The last day of my trip was a bit calmer than originally planned. Instead of hitting the streets early in the morning, after breakfast in the hotel, I just went back in my room for a couple of hours. I prepared for the return trip—making sure I don’t have to dig too deep for my Belgian SIM, Brussels transport card, an house keys—and edited and uploaded the photos for the blogpost of the previous day. Those pull-out desks they have at hub Hotel really are perfect for this!
Then it was time to head out to Dalston for my vegan lunch… only to find out BrewDog Dalston doesn’t open until 16.00 on Mondays!
I briefly considered coming back then, but when I also found out that BrewDog Old Street wasn’t even open, I decided to take it very easy my last day, and save both those bars for another trip.
I did however go to BrewDog Chancery Lane, and had the blackened cajun chicken bowl for lunch there. That place is way bigger than I expected, by the way!
After that, I already I picked up my bag at the hotel, and walked over to BrewDog Camden. I spent my last hour and a half there, to meet up with its GM Ryan after all, and a last couple of beers.
From there it was not even a twenty minute walk to the Eurostar terminal in St. Pancras International train station.
After putting on my trousers again—and that feels weird and uncomfortable after a week in a kilt—I boarded the LNER Azuma to London. Unfortunately, because of railroad works, it would take a different route, and take around six hours to get there, instead of the usual four. At least I would be well fed and hydrated, or so I thought… They already ran out of bacon rolls by the time the trolly arrived at my seat! A cheddar and pickle pickle roll for breakfast is was, then. A bit after noon I was lucky enough—yes, lucky, since they skipped the early boarders to feed all the newcomers first to see if anything would be left—to get a chicken and salad sandwich as well. Plenty of tea and cold drinks, though, and even their own ale!
The longer ride, also meant less time in London, so a lot of places to visit in a short time. A quick checkin in my hub Hotel—with a view on King’s Cross train station, highly recommended for trainspotters—and off I went!
To finish the night, I went to the OG London BrewDog bar: BrewDog Camden. Never seen it that calm, but it was a Sunday night, and already getting late. Still enjoyed my time there, some bars always feel a bit like coming home…
Finally, it is happening! I had to postpone this trip three times already, each time amending, or cancelling and rebooking most of the eleven trains and six hotels. This Friday morning however, I was actually back in a Eurostar travelling through the Chunnel to St. Pancras International.
Because I arrived in London earlier than usual, I had decided to use that extra time to make the trek all the way to Ealing, after first dropping off my bag at a Radical Storage point, and a coffee at Origin Coffee in the British Library. In Ealing, one of the newest BrewDog bars had recently opened, not surprisingly called BrewDog Ealing. There I met up with beer friends Jackie and Simon, and BrewDog’s beer trainer Paddy joined us as well. Since it was only noon, and drinking on an empty stomach is never a good idea, we had lunch there as well.
After lunch, we made our way back to the centre of London again, making various beery stops along the way: Kill the Cat, where we were joined by fellow EFP Liam, the Mikkeller Bar, the Mikkeller Brewpub, where Emma joined us, and finally, after picking up my bag again, the Euston Tap.
After a last couple of beers, we said our goodbyes, because it was time for me to board the Caledonian Sleeper. I had traveled on it before, but since then, the service has been completely overhauled. Even though it has been plagued with issues since then—especially recently—there was nothing wrong with the train I was booked on for the night: it departed on time, I had warm water in the shower, and the lounge car was open for business!
We’ll be leaving for our next Scotland trip soon, and there were still two subjects about the our Aberdeen trip I wanted to discuss. One of them is BrewDog, since visiting their Punk AGM 2016 was the main goal of this trip!
We managed to visit eight different BrewDog bars — six of them for the first time: Camden, Soho, Clerkenwell, Aberdeen, DogTap, Underdog, Castlegate and Shoreditch. On top of that, we visited the brewery in Ellon, and of course the Punk AGM, where we also had the opportunity to have a drink at Truck Norris. On our way back we still had the opportunity to visit BottleDog Kings Xand buy a great looking growler, filled of course!
We’re quite experienced BrewDog patrons by now — we’re Equity Punks after all — but it still strikes me every time again, how passionate everybody who works for BrewDog is about craft beer, and about their company!
We usually stick with beer when visiting BrewDog bars, but this trip we also had lunch one time, at BrewDog Soho. The patty melt and hot dog were tasty for sure, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to have lunch or dinner at BrewDog.
The Dear Green coffee on the other hand, was a surprise: it surely was the best espresso we had in Aberdeen!
Before and after our time in Aberdeen, we allowed for some time to visit London again. We had to change trains there after all, so why not take the opportunity to stay a little longer?
We still had an Oyster card from our previous visit, so it was just a matter of topping it up, and hopping on the underground or bus again! The evening of our arrival we only used it to go for dinner and a couple of drinks, but the next day we had plenty of time to be tourists.
So early in the morning we headed for The Who Shop and museum, almost an hour traveling by underground and on foot. It was worth it though: the shop had Doctor Who related items I hadn’t seen anywhere else yet — quite happy with my new TARDIS umbrella — and the attached museum we had to enter through a TARDIS, had a great collection of props and costumes.
In the afternoon we discovered Soho a bit — Carnaby Street, Kingly Court — visited some vintage shops, and just strolled around a bit in this unknown — at least to us — area of London. It seemed to be a bit less stressed than the centre of London, which was nice.
During our stop on the journey back home, we visited Madame Tussauds, which offered a Star Wars ‘experience’ at the time. Nice to have finally visited the famous attraction, but not sure if I would ever have paid full price for it… Luckily I didn’t have to, taking advantage of a two-for-one offer.
