HELP. If you’ve ever been to London, Paris or Scotland please tell me what to do.


I’ve had one too many cocktails (two) so this might not make sense but we’re taking Hailey to Europe this month and have no idea what we’re doing because I’m a procrastinator and we’ve never been to Europe. I mean, technically Victor has been to Europe but he just spent a week working in some guy’s basement in Torquay (long story) so I don’t think that counts. Long story short…I have no idea what to do. We’re only spending about 2 days in each town so there’s not a lot of time to fill but I want to make sure I don’t miss something awesome.

We’ll be road tripping from Glasgow to Isle of Skye and back to Inverness. Then we take a night train to London. Then another train Paris and then we fly home. If you’ve ever been to any of these places and have a great restaurant/attraction/stop that was fantastic please let me know.

We’re staying in lots of haunted hotels and doing ghost tours because that’s the kind of people we are but we’re cool with anything.

Tell us where to go?

704 thoughts on “HELP. If you’ve ever been to London, Paris or Scotland please tell me what to do.

Read comments below or add one.

  1. In London do the monopoly walk around and visit all the sites on the original monopoly board.

  2. I’ve never been there, but it seems like the ZSL (London Zoo) has some interesting conservation breeding programs ( I get emails from a site called Zooborns, about baby animals being bred all over the world). I hope you have an awesome time wherever you go!! 🙂

  3. Never been, although my kid has. Ask Patty (Insane in the Mom Brain). Think she just recently went. Have fun!!

  4. In Skye, the Quirang (amazing rugged scenery featured in GoT), the Macleods’ castle and the Talisker Distillery. En route, there’s the Glenfinnan Memoral and neat places like Arisaig and Morar.

    (The Quirang is definitely on our list as long as it’s not too rainy. ~ Jenny)

  5. I can’t remember the names of the restaurants we ate at in London or Paris but the one thing I learned was to eat away from the tourist spots. We usually walked at least 1/2 mile to a mile away as the food is better and more authentic. The locals seemed to appreciate that you came and are super friendly. Be sure to ride the merry go round by the Eiffel tower, just seems like something you would appreciate.

  6. St Paul’s Cathedral in London is gorgeous, architecural marvel and has people buried everywhere!!
    Historic and common.
    There are people in the walls, the floors, in solitary cripts, carved stone skulls adorn throughout.

  7. I did the exact same roadtrip in Scotland- flew into Glascow, drove up Loch Ness, went to the Isle of Skye then to Inverness. I recommend stopping occasionally just to take in the beauty! I’m not a good roadtripper (I want to get to where we’re going and be done with the car), but I got some amazing photos from just hopping out of the car. Also, the highlands feel magical! Just sit in it a little. Have fun on your trip! <3

  8. there is an app for your phone called visit a city that highlights things to do and what to do if you have limited days in the city

  9. Google Harry Potter London for tours of sites and studio. Also Hogwarts train but might be too late for tix.

  10. The Tower of London and Westminster Abbey are definitely worth seeing!

  11. Ok so the best thing to do in a short amount of time in London is one of the traveling bus tours. It’s a hop on / hop off deal that will do the main sites of London, they’ll have discounts also on some of the main points to see like the Tower of London (home of the Crown Jewels) which is worth the trip. A couple of these tours also include a ferry down the Thames so you can see some of the sites like hangmans’s gate.

    As far as food goes there are plenty of restaurants to eat in, but I wouldn’t be swayed by eating in a chain for “local” food as it’s not exactly fantastic. While on the coast you must of course find a chip shop (chippy) to try fresh battered fish and chips. Most coastal towns will have one of these, or if not the local pub will serve them, some times in beer batter which makes it even better

  12. There’s an American-style speakeasy in Paris that’s amazing. Called Moonshiner. Glasgow is wonderful. Check out anything Rennie Macintosh (tea houses or galleries). Follow the whiskey trail. Check out pottery on the Isle of Skye. There are fairy glens on the Isle as well. Look for Nessie and do the cheesy tours.

  13. You can get a great pub lunch at the Malt Shovel just around the corner at Waverly Station!

  14. When in Scotland, eat Tunnocks
    Caramel Wafers because they are delicious 🤤

  15. The Inverness / Isle of Skye portion pretty much takes care of itself. The area is, in a word, spectacular. You can easily just drive around gawking at the scenery. Loch Ness is only 8 miles from Inverness, and it’s FUN to say you’ve been there and maybe grab a stuffed Nessie. 🙂 The Isle of Skye is utterly breathtaking, and again, walking around and/or driving around is an absolute treat.

  16. The Louvre in Paris…especially the sculptures, but don’t waste your time with the Mona Lisa because it’s small and incredibly underwhelming and people crowd around for no good reason. Also – the Louvre has TWO Starbucks (at least they did 6 years ago), so you can stay well caffeinated while you enjoy all the art.

  17. There are amazing glens and lochs you can hike around Inverness (ask the locals and avoid Loch Ness, it’s a tourist trap). There’s also the Battlefield of Culloden. Honestly, I spent most of my time there at a B&B with my then fiance, soooo… 😄 In the UK, Bath was pretty and awesome, if touristy, and the standing stones are totally worth it, even if you can’t get close (the sheep are hilarious, just saying). Or wander around London and ride in the Eye, visit Big Ben, the Tower, Changing of the Guards, itty bitty WW1 and WW2 museums in the most random of places. There’s lots to do. 🙂

  18. The Churchill War Rooms museum in London was my favorite stop in London. It’s in the underground bunker complex used during WWII I spent hours there and it’s fascinating if you’re interested in some WWII history.

  19. Scotland had some amazing museums and they’re free. Look up the Kelvingrove Gallery in Glasgow, it’s wonderful and eclectic. Isle of Skye will be full of sheep and ducks, lots of mesmoring hills and beaches. Plenty of ruins.. Inverness is lively, especially driving to it through the national park. There’s a quaint town just north of there where my aunt lives, Invergordon. It’s a sweet little town on the sea – oil platforms and cruise ships dock there.

  20. Necropolis in Glasgow! It’s gorgeous and overlooks the cathedral. There’s a cute little tea shop in Glasgow too, I can’t remember the name D: but it’s Alice in Wonderland themed, in that perfect half cutesey half is that a skeleton in the corner kind of way (and also it’s a really good breakfast/tea place)
    In London, walk through the Camden Lock Market, there’s a random game store in the middle with GIANT silver men statues on either side of the door

  21. Lived in Paris for 3 months 2 years ago. Go to the Marais District! Very fun and young. Tons of shops, old buildings, and quirky people! Liza is a beautiful Mediterranean Restaurant. Here is the link:
    The Luxembourg Gardens is charming. Puppet shows and a lake. Of course, The Orsay Museum is great too and not too big or intimidating. Beautiful high ceilings and no claustrophobia!
    Tres Bon!

  22. Paris has great creepy things. You’ll love the Catacombs of Paris. Underground ossuaries which hold the remains of more than six million people in a small part of a tunnel network built to consolidate Paris’ ancient stone mines. And Père Lachaise Cemetery. Very cool.

  23. Yay! We loved the British Museum (especially the mummies), Harry Potter at Watford Junction and also the Tower of London. Hope it’s a great trip!

  24. Paris – walk up the Eiffel Tower to save both time and money (it sounds impossible but is not, Google it). Also that one Shakespeare bookstore. Forgetting the name .

    London – if you like museums, there are a lot.

  25. If you go to the Tower of London be sure to visit the Ravenmaster while you are there or at least check out his FB page. He has tons of awesome videos and pics of the ravens. I’d also recommend a boat tour of the Thames down to Hampton court, but it sounds like you might not have time for that.

  26. Paris, restaurant – Auberge Pyrenees Cevennes
    And the Catacombs
    And Notre Dame

    London – pubs with funny names

  27. Th bridge at Glenfinnian is the train bridge from Harry Potter so definitely that!

  28. Tower of London has always been my favorite tourist site in London. The British Library exhibit is really interesting. We did a lunch cruise in Paris that was nice. Notre Dame and The Parthenon were my favorite sites otherwise. There are some posts and pictures from my trip there in June at my blog at

  29. The catacombs in Paris! The tunnels are made out of bones removed from local cemeteries in the 1700s due to overcrowding. You’ll love it!

  30. The Willow Tea Rooms just reopened in Glasgow! Also check out munchie boxes while you’re there. Having tea or ice cream in the crypt of St Martin in the Fields in London is pretty darned great. Have a wonderful time with your family. So excited for you!

  31. I’ll be in Scotland in 3 1/2 weeks! The glenfinnan viaduct, there are wildlife boat tours on Skye (one with a glass bottom), the fairy pools and fairy glen, neist point, the whole loop of the northwest of Skye. I’ve heard you need to make reservations, so figure out where you want to eat and get it booked. Pinterest was helpful for me to plan!
    Around Inverness, we’re seeing the Culloden battlefield and driving to see Dunrobin Castle.

  32. I absolutely adored the Musee D’Orsay in Paris. It’s focused on Impressionism, and the art is really wonderful. Not nearly as big as the Louvre, which could take days to do, it’s manageable, and if memory serves, there’s a cool view out the window at the top overlooking the rest of Paris.
    Monmartre is another cool neighborhood in the City. Artsy and a little baudy too. The Folies Bergere’s review is rather like a Vegas showgirl event, topless dancing.
    Enjoy! I’ve just finished watching seasons 1-3 of Outlander, which I think was shot in Scotland. Its kindled a desire to go visit!

  33. Catacombs in Paris but get tix online to avoid long line. Also Luxembourg Gardens.

  34. There is a blog called Messy Nessy and she lives in Paris and has written all sorts of things about things there that are not on a typical tourist’s to do list.
    Have fun!

  35. Another vote for the Musee d’Orsay. Beautiful building. I spent half an hour studying van Gogh’s les roulettes, and I’m hardly an art major.

  36. In Paris, Pere Lachaise Cemetary and Atelier de Lumiers are close to each other and worth the trip! Skip the Louvre, for sure. Musee Orangerie is amazing because you can see Monet’s Water Lillies panels in all their glory. The two day Big Bus hop on-hop off tickets will give you a great overview of the city so you can glimpse all the tourist sites even if you don’t have time to stop. The two day ticket also gets you a Seine river cruise that boards near the Eiffel Tower. The Paris Metro Map and Routes app is amazing if you choose to take the tube, it completely saved our trip. Enjoy!!

  37. I thought the Crown Jewels in London were absolutely fascinating. I saw the Eiffel Tower and Norte Dame – classics. We took a train out to Giverny then rented bicycles to go to Monet’s Gardens. You are definitely not allowing enough time!

  38. Old Town Edinburgh! The royal mile starts at Edinburgh castle and ends at Holyrood Palace, and the whole area is just magical. If you’re there in August, the military tattoo at the castle is supposed to be awesome. I did the Haunted City Underground tour: (starts outside the cathedral) and it was awesome, but bad for claustrophobic people. Also, in New Town you can see where Harry Potter was written and where JK Rowling lived while she wrote it, if you find a good tour.

    I can’t wait to hear about your trip…I didn’t get to the Isle of Skye. Jealous!

  39. Tower of London tour with a Yeoman. They are wickedly funny. See the Crown Jewels when you’re done.
    I prefer Westminster Abby to St. Paul’s. More writers buried there. You should probably get tickets in advance. Easily doable on the internets.
    All the museums are free, although you can give them a donation of any amount.
    Paris – just walk if you’re not into art museums. Paris is dreamy.
    Bravo for taking the big leap across the pond. I hope you live it as much as I do.
    Barb in Minnesota

  40. London: Most of the touristy stuff will be crowded, but is often worth a visit. The Victoria and Albert Museum is not as popular with visitors, but is amazing. Just down the street is the Museum of Natural History, which is also worth your time.

    Paris: The museums have long lines early in the day, but will have short lines (or even no line) in the afternoons. Just walking around the city is great, but the Louvre and Arc de Triomphe are worth a visit.

    Scotland: It will probably be chilly in Inverness, so bring clothes you can layer. Set aside at least an hour an check out Leakey’s Bookshop in Inverness. On Skye there is a place called Fairy Glen, it’s a little difficult to find, but asking at the market in Uig can get you there. On the road from Skye to Inverness there’s Eilean Donan castle. It’s beautiful.
    Allow time for stopping to just take in the view. You are going to a very picturesque area of Scotland.

  41. London— Big Ben, Houses of Parliament, the Eye, Buckingham Palace at the changing of the Guard, Tower of London (lots of ghosts there!); Paris— Eiffel Tower, but look out for the elevators because at the bottom they move sort of sideways and you lose your balance and the French guys know to stand on the side you’ll fall to so they can catch you, Champs Elysees, Les Invalides (Napoleon’s Tomb); Scotland— Edinburgh Castle and Princes Garden if you get to Edinburgh, Loch Ness of course, and anywhere really. It’s a beautiful country, but beware of bagpipe players in small restaurant rooms; you’ll need earplugs.

  42. I second the Necropolis in Glasgow! You’ll love the drive to the Isle of Skye.

  43. London Walks! They do a lot of ghost walks (some of which are pub crawls) in the evening.

  44. This is for London. Since Hailey is into theatre, I highly recommend the backstage tour at The National. I was wonderfully surprised at how much we got to see. Also, tickets to their shows are super affordable compared to here. For food, if you like to browse and eat, I love Borough Market. The transit museum is great and has a fantastic gift shop plus is in the middle of convent garden. The Harry Potter studio tour is excellent but takes you a good hour or so out of the city. Totally worth it though. I’m sure I’ll pop back with more, but those are off the top of my head.

  45. Isles and Scotland: Enjoy the ‘lamb jam’ when you’re on a beautiful road and can’t get around them and their mutton moms.
    Watch “The stone of destiny” before you go with your kid -lovely history of royal emblem stolen by Scottish students in the 50’s.
    Watch “Local Hero” and then go catch a ride on the Jacobite Express (train used in Harry Potter movies that departs from near Ben Nevis.)
    Glasgow’s transportation museum is surprisingly engaging.
    Let your kid drink “Iron Breu.” in Scotland.

    London: Take a cheap water taxi boat ride up the Thames. Listen to the cockney guide completely demolish the Tate Modern architecture for how ugly it is and snicker. And take a double decker bus back.
    Skip “the shard.”
    Go to Royal Observatory and straddle the international dateline.
    Ride the tube.
    Don’t know Paris.
    Enjoy the time.

    (The Jacobite Express was booked up but I’m loving “lamb jam” so much. ~ Jenny)

  46. In Paris do the Eiffel Tower at night so you can see it all lit up. I liked going during sunset then coming down when it was dark. If you don’t want to do the stairs, buy the tickets online in advance for the elevator. The Louvre is amazing but don’t expect to see everything there, just pick a few favorites. Buy a book specifically designed for helping you translate menus so you can enjoy eating without fear. Buy all the pastries. You will never regret a crepe or a pastry.

  47. -The Tower of London and Westminster Abbey in London were must-sees – plan on spending a whole day just between the two of them.
    -The Glasgow Cathedral and the Glasgow Necropolis were my favorite things to see in Glasgow. I might suggest walking around to see all of the cool building/street art too. Glasgow was full of it.

  48. Isle of Skye: Three Chimneys is a very special dining experience but pretty up there in price – worth it if you want a splurge meal. We also had a surprisingly awesome meal at Scorrybreac, a little hole in the wall hipster place with literally the best butter I’ve ever had. That’s honestly what I remember. Very reasonable price and feels a bit like dining in someone’s living room.

    As for Paris, I second the recommendations to walk around and to visit the d’Orsay, my very favorite museum of all time (and much more accessible than the Louvre). Go see Monet’s water lilies in person too – they’re stunning. And make sure you take time to sit in a bistro and have wine/coffee/whatever and just sit and watch people go by. It’s the best part of Paris.

    Oh, and the boat tours up and down the river are a great way to see a bit more of the city.

    Have a wonderful time!!

  49. Scotland,
    I did Edinburgh, and the Castle.

    Stratford-Upon-Avon and Bath were two cities I remember from my HS trip.
    London has all the museums and West End shows.

    I know it’s not listed but maybe a bus trip over to Wales, I know you watch Doctor Who, if you google Doctor Who locations you can walk around Cardiff and see different spots.

    I didn’t personally visit the insides of a lot of items, but I did this walking tour of the city and it was awesome. Also Versailles. Gorgeous.

    Lastly if you can outside Paris a bit is Le Mon Saint-Michel. It was breathtaking.

  50. Trek to the Loire Valley when in France. It’s a little over two hours from Paris, I think but it was certainly worth the time and effort. Louvre and Catacombs in Paris. Jim Morrison’s grave is at Père Lachaise Cemetery. Montmartre. Notre Dame Cathedral.

  51. There’s a neat walking tour at dusk at the Tower of London of all the places associated with Jack the Ripper… Or at least, there used to be, and should be still. IMHO.

  52. I thought the Crown Jewels in London was fascinating. Paris, for such a short visit, I would say the Eiffel Tower and Norte Dame. Just walking along the Seine is magical. You need more time!

  53. If you have time to swing through Edinburgh, it is worth it to eat at The Last Drop. It is where prisoners were fed their last meals before being executed in the square – in front of the restaurant. The food was okay, beers were good, but most importantly creepy as fuck! 😉

  54. London – take a Jack the Ripper tour, go to Highgate cemetery for a guided tour, & go to the Natural History Museum (the building itself is amazing & it’s free). Nearby you can get coaches to Harry Potter, Stonehenge, or Kew Gardens. Watching the changing of the guard definitely doesn’t disappoint, either! Have a fantastic vacation!!!

  55. Which haunted hotels in Scotland? We are going back next May and would def stay in them too! We went to Scotland a few years ago and loved it! The Highlands are incredible, visit Balmoral Castle if you can. Also the underground ghost tour is Edinburgh is awesome and truly spooky. Plus visit Greyfriars for the cool cemetery and pub!

    (We’re spending one night at Dalhousie Castle in Edinburgh. ~ Jenny)

  56. Prepare yourself for the midges! Little biting flying bugs that are very prevalent in the summer in Scotland. Skin So Soft keeps them away, apparently…I’ve only been there in fall so I have no first-hand experience, but be warned.

    There is a great FB group called Scottish Travel Society that is chock full of ideas. Even if you join, never post, and only search everyone else’s posts for interesting tidbits, it’s worth it. They also have a very current files section, so be sure to check that out, too.

    In London, a visit to Platform 9-3/4 at King’s Cross Station, of course.

    Also, if you need a fourth, just to keep numbers even, I volunteer as tribute! 😀

    Have fun!!!

  57. If you’re staying in Portree on Isle of Skye, make dinner reservations days in advance. It gets so crowded with tourists, it’s hard to not have to wait hours to eat.

  58. There’s a neat walking tour at dusk that starts at the Tower of London and goes to all the sites associated with Jack the Ripper. Or at least, there used to be, and should be still IMHO.

  59. London Chinatown is awesome. And if you do one touristy thing, do the Tower of London. It’s incredible and full of bad ass history and torture chambers.

    In Paris, skip the touristy stuff and go eat cheese in a local restaurant. Or several.

  60. I second the Soane Museum. It is super weird in all the right ways.
    I also found it strangely affecting to see all the literary artifacts in the exhibit room at the British Library, but maybe that’s just me.

  61. London: Hatchard’s Bookshop (the oldest in the UK I think?) followed by tea at The Wolseley. They are within a few blocks of each other.

  62. I have no idea but I just wanted to say how proud I am of you that you are going to go. Make those memories ❤️❤️❤️

  63. In Paris, my faves are the Musee d’Orsay (Impressionist Art), the Rodin Museum, Centre Pompidou (Modern Art), Notre Dame, and Sainte Chapelle. Also check out Shakespeare and Company on Rue de la Bûcherie.

  64. Have a fun and safe trip over there. I don’t think I’ll ever get over there myself because it’d involve me voluntarily entering an airplane. I’ll settle for seeing your pics. ☺

  65. Sorry for the additional comment – Fortnum & Mason (where the Queen buys her tea) and Hatchards (where the Queen buys her books are must-do shopping trips!

  66. Evans and Peel Detective Agency! Be sure to make an appointment, and have a ‘case’ to discuss. Extra fun if you don’t tell your companions what to expect. 😁

  67. I have no suggestions but I just wanted to let you know that I am so proud of you for going! Make those memories ❤️❤️❤️❤️

  68. I really like Sandeman’s New Europe tours. They have free walking tours in numerous cities that cover a lot of the highlights of that city that you can go back and see more of later if you want. You tip the tour guide whatever you think the free tour was worth or what you can afford. They also have reasonably priced paid tours if you want to get more in depth. The guides are entertaining and captivating.

