My parents came to visit over Christmas, and they were generous enough to treat us to some trips around the UK.  We did some brief sightseeing through London, Oxford and Cambridge after they arrived in London.  Then after Christmas we swung through Edinburgh, Stirling, and St. Andrews.  We rounded out the trip with a stay over in Carlisle and a visit to Blackwell, England. 

We did bus sightseeing tours in London and Edinburgh as well as some walking.  To get into many major historical sites in England, we joined English Heritage last year (a student membership is about half price, but the regular adult price is worth the money, plus kids are free with an adult pass).  Once you get into your second year of membership with EH, you also get into the Historic Scotland and Wales sites for free as well.  So we got into the Castles at Edinburgh, Stirling, and St. Andrews for free.  Each were quite interesting in their own way.  At St. Andrews the castle is a ruin, but it has some great siege tunnels that the kids loved.  Stirling and Edinburgh castles were more complete, and you can get a free tour at Stirling.  Stirling is lesser known but a pretty important part of Scottish royal history, plus the Wallace monument is there. 

We rounded out our trip, after dropping Grandpa Mack and Grandma Brenda at Heathrow, with a visit to Stonehenge (an English Heritage site).  It was quite impressive–the stones were much taller (and heavier) than I realised.  You get a free audio tours there.  On the way home we passed through Stratford-upon-Avon.  The town seemed infested with shoppers, and it seemed primarily a vaction town but you can’t really tell with English towns because size is always deceiving. 

That checked lots of places off our list to visit.  I think the only major places left to see are Wales and the Scottish Highlands/Loch Ness.  Thanks Grandma and Grandpa for the visit and for taking us around to so many places.

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