When we left London last time we visited it, we already knew we had to return soon, to get a stamp from then-about-to-open BrewDog Canary Wharf. However, a lot can change in half a year, and now we have not one, but three new BrewDog bars to visit—one of which will have its official opening during our visit! Apart from that, we also hope to have some drinks in the new Mikkeller bar, and the Anspach & Hobday pop-up The Pigeon.
Last year’s arduous bus journey was an effective reminder to book our train tickets earlier this time, and after taking advantage of a New Year’s offer, this must be one of our cheapest Eurostar trips so far!
As we often do, we enjoyed our last British drinks — and a burger — at BrewDog Camden.
The Eurostar terminal was even more crowded than usual this time, and like on our way here, they’ve changed our seats last minute. 😢 Oh well, it’s only a short ride, and we’ll be home soon.
Arrived a minute early — so no complaints there — then we went to our hotel — hub Spitalfields — to check in and have a quick play-around with the app operated controls.
Now it’s time to really get started: off to Weird Beard first, then to BrewDog Shepherds Bush and BrewDog Camden!
Starting with a last breakfast at Molmeg Cottage, we spent most of Sunday in DRT’s, buses and trains — and an hour in Perth — travelling back from Balquhidder to Glasgow.
After an early arrival and checkin in our hotel for the last night, we had dinner at one of the newest smoke and barbecue places of Glasgow: Smoak. We can’t wait until this food trend reaches Brussels!
Since our last visit to the city, some more new places opened, so we quickly visited the Hippo Taproom and Shilling Brewing Co. as well, before saying our goodbyes — and drink a couple of great beers — at BrewDog Glasgow.
On Monday, we had breakfast at Where the Monkey Sleeps and a quick round of geocaching, before boarding our train to London.
There we went to the Basement Bar of BottleDog Kings X, but they seem to have misplaced their taps… Not a problem though, plenty of choice in their fridges!
The Eurostarwas on time this time, which means we were in our Brussels home again before midnight.
Leaving for Scotland again! We enjoyed traveling by rail so much last time, we decided to take the train again. We’re only using daytime trains this time, and stopping in London just long enough to have lunch in between our connections.
But first, let’s leave, so we can actually catch our train!
A week after our trip to London and Aberdeen, we’re well rested again, and all the photos have been collected from the different cameras. Time to look back on our experiences!
Getting there and back again
It all began with getting there, in our case by train, this time. The leg Brussels-London was pretty straightforward, with the Eurostar. The train was still the old model, but even those have power outlets next to the seats, if you pick the right car. But thanks to The Man in Seat Sixty-One, I knew exactly which seats to book to have power sockets, be near the bar vehicle, and be seated facing the direction of travel.
Departure from Brussels and arrival in London were exactly according to schedule.
A day later we continued our trip to Aberdeen in the Caledonian Sleeper. We checked in quite early, so after quickly dropping our bags in our private cabin, we were sipping a couple of beers in the lounge, even before the train started moving. The beds were quite comfortable, easily the best moving sleeping accommodation I’ve had so far.
To save a couple of pounds, we didn’t book the sleeper berths on our way back, but the ‘sleeper seats’. Worst travel decision in quite a while! Apparently they don’t even dim the lights in the sleeper seat section, the seats don’t recline very far, and there are people getting on and off the train all night… For a lower price, we could have taken a Megabus Gold, which would at least have had real berths, dimmed lights during the trip, and no people getting on and off during the night! Lesson learnt…
It was nice though we were able to buy shower vouchers on the train (£5 each), so we could freshen up in the Virgin First Class lounge at Euston station upon arrival.
After spending another day in London, the last leg of the journey was with the Eurostar again. Same comfortable seats as on the first leg, but with a 50 minute delay, which meant a long wait — we were early as well — in a very full and hot terminal at St Pancras station. We arrived in Brussels before midnight however, and made it home without any further hitches.
Budget permitting, we’ll surely take the Eurostar and Caledonian Sleeper again on our next trip to Scotland! It is quite nice to have the privacy of a sleeper cabin, to be able to change into my kilt just prior to arriving in Scotland, the luxury of a sink with hot running water, and a fresh cuppa served with your wake-up call!
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!
A new year, a new destination, a new mode of transport… All my previous trips to Scotland I used MegaBus to get to my destination, and I’ve always been quite happy with that. But to get as far as Aberdeen, it would become impossible to have a guaranteed connection in London, if I would have wanted to do the whole trip from Brussel to Aberdeen in one go. And as far as the sleeper bus is concerned, compared to trips to Glasgow or Edinburgh, we would have to spend an additional three hours in the rather confined space of our berths. Quite honestly though, I’ve always wanted to try the Eurostar and Caledonian Sleeper. So, even though the extra night we’ll be spending in a hotel in London would have solved at least the connection issues, the train tickets are booked!
Thanks to the site of the The Man in Seat Sixty-One, I was able to book some Eurostar seats facing in the right direction, and even conveniently next to a power socket. I’m hoping we’ll be traveling on one of the refurbished e300’s, but there’s no way to know for sure until the day we travel…
For the journey to Aberdeen on the Caledonian Sleeper, we’ll have a Standard Sleeper Berth compartment to ourselves . If there are some seats available, we’ll probably spend some time in the lounge car as well: apparently they even serve Scottish craft beer there!
On the way back to London, Standard Sleeper Seats will have to suffice. I just hope I won’t regret this money-saving decision too much…
Anyway, not even taking in account the destination, I’m tremendously looking forward to this trip!