  69. Oh my gosh! I came imagine no one is suggesting London Dungeon! You can NOT miss it! My first trip to London I traveled by myself and it was recommended to me. The “museum” takes you back to medieval times… I don’t want to give anything away. For you, Jenny, it is a must do!

  70. London, British museum, tea at Claridge’s(heaven in Mayfair, the Marco Polo tea is very good) the Tower. I like the Tower Bridge tour as well. There’s some decent walking tours in London and they do ghost tours… There’s a Jack the Ripper one as well. I liked the verger tour of Westminster Abbey. If the lines aren’t bad at Mme Tussad’s you and Hailey would have a good time with the wax figures. Victor too. I also like the Sherlock Holmes Museum on Baker St. It’s more a hands on kinda thing than a museum per say, but fun. As for Scotland, I’m more familiar with the East of Scotland, Edinburgh and the kingdom of Fife than the west. Oh the Burrell collection in Glasgow and Kelvingrove. The Necropolis and the Glasgow cathedral are nice to visit(St Mungo buried in the church, patron saint of Glasgow) And I’m a fan of the Willow tea room(I like Charles Rennie Mackintosh design) In Paris, well the Louvre. Friend of mine has a fondness for the Egyptian room, say hi to the Scribe Accroupi(he’s on twitter) you might get a hi back. I also like the Musee de Orsay. Oh there’s a great cafe on the Isle Saint Louis(alsatian food) Brasserie de l’Isle Saint Louis. Sit outside if you can. The coq au riesling was excellent. I also recommend Alsatian wine. Pinot gris. The funicular to Montmarte. The view from Sacre Coeur is amazing. Stop in at Laduree for macarons. There’s a shop on the Champs Elysees. YUMMMM. I would also stop at Notre Dame and see Shakespeare and Company the bookstore there. Well around there.
    Have fun. As my mom says you can sleep on the plane. Oh and if you’re taking the Eurostar into Paris be warned sometimes the assistance for those who need it is less than optimal. Again, friend of mine lives in London, born in Paris, has trouble on it. So be prepared.

  71. It’s been 20 years since I’ve been to London & Paris so my memory is a bit faded. I do remember visiting Jim Morrison’s grave in Paris, that was pretty cool.

  72. Musee D’Orsey is a must in Paris! Van Gogh’s work is breathtaking in person. Montmartre and Sacre Coeur if you can get there, take the steps to the top. It’s a lot, but stunning views and free people made the climb. And the Eiffel Tower at sunset!

  73. Absolutely do not pass go, do not collect $200 until you’ve had tea at Sketch!!! It’s beyond magic. An experience you won’t soon forget. Especially the bathrooms!!

  74. Standing stone circles in Scotland. Torture museum in London and well as the Tate modern. Doune Castle in Scotland where Outlander and Monte Python were filmed.

  75. We were in London for 3 days in April—it was gray & chilly & rainy & I loved it. I second taking a bus tour to see the city & sitting on the outdoor upper level even with the weather. The Tower of London wasn’t cheap but it was worth it, and I also recommend seeing the Diana dress exhibit at Kensington Palace. We also enjoyed the outdoor food markets like Borough Market. There’s a serious on Amazon Prime called “Robert’s London” that we liked for learning about the city & different events throughout the year—check out the summer episodes.

  76. London – Harry Potter Warner Brother’s Tour is something you and Hailey will LOVE. Holy shit it was awesome.
    Also, there are free museums every thirty feet, I swear to God. They are all amazing. My fave was the National Gallery, which is spectacular.
    Have fish and chips from any old local chip shop – enjoy the greasy greasiness.

    Paris – Pere Lachaise cemetery. Say hello to Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison, Edith Piaf, and many others.
    Museums aren’t as “free” there, but if you’re not up to the Louvre (BIG), there is the Musee D’Orsay which is remarkable still.

    Make SURE to double-check accessibility for some of these places. Europe is old as shit, and sometimes they don’t have elevators or ramps.

    Depending on what their rates are, sometimes the Paris Pass and London Pass are both a good idea, but I would worry about you not getting your money’s worth if you had an arthritis flare-up or a bad brain day. Sometimes the benefit of not paying for stuff in advance is not wasting your money when you can’t go.

    I’m so excited for you guys! This is going to be so much fun!

  77. If you can stop in Edinburgh, Scotland check out the haunted tour “Mary King’s Close”. You’ll shit your pants AND learn some crazy history.
    The food sucks in England so good luck finding something to eat. However the British Museum was amazing.

  78. Absolutely go stay at Dornoch Castle in the highlands of Scotland. In the heart of whisky country. If possible, stay in the old courtroom. Find random pubs to have fish and chips and mushy peas in. See the Tower of London and the resident ravens. Visit King’s cross Station to see Platform 9 3/4. Ride the London Eye. See the changing of the guard, if you can. I think they’re only doing it every other day now.

  79. Plan to spend at least half a day at the Tower of London. The guards who lead the tours are very funny. The ravens are fascinating.
    In Paris, skip Notre Dame (long lines) and take a trip up to Montmartre. We climbed to the top of the Basilica Sacre Coeur and watched the sun set over Paris – Beautiful! There is also a Salvador Dali museum in the town.

  80. I second the Père Lachaise cemetery. It is gorgeous and so old that a lot of things are crumbly. And there are weeping angels. I adored it!

    Paris catacombs, I felt, were overrated. The first couple rooms? Awesome. But then… there are more… and the spiral staircase at the end was AWFUL. I thought for sure that it would never end and I would die. I nearly kissed the pavement when I finally escaped.

  81. not sure if anyone mentioned yet but download the Atlas Obscura app. All sorts of weird things you may otherwise pass by.

  82. Go to the tower of London, it’s cool and you can see the crown jewels and lots of people lost their heads there. I was in Edinburgh Scotland, don’t think you mentioned that one. In general castles, lochs ( like Lock Ness) and pubs are cool, and bagpipes, and of course dudes in kilts cuz you know what a Scotsman wears under his kilt, right?

  83. In Glasgow, the Macintosh trail is nice. It was much better before the Glasgow School of Art went up in flames but his other buildings are great. Loch Ness & the ruins of castles are magnificent. Boat ride on the loch is fun. Skye is beautiful, low mountains, rugged coasts, nice hikes. Paris is just amazing. The Tuillares Gardens are a must walk, have lattes & crepes at the outdoor cafe, see sculptures, & at the opposite end from the Louvre are some ornate gates & a gold topped obelisk. Arc de Triumph, the Rodin sculptures, and the Eiffel tower at night. A short train ride away is Versailles, which is a good explanation for why the peasants revolted. London, the Tower and it’s bridge, the Victoria & Albert museum is really good, take the docklands light rail to Greenwich & see the observatory, straddle the prime meridien (pictures with your daughter required) , ride the London eye twice (night & day), see at least 1 show, people watch in Piccadilly Circus, and just soak in the oldness of everything. Take time to relax each day & don’t feel that it’s time wasted. Have fun!

  84. FOOD TIP: a place called EAT it was like really good take and go sandwiches and soup.

  85. Last summer I watched the sun set behind the eiffel tower and it was amazing, particularly after it got dark and the tower started lighting up. If you are willing to sit outside for about an hour people watching/enjoying the outdoors then I would HIGHLY recommend it. There are also often south african guys illegally selling bottles of wine to the people watching the sunset, so that’s an option too unless a police officer has been in the area in the last five minutes. I would also recommend the creperie des arts for dessert one night.
    On the flip side, I would not recommend trying to see every piece of art currently on display at the louvre in one day. It turns out that’s physically possible, but you no longer care about art for several weeks afterward…

  86. I know it might sound weird to say take The kid to the Pompedieu Center but she WILL dig the Stravinsky Fountain. And, for YOU, you must see Shakespeare & Co. Tell them you want the French edition of Furiously Happy 🙂 Cite de la Sciences might have Kidd stuff too I’ll think about other kid-friendly Paris stuff…

  87. OMG, Paris Catacombs! Billiins of stacked bones moved from cemetaries, (old, non-stinky) sewers underneath Paris. A real ghost story. Actually beautiful, respectful, awe inspirimg. It’s farther out a bit, but Rodin Museum… The Gates of Hell, The Thinker, The Kiss…. amazing, HUGE outdoor scultures . Gates of Hell is like 20-30 feet high. The Louvre… not just Mona, but The Victory of Samothrace enormous winged sculpture. GORGEOUS stained glass church near Note Dame (also a must, and climb the stairs) is Sainte Chapelle . Well well worth it

    London Eye and right down street, Tower of London with the guards, and Tower Bridge


  88. Oh my gosh! I came imagine no one is suggesting London Dungeon! You can NOT miss it! My first trip to London I traveled by myself and it was recommended to me. The “museum” takes you back to medieval times… I don’t want to give anything away. For you, Jenny, it is a must do!

  89. Isnt there a Jack the Ripper tour of London? That sounds right up your alley.

  90. Go look at some old bones in the Catacombs of Paris. A guy once took me on a date there 😆
    The Pere Lachaise cemetery is beautiful for a stroll.
    Other touristy must sees: Notre Dame, Ile de la Cite, St Michel and St Germain area. You can walk between all of these. The Conciergerie and Sainte Chapelle is worth a visit if you have the time. Have an ice cream at Berthillon on Ile Saint Louis, go sit in the little park behind Notre Dame and admire the gargoyles. Make sure to walk past the Shakespeare and Co bookshop on your way to the St Michel latin quarter with all its cheap restaurants. Head over to the St Germain area and admire Pantheon. Finish with a stroll in Le Jardin du Luxembourg.
    Sacre Coeur and Montmartre is also a must-see. Enjoy!

  91. I was in Scotland in November, went from Edinburgh to Isle of Skye and back, amazing. We stayed one night at Clachaig Inn, where I think they filmed some scenes for Hagrid’s hut – go there. Fairy pools!!!!

  92. when in paris you gotta walk down the Champs-Élysées! It’s so beautiful and they have really great sidewalk cafes you can stop at to eat breakfast or lunch. The gardens at the louvre are beautiful too!

  93. The Thames Embankment — starting around the Blackfriars bridge — is something of an open street fair. It has all kinds of awesome artists and odd crafts. I think it would interest you, but the crowds might be a problem

  94. Check your family tree and see if any of your ancestors lived near where you will be staying. You’ll want to walk in their footsteps…

  95. London- most everything is close together for walking or taking a quick tube ride. Find a tube pass for zones 1-6 and you can go to most of London.

    Paris – get a hop on hop off bus pass. It takes you around Paris to all the sites. You can as the name implies hop on and off for the day with the tickets.

    Scotland’s large?!?! I’ve been to Edinburgh. Everything you want to see is on the royal mile leading to the castle.

  96. Oh my dear that is where my family is (Scotland) and I have been many times to visit! Also have family in London and France…Lucky you-Lucky Europe! The train route from London to Scotland (and vice versa) takes you along the western coastline, and is a beautifully scenic traverse. Any chance you might hit Edinburgh? It is the Artsy Fartsy City, home to the beautiful Edinburgh Castle, and a lovely foil for the industrial Glasgow (where my Father and Sean Connery were born and raised….there is no other accent like it.) Glasgow used to be the shipbuilding capitol of the world, with many shipyards along the Strath Clyde. (big river) It was very blue collar and industrial, but has undergone a renaissance in the past 20 years or so.
    Edinburgh Castle is home to the Scottish Crown Jewels, and my favorite part of the castle is the small garden parapet which survives today as a cemetery (with headstones) for the dogs and other pets that were soldier companions hundreds of years ago.
    London of course has 60 million amazing things to see; if you are a history buff, and I think you would love this tour….go to the Underground War Room Museum in London. It is in pristine state and a complete time travel back to 1940. This underground warren was the wartime home of Winston Churchill, his wife Clementine, staff and the top military Pooh-Bahs running the show. It may be Hailey’s last opportunity to see what a telephone land line and switchboard looks like! The Map Room, the Code Breakers, the mess hall etc. etc. Such a brilliantly preserved piece of history.
    Paris is also nice. I have been there. But you will have a much better time if you go to Normandy and spend time eating the freshest seafood the Cote Sauvage (savage coast….see how easy that was to translate?…you can now speak French!) has to offer. Also in Normandy? Merlin’s grave and the last known resting place of the Holy Grail.
    Sorry to take up so much space…but I couldn’t help myself OK?

  97. Since you like ghoulish things, I highly recommend the sewers in Paris near the Eiffel Tower. Great tour and so much history and literature references. Loved it. Also the catacombs near Pere Lachaise. Neat self tour of skeletons and bones. Also skip the top restaurants in Paris except for a brasserie, but instead walk around. When you see lots of people eating somewhere in a neighborhood, just go there. The best and least expensive meals I had in Paris, I found this way. I love to walk around Paris. Even go on the metro and get off at any stop and just walk, observe,eat! Enjoy. Wish I were going.

  98. You would love Camden Market in North London. Go there, then take a picnic to Hampstead Heath and take in the view right across London. Love my city, and that’s a great way to meet real Londoners and take in the whole of London in one go.

  99. Paris: climb the Arc de Triomphe for spectacular views of the city the head down to La Durée for macarons and rose petal ice cream; Musée Marmottan for the best Monet collection including the work that gave Impressionism its name; Fragonard perfume museum and shop, heavenly!

  100. In Paris you have to tour the Catacombs- make sure you book your tickets online in advance

  101. So excited for you! Have a wonderful time! I’m curious what Hayley’s friends are recommending she see? What does she want to adventure to?

    (None of her friends have gone either but she most wants to see the Eiffel Tower so that’s definitely on our list. Actually she just wants to see Paris in general and eat chocolate croissants all day. We would have just done Scotland and England but we added Paris for her. 🙂 ~ Jenny)

  102. So many options, but talk with the locals as much as you can (or, you know, have your family talk and you listen). You’ll feel more connected to the place you’re in. As for Paris – eat chocolate croissants. From anywhere. They are better there even in the kiosk in the train station then anywhere in the U.S. Really. And eat an extra one for me. Have a blast! So impressed that you are doing this!!

  103. Go to the catacombs under Paris. I have four sons who were between 8 and 16 when we went to Paris. I thought that would be prime age for convincing boys to go underground to see huge numbers of bones. I couldn’t take them into it! Seriously!! So I think you and your family should definitely go. Sounds like it would be right up your alley!

    (Totally doing this. ~ Jenny)

  104. We were in Scotland and England the first two weeks of June. I would go back tomorrow if I had the opportunity. When we were in London we stayed at an AirBnb on Baker St a stones throw from the Sherlock Museum.
    While in Scotland be sure to drink Thistly Cross Ciders. Best hard cider I’ve ever had. Elderflower and strawberry were my favorites. Unfortunately we had stops in other cities so I can’t give much help there. But if you decide to go to Edinburgh, Aberfeldy, or Oban I’m your girl.

  105. Take the Alternative London Walking Tour of Shoreditch. You will look at the entire world differently after. And then go to Brick Lane for a curry. I also feel like the Horniman Museum (also in London) might be right up your alley.

    If you ever find yourself in the northwest of England, there’s a pub filled with weird and wonderful taxidermy that’s run by the coolest couple on earth and you need to know them. (Percy’s Cafe Bar in Whitchurch, Shropshire)

  106. We were in Inverness for a couple of days last spring and I’m itching to go back: the drive from Inverness to Urquhart Castle was almost as spectacular as the ruins (my reaction may or may not have been influenced by the presence of sheep). We missed the Loch Ness Centre because we arrived too late, but it sounded like a great spot for some monster hijinks…I’d also recommend Fort George for the Highlander Museum and the dolphin watching. There was a great pub down the street from our B&B in Inverness on Huntly Street called the Water Front–it’s across the river from everything else, but we were told it was a local favorite.

  107. they speak your language! don’t worry, make them laugh and ask around and shoot from the hip, that way no expectations to be dashed against the breakwater, you will have a blast. just follow your nose. SKYE is the most amazing place you might ever go to as long as you like and are impressed by land and nature. plenty of beer to make you comfy

  108. London Dungeon, by Tower Bridge. A museum of all the weird horrible things in England’s history.

  109. Tower of London is good. So is touring the Globe. It’s fun to just walk around as well, as cliche as that sounds. Hampton Court is gorgeous and so is Windsor. There is a popular cafe in Paris called the Angelique that has the best hot cocoa ever. If you do the Louvre, take the Metro, it deposits you under the museum and it’s fun to come up the stairs and BAM be right there. The Mousetrap play is also really good.

  110. My husband and I just got back earlier this month from Scotland and we drove between Glasgow and Skye! If you love Monty Python, Outlander, and Game of Thrones, check out Doune Castle outside of Stirling. Definitely check out Eilean Donan Castle (we for engaged there in 2002) and it is the castle from Highlander. We took the Staffa Tour from Oban to the Isles of Mull, Iona and Staffa, it was fantastic! On Staffa you get to see puffins up close and the impressive Fingal’s Cave. We stayed in Portree on the Isle of Skye and our favorite parts of Skye was the Fairy Glen in Uig, and the Fairy Pools. Driving around the island is awesome! We also highly recommend the Skye Restaurant at the Flodigarry Hotel north of Staffin. Have an amazing trip!!!

  111. Scotland – DEFINITELY do the ghost tour in Edinburgh – only realistic one I’ve ever been on. Paris – visit Saint Chappelle (Louis XIV’ private church) – worth it. Pay the money to visit Westminster Abbey to see that the kings and the writers are honored the same.

  112. In London get a Thames day pass for the river taxi/ferry. Borough Market for great food, Westminster for history, Greenwich Observatory so you can stand on the Prime Meridian! Loads more, but go with what interests you and the family. Have fun!

  113. Go to the Sherlock Holmes Museum. It’s a self guided tour and full of Victorian era tchotchkes. Cool gift shop too.

  114. London Walks is the best walking tour company, and they have walks to cover virtually every interest; I”ve been on many. They are supposed to have the best Jack the Ripper tours, and they have Harry Potter tours and Rock n Roll tours, and on and on. Their website is The WB studio tour for Harry Potter is AWESOME. Easy to get there by train (I love the trains in GB). Any of the Charles Rennie MacIntosh buildings in Glasgow are awesome.

  115. Versailles. Don’t bother going inside the building, but definitely pay to get into the formal gardens. We brought a bottle of wine & picnic of baguette, brie and apples, rented bicycles, zoomed around, relaxed by the water. Best day ever.

  116. Edinburgh is my favorite Scottish city, but you are doing the Highlands (Skye to Inverness) and they are fabulous. I loved Eilean Donan Castle, but there are tons of castles and they are all fun.
    If you end up in Edinburgh there are underground caverns. Some under the bridge, some under the main drag in old town. Also Holyrood Palce. Stirling Castle is also a goodun. Have a bunch of fun!!

  117. I enjoyed visiting the Tower of London and staring at the Crown Jewels. I thought the London Eye was a bit overrated. I would have rather had High tea at the Savoy or shopping at Harrods

    In Paris I enjoyed Sainte-Chapelle.Well, I enjoyed all the famous cathedrals : Notre Dame, Sacre-Coeur – but Sainte-Chapelle was my favorite. We also wandered to places tourists were not supposed to wander inside the Conciergerie!. I enjoyed Fountainbleau more than Versailles. Versaille was cold marble and mirrors where Fountainebleau was warm wood. Someone mentioned the catacombs. They were closed on our visit but I would agree that is a must.

    And duh – the Louvre. I was there before the IM Pei pryamid entrance. My favorite was Winged Victory. In fact, any of the musee in the Tuilleries are good use of time – I am partial to Musée de l’Orangerie (impressionists)

    there is so much to do – Just ENJOY

  118. One of my favorite places to visit in Paris is l’Orangerie – the museum that houses Monet’s Water Lilies. It is specifically designed for them. Stunning. One of my favorite restaurants in Paris is oddly a bit of a chain in a couple European cities. It is called Les Relais de l’Entrecôte. They only serve one entree – a delicious steak with a sauce that’s to die for and fries. In the middle of the meal they bring you more – our food didn’t get cold that way. We just had to know how to tell them how to cook our steak. The desserts were divine too. They had a profiterole- a puff pastry with ice cream and covered in hot chocolate sauce. They don’t take reservations and there’s always a line so go early. Don’t eat a crepe in a touristy area if you can avoid it but do eat one. I do love the Rue Cler in the 7th arrondissment. Paris is wonderful. The people are reserved which is why people sometimes says they’re not friendly. Knowing a few French words (hello, goodbye, thank you, please) goes a long way. Have so much fun!

