. Cordings will have a sale on over Christmas, probably starting around December 20th.
    There can be great deals in knitwear as they will cut the price of sweaters from the usual £95 down to £65, and if you can wait longer, they will discount it again to £45.

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  15. These are great ideas; heading there in December as well.

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