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Tag: England

London Trip – Day 3

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More Hashing & Hammerton

Another day starting with a breakfast buffet, not to fuel me for a morning of museums this time, but for a mid-day run. Another kennel this time: the London Hash House Harriers. I packed all my stuff, put on my running gear, checked out, and headed to The Golden Fleece, where the run would start. More nice hashers—some the same as on Thursday—banter, a really nice, touristy trail, and of course some beer…

After the run I still had some time—although less than planned—to check off a few more beery places of my list. Caps and Taps and Indiebeer are primarily beer shops, so an excellent opportunity to fill my bag with a few cans to take home. Of course I also tasted a couple of the beers they had on draught…

My last stop this trip was the Hammerton Brewery, a microbrewery in Islington. Unfortunately the kitchen was closed, so I had to forego the pizza I was hoping for… The beers and cracklings were nice, though!

Eventually I made it back to St. Pancras International in time for my Eurostar back home.

So long London, is has been a blast, and see you again in a couple of months!

London Trip – Day 2

Culture, Comrades & a Ceilidh

After a big, hearty breakfast in my hotel—more than pictured—I was ready for a full day in London. I had planned some museums and exhibitions I hadn’t seen yet, and the first one was almost next to the hotel: the London Canal Museum.

The second stop was the library, to see the Treasures of the British Library. Among those treasures were the Magna Carta, and original manuscripts from Shakespeare, Dickens, and Austen. Great stuff, for a bibliophile like me!

I then visited to the British Museum for even older versions of the written word, in the exhibition Hieroglyphs: unlocking ancient Egypt.

After all that sauntering I was well overdue for a coffee, so I went to Monmouth Coffee for my fix. That gave me the energy for one more cultural stop: the Museum of Freemasonry. We have one in Brussels as well, but London being the birthplace of freemasonry, and quite a bit more traditional, so not to be missed!

Time for a pie—well, a sausage roll—and a pint—well, halves and thirds—at the Sutton Arms! It looks like a classic pub, but had quite a few modern craft beers on tap! From there I got on the new—for me at least—Elizabeth Line, and train line that has been long in the making, and provides a faster connection with the west of London.

And in the west I finally got to visit The Dodo Micropub, where I also met up with some London friends for a couple of beers. On the way back east I stopped at A Pint of Hops for just a couple more… Crowded, standing space only, but nice people, and great beer.

Properly sauced, I was ready for the main event of the evening, a Burns Night Ceilidh, my excuse to walk around in London in a kilt all day… Loads of fun, although a bit more chaotic than other ceilidhs I’ve been to.

Before finally heading back to the hotel, there was one more important stop: BrewDog Camden! After ‘a couple’ of beers with Ryan, I then called it a night…

London Trip – Day 1

Waterloo & West London H3

The last time I was in London for more than a couple of hours, is almost four years ago! So it was about time to visit again, and today I finally found myself once again on a Eurostar under the English Channel. Lots of queueing—the train was full—but at least the biometric gates now worked with my Belgian comic strip passport.

Since I didn’t have time for a coffee before my departure in Brussels, and because I had a bit of time to kill before check-in time, my first stop in London was at Redemption Roasters for—apparently—some prison-roasted coffee, and a piece of banana bread.

My hotel for this trip is once again the very conveniently located—right next to the station—hub by Premier Inn King’s Cross, where I’ve stayed once before, returning from one of my Scotland trips. A swift check-in, change into my kilt, and it was time to hit the town!

First up was Mother Kelly’s Bottle Shop & Taproom in Vauxhall. Their taprooms have been on my to-do list for years, but somehow I never made it… This one has 33 beers on tap, so it wasn’t hard to find some beers I liked! The music I didn’t like that much, so after two beers I moved on.

The second stop was the Waterloo Tap. The bar is part of the same family as the Euston Tap, my usual last stop before boarding the Caledonian Sleeper, so I thought I knew what to expect: a nice selection of keg and cask beers. I wasn’t wrong about that, but the venue itself was so much more open than the Euston Tap: it was basically a railway arch with windows put in on both sides!

Then it was time to visit BrewDog Waterloo. At that moment it was still the newest London BrewDog bar, but that would soon, very soon change… I’ve visited BrewDog bars of all sizes, but this one was just ridiculous: apart from the bar itself—with 60 taps—and a micro-brewery like we’ve seen in other Outposts, this location also has a separate coffee bar, a hidden cocktail bar, a podcast recording studio, duckpin bowling, and a slide! My stomach was still on Belgian time, so I seized the opportunity to give the Vegan Allstars menu a try, and had some Loaded Skins.

I didn’t want to eat too much, because the next activity on the schedule was a run with the West London Hash House Harriers. In The Old Star pub I quickly changed into my running kilt and shoes, and off we went! As usual wen hashing, I met a lot of nice people, and as luck would have it, it turned out to be a very tourist friendly trail!

The last stop of the evening was BrewDog Wandsworth, for its Equity Punk (pre-opening) night, that just happened to be during my visit to London. So yes, from now on, that is the newest BrewDog bar in London! I managed to chat to some people I’ve been reading on the EFP forum for years, and some I had met before, which was a nice way to end my first evening in London.

FyneFest Trip – Day 9

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Back to London, on to Brussels

And just like that, it was time to head home again… After a bit of trouble getting my bag packed—adding a couple of T-shirts, a jumper, some whisky and beer glasses, and quite a few cans of beer will have that effect—I had my last breakfast and a coffee at the DogHouse, and I checked out.

I was in the station quite early, so I hung out in the LNER lounge for a bit, until the Azuma to London was ready to board.

In London, I had a couple of hours to kill, which I spent at BrewDog Camden, conveniently close to both King’s Cross and St Pancras International station. But eventually it was time to board the Eurostar, with which my FyneFest trip has come to an end…

FyneFest Trip – Day 0

To London, and on the Caledonian Sleeper

After a shorter hiatus than last time, I find myself once again on my way to Scotland. The main destination is FyneFest this time, but I’ll be spending a couple of days in Glasgow—obviously—and Edinburgh as well.

Lessons learned after last time, I only spent a couple of hours in London in between Eurostar and Caledonian Sleeper, although somehow I still managed to visit two more bars than planned…

I finally made it to the Great Nepalese this time, and the chicken Tikka Bhutuwa with garlic naan didn’t disappoint.

What did disappoint, was the lack of real cutlery and crockery on the Caledonian Sleeper

Flying Scotsman Trip – Day 10

Last Call in London

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.

Flying Scotsman Trip – Day 9

LNER back to London

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!

I managed to get to the Bermondsey Beer Mile in time and have a drink—sometimes even more than one—in the Hawkes Taproom (yes, for a stamp), 73 Enid Street | Cloudwater London, new kid on the block Craft Beer Junction, and finally The Kernel Taproom Arch 7.

Then I went to that other set of arches in Hackney, where I visited Brew Club, Hackney Church Brew Co., and The Experiment.

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…

Flying Scotsman Trip – Day 0

To London, and on the Caledonian Sleeper

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!

Our Aberdeen Trip: BrewDog

BrewDog

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 X and 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!

Our Aberdeen Trip: London Revisited

Visiting London again

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.

Our Aberdeen Trip: Accommodation

Accommodation

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!

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 !