  119. Battlefield of Culloden, and Culloden House. Spectacular! The Harry Potter tour at Warner Brothers Studio outside London is phenomenal!

  120. I’ve been to Scotland and London a few times, here’s my fav spots for both:

    London: 1) Highgate Cemetary – Karl Marx and Douglas Adams are buried, alongside lots of less famous folks, in a rambling ivy-covered expansive garden. Very cool to explore as old and new graves are mixed. If you book a tour ahead of time you can see the restricted area which is supposedly awesome but since I didn’t know about booking the tour I never got to see it. 2) The Globe – very cool reconstruction, if you folks are into Shakespeare at all go see a play there, you can stand in the yard for something like £15 and it’s pretty cool to see his stuff in the historic setting

    Skye: 1) all the hiking spots like the Fairy Pools, Neiss Point, the Quiraing, and the Old Man of Storr are pretty amazing. The old man is a more strenuous hike but totally worth the view. 2) The Museum of Island Life is awesomely weird and kitschy with creepy maniquins in diaoramas – I feel like it would be right up your alley. 3) if you like whiskey, or are touristy-curious about Scotch etc the Talisker tour is one of the better ones I’ve done in Scotland.

    Scotland in general: booking a day tour to go to places like the Falkirk Kelpies (look them up, they’re amazing), the Wallace Monument, Colloden, Loch Ness etc is a good idea as you can fit a lot into a day, they’ll give you some of the history as you go and you can relax and have fun instead of getting lost and driving on the wrong side of the road. If you go to Edinburgh, definitely check out the castle, it’s amazing and unlike most other castles – it’s more of a fort all folded in on itself on top of a hill in the middle of the city.

    If you are so inclined and have enough time, I highly recommend watching A History if Scotland by the BBC (the one hosted by Neil Oliver) very entertaining but also informative – the scots are big on their history and knowing the general story is helpful (and it’s got some awesomely over dramatic bits that are a hoot).

  121. If you liked Neverwhere, you can hit many of the places named after part of London Below. That made me smile when I had one day to sightsee in London after a convention.

  122. If you’re Harry Potter fans, go to King’s Cross Station in London and find the shop at Platform 9-3/4. The shop is cool, usually crowded, but you can take a picture of yourself/selves pushing a luggage cart through a brick wall.

  123. I used to live and work at The Findhorn Foundation just East of Inverness. One campus has hobbit houses, the other campus looks like Hogwarts.

  124. Invest been to all three.

    London — the Tower, London Eye, British Museum, Natural history museum.

    Scotland — Edinburgh is wonderful. The castle,the Royal Mile, Holyrood Palace. The highlands are wonderful.

    Ireland, Dublin, university library. Cork, memorials to immigrants. Ring of Kerry.

    Actually, take her to castles. Everywhere They are wonderful, fun,memorable.


  125. I think 9,482 people have already responded to this, so I may be repeating them. If so, sorry, but I couldn’t deal with all those words, even though I like words more than I like most people, but I digress …. So, I will only give feedback on Isle of Skye, cause I’m Scottish-ish and loved visiting my ancestral homeland and stuff. Dunceagan (the MacLeod Clan castle) is a must see. Please don’t tell my “family” but it’s also a tad underwhelming as castles go, unless you risk your life on the tee-tiny boats that enter the loch for tours with the silkies. Imagine cars who have eaten themselves into a coma that allows them to occasionally submerge themselves into frigid waters … it’s well worth it. Also, glance at the fancy cows on your way to the loch. They are great, and hairy, and important in the economy, but not as cool as the silky seals. Finally, please visit Portree … it’s quaint and beautiful and I managed to find a used book sale at a church the day I was there, and those are the best. The boats are amazing too.

    Ps – Whiskey is a requirement almost everywhere, so keep practicing for you visit!

  126. Haven’t been yet myself, but this is on my to do list and sounds like something you’d like too : . It is not really in the centre of London, but if your train stops at London bridge, it is not too far. If you do get close to London bridge, go for lunch to Borough Market. Fully open on Wed/Thurs/Fri/Sat. . Or the food market near Waterloo (in case your train stops there) .

    Hope you enjoy your time in London (and the rest!)

  127. London Dungeon is so fun and weird and spooky. Also gives you a great history of all the awful things that have “plagued” London! Get it? Plagued? Yeah, that’s just one of the rooms. 👍🏻

  128. I LOVE Paris! Besides the “de rigueur” Eiffel Tower and Louvre, I heartily recommend taking a night Bateaux Mouches (soooo beautiful). I’m very fond of Rodin’s House if for no other reason than you can knock on the Gates of Hell (maybe that’s my problem — I tempted fate). The Georges Pompidou Centre is a blast for the funky architecture, the ginormous library, the modern art museum, and the street performers out in front. One night, you two have to have dinner on the Champs-Elysees — tres chic!

    Have fun! (Do you need anyone to come along and carry your bags for you?) 😉

  129. Even though it’s touristy Tower of London a must if only for the gigantic Ravens and Jewelry

  130. Highgate Cemetery! Dark & overgrown, broken up stones, corners and turns to get lost in – one of the coolest cemeteries I’ve been to.

    Also, look for some spotted dick. It doesn’t taste good, but it’ll totally be worth it when you post a picture of Victor and his spotted dick.

  131. Another vote for the Churhill rooms-that was what we unexpectedly enjoyed the most. At tower of London, we followed a tip to get there when they opened, see the jewels first, and then come back to the beginning for a tour. I didn’t find out about this app until after we went but it overlays pictures of London during the blitz based on where you are.
    Have fun!

  132. My husband is from Scotland and the one thing that I make sure to have each time I go over is Millionaire Shortbread, super yummy!! Enjoy your trip:)

  133. If you’re in Edinburgh – the William Burke Museum. It’s the world’s smallest museum and its exhibit of note is a calling card case made from the skin of grave robber & namesake William Burke after his public execution in 1829 (for stealing bodies for medical research). It’s an oddity for sure.

  134. We’re goofy & don’t plan much, which is how I found the funky taxidermy bar in London. I listed the address for you in a reply to this on Twitter. Yelp is helpful, but probably trip advisor more- it’s more commonly used there. Just have fun, & I will repeat myself-
    Never try to do everything. Always go back.

  135. If I duplicate anything just consider it an upvote – in London (admittedly years ago) we did a walking tour of Hampstead Heath, and a spy walking tour. Tate modern was impressive as was the British Museum. In Paris there is SO much, but wandering the French Quarter, Musee d’orsay, using the hop on hop off boats to go up and down the Seine (better I think if you’re there a couple of days). Stop in a French cafe and have a glass of wine or spritz (or coffee if it’s not too hot). The beach on the Seine (Plage Paris) should be going on. I’ve never gone but it looks fun. Walking everywhere is great (unless super hot out I guess but you’re Texan). 🙂

  136. Do the Harry Potter walking tour in London. Great way to see the city! They also have a Jack the Ripper tour that was AWESOME!

  137. Museé d’Orsay in Paris has gorgeous Impressionist paintings. Westminster Abbey and The Tower of London will be up your alley. Have fun!

  138. In London, I would recommend the Tower, and St. Paul’s or Westminster Abbey. Both will get you outside if the weather is good, and there is some serious history and fun to be had at all locales. If you do the Tower, get there early so you can beat 90,000,000,000 people to see the crown jewels. In fact see that first and then go join a tour. If you want a really odd experience and it’s open, you can also visit the Sir John Soanes museum. It’s really odd and amazing.

  139. We were in Paris last October—loved it! Seeing the size of the Louvre was impressive from the outside, and the art is, of course, impressive in the inside. The Tulleries garden is close to the Louvre. The Musee D’Orsay is fabulous, do it rather than the Louvre if you can only go to one of them.

    We bought tickets for a tour of Notre Dame and it was incredible. There are around 400 stone, winding steps up to the top and after you climb 100 or so there is nowhere to stop and rest, you have to just keep on going up. Once at the top you can walk along the extremely narrow walkway along the outside of the cathedral, on the same level as the gargoyles and grotesques. And what a view! We also took a walking tour of the Montmarte artists district. So interesting! Saw Van Gogh’s brother’s house, etc. We took public transportation to everything, or walked. Watch for pickpockets in the bus. It can be crowded and they are sneaky. Watch your purse and all your pockets. Make eye contact.

    If you do any tours, do the “skip the line” so you don’t waste valuable time standing and waiting. Some lines can take hours! Be sure and stop in the bakeries, the bread and pastries are delicious. All the wine I had was good, always ordered the house wine. Their traditional “fast food” is a baguette with a filling, either cheese and tomato, salmon, tuna, meat, etc. You’ll find them in little shops already made up for about 4 Euros. Food in restaurants seemed more expensive than food here, but I don’t live in a big city. It’s probably comparable to food in a large US city.

    Read up before you go so you’ll know what to expect. Service in restaurants is slow, they take their time and don’t expect to be rushed, even for a cup of espresso. They also don’t mind if you sit there forever.

    Take the river cruise/tour whenever a city offers one, they’re great ways to see it and learn something about it. Usually the city bus tour is informative, inexpensive, and a good overview—you can go back to the places you want to explore.

    A word of caution—tourists are targeted by pickpockets so be wary. They often work in pairs so one is on one side of you distracting you while the other is trying to unzip your pocket or purse. We had this happen as we boarded a hop on, hop off bus. One cut between our friend and her husband as they were trying to board, and as the husband was turning towards his wife, the other pickpocket was getting into his cargo shorts pocket on the side. I was also cheated by a shopkeeper. I had a 50 Euro note that he didn’t want to change for a sandwich. I didn’t have anything smaller, so he grudgingly gave me change but shorted me by 10 Euro. I was unfamiliar with the currency so I counted it back and he threw another 10 Euro note on the counter after I came up short.

    The airport may be tedious. Give yourself plenty of time and pack according to TSA or you’ll get hung up and stressed out. I barely made my flight home because they did a second inspection and went through my carry on, purse and swabbed my body for god knows what. I was the last person to board and was close to hysteria.

    I drink local water everywhere I go, fill water bottles at the hotel from the tap. Never been sick. Bottled water is available everywhere if you prefer. Still water is regular water (not fizzy) or you can get sparkling water most places.

    Enjoy your experience! I’m so happy you are feeling good enough to do this!!

  140. 1) Stirling: Stirling Castle, Holy Rude Church and the Old Town Jail.
    2) Near Stirling: Doune Castle. (If you’re an Outlander or Monty Python fan this is a must-see.)
    3) Near Stirling: Deanston Distillery
    4) Glencoe: Glencoe Visitor Center – this is the area where the infamous Glencoe massacre occurred. Also Rob Roy country – amazing scenery so take your time as you drive it.
    5) Ft William: The Jacobite Steam Train from Ft. William to Mallaig (and then back to Ft. William). You cross the 21-arched Glenfinnan viaduct (a location made famous in the Harry Potter films) which overlooks Loch Shiel and where Bonnie Prince Charlie landed to start his doomed rebellion. Pay extra for the champagne and book lunch reservations at a restaurant in Mallaig before traveling. (We liked the Cornerstone Seafood Restaurant and you can book it online.)
    6) Inverness: Sensation Tour and Cruise of Loch Ness. It’s a 4 hour tour that combines bus and boat tour – including a visit of Urquhart Castle. You also get tickets for the Inverness Hop On-Hop Off Bus Tour of the city.
    7) Near Inverness: Culloden Battlefield and Clava Cairns. It’s only about a 15 minute drive from Inverness to each and one of the highlights of our trip.

    Tip: If you’re renting a car – pay extra for the GPS and watch Youtube on how to navigate the roundabouts.

  141. The Tower of London, and Hampton Court Palace are the two must see stops for me in London.
    In Edinburgh, Mary Kings Close

  142. Scotland has a soda caleld Irn-bru and everyone told us “if you’re not Scottish you won’t like it!” …and they were right, but it was still fun to try!

  143. We stayed at the Hotel de la Bretonnerie in Paris (the Marais) and while it isn’t haunted, it’s pretty cool in an eclectic Paris kind of way. The neighborhood is great, lots of good food, walking, shopping. And close to Le Coude Fou, which I recommend for dinner.

  144. If you’re at Earl’s Court station, there is a TARDIS just outside on the sidewalk.

  145. The Wellcone Collection in London has all sorts of creepy fascinating medical tools. Definitely worth a visit.

  146. While in Inverness, if you want tourist fun for the whole family talk to the people at Happy Tours. They may be fully booked now, but you might be able to do a personalized tour for just you, tailored to the time you have. We adored them. It was nice to not have to figure out how to get places. If you manage any place by yourself, the Highland Folk Life Museum is a great stop. Also, Inverness has a pretty hip food scene.

  147. When you’re in Paris, go to the Musee de l’Orangerie. It’s near the Louvre, but much less crowded – it’s where the French kings and queens used to store their orange trees during the winter, back when the Louvre was a palace – but Monet installed his “water lily” paintings in circular rooms there, so it’s like you’re IN an Impressionist painting, surrounded by 360 degrees of color. Really fun, not very crowded, and an amazing opportunity to embrace one of Paris’ most famous artists!

  148. Definitely do the Yoeman Warder tour at the Tower of London, lots of great stories of beheadings!

  149. In Paris we loved Sainte-Chapelle. The tour guide at Notre Dame actually told us to check it out and it was so worth it and slightly less touristy than ND. If you’re near Stirling and have a car the Falkirk Wheel is neat. It’s kind of a Ferris wheel for boats (really!) As an alternative to locks. I also enjoyed the Churchill War Room. I didn’t think I would so it was a pleasant surprise. I also like the Tate Modern because it’s a repurposed industrial building. British Museum is excellent as well. I love how some of the rooms are arranged so randomly like an old man’s study.

  150. Been to Paris 4 times, London 4 times, Edinburgh once. So much to see, do. Depends on what you’re interested in. Museums are astounding, history is ancient and fascinating. You can eat relatively cheaply at local cafes, non-tourist places. Others have suggested lots of great things to do. I’d just suggest taking time to walk, sightsee, talk to locals. People are friendly if you are. (And in Paris, if you go into a shop, greet the person working there. It’s considered good manners.) And don’t be loud or pushy. People in Europe are quieter, more mannerly. I think Americans who find Europeans rude are often unwittingly rude themselves. You’ll have a great time. Enjoy. I’m envious. (Oh, and the best way to see Versailles, if you must go, is by Fat Tire Bike Tours.) Don’t be afraid of getting lost. Some of my best adventures came when I was wandering, lost, and found wonderful markets, restaurants, parks. Carpe Diem.

  151. The Jules Verne restaurant in the Eiffel Tower was an absolutely magical meal and there is a deck to enjoy the view of the whole city. Giverney is a Monet painting come to life.

  152. Carmunnock village on the outskirts of Glasgow is adorable…I had breakfast in the village shop (Booth’s), and people watched. It was like having a front row seat inside my favorite BBC television shows!

  153. The Tower of London is interesting, but do not be fooled into thinking you’ll see the cool stuff. I had a relative who was held there and wanted to see the cells and whatnot. We saw a lot of the Crown Jewels and a lot of rather boring history without any of the cool parts.

  154. Restaurants in Paris – Les Papilles. Shakespeare & Company Book Store. Find the weekly bird market, think it’s Sunday afternoons. Wine touch in the 4th where you can sample from hundreds of bottles. Galleries Lafeyette

  155. If you do the Jack the Ripper tour, try to also do the tour of the “inside” of the Tower Bridge. There’s also a behind the scenes tour of Royal Albert Hall that’s fun.

  156. There’s a really cool Circus museum in Paris called the Musee des Arts Forains that I think would be right up your alley.

  157. didn’t read the comments, but are you a fan of Outlander? you could visit many of the filming locations form the tv show. Also watch the show if you haven’t. not appropriate for Hailey

  158. In London, I would definitely suggest the Tower of London. You can either walk around yourself or take a tour and learn some interesting facts about the tower. Seeing the Crown Jewels is a plus if you like shinies. And if for no other reason to say you’ve done it, go take a nice leisure ride around the tube. Castles in the area are great to see also. Windsor, the home town of the Queen, is only an hour away by train, and it’s a lovely place with a river of swans that travel through. Also, seeing Stonehenge or Avebury Ring are definite must sees if you’re into history, druidism, and the like.

  159. If you like Harry Potter…take the walking tour in London called Tour for Muggles. It was awesome! They also had an amazing display at the British Library in London about the Magic of Harry Potter that was very good. We also went on a tour from Bath that included Lacock – a filming location of Harry Potter that was very good. It went to Stonehenge and Avebury – better than Stonehenge.
    In Paris, you would like the Cluny Museum. It has all the tapestries with the unicorns. Very cool.

  160. Two London suggestions: Sir John Soanes house (he designed the bank of england building and was an architecture freak), and the cabinet war rooms. Not freaky or haunted, but both are cool.

    OOH! Also, Highgate Cemetery has guided tours…… super eerie, overgrown Victorian cemetery in London. Very fun.

  161. buy a plot in Scotland and put your grave marker on it with an impossible date. You will haunt everyone forever

  162. We did that tour and a bit more a few years back. Absolutely loved everything on Isle of Skye… I’d recommend trying a B&B at least once! And definitely don’t miss the fairy glen on the island! Make sure to try the scones somewhere in England.

  163. In Inverness, we did a boat tour of the Loch, totally saw Nessie and the Loch Ness Museum – kitchy but cool. The boat tour was amazing. We also toured Urquhart castle – European people must not sue. Dangerous and cool.

  164. In Paris: Palais Garnier, Saint Chapelle, The Orsay, the Louvre. Read up on the Shakespeare & Company bookstore online (its near Notre Dame) so you will appreciate its writers’ history first, then go there. Dinner cruise with Calife is great!

  165. London – Madame. Tussauds is great. So is the Tower and Westminster Abby. Paris – Pere Lachaise cemetary is fascinating and Versailles is worth the trip outside of the city.

  166. TheLondon Eye, either Harrod’s or Covent Garden Market. Take Uber-comfortable shoes and cool clothes. Or plan on buying more. Have fun and save time for relaxing in a park with ice cream.

  167. Don’t miss seeing Loch Ness, just to say you did. Take lots of pictures and Photoshop Nessie into a couple . . . which is what my husband did to my photos of Loch Ness when I returned from a solo trip to Scotland. Of course he didn’t tell me he did this, so when I went to look at my pictures again, there was the Loch Ness Monster in the corner of one photo. “Oh, my god, I found him!”
    Also, if you like history and are willing to do a bit of research ahead of time, the Culloden Battlefield near to Inverness is well worth visiting. It’s where Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Highland Loyalists made their last stand (before he fled to the Isle of Skye in drag). The Scots were massacred there by the British who didn’t even allow families to recover their dead. Instead, they were thrown into mass graves. I followed the battle with the guide and audio tour and then stood above the place where 400 of my kinsmen were buried. It was chilling, inspiring, and immensely powerful. Could be right up your alley…. They’re talking about building a pricey housing development there. If ever something needed to be haunted, that would be it. Have a great trip. Looking forward to hearing about it.

  168. 1) If you have time to swing extra north in Scotland the Orkney Islands are the most amazing place (I think better than Skye unless your goal on Skye is to go hiking) and you would love the Norse graffiti in Maeshowe. If you do go – The Captain’s Galley in Scrabster (where you catch the ferry) is the best experience I’ve ever had at a restaurant
    2) There’s a famous battlefield near Inverness – Culloden – that has a really great self-guided tour. 3) There is a castle a bit north of Inverness – Dunrobin – that is super cool (awesome women lived in that castle) and the grounds have a “Victorian Museum” which is pretty much 3 rooms of taxidermy (and random souvenirs) from previous castle-dwellers’ hunting trips across the British empire. There is also a bird guy who does an awesome falconry demonstration.
    4) It was surprisingly hard to find anywhere to get dinner in Inverness without reservations in the summer.
    5) Depending where you are heading from Inverness, Castle Dunotter in Stonehaven is really cool if you’re passing by.
    6) Paris has a pass you can buy that gets you entrance into dozens of attractions for a few days and lets you jump the line at the Louvre. Super useful if you only have a little time and you can go into the biggest art museum you’ve ever seen, only be there for 30 minutes, and not feel guilty
    7) Paris has a sewer museum. You literally go down into the sewers. It is super cool and only slightly smelly.
    8) If you are in Edinburgh at all, the Museum of Scotland has the Millennium Clock…which is the creepiest things I’ve ever seen. They pretty much celebrated the year 2000 by building a 2 story clock with moving statues that memorialize 2000 years of human suffering. And every hour kids crowd around it to excitedly watch it chime for the hour…

  169. The two things you should do in London are (1) The London Eye (, and (2) a boat trip ( The boats are run by families who have worked the river for generations, and their commentaries can be hilarious, although they tend not to let the truth get in the way of a good story.