Seven days in the UK, that means six nights in a bed away from home. Well, two of those nights were spent in a train, and one of those wasn’t even in a bed… Never again!
In London we stayed in the Belgrove Hotel, mainly chosen for its proximity to our train station. Previously, we stayed at easyHotel, and we would happily have done so again, if only there would have been one near Euston station, so we can avoid taking the underground with our bags!
But the Belgrove Hotel did the trick, providing us with a clean place to sleep, breakfast, and somewhere to store our bags during the day not too far from the station. The latter is quite nice, considering the left luggage service at the train station costs £12.50.
In Aberdeen we stayed at Travelodge Aberdeen Central. For some reason, the ratings for this place were pretty low, but we really can’t understand why: central location, the rooms were clean and comfortable, the staff friendly and helpful, and the breakfast tasty and all-you-can-eat! Not to mention we paid as much for our three nights in Aberdeen, as we did for one night in London!
We had a peculiar wake-up service though: every morning a seagull came pecking on our window! It seems they’ve become accustomed to guests feeding them.
Off to Scotland again! By train this time, and an overnight stop in London.
It will be an epic week, with visits planned to nine different BrewDog bars and basements, the brewery and of course the #PunkAGM2016!
After dinner — although mostly a liquid one — we made our way back to Victoria Coach Station. When we arrived there, quite a lot of people were already waiting for our bus, so for the first time, I was not one of the first to board it.
It didn’t make much of a difference though, since we had the same berths as last time, and no one sleeping on the berth above us.
So, next stop: Glasgow.
We arrived in London at the scheduled hour after all, so we had time to go to BrewDog Clapham Junction, the one we didn’t make it to when we spent a couple of days in The City.
Waiting for my Psycho Chilly now, the Sunday specialty of this bar…
No day to day report of my trip this time, a couple of photos after our return will have to do. Later I will post a follow-up with some photos from the cameras and iPhone of my travel companion and girlfriend h–na as well.
The journey by bus was more troublesome than ever before: the trip to London has taken us six hours longer than intended, mainly due to problems in the Eurotunnel. We made it to London eventually, but headed straight to the hotel to get at least some sleep before our first full day in the city.
After some time in the museum, we needed a drink, so we enjoyed some tea and scones at the Tea and Tattle. And I must say: it was the best cream tea I’ve had so far!
After a short visit to theScience Museum, it was time to start drinking… 😉 As an avid BrewDogfan, I wanted to visit as many BrewDog bars as possible, so we started at the latest London addition:BrewDog Shepherds Bush. After a couple of beers, we moved on to Camden. First fish and chips at Hook, where the dishes served looked and tasted remarkably like those at Bia Mara in Brussels… That means excellent, in case you were wondering! 🙂
Then a beer in the nearby BrewDog Camden, and after a short stop at the Dean Swift, our third BrewDog bar: BrewDog Shoreditch. Since they were about to close, we were ushered into UnderDog, the beery cocktail bar of BrewDog.
Since we didn’t feel like switching to cocktails, and preferred to sleep a little before another day of playing tourist, we decided to go back to our hotel. The previous night we were quite happy with the service provided by our Uber taxi, and the very reasonable ride price of £7.92, so even when the app warned us it the cost would be 2.4 times the normal rate, we went ahead and ordered another one. Oh boy, was that a mistake… Apparently we were quite a bit further from the hotel this time, since the total added up to £34.58!
After arriving in Edinburgh, we checked into our hotel ( easyHotel ) for a little nap — I’m never fully rested after a night on a sleeper bus — and shower.
Since it was h–na’s first time in Edinburgh, we decided to get on one of those tour buses to get an overall view of the city. We had a small, standing lunch at Oink, and then went for an Introduction to BrewDog Tasting and Talk with Five Craft Beers to Taste Each with Cheese and Meats at BrewDog Edinburgh. Mostly beers from their core range, but I’m happy to say I was able to identify each and every one of them, before the staff told us which ones they were! 🙂
It was the 25th of January that day:Burns’ Night! So we went to a ceilidh with a haggis, neeps & tatties buffet. Not the best of combinations for me, since I wasn’t really up for more dancing after having a go at the buffet…
All was digested by the next morning, however, so plenty of room for a proper Scottish breakfast! 🙂
This day we went on another bus to see Leith as well, and in the afternoon we had a private tour of Edinburgh Castle. Unfortunately, after the tour most museums in the castle were closed already. Winter isn’t the best time of year to be a tourist, so it seems…
But there’s always BrewDog Edinburgh, the place where I first discovered decent craft beer outside of Belgium and became a BrewDog fan. And as an Equity Punk, it is especially interesting to get there and order before five o’ clock to enjoy a very attractive Daytime Discount! 🙂
The culinary discovery of this trip must have beenWings: only chicken wings on the menu—well, and a few side dishes—but dozens of different sauces or dry rubs, and delightfully geeky!
To finish the day, a visit to the Bow Bar — they even had beer from De Natte Gijt! — and one last drink at the Ghillie Dhu before turning in.
Our last day in Edinburgh we went to the National Museum of Scotland, where we rushed to the roof to hear the one o’ clock gun and see the ball drop on theNelson Monument, only to miss it by seconds… It was the third time in Edinburgh for me, and I still haven’t actually seen or heard it!
Lunch at another newcomer in Old Reekie:Reekie’s Smokehouse. Here it was the first time I had brisket — tasty — but I’ll have to come back to try the ‘burnt ends’. Or maybe I’ll just get the whole Meatfest next time! 🙂