UK: Manchester, Ayr, & Glasgow

Day 1: Manchester, england

When I started planning my trip to the United Kingdom, my only goal was to see some of (as many as possible) the Scottish islands. When I started to look for plane tickets, though, I was finding that tickets were much cheaper to London versus Edinburgh. I was trying to get the cheapest direct flights possible working around the dates that were available for the tour I wanted to do. My sister and her boyfriend were living in Scotland for a short while at this point, and I also was trying to spend a few days with them. As it so happened, the weekend I ended up booking my flight for, my sister and her boyfriend had plans to meet up with some friends in Manchester (in all honestly, I had looked at so many flight options that I got confused and booked the wrong dates…oops!). Thankfully, their friends were generous and invited me to join them for the weekend as well.

All that to say- Manchester wasn’t really on my list of places to visit, but I ended up really liking it! I hadn’t really researched it at all, but I was under the impression that it was an industrial city. It is actually a really charming city. I arrived on Saturday afternoon after about a five-hour bus ride from Heathrow. We spent that afternoon and evening out with my sister’s friends.

day 2: manchester & travel to ayr, scotland

The next morning, we had some time to wander around. I had read that the Manchester Cathedral was nice, so we headed in that direction. It was a gorgeous, warm, sunny day. The cathedral was stunning. We took turns going inside because we had all of our luggage with us. The area around the cathedral was also really nice- lots of people were lounging on the lawn and there was a small side street with several cafes. We ate at one of them for lunch before heading to the bus station. It was about a 4 hour bus ride to Glasgow (which is in Scotland). In Glasgow, we had a very quick sit down dinner at an Italian place, then got the bus to Ayr (where my sister and her boyfriend were living at the time).

day 3: ayr & culzean castle

In the morning, my sister and I grabbed a picnic lunch from Tesco’s, then got the bus to Culzean Castle, which is about a 40 minute bus ride from Ayr. We spent the entire day at the castle, wandering around the castle and the extensive grounds. The exterior of the castle is stunning and is surrounded by beautiful grounds. The inside of the castle was also beautiful. I liked that the interiors were a bit more understated than some of the other Scottish castles I’ve visited. We spent most of the day walking around the grounds, and had a picnic lunch in front of the castle. The walled garden was the highlight of the grounds. It was just absolutely stunning. In the early evening, we caught the bus back to Ayr.

day 4: Glasgow & edinburgh

I needed to be in Edinburgh by the evening, so my sister and I decided to spend some time in Glasgow together before parting ways. We explored the city for a few hours, checking out the University of Glasgow (the cloisters are especially beautiful!) and walking around the botanical garden. After lunch, we said our goodbyes, then I headed back to the bus station, using the subway, to catch my bus to Edinburgh. I had stored my luggage, and there was no one there for me to get it, so I missed the bus (which meant I ended up paying for two tickets). I made it to Edinburgh in the early evening, then checked into my hostel (The Baxter). After dinner, I spent about an hour walking around The Old Town and Princes Street.