  170. In Paris: The Catacombs and the Towers of Notre Dame. Underground and ‘way, ‘way, high above. The Catacombs:……….Carefully displayed underground bones (ossuaries) in labyrinths artfully stacked up during the times when the church cemeteries filled up from the Plague and other times. Miles of it, only some of it is open to the public. They had to dig up the bones to make room. AWESOME…SUPER interesting, beautiful in a semi-creepy way and lots of history and lots of beautifully stacked bones. (6 million people worth) Totally worth it, but ONLY if you are in pretty good shape and are reasonably fit. (no bum knees…) and not claustrophobic. Lots of steep windy stairs and narrow tunnels. The Towers have fabulous views of the city and you get to check out the gargoyles close up and personal. Lots of steps uphill. There is no elevator. Beautiful. You can stay up there forever to look and look, and look,…. but get there EARLY so you don’t have to wait in a long queue.

  171. For Scotland here are my recommendations: visit and tour at least one castle. It has to be done. Visit at least one loch. You probably won’t be far from Loch Ness. Try to find some highland cows and get a photo op. They are seriously the fluffiest most beautiful cattle ever and this comes from someone who has spent time around cattle and couldn’t care less about angus or Herefords. Take a walk; There are beautiful walking trails all over Scotland and many of them go through farms. My friend and I ran into a local farmer and his collie walking a trail in the highlands. It was like something out of a James Herriot story. Also there were bluebells blooming everywhere. Eat your weight in fish and chips and shortbread and other Scottish goodies. Deep fried mars bars are delicious. And then buy something cheesy and plaid. I have a stuffed animal highland cow I brought back with a tartan tam sewn on his head. He’s cheesy but I love him. His name is Hamish.

  172. In Inverness go to Culloden Battlefield and/or visit Nessie at Loch Ness (you can also book a tour either online or at the Inverness info center to go on a boat across Loch Ness and visit the ruins of Urqhart Castle. So recommend it!
    At Glasgow check out the cemetery/ Necropolis because it is spooky and beautiful!

  173. The Catacombs/Ossuary tour in Paris is AMAZING. Totally up your alley.

  174. Take a tour of London, otherwise you will miss things that you’ll wish you had seen. Also loved the Globe Theater and the attached pub, good food and Shakespeare. Highest recommendations! and bon voyage!

  175. Tower of London and maybe Jack the Ripper tour? Or is she too young? Def do the Tower though. Eat at Wagamama- perfect for young ones. Spy Museum is also very cool in London but you MUST go to the British Museum and see the Rosetta Stone- must!!!!

    Glasgow walk the tower and talk to lots of people, then see what you each thought they said.

    Never been to Paris but have a blast!

  176. No idea if you’ll see this with so many comments ahead of mine, but OMG Scotland is amazing! I was there in 2013 and loved every minute of our trip. The haunted history tour we did was done by theater students so they really performed. Our guide was great! In Edinburough we talked to a really nice shop owner on the Royal Mike. She told us to check out Pitlochry and we were glad we did! It’s a cute little town and they have a factory there making jewelry from pressing the heather into gems. It’s called Heathergems and you can see how they make it. If you do the Wallace Monument you can walk up 246 (or so, it’s been awhile) steps to the top. The staircase is ancient, spiraling stone and it’s pretty cool. There are rooms to stop in on the way so you can take a break. You get a certificate saying you climbed all the stairs and the view from the top is amazing. In the same area there’s this old jail that’s closed now, but they do tours. The guy is an actor and he plays all these different roles, prisoners and guards. He involves to your group and it’s hilarious and educational. If you get into the Highlands you have to pull over to see the highland cows. Or “heelan coos” as the locals say. They’re everywhere and really cool. One wandered into the road and gave no fucks that we needed to drive by. Eventually she ambled to the side of the road and let us pass. The Crannog Center in Aberfeldy is really cool, too. You get to see these old huts or crannogs built on Loch Tay and see how people lived a gazillion years ago. Hmm…I think that’s all we crammed into our week. Talk to the locals, ask them what’s fun nearby. Go to tea shops and restaurants off the main streets, where locals go. Except The End is the World. It’s a pub on the royal Mile in Edinburgh and it’s been there forever. It’s gets touristy because of its location, but it’s worth it.

  177. AAAAHHHH the Isle of Skye is one of my favorite places on Earth! My parents took me when I was 18. You can take boat tours to look at seals and sea birds on Loch Dunvegan, and the castle there is pretty exciting as well. Also, if you wanna soak up the gorgeous landscape, but you have bad ankles and can’t enjoy some of the mind-bendingly amazing hikes (Google “Old Man of Storr), you can take horseback rides instead. Even better? It’s not called a trail ride, it’s called PONY TREKKING. In all sincerity, one of my all-time favorite memories. For souvenirs and generally atypical shopping: I furnished my dorm room with beautiful wares from Skye Batiks, and there’s beautiful handmade jewelry at Skye Silver. There’s also a wonderful metalsmith whose shop is just amazing to visit – Duncan House (all on the interwebs for planning purposes). In Glasgow, seek out the Hunterian Museum at one of the universities for, no joke, easily a whole afternoon of taxidermy, some of whose specimens have their faces frozen into some decidedly un-scholarly expressions. And they have a historical anatomy study collection there too, which is allegedly closed and/or “by appointment only,” but no one andwered the phone, so my friend just wandered up and expressed an interest, and a kind scholar just let her in to see some of the obscure historical medical things. Also more artsy and historical holdings as well. And Hailey’s too young to drink, but she might still enjoy the ambiance at the Leaky Cauldron-looking Pot Still pub. You and Victor could enjoy some of the 600 Scotches on offer. (Although they don’t call it Scotch there, just whisky). Didn’t make it to the Sharmanka Kinetic Theatre, but it sounds like your jam – sculptor/mechanic created rooms of automata made from assembled sculptures and found scrap, automated and lit up to “perform an incredible choreography to haunting music . . . telling funny and tragic stories” of the human condition. And I’m not sure what route the road trip takes, but if you’re near Oban, just Google “sanctuary” and “breakfast with the seals.”

    TL:DR Skye: pony trekking, seal tours, Duncan House, Skye Silver, Skye Batiks
    Glasgow: Hunterian taxidermy, historical anatomy, and everything else, Sharmanka Kinetic Theatre, Pot Still pub.
    “Breakfast with the seals,” sea life sanctuary besr Oban

  178. Try to prioritize things to experience and pick a couple things per day so you really can take it in. Plan a rest so you can go to the pubs. Great music, and nice to really meet the people, but they can go late and you won’t want to leave. I wasnt that enamored of Loch Ness, but Westminster Abbey and the Tower of London and the Crown Jewels all left an impression. Fortnum & Mason was great, and so was the food hall at Harrods (marzipan mice!).

    Its so wonderful you’re doing this. Lucky Hailey!

  179. Paris has catacombs lined with human skulls. That seems like the kind of thing you’d kill ca yourself for missing.

  180. Ok, “kick yourself”, not “kill yourself”. Sheesh! Autocorrect is apparently feeling a little murdery today.

  181. Paris, the Marche de Pue the flea market, of course the Louvre, Rodin museum is small and wonderful and Le Cafe du Mussee which is very close had super onion soup at a decent price. In London, well be prepared it is very expensive. The hop on bus tour that also offers a boat trip on the Thames is great. The Tower of London has a great cafe, the V and A museum has an incredible cafe with Victorian tile work that is fabulous. A walk through Kensington gardens to see the Peter Pan statue, and the swans, as well as the Palace. Consider the Rick Steve guides, they have been so helpful in all our trips to Europe, where to buy tickets to avoid crowds alone make them worth the money, and his webpage has the wall, a feature listing lots of helpful tips. In Paris know the street scams, if you know them you can see them being used and be prepared. We never felt in danger, but we were targeted and knowing what to look for we easily avoided them. A day trip to Stonehenge is so worth it. Enjoy.

  182. Tayyabs has the best curries in London and isn’t too far from the starting point of any Jack the Ripper tours.

  183. I’ve been to Scotland twice, loved it from the minute my toe poked out the door of the train the first time. Edinburgh is the home of my heart, if not the home where I geographically reside. I didn’t spend a lot of time in Inverness or Glasgow, but you’ll have more than enough to keep you entertained, I think. If you can take a train, do, the views are stunning. Get your picture taken with some Highland cattle. Take at least one ghost tour that ends in a pub, and if you’re lucky like I was your tour guide will be a very theatrical divinity student in a cape and anachronistic boots and the evening will end with slightly tipsy ghost stories. I once described the country to someone as pleasantly melancholy and I stand by that. Maybe it’s the mercurial weather. Maybe it’s the sound of bagpipes echoing off stone or the sound of churchbells at dusk. Maybe it’s the fact that you can sometimes find a church in the middle of a city that has a coffee shop in the basement where you can buy a scone and take it outside to the old churchyard where you can happily munch it while admiring old graves and pondering your own mortality. Hell, maybe it’s just all the good beer. What I’m saying is, it’s totally your aesthetic and you’re going to love it.

  184. Portree is a super cute harbor town on the Isle of Skye. If you’re a movie buff you can see the castles where Made of Honor (Eilean Donne) was filmed and where parts of Monty Python and the Holy Grail were shot (Doune Castle). Loch Ness was less than exciting because the weather was rainy and it felt touristy. As others have said, everything about the Isle of Skye is pretty fantastic. Lochs, glens, historic battles & bloodshed – Scotland has it all. And, yes to the Fairy Glen that someone mentioned above!

  185. Hall of antiquities at London museum. Unbelievable. Original manuscripts from famous authors and musicians. Very moving.

  186. Oh! I have been to London, and even though it was February and super cool, the zoo was still awesome. I imagine in actual decent weather, it will be quite lovely. If zoos are your thing, definitely worth a visit!

  187. Montmartre Cemetery in Paris would probably be up your alley. I also highly recommend any pub crawl or Whisky tasting in the UK.

  188. i have read your stuff for years but never commented. so excited for you and the family making the trip, knowing what it means for you. ok, on to stuff.

    scotland – isle of skye. first, i am so excited to hear all about the exploits of driving on the other side of the road. good times. other folks have mentioned the quirang, which you said you were going to try to do. even if you just do some it is worth it. i’m a chubby indoorsy lesbian and it was doable and had amazing views. like, stupid nice.

    while you’re up that way, if it is near low tide, drive north to the top of the island (on single track roads
    , but you’ll deal) to duntulm castle and park on the side of the road. wander down to the shore and you should be able to see 170 million year old “dinosaur disco” footprints! VERY cool.

    if you are looking for a place to stay on skye, we stayed at a little house with an amazing view (

    in edinburgh on the royal mile check out camera obscura ( kinda odd, kinda tippy, pretty cool.

    we also just hopped on the bus to portabello and walked along the ocean on the north sea for a couple euros and a quick ride on a double decker bus that was basically like the night bus from harry potter.

    speaking of which, the elephant house cafe in edinburgh is where jk wrote the books (and you can see fun graffiti in the bathroom).

    fun fact (pretty sure it’s a fact, but it is at least fun, so…) when great britain took over scotland, they were like “ok, pick an animal” and the scots said “no”, and the brits said “you have to” so the scots said “fine. we pick a unicorn.” and the brits were all “uh, no, a real animal” but by then it was too late. so when you see the seal of the UK you see the lion for great britain and the unicorn for scotland.

    go to any afternoon tea you can find. it’s even better than the croissants!

    ok, thanks for reading all this (if you even managed to get through it!). hope you have an AWESOME time!

  189. In Paris:
    – the Gallery of Comparative Anatomy and Palentology (in Jardin des Plantes – a gallery full of wet & dry preserved specimens, skeletons beautifully arranged to display the differences between species, fossils and models)
    – Arenes de Lutece (literally the remains of a Roman amphitheatre in the middle of Paris)
    – Deyrolle (a shop and “cabinet of curiosities,” known for their taxidermy & entomology collections)
    – Sacre Coeur basilica (it’s better than Notre Dame AND you get to ride a funicular up the VERY steep hill!)
    – Orangerie museum (for Monet’s water lilies paintings)
    – Shakespeare and Company bookstore (opened in 1919 and still jam-packed full of books all the way to the ceilings – go to the one near Notre Dame!)
    – at at some hole in the wall French restaurant, try duck (rich as h*ck, SO good) or steak frites
    – ask for “un carafe d’eau” in restaurants and they’ll give you a bottle of tap water for the table for free
    – most waiters in the popular areas speak some English, so you’ll likely be able to manage well enough
    – greet shop-keepers with “bonjour,” thank them with “merci,” and say goodbye with “de rein”

    Bon voyage!

  190. As many have stated the Musee D’Orsay is amazing. And a couple mentioned a taxidermy shop.

    But, if you REALLY want to see a lot of stuffed animals, then you should see the Gallery of Evolution building at the Museum of Natural History. The amount of animals on display is quite staggering. They even have a rhino that was a ‘pet’ of one of the King Louis’. XIV?

    I would recommend the Amorino ice cream/gelato shop on the island next to the island that Notre Dame is on. They serve it in the shape of flower petals. Also very tasty.

    We also enjoyed the Museum of Magic. Amazing little place in the basement of the building that it’s in. They have a large collection of early automatons and similar machines. The magic show is fine, but if you are short on time I’d skip it.

    If you don’t have advance tickets to go up the Eiffel tower, you may have a very long wait to get up. We got their before it opened on a Sunday morning and there was at least 150 people in EACH of the 2 lines for tickets. The visit took at least 3 hours and we weren’t at the top for very long. Also people in France take holidays in the middle/later part of August. You may find a restaurant or business closed for a week or two without any notice.

    Lisa Blueravefinn

  191. I was just in all three places in March and April this year! Do the hop on hop off tour in Paris and you will at least get to see everything. Champs Elysees is beautiful and there’s some great restaurants there. We just went to a little pizza place that made the best pizza; it’s right next to the Swarovski store where my daughter and I bought rings (they have some gorgeous little rings that are not too expensive and then you can say you shopped on the Champs Elsyees!) and you have a fantastic view of the l’Arc de Triomphe when you’re there; the restaurant is at the l’Arc de Triomphe end. If you don’t want to do the tour, at least go see the Eiffel Tour. Warning that the line up to get through security is really long if you don’t pre-buy your tickets (need to go online to pre-book) but you can still get in. The Musee d’Orsay is gorgeous, we went through most of it but spent the most time in the Impressionist section. If you buy a museum pass, it’s cheaper and kids under 18 are free to get in to most museums in Paris. I’d say skip the Louvre only because it is so overwhelming and will take you at least 3 days to really go through. Unless you really want to see the Mona Lisa but really, it’s not worth it (kind of underwhelming) and I can send you a photo 😉

    For London, if Hailey likes Harry Potter, go online right away and see if you can book a time to go to the Harry Potter Studios ( My daughter is 15 and she LOVED it there – we spent about 6hrs there. If you can’t get in, go to King’s Cross Station and you can wait in line to get your photo taken at Platform 9&3/4. There is also a “merch store”, as my daughter calls them, right there and she loved that almost as much! Expensive but lots of fun to buy cool Harry Potter things.

    Or, go to the Tower of London. It was cool to see the Crown Jewels and where Lady Jane was beheaded 🙂 A hop on hop off bus tour is also good for London to get a great overview of everything.

    In Scotland, just going to Isle of Skye and Inverness is an experience. The scenery is beautiful and you’ll see lots of hairy cows along the roads. Glasgow is pretty fun – the shopping on Sauchiehall Street is great – keep your eyes open for Rennie McIntosh design works. He had some cool designs and you can buys lot of things in his style. George Square in Scotland is nice – they hold lots of outdoor events there. I lived there for a year but mostly traveled around the rest of Scotland.

  192. Scones with jam and cream at the V&A…as well as the exhibits

    Greenwich and the prime meridian

    Lee Gardens

    Hyde Park

  193. I add my vote to Musee D’Orsay and V & A. Eat at the gorgeous cafe across the back courtyard at V & A.

    In Paris, if you go to Notre Dame, hit the Conciergerie Museum at the other end of the island. Former home to King of France turned into a prison and housing the treasonous during the French Revolution, including Marie Antoinette. Also, the Carnavalet is free and worth stopping in even just to take a quick peek. Don’t believe the description that this is a history of Paris, more like a history of Paris style. Fabulous things there and rarely crowded.

    At the V & A, fashion exhibit is on the ground floor to the left of the gift shop, definitely worth a look at fashion through the ages. Same with jewelry and furniture exhibits. Definitely something there for Victor, too, just check the website.

    Definitely take Hailey to the theatre. Tell her to look online and choose what she’d like to see so you can get tickets before you leave.

    Oh, and one of my favorite thing to do with new visitors is to visit the Tower of London, then take one of the boats back to the stop near Big Ben, which is unfortunately draped in scaffolding for the next 18 months or so. In fact, this is what I usually do first when showing someone London for the first time

  194. In London, the British Museum is very cool. And skip the changing of the guards (too many people), and go see the changing of the horse guards instead.
    Skye is one of the most beautiful places in the world. If you haven’t booked already, staying at the Cowshed is highly recommended. Otherwise just spend your time looking at the views.

  195. In Paris start at Notre dam and then follow
    Seine all way to Eiffel Tower. Stop and look at louve pyramid and def museum orange where monet water lilies are. Small doable and overwhelming it will take a whole day In London. Loves Tower of London and the eye

  196. I want to comment – but you have a bazillion before me. I’ve been to Paris twice and London about 8 times. Paris – take the on-off bus – and just get off at places of interest – Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Champs E’llysee, L’arc de Triomphe. In London – the Eye, walk around Big Ben, West Minister Abbey. We did a bus tour of Windsor Castle, Stonehenge and Bath – WELL worth it!!

  197. Oh, and Paris – biggest recommendation is to buy a day ticket for the hop-on hop-off Bateaubus (the boat bus) and use it to go see the main sites. And/or tour the Seine at night with the Videttes de Pont Neuf. It’s pretty magical to see the city at night from the river.
    With short I’d prioritize seeing the Notre Dame and the Sainte Chapelle … it’s like being inside a jeweled Easter egg.
    Stop at any and every bakery you can. And go eat falafel at l’As du Falafel in the Mariais. Be sure to get flower-shaped ice-cream at Amorino.
    You can’t go wrong … enjoy!

  198. Another vote for the Ravenmaster at the Tower of London, who has a book coming out: The Ravenmaster . Also London – birthplace of public health – the Broad Street Pump! If you don’t have time, you can always read The Ghost Map.

    The thing I remember most about visiting the Pere Lachaise cemetery as a gauche teenager is being scolded by an old lady for showing too much skin and scandalizing the ghosts. Or at least that is what I gathered with my minimal French.

    And I’m shouty cos they are amazing.
    I was in Paris a week and they are still my fav thing. Be prepared to line up though cos you have to buy tickets only when you get there.

  200. The Talisker Distillery on the Isle of Skye. If you (and by you I mean you or Victor) enjoy a good single malt scotch. this is a place to see. I am so envious.

  201. Sir John Soane will JUDGE YOU FROM THE GRAVE if you don’t go to his museum. Also, I will judge you if you do not go to Saint Chapelle while you are in Paris
    I’ve never been to Scotland and I’m mostly scots Irish type of whatever but I doubted this when I went to Ireland one summer because it was SUMMER but I was COLD, no!!! So make sure and check Scottish forecast maybe they have more reasonable and cheerful weather

  202. I finally made it to London a couple of years ago. It was magical and divine, despite having the flu, being in a walking boot for ankle issues, and having the peri-menopause period from hell (think having to find a bathroom every hour and I was so glad I packed mostly dark colored pants!) The palace is lovely, I could move into the British Museum, I want to go back tomorrow!
    1. taking a hop on-hop off bus tour is a great way to see the city and get your bearings.
    2. The London Eye is incredible. I have a horrid fear of heights, I really do, but I made it, with a picture to prove it. Totally safe, i promise! If nothing else, Hailey will probably want to go.
    3. The Tower of London – especially the ravens (you can follow the Raven Master on Twitter)
    4. A great place for a meal is at St Martin’s of the Field church at Trafalgar Square. They have a Cafe in the Crypt and that was really one of our best meals in London!
    5. If you guys like horses, the Royal Mews is great.

