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Postcard from Britain: 11 Ways to Experience the European Island

San Diego Magazine's copy chief, Dan Letchworth, hops across the pond to England and Scotland


After years of my wife teasing me that her alma mater is 300 years older than mine, she finally got to show me around her old stomping grounds on our honeymoon. We started with a whirlwind tour of Westminster and an adorable triple-tier vegan tea service at Café Forty One near Hyde Park, before a brief stop in my ancestral homeland, Letchworth. I geeked out over Golden Compass and Harry Potter locations in Oxford before vegetarian bangers and mash in J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis’s favorite pub, The Eagle and Child.

Away from the crowds of LDN, the sights got greener and the people even sweeter in bonny Scotland. At The Albany Hotel, our room overlooked a lovely bird-filled garden. We toasted with a smoky 12-year-old Highland Park Scotch whisky and a pink Flamingo cocktail at the upscale bistro The Adamson, before starting our triple castle tour. St. Andrews Castle was more interesting to us history nerds than the world’s first golf course (a few blocks away); rolling green hills evoked William Wallace’s victory at Sterling Castle; and the Scottish crown jewels in Edinburgh Castle were as dazzling as the harbor view.

The best food of the trip was the all-vegan Harmonium in the working-class seaside neighborhood of Leith. But the most memorable moment? For me, it’s hard to top the echo of bagpipes off medieval cobblestone—playing the theme to Star Wars.

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