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The Trombone ForumPractice BreakChit-Chat(Moderators: bhcordova, RedHotMama, BFW) British Open Travel plans (The Brass Band one, not the golf one)
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NateR

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« on: May 21, 2017, 06:20AM »

So I'm turning 30 this year, and I've always wanted to see a band contest in the UK. Well, I just bought my tickets to the British Open in Birmingham in September! I'm unbelievably excited!

I think I can probably swing a week to 10 days in the UK. I'm thinking of flying into Edinburgh for a couple of days (having scotch in Scotland and maybe a distillery tour is definitely on my bucket list), then onto the Birmingham for the contest and then down to London for a couple of more days. Any thoughts from our UK forum family on things to see and do that are worth while? I know there's a lot. I won't get to all of it. FWIW, I've been to London before 15 years ago and did the typical tourist things then. Also, anyone else going to the Open?

Thanks!
Nate  Hi Hi Hi
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ronnies
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« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2017, 10:19AM »

Edinburgh is full of tourist stuff to do but not many distilleries nearby.  They tend to be further north.  There is the Scotch Whisky Society based in Edinburgh though.  The one distillery near Edinburgh is Glenkinchie near a wee village called Pencaitland in East Lothian.

Ronnie (who lives in Edinburgh)
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MoominDave

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« Reply #2 on: Jun 04, 2017, 06:02AM »

The British Open is the pinnacle of UK contests, a good choice. Even the band that comes 18th will have given a quality performance. The European contest is probably the only one I would recommend ahead of it.

Edinburgh is a lovely city, though as noted it isn't near the distillery heartlands, which tend to be further North or West, with the greatest concentrations in the islands west of Kintyre and Speyside, near Inverness. Glenkinchie is a nice little distillery - we took the brass band there when we visited Edinburgh as a group 4 years ago. The centre is beautiful, centred around the iconic Castle mound. Wandering around that area will repay you - you can go to the castle (though it's a bit pricy), visit St Giles' cathedral, see attractions (e.g. https://www.realmarykingsclose.com/, http://www.nms.ac.uk/national-museum-of-scotland/), even see the building where we got married (the big room in Lothian Chambers, George IV Bridge)... And just enjoy the curious 3-dimensional layout of the streets (the split-level Victoria Street is well worth a look, with the pubs of the Grassmarket at the bottom). Walk up Arthur's Seat, head South into the Borders to see some beautiful scenery within an hour's drive, head East along the Forth to pretty seaside villages and towns like Gullane, Aberlady, and further along, Dunbar and North Berwick. Drop in on a brass band rehearsal - I recommend Dalkeith & Monktonhall band, where Diane (Mrs Dave) played for many years, just out of town, rehearsing in Prestonpans (I think they rehearse Mon/Thu) - drop me a line if you want a contact.

En route to Birmingham, the Lake District in Cumbria is beautifully scenic - if you are travelling by car? Snowdonia in North Wales is off your route to one side by a fair way, but also lovely. There's the Peak District in Derbyshire, closer by, which offers scenic walking.

Birmingham itself doesn't have a particularly strong reputation for touristy stuff. I've never really tested it out, so I can't comment whether that's deserved or not. The hall for the contest is absolutely first-rate, though.
Heading down the M40 to London, Oxford is not far off your route, about halfway along. The historic centre, full of colleges and their buildings, is well worth a look (though parking is expensive), and you'd be very welcome to drop in on us at nearby Kidlington band (definitely Mon/Thu) if you wanted.
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Dave Taylor

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eightyeightH

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« Reply #3 on: Jun 04, 2017, 05:32PM »

Dave has pretty much covered it, definitely try and see or play at a rehearsal, but I would also visit Mick Rath. Ring beforehand, and ask for a factory tour. If you leave without buying anything, you're a better man than I.
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