    Jenny, I also wanted to say, I know this is a huge trip for you. I hope you do well with no anxiety! But, don’t feel bad if you get tired and need a break. I especially remember my first trip to Europe and there was one day where both my husband (who is more introverted than I am) and I just had it and couldn’t look at one more church or museum. We ditched our plans and found a place out in the country where we could take it easier. It was a lovely rose garden and we were able to recharge (well, apart from me yelling in English at a kid who may not have understood me, because he was throwing stones at the swans. I really wanted that swan to get out of the pond and make a charge at him!)
    I am so excited for you guys! I really can’t wait to hear all about it!

  203. The Tower of London has some great dark backstories. In Paris, Les Invalides, where Marie Antoinette was imprisoned before her execution, is very interesting. My young kids found both fascinating.

  204. London is my happy place! If you can make reservations outdoors in one of the pods at Coppa Club near the Tower of London it’s awesome. Good food and you are on the Thames. And All Hallows by thw Towwr. I also really enjoyed Borough Market and Southwark Cathedral. Shoreditch is my fave neighbourhood with Brick Lane for street art and Spitalfields Market

  205. Oh, and please please please go to Sainte Chapelle in Paris! I haven’t been there yet but I studied it in college in art history. The pictures alone make me cry for the beauty. I can’t imagine how much better it would be to sit in that jewel box of a church…

  206. Edinburgh has night time ghost tours and Glencoe in the highlands of Scotland is literally the most beautiful place I’ve ever been. The light there gives the valley a magical feel no matter the weather

  207. Madame Toussaud in London and Pére LaChaise Cemetery in Paris. The palace at Versaille.

  208. When I went with my dad, we did a really weird, spooky Jack the Ripper tour in London. Parts of it were underground and it was at night and it was awesome

  209. I’ll probably offer up nothing new but I don’t have time to check all the comment… In Paris you’ll probably like the Catacombs…. It’s underground, and you’ll come up out of there with shoes white with bone dust, but it’s certainly impressive (and a little claustrophobic). Walls lined with skulls and bones, quite artfully deposited. When my aunt and I came up a guy kept wanting to look into our bags and my aunt wouldn’t let him, until i burst out laughing and told her he wanted to check we weren’t stealing any bones! (So it probably happens all the time!) There’s the cemetery Pere Lachaise, which isn’t always open though, so you’ll have to check. There’s a load of famous people buried there, or parts of them are. There’s a man who’s statue’s rubbed shiny at his crotch area for fertility-luck. (There’s an app so you can find everyone you’re looking for, check it beforehand if there’s anyone there you’d like to see). As for London, you have to see the Tower. The Princes were were probably killed there, a mass of people lost their heads, and a bunch of them still roam around. The Beefeaters are amazing storytellers, and the crown jewels are a nice bonus. 😉 You’ll probably have a Jack the Ripper tour booked already, I presume. Personally I would’ve booked a tour in Buckingham Palace, as the Queen’s up in Balmoral now, but if you haven’t yet you’re most likely too late now. And the Highgate Cemetery is amazing. If you can make it out of London for a day take the St. Pancras train to Windsor. The castle is breathtaking. And if you’re interested, there’s a hotel nearby which was the filming location for a bunch of Hammer Horror movies as well as The Rocky Horror Picture Show; Oakley Court. Had tea in their library once, it was amazing, but did require a cab to get there and it’s changed owners since then so you might want to check if it’s still available for tea… Hope this helps! Looking forward to your traveling tales…!

  210. Seconding the day bus trips from Inverness. I was only there for a weekend, so we did a hop on/off one that took us to Culloden, Nairn, and Cawdor Castle (the one Macbeth was based on). Drumnadrochit is where the Nessie museum is (kind of like the Area 51 museum in Roswell, iirc) and it’s pretty close to the ruins of Urquhart Castle, right on the lake. We did a short little boat ride that was really spiffy.

    In London, my rec would be for the Tate Britain (not to be confused with the Tate Modern). It’s got a wide variety (my favorite was the pre-Raphaelite room) but is relatively small so you can feel like you totally got your art on without spending hours and hours of your time.

  211. If you’re good with spending way too much time on one website, check out I am not affiliated in any way to her site – I just love her interesting little tidbits about Paris and all of the less touristy things to do there. There are so many rabbit holes to fall into on this cite. Good luck with your planning!

  212. I’ve been to all three and wrote blog posts about them. I’ll include one about Paris since it gives a list of my favorite places. We went to Versailles last time and loved it.

    Make sure to see standing stones in Scotland. There are some on Arran Island but you can find them other places. We stayed at Culloden House outside Inverness. Super historic and featured in Outlander. Make sure to eat a Scottish Breakfast. I miss their brown bread!

    London is a blast. Walk to Buckingham Palace and check out St. James Park and Kensington Palace.

  213. Catacombs under Paris! Go early in the AM. Also, have dinner with Zouzou and chef Christopher at la petite rose des sables. They are sooo much fun!!! They make you feel like one of the family!

  214. Holy cow. There are a lot of suggestions! I second the recommendation to visit Pere LaChaise where you can pay homage to Oscar Wilde! My favorite time to visit Eiffel Tower is near sunset. See the shadow of the tower fall across the city. Be there when the tower shimmers. Saint Chappelle is glorious. L’Orangerie and the Museum of the Middle Ages (with six tapestries that will blow your mind and, fun fact, replicas of which hang in the Gryffindor common room) are my favorite museums. Don’t miss LaDuree on rue Bonaparte, not far from Shakespeare and Co. The St Honore Rose Framboise is one of the best ways I know to spend an afternoon.

  215. Even though I’m usually afraid to leave my house, two years ago I went to Paris. Alone. I was determined to not die (which seemed inevitably close at the time), without seeing Paris for myself and I had a splendid time. Parisians (contrary to popular belief) were lovely and very kind and welcoming. I tried to keep to an itinerary but eventually ditched it and wandered.Try using your French, mine is terrible but they appreciate it so much. Don’t forget to say bonjour monsieur or madame entering shops or restaurants.
    The food was fabulous. Le Montparnasse 1900, famous for it’s Art Noveau ceiling and it’s appearance in the Woody Allen film is good. La Parc Aux Cerfs was my favorite, the baby scallops in leek sauce with saffron. Heaven.
    I bought all my friends macarons from Laduree but wound up eating them all in my hotel room at night. Luckily, they have a stand at CDG. The street stalls also have lovely scarves that make nice presents.
    Wandering the streets, lined with flower shops and book stalls. Picnic at the Eiffel Tower. I shouldn’t have spent the money but I’m glad I did.
    I loved the book by Eloisa St James, she’s a romance writer but also has written a great guide to Paris. Are you going to the Catacombs, or is that a silly question?
    Bon voyage!

  216. We’re planning a similar trip! A lot of stuff we’re doing has already been mentioned in the comments. I didn’t see any mention of the clootie well near Inverness, though! It looks delightfully creepy and a bit morose and I can’t wait to see it!

    We’ll also do a boat tour of Loch Ness which should be great fun! Oh, and there’s really dolphins in Moray Firth, just north of Inverness. I guess they live there year round and are pretty easy to find (if you go to the clootie well, keep going north to Rosemarkie… I believe that is where I read its easy to spot the dolphins)

    You can ride the real Hogwarts Express at Fort William which looks cool, but would take most of a day to do.

    If you’re into Outlander at all, there’s lots of filming sites all over Scotland… Not sure how much would be on your route though (lots of sites nearish Edinburgh). If you haven’t read or watched Outlander, now would be a good time to start. That Jamie Fraiser… Amiright ladies?

    In London, the Eye is great for a view of the city. It’s a bit expensive, but it’s right there near all the other touristy stuff. We’re hoping to catch a West End show – Heathers, maybe? Carrie Hope Fletcher is starring and I adore her. Nearby is Neal’s Yard and Covent Garden which look really cool.

    You can also try to get through the barrier at platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross – great photo opportunity! 🙂

    I hope you all have a fabulous time and get all the haunted and beautiful adventures the UK has to offer! Can’t wait to read about it!

  217. Personnally, when I was younger and still lived in Paris, I absolutely loved the “Palais de la découverte”. It’s a fantastic science museum, in a beautiful place. I absolutely do not remember how English friendly it is though, and I haven’t been there in 10 years…

  218. Harry Potter studio tour outside London! You can take a train. All the original sets, really fun! The British Museum is fantastic, full of Egyptian antiquities. In Paris you can tour the catacombs which is full of skeletons and is very spooky. Versailles is a day trip from Paris, I did a bike tour where you meet the guide in Paris, take the train to Versailles and pick up your bikes. Very flat, leisurely riding which is a great way to see the grounds which are huge. Then had a tour of the Chateau. If the weather is nice the Luxembourg gardens are a nice place to relax and recharge. The Picasso Museum and surrounding neighborhood are also worth a visit.

    For shopping and eating: Harrod’s in London and the main Galleries Lafayette and Printemps (which has a rooftop cafe with an incredible view).
    Have fun!

  219. Also, I know this sounds heretical but consider skipping the Mona Lisa. If you only have two days in Paris it is a long wait to have two minutes to see a a surprisingly small painting while in a crowd
    of tourists snapping selfies.

  220. You will all love the Tower of London tour. I didn’t read the 275 comments before me… because I’m lame that way, but as a travel writer, passionate traveler, mom, and fan of yours, trust me; you’ll love it! Take the Chunnel from London to Paris (or visa versa), it’s way cool to be under an ocean, on a train. Perhaps anxiety provoking too, but you got this, darlin’! Fish and chips with mushy peas. Just trust me on that one. Bon voyage!!

  221. Visit the Scotia, the oldest bar in Glasgow, any night with a live band.

  222. Lawson is a sept name (branch) of the MacLaren clan. Most of the larger urban centres in Scotland have stores that contain tartan kitsch or quality products. Kilts for everyone!

  223. You need to check out Rick Steves’ Travel. He wrote Europe Through the Back Door many years ago and is a staple on public radio. His books are great, his videos and radio shows are really helpful and you can trust him. He will not steer you wrong and has great resources to help. You can get his books at the library if you just want to scope it out first. Seriously.

  224. In London if you only do one museum make it the Natural History Museum…the building itself is amazing. The London Eye is super touristy but really good fun. If the weather is good take a long walk from Piccadilly, through Trafalgar Square, down the Mall, past Buckingham Palace and into the Parks…everything is much closer together than people think and if you get tired or feel lost there’s always a tube stop nearby.

    In Paris I would suggest the Catacombs and The Pompidou Centre. Pre-book/pay for your tickets for both…you’ll still have to wait in line but is is much shorter. Also the funicular to the top of Mont-Marte is fun and the church at the top is beautiful (there was a choir of nuns singing the last time I was there) as is the view of Paris.

  225. From Glasgow drive an hour to Edinburgh and see Rosslyn Chapel. Small but so amazing and worth seeing.

  226. Just look and breath and be there together.. and whenever possible pick up a small rock to bring home. Hailey will love having a little piece of Earth from another part of the world and its a wonderful reminder that we are all on this planet together. Enjoy!!

  227. When I was in London in high school, one of the things my school tour booked was a trip to the The Medieval Banquet to dine with King Henry VIII in old stone cellars at long tables, with a Medieval-style multicourse meal, knights having sword fights, magicians, dancers, acrobats, singers, and jesters providing entertainment throughout the meal. That was in the mid-80s, but I just looked it up and it’s still there. It was kinda cheesy, but I had a lot of fun in spite of the cheesiness. Or more likely, because of it. No dress code, but if you want to rent Medieval costumes for the night to get more into it, they have them available.

  228. I mentioned this on Facebook too, but I think this is right up your alley.
    Deyrolle in Paris: 46 Rue du Bac, 75007. It’s a taxidermy, entomology and other natural curiosities shop. My daughter loved it.

  229. In Inverness- check out the amazing old book shop- a block or so away is the Inverness Coffee company. A few blocks from that is the Black Isle brewery. AND don’t forget to take the boat tour of Loch Ness.!! I just got back from Scotland and I’m SO In love with that country ! Have an amazing trip!

  230. OK, so this place is truly right up your alley and you can see a bit more about it on Netflix’s Amazing Interiors (season 1, Ep 2). The place is called Talliston ( and was named Britain’s Most Extraordinary Home. My buddy John conceptualized it back in his 20s and the house itself has taken him 25 years to construct (including sourcing all of the elements from around the globe). He is a writer as well and you will not believe the level of detail in this place. Each room even has its own smell! It’s a short train ride outside of London (in the town of Great Dunmow) and you can even stay there (in the Haunted Bedroom no less) by booking on AirBnB. Be sure to mention that John’s favorite Yank recommended it 🙂 Have a wonderful time!

  231. I will be in London in two weeks just to see the art of “Christo” live. It’s in Hyde Park. If you are into arts, you should take the chance and visit it. I will be checking something off of my bucket list 🙂
    And I will be doing tea time at the Marriott again. They have a wonderful old library with a great view for that. Have fun!

  232. You can tour Buckingham palace from the end of July-September and it was one of my favorite things I did in London!
    You have to book a time with your tickets so you can find a time that’s convenient to you.

    In Paris near the Louvre there’s a restaurant called Bistrot Richelieu which has delicious ravioli, or at least they did in 2016. And the creme brûlée- OMG so good.

  233. We spent one day in London and went to the Tower of London and it was fantastic. Also saw the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace by mistake (why are all these people looking through the fence??).

  234. I lived in London for 5 years. If you just want to hit as many of the big sights off the list as you can, the open top bus is the way to go – or the London Eye, if you can bear the queue.

    At South Kensington, you can hit the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in quick succession, and then go for ice cream (or cider) in Hyde Park and watch the roller skaters by the Serpentine.

    If you want to see the quirky, the weird, every music and pop subculture known to humanity, and an awesome cross section of international street food all in one go – Camden Market. Preferably on a Friday or Saturday, but any afternoon will be pretty good in the summer. Get cash before you go, the ATM lines are ridiculous.

    Also, make peace with the fact you can’t see everything, and enjoy the things you do choose. Seriously.

  235. I lived in London for 5 years. If you just want to hit as many of the big sights off the list as you can, the open top bus is the way to go – or the London Eye, if you can bear the queue.

    At South Kensington, you can hit the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in quick succession, and then go for ice cream (or cider) in Hyde Park and watch the roller skaters by the Serpentine.

    If you want to see the quirky, the weird, every music and pop subculture known to humanity, and an awesome cross section of international street food all in one go – Camden Market. Preferably on a Friday or Saturday, but any afternoon will be pretty good in the summer. Get cash before you go, the ATM lines are ridiculous.

    Also, make peace with the fact you can’t see everything, and enjoy the things you do choose. Seriously.

  236. I have so many suggestions. If you don’t mind heights then go to the top of the Eiffel Tower. Skip the Louvre, that’s a two day trip. You can see Notre Dame in about an hour if you don’t do the bell tower. The same can be said of the Arch (if you do go be sure to go to the center and watch the traffic go in a mad circle). And if you want to see art go see the Musée d’Orsay (but don’t go on a Tuesday, the Louvre is closed so everyone goes there).
    In London you can see Windsor palace really quickly but when they do the changing of the guard the crowds are so thick you get pushed and shoved and don’t really see anything. Do the Tower Tour, cool stuff, and take the Beefeaters tour, it’s short and very informative. Piccadilly Circus was kind of disappointing (I thought it was like Times Square but it’s really small). If you get the chance go see Churchill’s WWII bunker. They left it exactly as it was at the end of the war and I think it’s really cool. There’s also the recreation of The Globe, if you’re into Shakespeare.

    That’s all I can think of for a quick two day trip.

  237. Culloden Field is very surreal and eerily quiet. You can go out and visit the clan stones. It’s quite close to Inverness. I got chased by a highland cow in Plockton.

  238. I have been to the places you are going, some very recently. Most of the above suggestions are very good and I read through a lot. In London, I would do the hop on hop off your and add tickets to whatever you want to do to the bus tour, like the Tower, the suggestion I didn’t see was Windsor Castle. It not in London proper but it’s gorgeous. Buckingham Palace is not, but definitely go to see the changing of the guard. In Paris, I’d highly recommend Versailles. You could spend all day looking through the rooms and exploring the gardens. It’s a must see! Have a fabulous time!

  239. Churchill war rooms in London. Outstanding. The Imperial War Museum has had a big remodel since the last time I was there, but they have one of the original Enigma machines, which is pretty dang cool. The British Museum is enough to occupy yourself for a week (see if you can spot Agatha Christie’s second husband in a photo in the Egypt exhibit). Also an important consideration: best cream tea around. You can get your picture taken with a trolley entering platform 9 3/4 at King’s Cross Station. Get yourselves Oyster cards for discounted fares on the tube to get around town. Trains are fantastic for getting around the isle. It’s a 3ish hour train from London to Bath (which is always worth a visit). Eat all the curry! Chicken tikka masala is the national dish and is always SO good. And I cannot stress this enough: clotted cream and jam on every scone. The name makes it sound terrible, but it’s amazing.

  240. I just spent two weeks in Paris in January. An amazing city, even in the winter, and definitely worth the trip.
    With only a few days there you can easily exhaust yourself or just enjoy the highlights.
    My friend and I did the Paris night tour through the Tourism Paris office. It’s about two hours, takes you to all the major highlights (Arc de Triomph, Eiffel Tour, Paris Opera House, etc). Was inexpensive and a great way to see the city in a short time span.
    We actually did a couple of the trips through Paris Tourism and they were well done. As other people have commented Mont Saint Michel is spectacular but getting there and back takes a full day and will wear you out. Better to save it for a longer trip.
    I am a huge art lover so I’ll never steer anyone away from a museum, but I found I enjoyed the smaller galleries more.
    L’Orangerie is an experience you will never forget – Monet’s water lilies are transcendent. Also loved the Rodin museum. Extremely accomplished sculptor, but I particularly liked the way he could convey personality in stone or metal. You can certainly tell which patrons he liked, and which will forever be immortalized as douchebags.
    There are so many amazing restaurants, but we found ourselves at Madison Sauvage most nights.
    Quintessential French casual tapas in a safe and vibrant neighbourhood. They also have the weirdest taxidermy, especially upstairs. Surrounded by endless amazing restaurants. Something for every taste.
    Finally a little French goes a long way. Most people in the city speak English but are more inclined to break it out if you’re polite and don’t assume. For example, “Parlez-vous Anglais” (Do you speak English) usually does the trick. Google translate is also very helpful if you aren’t comfortable in French. You can type in English and have it translate and “speak” French for you.
    Have the best time on your trip. You won’t see everything but you’ll love every minute.
    Congratulations on venturing across the pond so to speak.


    Great website loaded with interesting things to do/see all over the world. You can enter city names or if you bring the site up on your phone you can search ‘near me’.

    They frequently have entries that the major guide books don’t. When I was in Virginia my son and I went to the bridge in the park where the Russians would leave cash and pick up info from that FBI spy. We also went to the parking space where deepthroat met with Woodward & Bernstein. The site has lots of haunted and/or creepy stuff if that’s more your style.

  242. If you are interested in Queen Mary’s Doll House in Windsor, be sure to make sure it is on display. I think it was closed for restoration when we were there mid-July of this year. Pay attention to the real weather. It was between 85 and 97 degrees, 40 – 60% humidity, which you might be used to, living in Texas and all, but it can be exhausting.

    If you are interested in the artist Banksy, I think there is a tour of his work in public places. If you don’t know his work, Google him. We didn’t get to do that because we’d already set things up.

    Of course the British Museum, which houses the Elgin Marbles, a stone figure from Easter Island and the Rosetta Stone, is a good place to go, but that’s the type of thing most tourists see. Remember that A LOT of places won’t have air conditioning.

  243. If you can squeeze it in, the Edinburgh Festival is on during August. Theatre, comedy, street performance, everything! Also, lots of weird stuff like Dolly the first cloned sheep (taxidermied) and some artefacts from the famous Burke and Hare dissection. There’s a reason Edinburgh gets more than its fair share of Lore episodes!

    Most museums are free, so it can be worth popping in for a few minutes if you’re near one.

    If not, it’s essential to try haggis, Irn Bru, and a deep fried Mars bar.

    (Pronunciation guide: Glasgow – glazz go, Edinburgh – ed in bra, ceilidh – kaylee)

  244. In London – Laduree’s for Macarons, and Angelina’s for Hot Chocolate. (do they sell hot chocolate in the summer? I don’t know, but it was good enough to give it a try.)

  245. For great walking tours in London, I recommend “London Walks”. They do ghost tours and Jack the Ripper tours in the evening.

  246. The V&A museum is not only a gorgeous building but is the fashion and textile museum and not to huge. The British museum is huge. London is huge. Do one of the bus tours to see all of the main sights. You have probably already booked one of the Jack the Ripper tours.
    Paris, something similar… skip the Louvre it’s huge and so are the queues and the Mona Lisa is tiny. Monet’s Water lilies are in a small museum in the orangerie in the grounds of the Louvre and are very beautiful to see. But enjoy it all.

  247. In London – because you might need it – we discovered by accident that you can take buses into the neighborhoods and visits the banks of the river, and it is EMPTY. So quiet. Just you and the water and whatever wildlife there is.

    But also the natural history musuem.

  248. Winston Churchill War Rooms in London. Take the “tour” to see the changing of the guards at the palace – they run you all around so you see all different parts. Skip Harrods – maybe peak in Fortnum and Mason for treats

    Paris – D’orsay and Orangeries museums. Wander the left bank. Marmorean Museum. Skip the Louvre. Go to effiel tower

    Use skip the line tickets everywhere.

  249. Windsor castle – the dolls house is fantastic
    British Museum, National Gallery, Natural History Museum, Science Museum, and V&A museum are all great
    A wander through the madness of Harrods
    Take a boat down the Thames instead of a tube train and see the sights
    Tower of London
    You can get really cheap tickets for all the west end shows on the day if you haven’t prebooked (including Hamilton some days)
    Harry Potter experience at the studios
    Visit platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross
    Ghost walking tours
    London dungeons

  250. We were just in London for two days and have been to Paris.
    LONDON – I would stay in the Mayfair area of London – walking distance to loads of sites and theaters – look at a map. Great advice form our hotel (Holiday Inn Mayfair -was great hotel, resonable $ and close to everything) – get hop on/hop off bus one day tix. It leaves right from Green Park – one block from hotel. Take the first bus (8:15am) You see tons of the city. gets you to Tower of London by 10ish (before crowds) Do Crown Jewels first (crowds), then tour rest of Tower of London. Then, get on River Thames cruise (included in hop on/off) up to Parliement. Get transfer there to whatever other sites you want to see. I wanted to go to Kennsington Palace. Westminster Abbey and Churchills War Room Museum are wallking distance from hotel but get those tix in advance as they sell out. Hyde Park, Green Park, Harrods – all very close. Go to The Windmill for traditonal meat pie – you won’t be sorry and can walk from the hotel.
    Paris – we stayed in the St Germain area. Metro is so easy there to see the whole city. I recomment a metro pass and the museum pass to skip lines. I love this city! Best stuff for me – River Seine cruise first night to get feel of the city then, Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Louvre, Musee D Orsay, Sacre Couer, Père Lachaise Cemetery – was a misty november night that I was there to visit Jim Morrison grave. Shopping on the Champs Elysées is amazing. I did both of this cities in 2.5 day each. Just gotta plan in advance and be ready to be up early and go all day! Have fun!

  251. Isle of Skye was my favorite part of Scotland! Definitely go to Skye Skins and get some locally handmade moccasins!

  252. In London: British Museum. You won’t be able to do the whole thing in less than 3 days, but there are some fantastic things there.

  253. My dearest friend is a curator at The Fashion and Textile Museum in London. If you email me metztree at Hotmail I can see if he can arrange a special tour. Really worth a visit and you would LOVE Dennis.

  254. My dearest friend is a curator at The Fashion and Textile Museum in London. If you want to email me at metztree at Hotmail I can contact him to see if he can arrange a private tour. You’d love him and his museum.

  255. London: Borough market is an excellent food market in London Bridge area, which is close to tower bridge, the tower of London, and the Shard (tallest building in Europe). If you’re looking for somewhere to eat in the area I highly recommend Wright Brothers.

    In South Kensington you have three museums, which are free to enter: the V&A for design, and the Natural History and Science museums. It would be worth seeing what is on at the Royal Albert hall, which is in the same area.

  256. Since you are a writer a visit to Cafe des Artistes would be lucky. All the famous ex-pats from
    the ‘belle epoch’ between the wars hung out there. Someone else said Madame Tussaud’s
    wax museum inLondon but the REASON to go there is the totally creepy murder room in the
    back. Famous crime tableaux. All the expensive designer stuff on the Champs Elysee are
    out of reach, but wait! You can totally afford the gorgeous scarves in Hermès. Trip of a life-
    time. Stay safe. Go to the original Dog & Duck Pub in London. Tell them you’ve drunk at
    the one in Austin (before they closed it). You can also visit Lewis Carrol’s house near Hyde

  257. Take the Batobus in Paris…it’s a boat that does a big loop of the Seine and you can hop on and off at several stops on the quayside. You can see Notre Dame, the Louvre, Eiffel Tower etc from the boat, get off to see more if the weather’s good, stay on and be covered up if it rains. Queues to go up the Eiffel Tower will be enormous…if you want to see Paris laid out in front of you, go a little south of the river to the tower in Montparnasse. It’s the only office block in the centre of Paris and has a really good viewing station on the top floor, and the queues are never as bad.

  258. Paris Insidr was so helpful. It was a phone we rented that was like having a French friend in your pocket. Where to find boots on a Payless budget? I texted them and they sent us to a great place.
    We had a great meal at a vegetarian Indian restaurant. We went back it was so good. Tell me if you’re interested and I’ll find the name.

    My 16 year old daughter and I went to a spa and that was lovely. The Paris Insidr people emailed us with different suggestions.

    Eat a nutella crepe and drink wonderful coffee!
    Have the best time, my friend!

    You’ll get a kick out of the fact that I talk about you in therapy. Today I called us the community of the broken. Thanks for giving me a place to belong.

  259. Here’s some slightly weirder stuff to do in London. Someone mentioned checking out Atlas Obscura – I second that, it’s full of great stuff.

    1)Viktor Wynd’s Museum of Curiosities. It’s a tiny little place in Hackney (the Brooklyn of London) so a little bit further from central. Some of it is a little mature but that’s for you to judge if Hailey is old enough. They have a petting zoo on Tuesdays – snakes, frogs, lizards running loose in the museum. Oh and absinthe cocktails!
    2) Wellcome Collection Museum. Permanent exhibition about science/medicine and weird stuff collected by Dr Wellcome in the 19th century. They have free special exhibs too, previous ones have been about Death, Tattoos, Teeth, Buddhism.
    3) Highgate Cemetery. Really beautiful. The East half is home to Douglas Adams, Karl Marx and other well known people. The West half is by guided tour but is SO WORTH IT. It’s stunning.
    4) Grant Museum of Zoology. Taxidermy museum where you can ‘adopt’ the specimens (ie. have your name put next to them). Highlight is the huge jar of moles.

    Touristy stuff you can’t miss –
    1) Westminster Abbey. So many famous people interred – royalty, poets, scientists.
    2) Buckingham Palace. The State Rooms are open to public in the summer and you can have tea in the gardens!
    3) Tower of London. It’s so old and you can feel it.
    4) Borough Market. Lots of delicious food to be sampled, you don’t even need to buy lunch. Afterwards you can check out Southwark Cathedral or walk along the Thames.
    5) Serpentine Gallery in Hyde Park. The have free outdoor installations in the summer, and it’s right next to the Serpentine (huge man-made pond). There are also really friendly squirrels, and it’s close to Kensington Palace, the Royal Albert Hall, Buckingham Palace – all in walking distance.
    6) Royal Academy of the Arts. They have a wonderful exhibition at the moment, curated by Grayson Perry. It’s very humorous and interesting. It’s also opposite Fortnum & Mason – famous shop where you can have tea. The Queen is a patron.

  260. I live just outside London but really only go in to the theatre, and/or to eat, so thanka for posting this!

    Seconding the backstage tours at the National – recommend walking along the South Bank generally as there’s loads there. From the National come out to face the river then turn right – eventually you will get to Borough Market, which is the best place ever, via interesting shops and Shakespeare’s (reconstructed) Globe.

    If you want to squeeze a show in I’d recommend downloading the TodayTix app or visiting the official TKTS booth in Leicester Square (god I hate Leicester Square) – it’s the only official one: avoid those dodgy little booths with handwritten signs like the plague…

    If you have a Contactless debit or credit card you can tap in and out of the Tube without having to faff about getting tickets. You can also use Apple Pay or whatever the Android equivalent is. DO NOT GO ON THE CIRCLE LINE IT IS LITERALLY HOTTER THAN SEVERAL CIRCLES OF HELL.

    Hope you enjoy London!

    P.S Download the Citymapper app, it’s so helpful for getting places in London

    P.p.s Allow time to wander around St Pancras on the day you leave for mainland Europe- Kings Cross is literally over the road and that’s where the HP shop and Platform 9 3/4 are – queue for photos at the Platform can get quite long.

  261. Just got back home (York) from a week in the Shetlands – northern Scotland is one of my magic places!


    For Scotland, check the maps and see if you’ll be passing any brochs. They’re eerie, timeless, and almost always located somewhere spectacular [full disclosure – I’m an archaeologist and terribly biased].

    London: If you’re going to Westminster area, watch for the highly romanticised statue of Boudica right by the bridge, opposite Westminster. Oh, and be aware that Big Ben is covered in scaffolding right now so you won’t see or hear it.

    I LOVE the natural history museum because the building is just amazing. Check out the gargoyles (which include wolves, lions, and fabulous pteradons) on the exterior even if you don’t want to go in. The Hunterian (mentioned above for Glasgow) is absolutely worth a visit, and doesn’t get the crowds that the bigger museums do. It’s fun to chase down some of the lesser-known cemeteries – I found Dorothy Sayers’s grave a couple of years ago when I was wandering around with a friend. You’ll see some really fun buskers if you walk the banks of the Thames for a bit – and it can be good for chilling out when the crowds get too much, as are the less-busy areas of Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park. Oh! And for slightly creepy dolls, don’t miss Pollock’s Toy Museum!

  262. I loved The Old Operating Theater Museum in London – it’s full of creepy old medical devices.

    “Housed in the attic of the early eighteenth-century church of the old St Thomas’ Hospital, this atmospheric museum offers a unique insight into the history of medicine and surgery. The original timber framed Herb Garret was once used to dry and store herbs for patients’ medicines and in 1822 an operating theatre was included. Predating anaesthetics and antiseptics, it is the oldest surviving surgical theatre in Europe. Access to the attic is through a narrow 52-step spiral staircase.”

  263. Damn it – forgot to mention the V&A children’s museum for doll houses (which are gobsmacking and amazing) and Madame Tussaud’s if you’re into wax works. The celebrities are dull, but the Chamber of Horrors is classic and was the source of endless thrilling nightmares when I was a kid.

  264. If you go to Londen and want a special place to eat a burger, you must go to MEATliquor.
    It is truly an experience. Most fun would be not to tell your family what the place looks like and just take them, maybe take some earplugs if you are sensitive to loud music.
    If you go shopping and decide you need a break, go to Hyde park. There are squirrels and geese you can feed and it can be just nice to have a break from the city. The old famous buildings are specially nice in the evening when they are all light up and it feels like you are walking in a Harry Potter movie, I used to take the tube to Westminster in the evening and first look at the old house of Parlement building, cross the jubilee bridge and walk along the south bank of the Theems (towards waterloo bridge) for a nice evening walk. The boats on the Theems are also nice in the evening. Oh and if you go to Harrods make sure to look for the Egyptian escalator, it is the most kitch escalator I have ever seen.

    For Paris I do not know so many tourist things. I am not a big fan of shopping but Galaries LaFayette as it is a beautiful building with a large dome in the centre.

  265. The 18 Stafford St Museum might tick some of your boxes – it used to belong to the illustrator of Punch and has been kept exactly as it was in its Victorian heyday. Leather wallpaper, pictures floor to ceiling, more Stuff than you could shake a stick at, stained glass windows… It’s amazing. You do have to book on to the tours, though – you can’t go round by yourself because like all English houses it’s pretty small (also they don’t want you touching things).
    Other than that, wear comfortable shoes and walk everywhere in London and Paris – both cities were designed for people not vehicles and you can walk pretty much everywhere you need to go.

  266. If the crowds in London are a bit much and you want to have a seat while seeing the sights, the river bus is great! Waterloo near the London Eye all the way to the O2, but with stops if you have plans (seconding St Paul’s). Can book in advance for discounts I think.
    If you have a tap debit card then tube etc just tap in and out and no need to buy separate tix.

    Isle of Skye is glorious, again boat trips. Maybe an otter to spot!


  267. So many ideas! Walk, walk, walk. Eat. Try not to pressure yourself to make it the check-the-box trip, but rather take it all in. I know that’s vague but I believe it to be true!

  268. Here’s suggestions and info from a transplanted American for Scotland: is a really useful site with info on place you can go
    If you’re in Edinburgh at the end of August you can go see Welcome to Night Vale in the Dissection Room of Summerhall
    Bring a bottle of Skin so soft with you for the midges once you head out of Edinburgh and Glasgow towards Skye. They can be horrible. I grew uo in an area with a wide variety of biting bugs and midges can be worse then all them combined.
    Visit Glen Coe. Depending on how you choose to go north up the West coast you may already be going on the A82 which will take you through Rannoch Moor and Glen Coe. If you go the A85, I’d strongly recommend detouring in the village of Glen Coe to drive the A82 the the Glen till you get to the green Welly Stop where you can turn around and then continue on your way. If you do as a detour it might be 45 mins round-trip depending on how many times you stop for pics
    Eilean Donan is a beautiful castle to visit even if you just wander around. It shows up in a few films, Highlander being one of them
    Don’t base you time estimates on distance. Check Google Maps or such. Roads over here are narrower and twisted so you’ll find yourself going slower.
    Stop by and see the Kelpies ( if possible on your way north. The Falkirk Wheel ( is nearby and well worth a visit and taking the boat if you can get a ticket.
    Biscuits are cookies. Potato chips are crisps and pudding refers to any kind of dessert
    If you didn’t get tickets for the Jacobite train but really want a pic or two, if you go to the Fort William train station before it leaves you can take pics, buy items from the gift shop carriage and even step aboard without a ticket. Or you can head out to Glenfinnan before the train so you can take pics of the train going over the viaduct like in the money
    Kilt rock and Mealt falls on Skye are nice but will depend on how far north on the island you are going
    If you stop in a supermarket, be sure to get some Irn Bru, Tunnocks Caramel wafers, and try some Scottish tablet. You’ll find tablet in a lot of gift shops
    The Scottish are not the English and don’t like being called English. There will be subtle differences between England and Scotland that you may or may not notice but that’s one thing to try and remember.
    Deans shortbread is better than Walkers shortbread (well imo)
    You can get boat trips to the Isle of Staffa from Oban but those are usually whole day events and i dont know you have enough time.
    Edinburgh Castle is nice but Edinburgh will be extremely busy as the festival is now on. Lots of tourists and lots of street performers
    Visit Underground Edinburgh. I’ve done City of the Dead tours ( and it was really good but I know there are others
    National museum in Edinburgh and Kelvingrove museum in Glasgow are free and wonderful
    Arthur’s seat in Edinburgh gives amazing view over the city
    Glamis castle on the east coast is reall nice but I don’t think you’ll be going near there
    Kilchurn castle on Loch Awe. That would be more if you take the A85 up the West coast. There’s a place you can park and take great photos

    That’s all the things that quickly come to mind. Have a wonderful time.

  269. I also vote for the London Dungeon. And St. Paul’s cathedral is beautiful and so easy to pop into, you don’t need to make plans, just pop in and look around. And while you’re there take a little walk down Fleet Street, which is fascinating on its own.

    In Paris, a quick but SPECTACULAR stop is Ste. Chappelle. Go inside, go upstairs and prepare to be amazed. Super worth it, and doesn’t require tons of time.

  270. London – Soanes Museum. Imagine a very rich guy who collected any random crap he came across and filled his house (I think you can relate). You and me – stuffed animals, bits of shell and the odd coin, his random crap just happens to be priceless antiquities, rare fossils, old mastered, bits of broken statues and the like.

  271. You must must stop by Edinburgh. The Old Town is breathtaking and the Castle is fantastic. It’s worlds apart from Glasgow (figuratively not literally)

  272. Try ThatMUSE in Paris! It’s a company that does scavenger hunts in museums (they do the Louvre, but also some other cool lesser-known museums).

    I wrote a book on Paris. Would be happy to email you an e-copy if you’d like. You can message me directly on Twitter if you’d like one.

    Have fun!

  273. Tower of London. Do the beefeater tour – It’s chock full of history and people getting beheaded ’cause they didn’t play politics right (Real life Game of Thrones stuff) and the Crown Jewels are amazing. It’s touristy sure – but its awesome. Also London Walks ( are a fantastic way to explore bits of the city – and they do a really cool ghost walk

  274. Don’t go to the Louvre, it’s huge, it’s always incredibly crowded, it always has enormous lines and it can be anxiety-inducing even for people who don’t have anxiety. If you want to visit a museum in Paris, I’d go to one of these three: 1) D’Orsay, which has impressionist works (many of Monet’s paintings, for example) as well as turn of the century decorative arts; 2) Pompidou, which has possibly the best modern art collection in the world and is a very cool building in and of itself; 3) Musée Rodin, which (obviously) has works by Rodin and Camille Claudel and has a lovely garden. If you choose to go to any of these, do yourself a favor and buy the tickets in advance. That way, you can skip the enormous lines. I would also just walk around the Marais neighborhood, it’s very pretty. One thing I always like to do when I travel is buy a walking tour guide and then just follow that, because then you can go at your own pace and it costs less than buying multiple tickets for a tour.

  275. Paris: Go cycling through town with the very handy Vélib bikes;
    You can pick up bikes at any of the docking points, cycle around for 30 minutes at a time (then they are free), park at any docking point, go see something nice (d’Orsay for example), walk a bit, pick up another bike at a docking point, cycle again for max. 30 minutes. Cheap way to get around and see a lot and ‘taste’ the vibe in Paris.
    If cycling is no option, take 1 of those hop on hop off busses to get a quick look around town.

    Rue des Martyrs: Paris’s old market streets are often overlooked by visitors busily running from one monument to the next. This is a mistake, since they are an authentic part of Paris that’s not always easy to come by, especially on a short trip. If you visit only one, this bustling street full of fromageries, boulangeries, and boucheries should be it. A central neighborhood market for over two hundred years, the older purveyors of everything from fruit to fish share the street with newer, more high-end pastry shops, chocolatiers, gourmet cafés, and upscale boutiques, adding to the street’s considerable charm and lively atmosphere.
    Cimitière du Père Lachaise: The most haunting spot in Paris allows you to rub shoulders with literary greats like Proust and Balzac, and modern icons like Oscar Wilde and Edith Piaf. Jim Morrison also lies in this ancient cemetery, his grave barricaded off to protect it from over-zealous fans who make a musical pilgrimage here. The tree-lined avenues and calling crows make Père Lachaise the most atmospheric walk in Paris. Head to the 20th arrondissement, jumping off the metro at Père Lachaise (line 2) or Gambetta (line 3).

  276. Honestly most of the food in London is not worth a second try, but there are two restaurants that if you’re near are really worth it. The Bleeding Heart Restaurant, Bleeding Heart Yard, London EC1N 8SJ, French food, delicious, and The Rye, 31 Peckham Rye, London SE15 3NX, which has the best fish and chips in London, no lie, I’ve racked up a ton of British people who agree this is the best fish and chips in London. They make their own tartar sauce which will blow your mind.

    The Imperial War Museum in London is excellent, they have a WWI exhibit right now that is one of the most stunningly curated exhibits I’ve ever seen. The Holocaust exhibit there is also amazing, but I would say it’s a judgement call about whether a you’d take a child, it’s pretty brutal viewing.

    As for Paris, Notre Dame is one of those tourist sites that pictures really don’t do justice and is worth seeing person. Napoleon’s Tomb is also worth seeing in person, there are actually many historical figures buried there, it’s a great trip.

  277. Worth pointing out that August is peak school holiday season and the big museums will have large queues just to get in – if the weather is as hot as it has been that’s not nice. You can skip queues at the Natural History Museum and British Museum by buying a ticket to one of the temporary exhibitions which gives you a fast pass and the undying hatred of everyone who has been standing in line under the baking sun.

  278. Definitely Leakey’s bookshop in Inverness!

    Edinburgh is hell on earth in August because of the Festival & Fringe crowds; if I didn’t work here I wouldn’t come near the place. I just want to get to my train, people!

    For Glasgow I really recommend the Sharmanka Kinetic Theatre ( at Trongate 103 – kinetic sculptures made from scrap metal. It’s definitely worth going to one of the shows. Also nearby is the Britannia Panopticon Music Hall (, the world’s oldest surviving music hall, which is gradually being refurbished.

  279. OMG Scotland is perfect for nerds, so many filming locations (esp. Harry Potter!)
    Glasgow: Visit the old cemetary, it is perfect for you, so gorgeous!
    Skye: On the way there, visit Eilean Donan Castle (Highlander was filmed there) and Castle Stalker is a must (known as Castle AARGH in Monty Python – look out for Castle Stalker View Cafe, they have homemade cakes!) also, try visiting the Glenfinnan Viaduct (that’s where the Hogwarts Express went over in the 1st movie) – if possible and if you like water, take the ferry to Skye.
    If you liked Neil Gaiman’s The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains, visit the Cuilins, the dark gloomy mountains it was inspired from. The Fairy Pools are gorgeous, but are currently being renovated.
    In Inverness, a bookworm like you has to visit “Leakey’s Bookshop”, it is next to a cemetary and was built inside an ex-church, absolutely stunning windows!

  280. The London Zoo, as one of the first comments mentioned, is well worth the trip. I have been there myself (18 years ago now), and they have an amazing set-up and collection of animals. They have an especially fantastic aviary section. I highly recommend the London Zoo for so many different reasons.

    The Globe is great fun to see, but my favorite personal places in London are museums and art museums, like the National Portrait Gallery, the National Gallery, the British Museum, and the Victoria & Albert. I’m told Hampton Court is really amazing (I’ve only seen it in pictures, but my parents have been there and loved it). If you’re headed down in that direction (towards Greenwich), the National Maritime Museum might be fun as well.

    As a general rule of thumb, try to avoid Southwark (which I realize is where the Imperial War Museum is) as a district and the northeastern side of the city (lots of prostitution there).

  281. The Wellcome Collection. Free museum right outside London Euston station and full of the kind of weird things you would appreciate – from historical medical instruments to crime scene dollhouses…

  282. I lived in Wales for four years and traveled extensively around the British Isles and a fair amount of Europe. If I’d had more notice, I would’ve hooked you up with the best travel guide in Paris.

    Everyone who asks me this question, I respond with this: What are you interested in? The generic touristy stuff, the off-the-beaten-path stuff? City or country? Christian or pagan? History or modern?

    Do you want to see the Unicorn Tapestries or the Mona Lisa in Paris? The V&A or the British Museum or Madame Tussauds or…in London?

  283. I suggest the dungeon museums. There’s one in London, one in Edinburgh, and one in York. They feature of the darker history of that particular city and the London one is exceptionally cool. Also York is a great city if you’re going by there. I lived in Middlesbrough for four years while I went to university and they have a local delicacy called the parmo which if you’re on your way through I suggest eating. It’s basically a fried chicken chicken cutlet covered in béchamel sauce and melted cheese. It is so freaking delicious. Windsor Castle is really cool to see as well as Alnwick Castle. They filmed a great deal of the outside of Hogwarts at Alnwick. In the summer they have actors playing the parts of the people in the movies. It’s pretty cool also Oxford is really fun because you can see the pub were talking in and CS Lewis used to go together to talk about their books and drink. Also the dining room at the University is where they filmed the Harry Potter dining room scenes. And there’s a lot of cool stuff in Oxford.

  284. Scotland especially the Highlands are just wonderful. Make sure you get some photos of Loch Ness. We spent 10 days in the area in June and now I want to move there. Just be careful of midgies and deer fly. The deer fly decided I was food and I still have lumps over me from them biting! Just enjoy, it will be great X

  285. Just outside Glasgow is New Lanark. It’s a preserved cotton mill and town from the industrial revolution. The grounds are gorgeous and the buildings are neat if you’re a history buff!

  286. I’ve hiked The Old Man of Storr on the Isle of Skye; it is absolutely breath-taking. The fairy pools are also worth a visit. On the mainland I enjoyed Eilean Donan Castle (it’s on its own little island in the sea lochs) and Urquhart Castle on Loch Ness.

  287. In London, eat at Eastern Eye Balti House for some baller Indian food. Check out The Astronomer for some badass meat pies. And omg Borough Market – so much cheese to buy, and delicious food stands (non-mobile food trucks for us Texans). I haven’t been to any other cities on your itinerary 🙁

  288. Near Inverness is (are?) Clava Cairns, ancient burial mounds. Try to arrive when they open to have the place to yourselves before the tour buses arrive. Enjoy the Highlands scenery.
    Be sure to ask the car rental folks how to deal with roundabouts in UK. Ours told us we were doing them wrong when we turned the car in!
    Suggest going to Rick Steeves’ website for great info on all these places, emphasizing where locals eat and go. His books are small enough to take with you and chock full of information and pricing and tips.
    Mostly ENJOY!

  289. Between Skye and Inverness – Eilean Donan Castle; Cabinet War Rooms and British Museum in London; Also hit the half price ticket shop in Leicester Square at 12:30 for a cheap same day theater ticketin the West End; Paris – Musee d’Orsay, go to Sacre Coeur and watch the sun set from the steps of the church, Père Lachaise cemetery. Hope you have an amazing time!

  290. There’s a great restaurant in London, Maggie Jones. It’s near Kensington Gardens. It’s very British, with crazy good food. Ask to sit downstairs. And order the cauliflower. Fucking life changing.

  291. Glasgow:
    The Necropolis (awesome cemetery outside St Mungo Cathedral. The House for an Art Lover is v cool, art deco, and an interesting story behind it, but only 2 days in Glasgow, I might give it a pass. Have a wee dram of whisky at the Pot Still and say hi to my Scottish Husband Frank (I’ve never told him he’s my Scottish husband, but I think he knows and understands on some level).

    Loch Lomond/Skye:
    Enjoy the drive. It’s beautiful (and at times horrifying on the wrong side of the road). Fort William can be passed – unless you decide to drive/hike up Ben Nevis. If it’s cloudy (it’s always cloudy) it may not be worth it if you’re on a schedule Eilean Donan Castle (from Highlander) is on the way to Skye (not far before the bridge). Portree is ADORBS. The Fairy Glen is magical.

    Culloden Battlefield has a certain somber aire about it. we were there 1st thing in the morning when there was still a mist over the field and it was just beautiful and tragic.

    London: wander, enjoy the city. If you’re a history buff, then the Churchill War Rooms are one of the best things I’ve seen. Lots of great old cemeteries – my favourites are Highgate (Karl Marx is buried there, so is Douglas Adams!), and Tower Hamlets. noone famous that I know of in Tower Hamlets – but it’s SOOOOO cool. Grab a sausage roll and a ginger beer have a picnic.

    Oh.. and remember you can drink outside in the UK. so do take wine and cheese & sit in the park to watch the world go by. There’s a chance the giant Jeff Goldblum statue will still be in Potters Field when you get here. (what a great sentence to write)

  292. Jack the Ripper tour in London. they will take you to the sites of the ripper murders…..

  293. Near Inverness you have Culloden battlefield (well worth a visit) but on the way from skye there are lots of places you can stop off. I recommend the RZSS Highland Wildlife Park in Kincraig (near Aviemore) which does a lot of great conservation work with wildlife. After that head into aviemore for a great hot chocolate and head up Cairngorm to the Ptarmigan restaurant for lunch/dinner. Pity you are not heading down to Aberdeenshire or I would have volunteered to be your guide to all the castles we have

  294. Have lunch in the Eiffel Tower. My husband and I went to Paris in May and He surprised me with lunch at the restaurant inside the Eiffel Tower and it was an experience I will never forget!

  295. Oh man, I love Edinburgh- take a tour of Mary Kings Close, it was such an incredible experience! I loved the UK when I was there, I hope you guys have fun!

  296. I live in London, and these are some of my favorite things to see:
    – Natural History Museum – there’s a guided spirit collection which takes you into the basement to see some of Charles Darwin’s original finds, plus a baby 8-ft squid (you read that right – baby, 8-ft squid!)
    – Buckingham Palace – The State Rooms are currently open for visitors (this only happens once per year) so you can actually visit the castle!
    – Hampton Court – Henry VIII’s palace – it’s gorgeous! You can take a river booze cruise on the Thames from Richmond to Hampton Court and then take the rail back into London – it’s a great day.
    – Tower of London for the Crown Jewels – lots of death and mystery there, plus boat tons of insane jewels and crowns!

  297. I second the London bus tour (I live here and I use it when we have visitors). It’s a great way to see all the famous sights. Plus you get money off and can skip queues for other attractions. The London Dungeon is particularly scary & gross, if you like that sort of thing.

  298. The Harry Potter tour is awesome but a ways out from London so it would basically take all day. You would need to book soon as they run out of space quickly. It is fantastic to see all the props.
    When you get into London get a Oyster card and put £10 on it, it’s the cheapest way to get buses and tube journeys if you want to explore on your own. It might be worth doing one of the open top bus tours so you can see the main sights and a boat along the Thames is fun too but get the ones with the people telling the stories not the headphones they give you some great history. Also walking tours are included in some bus tickets. There are also lots of ghost tours around London in the evenings.
    On exhibition road in London there is the V&A museum, science museum and natural history museum. They are free to visit and have fantastic exhibits. In Trafalgar Square area there is National Portrait Gallery is also wonderful and free. There is the Tate modern and saachi gallery if you want something a bit different. The British museum is also free and has the Rosetta Stone in it.
    I’d never recommend any zoo as I think they are cruel but if you walk through Regent’s Park round the back you can see some animals and that is quite fun in a what you doing here way.
    The London eye is cool if you don’t mind heights.
    2 days isn’t long but I’m sure you’ll have a great time.

  299. Underground tour of Edinburgh is a must! Go see the Raven Master at the Tower of London

  300. Because I’ve been living in Paris 10 years and have been reading you since the Beyoncé days, I think I might be in a unique position to give you some pertinent tips. I agree with the other comments that recommend the catacombs. I think it’s something you’d all enjoy as a family. I recommend Stephanie at Sight Seekers Delight who does an amazing guided tour, which is way more interesting than just going on your own, plus she can get you past the line (which is sometimes 3.5 hours long). Stephanie also does a great Louvre visit.

    I would also recommend the taxidermist, Deyrolle. – their story is pretty amazing.

    Marie at Context Tours gives a great walking tour about the French Revolution, and Rory at Fat tire Bike Tours give an extra fun visit of Versailles – get the VIP tour to have a guided visit of the palace after visiting the grounds.

    Tanisha at Girl Meets Glass gives fun wine tasting tours in Saint Germain, or you can go with her to Champagne country for the day.

    Chris at Paris Walks gives a fun walking tour of the Larin Quarter and Hemingway’s haunts.

    Amanda at le Foodist gives the best cooking classes – it’d be a great way to spend the day with Hayley – making macarons or croissants or… check out their website.

    If you need restaurant suggestions, or any other advice, let me know!

    Have fun!

  301. When you’re in London, Camden Market on a Sunday is worth a visit (it could be very crowded), and Madame Tussaud’s is great. I didn’t get the opportunity to visit it when I visited London, but I’d like to visit the London Dungeons. It’s supposed to be good, creepy fun!

  302. Was in London recently and godbrother and his husband took me to a lovely restaurant called Hawksmoor, though I can’t remember which location it was. I can’t rave about the food enough: we went on Sunday and had their roast beef brunch, and the Yorkshire pudding alone was the size of three of my fists put together, I shit you not. My favourite dessert was a drink called “Clearwater Espresso.” If you can drink alcohol, I dare you to try it.

  303. Highlands
    Take lots of insect repellent-the midges are brutal in August. Scenery to die for.

    The National Gallery is fantastic if you are on a quick trip. Grab an open top bus for a tour of London you can get it outside of the National Gallery. Pop Brixton is wonderful for a fun (and cheap) lunch and you can wander around the market stalls of Brixton in South London
    The theatre can be cheap if you get tickets on the day. You will like the antique shops –lots of taxidermy!

    Paris Bistrot d’Henri Perfect bistro lovely food, delightful owner.
    The Musee d’Orsay is wonderful-go straight to the top if you are short of time.
    The Cluny museum is great too- home of the wonderful Lady and the Unicorn tapestry.
    The Marais is gorgeous, and one of my favourite areas- more taxidermy!

  304. Be sure to hit a market in London, Borough Market or Camden Market are both excellent in different ways. Eat a Pie Minister pie, they are delicious and they’ve got locations all over, and pubs that serve their pies, so finding one near wherever you are is easy

    Scotland is wonderful all over and Skye is especially lovely, but it’s been too long since I’ve been there for any specific recommendations 🙁

    Paris – Sacre Coeur is a don’t miss.

    Have a wonderful trip, you’re going to some wonderful places!

  305. From London to Paris: I assume that you talking the train from St Prancras to Gare du Nord?
    If so you, be warned that the reason is disconcerting at first because of the directions the seats face, but it only lasts a shirt while because this train is like motion-induced Ambien. You will be lulled to sleep. Just go with it . There wasn’t a lot to do anyways. Also customs (as if Dec 2016) was cool. You are basically checked out of England and into France 🇫🇷 at the twin station, meaning.when you arrive IN Paris, you can literally hit the ground running – er, walking.

    Regarding St Pancras, its literally right across the street (or.netweoeked underground) to.Kings.Cross.Station (aka Platform 9-3/4) Also, St Pancras Renaissance Hotel (Marriott) is truly the most amazingly awesome hotel I have ever experienced. Of you are taking a morning train, stay there the night before as you only have to walk downstairs to the train station. Plus the hotel is Beautiful and it is (back when it was undergoing a fortune in renovations after years of neglect) where the spice girls filmed “Wannabe”. That stairway…? It’s at St Pancras and it is so cool.

    Paris: Check out the Eiffel Tower, but if you want views go to Sacre Cœur. Notre Dame is absolutely stunning and 100% go, but also be sure to go right across the street is Sainte Chapelle whose stained glass will gut you (buy the VIP tickets online as you’re walking there and save yourself from the lines to see it). Find an “Angelina” in Paris (the original site or one of the few other locations around) and have the BEST chocolat chaud (hot chocolate) of your life. Trust me on this one. Nothing like the American hot chocolate.

    Regarding London (sorry topics are bouncing around and it’s hard to edit, because iPhone and I’m wordy) see whatever you can/want. It’s all amazing and there are so many things to see. Take the tube, walk around and take a black cab at least once. I could recommend so many but they are the same ones everyone else will recommend anyways.

    Most importantly have fun and enjoy yourself. It took me until I was 39 to get to Europe and no way am I stopping now.

  306. Oh and the catacombs in Paris. I never got to (lines) but that is SO up your alley.

  307. the coolest thing I saw in Paris was Espace Dali. I am a big Salvador Dali fan and his little museum was quite hard to find but I opted to go to it instead of the Tour de France.

  308. An hours drive from me is the glorious Stratford-upon-Avon, which I visit regularly. Central England so could be worth a visit. Shakespeare’birthplace is the original 400 year old house, the gifts hops, cafés, streets and waterfront are beautiful. I think it’s one of the most beautiful towns in England. Not forgetting Lincoln.

  309. Glasgow was beautiful! I loved when we drove around and I’d see all of the sheep and cows grazing on the rolling hills. One of my fav things to do when I was in that area for work was to take the sightseeing tour buses. You got to see so much of each place and learn lots of oddball bits of history too. If you like duckboats, they have them in London too. I also took a water tour of London ( and that was amazing! And there’s great shopping in Camden Lock Market (and also a TON of people). But it was so peaceful on the water.

    I hope you all have a grand time!

  310. SkyGarden in London! It offers an amazing view of the city at no charge and is especially beautiful at sunset, you just have to book the tickets in advance and make sure you can get a good slot. South Bank would be fab to visit as well!

  311. Not enough time in each place for sure! Haven’t been to London yet but Paris is the best and we keep going back there. IF you have time (probably not) try to go see the Palace of Versailles an hour outside of Paris – it’s amazing…it’s where Marie Antoinette lived. In Paris….millions of places but explore the Marais (4th arrondissement or neighborhood.) Go up in the Eiffel Tower – if you walk up rather than taking the elevator it’s fun and the line is MUCH shorter. Also Notre Dame is spectacular. Three restaurants in that area are Briezh Cafe (great crepes) Au Fille de Saissons and Les Papilles (french tor “taste buds”) but you can’t go wrong with food. Get bread and cheese (GREAT bread place called Poulaine – best in France) and wine and have a picnic. Get almond croissants and a pastry called a Religieuse which is truly a religious experience, and I’m an agnostic. If you have time get a book by Clothilde DuSoltier called something like Clothide’s Guide to Paris with great restaurant recommendations. The lines at the Louvre are insane – we still have not been inside – but outside the park is beautiful and fun. BEWARE of little kids collecting money for orphan children – it’s all a scam and they are con artists and they will follow you and insist you give them money. DON’T DO IT. Also eat macarons from anywhere but if you go to a Pierre Hermes (as in scarves) his macarons are the best. Also walk through the French Opera House – tons of chandeliers and mirrors and it’s fantastic even if you don’t like opera (and there is a Pierre Hermes right by there!) Have fun and tell us everything you do…this could be your next book, I think – all about your adventures. You could go a bit out of the way to look at the famous Moulin Rouge and if you do look up THE BEST CHOCOLATE PLACE IN THE WORLD called L’Etoile d’Or, which is run by a delightfully dotty woman named Denise Acabo in a plaid skirt and a long braid – her chocolates are the best and she is fun.

  312. Probably already mentioned by others, but Madame Tussad’s (especially the Dungeon) is up your alley. Also Highgate Cemetery, and the various Jack the Ripper tours in Whitechapel. The British Museum is awesome, and the Tower of London has an interesting tour. Outside of London, Warwick Castle (pretty close to Stratford-on-Avon) is really neat. The Roman baths at Bath are lovely, and the nearby St. James Cemetery is marvelously gothic. I also really liked the Jorvik Viking Museum in York (part of the tour involves a theme park-esque ride through a reconstructed Viking village, but they don’t mention until the end of the tour that many of the mannequins populating the village have faces modeled from the skulls of people found buried there; I was annoyed because I would have paid closer attention to the faces). While you’re in York, the cathedral (York Minster) is worth a look.

    In Scotland, Edinburgh Castle is gorgeous. You can also visit Inverness and take a boat tour out on Loch Ness (and buy more Nessie merchandise than you ever imagined existed).

    Pubs are a good place for inexpensive food, and kids are usually allowed in until 9 pm. You don’t get free water with meals; if you ask for water you’ll be brought bottled water and charged for it. Also Scotland and England use different versions of the pound, and the further you get from the border the less likely you are to have the other side’s pound accepted as currency.

  313. If I am ever lucky enough to go back, I would totally do the Paris Underground. You’re not there long enough to enough scratch the surface of the Louvre, but Montmartre is fabulous, walk along the Seine, eat the sidewalk food! So cheap, so delicious! The churches are spectacular, wander the city streets and see where they take you. Sometimes getting lost is the best way to see someplace.

  314. What I’d suggest is making a list of the “must-do” things in each city, and then narrowing down the list. Paris and London are huge and it’s going to be hard to “do all the things” in each city. But narrowing down your list to “this is what I really want to see” will definitely help.

    The first time I was in London I had just over 24 hours so I did the red bus hop-on-hop-off tour. It let me see the sights (from the outside) while they told me information about the city. It was a good way to get around.

    I really enjoyed the Warner Brothers Studio tour just outside of London. It’s roughly an hour away from London by train/bus, so you’re not in the heart of London, but the tour was really incredible. I think I spent 2 hours there by myself, so it might be longer with 3 people. But I’m really glad I did it.

    I second Kelly’s suggestion above that you go to Platform 9 3/4 at King’s Cross. It’s right across the road from St. Pancras (likely the train station you’re leaving London from to go to Paris). They don’t charge you to take your pic, you can take pics on your cell phone, and it’s only 20 pounds if you want to buy 3 copies of the photo including digital copies! Dirt cheap. And yes, the St. Pancras Renaissance is spectacular. Worth walking into the lobby even if you’re not staying at the hotel, but definitely convenient place to stay to catch the train.

    Google Trips does a good job of suggesting things to do in cities in a short period of time. Might want to check that out. And TimeOut London always has good suggestions.

  315. Yay! I haven’t been to Scotland and England in years so I will leave those recommendations to people with more recent travels.

    In Paris, I also suffered from procrastination during my recent trip but we found two restaraunts where you just line up for dinner because they don’t do reservations: Le Relais de Venise at 271 Boulevard Pereire (where the only thing you have to decide is how well they cook your steak and what to have for dessert) and Mamma Primi at 71 Rue des Dames. We lined up at both places around 7-7:10 and were seated when the places opened at 7:30. If you do have the time/energy/inclination to make reservations, go to Restaurant La Petite Chaise at 36 Rue de Grenelle and have their French onion soup!

  316. UK in general: If you pass a chip shop, especially if you’re by the coast, try some fish & chips. Stating the obvious here, but Scotland is not part of England, and the Scots do not appreciate being called English (I’m sure you knew this already but it’s amazing how many people don’t).
    If you visit any of the museums, it’s a good idea to ask a member of staff which item is a must-see.

    Glasgow: Burrell Collection and anything related to Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

    Skye & the Highlands: enjoy the scenery, look out for Highland Cattle (very photogenic). Try out a whisky, Macallan and the Speyside malt whiskies such as any of the Glenlivet ones are my favourites. Lots of distilleries have tours so you can see how it’s made.

    London: an Oyster card allows you to travel on the Underground and buses (the iconic red double-deckers). I found the Underground (the Tube) the easiest way to get around. Take the Piccadilly line to South Kensington for the Natural History Museum for loads of taxidermy (amazing building, especially on the ground floor, all the pillars are carved with animals, plants & birds) and the Victoria & Albert Museum (it has a great cafe with Victorian Arts & Crafts era tiles).
    The British Museum is wonderful, especially the Egyptian department. August is school holiday time & peak tourist season so the museums will be busy.

    Paris: try to speak at least a few words of French, even if it’s just ‘bonjour’ and greet the shop
    assistant/staff member before you start a transaction. Most will speak English but will appreciate any attempt to talk French. Montmarte is picturesque.

    Have a wonderful time!

  317. I’m from NC but i’ve lived in London 18+ years. Listen to suggestion 49 and 51. Don’t bother with the tourist bus if you only have a couple days. Do the boat, Tower, smaller museums, see a play, maybe Jack the Ripper tour. Walk around the Southbank centre – my favorite city views. Wahaca street food style Mexican chain is a good standby – as is wagamamas. Don’t get fish and chips in a touristy pub – go somewhere like Masters super fish near Waterloo. Check out what’s happening at the Vault Festival. Happy to answer any questions I can @mrsbrownsbooks

  318. Go directly to the Camden Town neighborhood. Visit the Camden market, just walk around (crazy, Ames OME neighborhood). Visit the Amy Winehous statue, eat amazing food, see amazing street art, take a canal boat ride. Enjoy!

  319. Re: money, since someone upthread mentioned it – Bank of England notes (with the queen on) are accepted everywhere in the UK. Scotland has three banks that issue notes (all different! although the colour of each denomination is the same) and it’s hit and miss whether they’ll be accepted in England. Whatevs, we’ve got OTTERS on some of our £10 notes. Banks will change your Scottish notes for English ones, though. Coins are the same everywhere.

    And licensed premises are legally obliged to provide free drinking water if you ask for it, so no worries there.

  320. Paris:
    As mentioned the Pere Lachaise cemetery, beautiful!
    And the charming Marais district, try the great falaffel at Chez Marianne.
    La balade Plantée, a green highline from Place de la Bastille and east.
    Icecream on the small Island of Ile St Louis behind notre dame
    Crepes/pancakes at a street vendor with nutella Lenin-sugar
    Sacre Coeur area for great views and athmosphere
    St Ouen Puces, fleamarket, for bizarre shopping
    Bricklane for atmosphere and shopping, and surrounding area (??) a pittoresque suburb

  321. While in the Scottish Highlands, see if you can catch a shepherding demonstration. Those dogs are legit. Also, haunted tours/underground tours are really fun.
    You should definitely try Haggis while there, too!

  322. Museums are free in london, personally I love the National Gallery and the Tate Modern is a great addition to it. In Paris the Louvre is totally worth it but also very overwhelming and big (I love their greek/roman statue collection) Do go early tho, like crazy early, cause it can have a line that costs hours if you go later on the day.

  323. Oh and for Scotland, hire a car and drive around the mountains and just chill. Or/and get a castle pass, it’ll give you access to pretty all the castles around and it’s amaaaazing!

  324. We did almost exact trip this summer except we went to Edinburgh so I have no Scotland recommendations for you. We tend to do off the beaten path stuff so –

    In London the Tate Modern and Mithraeum which is nice and quiet – also the British Library has a lot of lovely things and The Wellcome Collection the Teeth exhibit is lovely.

    Paris, well, really you should just find a cafe and sit and watch people and then go to another one and do the same. If you’ll eat oysters, I recommend this place it’s Dorie Greenspan’s favorite place. Also if you like ice cream I recommend and I recommend going to the Sacre Coeur and pretending you’re Amelie (there are lots of photo booths around Paris) and there’s a nice cafe down the back stairs from there with a grumpy waiter and good music. And of course there are all the famous graveyards. If you’ll be there in August you might want to read this

    Have fun!

  325. Just returned from Scotland and a week on Isle of Skye. Dunvegan Castle and gardens TOTALLY worth a visit- and this from a gal who would rather be hiking. If you can handle hiking on somewhat (I’m a fraidy cat about heights and I handled it- TWICE) scary terrain, do NOT miss the Quiraing. Both the Fairy Pools and the Fairy Glen (nowhere near each other) are really wonderful sights with very little hiking involved. The Skye Pie cafe which is actually in the Glenview Hotel (hotel, b&b??) near both the Quiraing and The Old Man of Storr hikes, north of Portree on the main road, has the BEST savory pies (individual), but they are only open 12-3 each day, and they sell out in that time frame. You can eat in (pretty crowded, or do take away). With all I am telling you, I’m assuming you will have a car and the freedom to explore.
    Midges can be a problem this time of year but it was always a bit breezy when we were there so that keeps them away. There is a repellent readily available at most shops if you need to grab some.
    Not kidding, I wore a long sleeve top, a second layer (light fleece or something similar) and my rain jacket most days. Due to the breeze, it can feel quite chilly, particularly coming from the heat we have had here. There is no formality AT ALL, so just take what’s comfortable.
    If you would like more info, please feel free to reach out directly-
    Enjoy every single minute.

  326. To experience proper french dining on a budget in Paris, go there: You shouldn’t be too late for dinner or else you’ll be standing in line for forever. There’s no booking. The food is what a french family would order if they’d go for an all-in sunday lunch. Do absolutely get a first course, cheese and a dessert, as the French would! (And google the stuff they have on the menu beforehand, I’m not sure they have one in English and one should know what Andouillette is before ordering.)

  327. Probably too obvious, but the Louvre in Paris is the place I would recommend. I’m not even much of an art connoisseur, but would go back in a heartbeat. It is humbling, and educational :). Biggest surprise – how small the Mona Lisa painting is.

  328. You will be very close to Stirling, and Stirling Castle is worth a little side trip just for the sheer number of beheadings that took place there! Also, all the battle sites around there are good as well. The Wallace monument-meh (unless you’re a Mel Gibson fan). I’m not a fan of Talisker whiskey, but Jura is very, very good and quite affordable in those parts. Have fun! Eat haggis and Scottish tablet and big breakfasts every day!

  329. Check out Diana Henry’s Instagram. She’s the food writer for The Telegraph in London and has just been on Skye with wonderful reviews of wonderful restaurants.

  330. Haven’t been in a long time to Europe but enjoy what you can without putting pressure on yourselves to see everything. Just be. All recommendations have merit but I ll add my own. I loved the pet cemetery in paris. All the ideas are amazing but just being in all 3 amazing cities and countries will be memory making so soak it all in with no added pressures. Sometimes missing the train or tour makes for something better ..turn up instead. Enjoy your trip and each other and how quirky the world can be.

  331. London; Natural History Museum. Beautiful building, great collection, and also great in-house restaurants (although that goes for most London musea). Most of the parks are very nice (James’ park, Hydes, etc). The Tate Modern is an acquired taste, but just going to the top floor for a view of the city is worth it (admission is free). Borough Market for food, quick glance at the Shard while you’re there and then along the Thames to London Bridge (which you can go up, and walk on a glass roof-thingy with the traffic underneath) and the Tower (the tours by the beefeaters are great!).
    Paris: Montparnasse with Sacre Coeur, Musee d’Orsay (get tickets in advance to avoid the queue), Tuileries to have a little picknick, or Jardin des Plants, which has a beautiful rose garden (free), nice musea, and a little zoo. Versailles, if that’s your taste (it’s very crowded). Have dinner at Quartier Latin.

  332. The MUST SEES in Paris: the Shakespeare and Company Bookstore (the bookstore from your dreams), Sacre Coeur (the holy sht I feel so French here), and the taxidermy shop (the holy sht the animals are so French here), and the Catacombs (you won’t be disappointed).

    Unless you love huge crowds and art history, I suggest you skip the Louvre. Take fun pictures outside of it and then move on with you day and be thankful you spared yourselves from that anxiety-inducing experience.

    Have fun! Bon voyage!

  333. I will second the BRITISH MUSEUM. My one trip to London and I still remember the day I “got lost” and ended up spending a delightful time in there.
    Depending on time, one of the Hop On/Hop off buses is also a great way to spend a day. I ended my day by having High Tea at the Savoy and feeling “special.”

  334. When I went to Scotland I bought the Explorer Pass, it allows the entry in almost every historic sites, (castles, ruins, cathedrals). You also get a very good map with every site, and when you go to one you get a stamp in the pass, which is kinda sweet.
    I really liked: Sweetheart Abbey, Dumbarton (perfect refuge in case of a zombie apocalypse), Fort George, Dunnottar Castle (best to be visited in the evening when the sunset lets it glow) and of course St. Elgin Cathedral (the steps into the tower are made from old tombstones 😉 ).

    Eilean Donan, although it is the most famous castle, is just a tourist trap, just like Rosslyn Chapel (which is totaly overrun since DaVinci Code) and Urquhart Castle (directly beside Loch Ness).

    I prefer the lonely places, where no tourist busses come to.

    And, you just have to take a hike into Glen Coe. There are parking spots along the road from where you can walk into the hills. It was the best thing I ever did in any holidays.

  335. We loved Inverness. There is a great little walk along the river that is beautiful and easy (even in the rain). I totally recommend that. Also we had the best food in Inverness. We loved the Rendezvous Cafe (14A Church Street) and The Kitchen Restaurant (15 Huntly St). Also we had the BEST breakfast food at a little cafe called Mountain View cafe a little ways from Inverness in Aviemore ( I also highly recommend doing tours of some of the ruined castles around that area. There are tons of them in various states of ruin and it is really awesome to visit them. And if you enjoy whiskey, visit at least one distillery and do a tour/tasting. So much fun! I love Scotland!

  336. London: Covent Gardens, the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Harrod’s, and Windsor Castle (short train ride from London). If you have time, head up to Oxford (about an hour train ride) to check out the Covered Markets, Oxford Castle, Christchurch College, just walk around.

    Paris (just got back from there) : Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Ile St Louis, take a river cruise (the 15 euro one is just as good as the 45 euro one), the Louvre, La Chappelle, La Conciergerie, Tour St Jacque, Musee D’Orsay, Tuilleries Gardens, … Just take time to explore, and make sure you look up. There are bits of street art decorating the upper parts of the buildings. The Jewish Museum was lovely. It’s on Rue de Temple.

    Also, be prepared for airport style security wherever you go – metal detectors, x-raying your bags, and opening your bags for a visual inspection.

  337. There’s a Jack the Ripper walk run by actors. It’s not your standard guided tour, but a dramatic retelling.
    That company also does historical walking tours, again guided by actors and WAY more engrossing and interesting than a standard tour. Also the science and tech museum has a flight simulator that actually turns you upside down as you “fly”.

  338. If you’re looking for a “classic” French bistro meal, I’d highly recommend Bistrot Paul Bert. Very old school spot with a fixed-price menu. The Church of Saint-Eustache presents free pipe organ concerts that are great – the church was built in the 1500s/1600s and it has the largest pipe organ in France, so the sound kind of envelops the church. Really incredible experience.

  339. The hop on/hop off busses are a great way to see some highlights and stop where you want to. We loved the Tower of London tour for a bit of history and we enjoyed the walking tours we did. Have fun!

  340. We travel to Glasgow every couple of years to visit my husband’s family. I also lived there for 3 years. The Kelvingrove is probably one of the most touristy places, but it really does have something for everyone. There is an awesome science museum out on the quay that entertained the adults as much as the kids. Someone else also mentioned the Kelpies and the Falkirk Wheel, both of which are a short drive from Glasgow (otherwise public transportation is everywhere). I drug my feet to both places, but had the most amazing time. To be completely honest, the main thing we look forward to and the place we spend most of our money when we visit is the grocery store. Find yourself an Asda or Tesco and just walk up and down the aisles trying new things. We have a lot of food intolerance in our house and the British have so many more options than we can find in the US.

  341. Sometimes getting lost creates great memories and leads to more fun after the drama and panic. Always have a plan b. You can’t see it all but while there make plans to go back to stuff that deserves more time on another trip if feasible. Anything you do will be enough. Pick out one or 2 things to do in a day including travel and eating. Crepes from street vendors in paris while walking , fish n chips while doing London . London is small enough to walk and use the tube. Architecture is wonderful, food is wonderful ( but no one mentioned that our version of something is completely different than theirs,so be prepared). For example toast in England is grilled cheese. They boil their meat. Admittedly haven’t been in years so things may be more americanized. I remember paying for electricity in hallways with coins . Does this stuff still happen? You will get great material for more writing in any case. Treaveling is so good for the soul and to open our eyes to other cultures. Be prepared to hear about our president a lot when they find out your American.

  342. I recommend that if you plan to send postcards from the UK to the USA do not buy the ones they sell to tourists for postcards. They are very pretty and typically have pictures of the place you buy them near, and some places very much have a “collect them all” feel to them. You can post your postcards with these stamps in the regular red Royal Mail boxes but they are handled by a subcontractor and are sent somewhere else, I think Philippines, where they are sorted. In the sorting process everything printed on the back of the card where you write has words of the places redacted with a black pen. So those pretty stamps will sometimes have a black mark across them if they say England or London, or sometimes just random place names are blacked out. It also takes AGES to get the postcard using these stamps. I’m talking like two months after you get home you get a random email from someone, “Thank you for the postcard, I thought you went months ago??” Sometimes they put their own postage over the pretty stamp, which is weird that you send someone a postcard that says “LONDON” across the front and the recipient is left wondering wtfffff. when the postage says Philippine mail.

    Instead, ask for proper Royal Mail stamps (with The Queen’s head on them) and air mail stickers. They will cost more (more than £1 each), but the back of your postcard wont look like a CIA document made public and the postcard will arrive in the USA likely before you do.

    Every time I go somewhere with my daughter I send her a postcard. “Thank you for navigating us around London!” (oh if you use public transport in London (it’s very clean and lovely), there is an app you should use to help you get around, I can’t think of it off the top of my head but ask someone when you buy your Oyster Card.

    This reminds me, before your trip… if you make sure your phones are unlocked with your phone company, then when you arrive in the UK go to an EE store or somewhere similar and ask for a sim with mainly data. Your daughter will have data so she can still chat her snaps or whatever the young ones are using now 🙂 AND you’ll be able to call her/your husband if you don’t stick together. It’s not too expensive if you go to a high street shop and do it (you can probably do it at the airport or tourist area but I’m sure it’s £££).

  343. I’d suggest one of the “London Walks” and/or “Paris Walks” tours. A number of choices, all in English, most are two hours, no need for a reservation–just show up at the meeting spot and pay the guide. For London, see <>. For Paris, <>.

  344. This will sound odd. On the Glasgow/Inverness drive, when you see long-haired sheep staring contemplatively into the distance, sit on the ground nearby and listen to your breath.

    I’m not kidding it’s magical.

  345. I’ve been to Scotland three times in my life (I’m a lucky bastard) – it’s my favorite place on Earth. My mode of travel, if I am alone, is to not plan anything, get over there and rent a car, then map-hop to wherever looks interesting and get a room someplace early in the day, and spend the rest of the day sight-seeing.

    HOWEVER. Since you’re traveling with family, the best thing to do is:

    Get on the internet now. Open Google Earth maps. Look at Scotland.
    Figure out your general route of travel, and get some town names near the places you intend to overnight.
    Look up B&B / hotel locations in those towns, and check prices and AVAILABILITY. This time of year is going to be high tourist season, and so the B&Bs and hotels will be in demand. Book your rooms ahead of time, so that you can travel without the stress of having to wander around after dark in unfamiliar territory, looking for a place to stay.

    I personally prefer B&B stays to hotels, because you get to meet the owners, who live there, and they are always personable and have great recommendations for fun things to do in the area. Plus, the breakfasts are AMAZING!!! Nothing better than a “full fry up” to fill your belly and set you right for the rest of the day.

    Another thing you want to do is carefully consider your departure flight (time and airport location) and make sure to arrange your final night’s stay very close to the airport, to reduce stress about making the flight.

    P.S. The west coast of Scotland is not to be missed. If you get a chance to take the ferry over to the Isle of Lewis, you can see the Callanish standing stones, and drive down the west coast to Harris – the beaches are TOO gorgeous! Museums and that can be seen on the internet – I can’t understand spending thousands of dollars to travel to another country and spend that time inside a building looking at paintings. The countryside itself, and the people who live there, are the living, breathing, marvelous things I go to experience, and that is so much better than any painting could ever be.

    P.S.2 – Every single hotel in Scotland is “haunted”. If you ask, they will tell you which room is haunted. I always asked to be put in that room. But, try as I did, I couldn’t get so much as a rattled teacup out of any of them.

  346. The Tower of London — gives you a bit of history, a look at the crown jewels. Well worth it.

  347. My suggestions are not specific places to visit but a general caution. If you are going anywhere even remotely touristy (Tower of London, Eiffel Tower) GET THERE SO FLIPPIN EARLY. Like, an hour before opening. Otherwise, your soul will drain out of your body as you wait in crazy lines. If you are not a morning person, then get there an hour before something closes.

  348. If anyone is into WWII history, the Congress War Rooms in London are pretty cool. They are underground, so if you’re the least bit claustrophobic, they might not be a good idea.

  349. Yes to all the top ten attractions everyone else has mentioned! these are great cities to visit. I second the recommendation for London Walks – you’ll see places you’d never find on your own and learn from some of the most fun and interesting guides around. Also, the free tours at the Victoria and Albert are AWESOME! We took a British history tour that included a scandalous nude statue, and a sink formerly owned by Jimmy Page. I’m a huge fan of lunch as the big meal when traveling – it’s less stressful, less crowded, and less of a splurge. In London I’d recommend a meal at Ottolenghi (delish food, lovely service, a couple of locations, not a chain). For Paris, absolutely Pere Lachaise Cemetery. I’d also recommend visiting Notre Dame, and then walking across the bridge for ice cream on the Ile St. Louis at Berthillon. Some chill and less crowded places in Paris include the Musee Picasso, the Musee Carnavalet (they used to have a diorama of 18th-century taxidermied squirrels in wigs and ballgowns and frock coats), and on a sunny day, Sainte Chapelle.

  350. Depending on where you are driving in Scotland, Kilmartin Museum (in Kilmartin of course) has a lovely cafe. My first taste of Cullen Skink was there. Chatted with the chef and he made sure it was on the lunch menu our last day.

    If you like mussels, Scotland has some of the best. Also near Kilmartin is the Cairnbaan Hotel. That was where my wife learned to love mussels, which I believe were from Loch Fyne.

  351. If you decide to do the Tower of London, do the guided tour. I had friends do the self guided tour and were very underwhelmed. I did the guided tour and it was fantastic! The guides are very funny and interactive and really makes it an experience not just a walk around an old building.

  352. I’m sure someone has mentioned it in those 10,000 comments, but the Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris is so cool (there’s even a subway station – père Lachaise – right close to it)…