Guidebook Updates for ‘Rick Steves Great Britain’

When we learn of important changes to the information in our Great Britain guidebook, we post them here. (Of course, it's still smart to reconfirm critical transportation and sightseeing details locally.) Armed with a Rick Steves guidebook and these late-breaking updates, you're set for a great trip!

Across Britain

For books printed before April 2018, the following may apply:

  • The Brit Xplorer bus pass has been discontinued and replaced by the Skimmer pass, which is valid for 7, 14, or 28 days.

For books printed before May 2016, the following may also apply:

Across Scotland

For books printed before April 2018, the following may apply:

For books printed before April 2017, the following may also apply:

  • The Freedom of Scotland rail pass has been renamed the "BritRail Spirit of Scotland" pass.

Bath & nearby

For books printed before April 2018, the following may apply:

  • Bea's Vintage Tea Rooms has closed.
  • Rajpoot Tandoori restaurant has closed.
  • Baytree House B&B in Wells has closed.

For books printed before October 2017, the following may also apply:

  • Pratt's Hotel has closed.
  • Casanis French Bistro-Restaurant has closed.
  • Bath no longer holds separate Literature, Music, and International Music festivals, but instead puts on the 10-day Bath Festival in late May (May 11–27 in 2018), followed by the Bath Fringe Festival (May 25–June 10 in 2018).

Cardiff & South Wales

For books printed before May 2018, the following may apply:

  • The Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff has closed.
  • Beaufort House B&B in Cardiff has closed.
  • The Florence hotel near Tintern Abbey has closed.

For books printed before October 2017, the following may also apply:

  • The Cathedral House B&B in Cardiff has closed.

Cotswolds

For books printed before April 2018, the following may apply:

  • Badgers Hall Tea Room in Chipping Campden is now only open to non-guests on Fridays and Saturdays.
  • The Johnsons Coaches bus routes linking Moreton-in-Marsh to Stratford-upon-Avon via Chipping Campden (and other Cotswold towns) have changed route numbers to #1 and #2.
  • Value Self Drive car rental is no longer in business.
  • Iain Taxis is no longer in business.
  • Chipping Campden Private Hire is no longer in business.
  • La Tradition bakery in Chipping Campden has closed.

For books printed before May 2016, the following may also apply:

  • Sheepscombe House B&B, near Chipping Campden, has closed.
  • Chure House B&B and Stow-on-the-Wold Youth Hostel, both in Stow, have closed.
  • Stow-on-the-Wold now has a modest tourist information office that's staffed by volunteers; it's on the main square, in St.Edwards Hall (closed Sun).
  • Blenheim Guest House, near Blenheim Palace, has closed.

Edinburgh

For books printed before April 2018, the following may apply:

  • The Scottish National Gallery is renovating. Visitors should expect some exhibits to be closed and pieces missing during the renovation.
  • Gladstone's Land can only be visited by booking a one-hour tour. Travelers can book ahead to ensure a spot in person or by phone (tel. +44 (0)131/226-5856).
  • Smart City Hostel is now called SafeStay Edinburgh and has a new website: www.safestay.com.
  • Aonach Mòr B&B has closed.
  • The following eateries in the Dalkieth Road neighborhood have closed: Hewat's Restaurant, Hellers Kitchen, Reverie Bar, Positano Ristorante, and Forn.
  • MacTours hop-on, hop-off bus is no longer running.

For books printed before April 2017, the following may also apply:

  • Brodie's Hostels has closed.
  • Local guide Ken Hanley has a new email address: kennethhanley@me.com.
  • Kenvie Guest House has closed.

Durham & Hadrian's Wall

For books printed before April 2018, the following may apply:

  • Oldfields restaurant in Durham has closed.
  • Gibbs Hill Farm near Hadrian's Wall no longer runs a B&B but still rents hostel beds and self-catering cottages.
  • To get to Holy Island from Newcastle via public bus, take Arriva #X15 to Beal, and then Borders bus #477 to the island. By train from Newcastle, go to Berwick-upon-Tweed and catch bus #477 there.

For books printed before April 2017, the following may also apply:

Glasgow

For books printed before April 2018, the following may apply:

  • The city's tourist information office has moved inside the Gallery of Modern Art (downstairs) on Royal Exchange Square.
  • Parts of the Glasgow School of Art remain closed for renovation for much of 2018.
  • The Mackintosh Trail Ticket has been discontinued.
  • The Willow Tea Rooms' original location on Sauchiehall Street is currently closed for renovation while work is underway to restore the tea rooms to Charles Rennie Mackintosh's original design. (When it reopens in June 2018, on the 150th anniversary of Mackintosh's birth, it'll feature a new visitors center and exhibits.)
  • The Burrell Collection is closed for renovation until at least 2020.
  • One of the star paintings at the Kelvingrove Museum, Salvador Dalí's Christ of St. John of the Cross, will be on the road until 2020.
  • Visitors can only enter the Mackintosh House at the Hunterian Gallery with a free guided tour in the morning, but are now allowed in without a tour in the afternoon.
  • Adelaides Guest House has closed.
  • The Ketchup diner has closed.

Glencoe & Fort William

For books printed before April 2018, the following may apply:

  • The Morven Cottage B&B in Glencoe has closed.
  • Dunire Guest House in Glencoe has closed.
  • Glenmorven Guest House in Fort William has closed.

Inverness

For books printed before April 2018, the following may apply:

  • The restaurant where Inverness Bike Tours meets is now named Prime.
  • Happy Tours no longer offers walking tours of Inverness, but instead offers minibus tours of the Highlands.
  • Ryeford Guest House has closed.

Lake District

For books printed before April 2018, the following may apply:

Liverpool

For books printed before April 2018, the following may apply:

  • The greater Liverpool area transit system is under renovation through at least 2019. Trains may use other stations in surrounding areas and connect travelers with the city center via bus service (check www.merseyrail.org for updates).
  • Best Western Feathers Hotel is now called Hallmark Inn Liverpool.

For books printed before May 2016, the following may also apply:

  • The Side Door restaurant is now called "Jenever."

London

  • Advance tickets for the Tower of London purchased on the Tower's website are now valid only for the date selected. Vouchers that previously gave travelers 7 days after the date selected are no longer available on the website.  
  • The Heathrow Connect train is no longer running. Travelers can still use the Heathrow Express, which now accepts Oyster Cards.

For books printed before April 2018, the following may apply:

  • From August through April, the Changing of the Guard in front of Buckingham Palace takes place on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
  • The Churchill War Rooms now offers timed reservations, which are recommended because of increased crowds.
  • The Golden Hinde replica has reopened, and has new hours (daily 10:00–17:00), a new website, and a new phone number (+44 (0)20-7403-0123).
  • Starting in June 2018, the National Portrait Gallery will no longer stay open late on Thursdays. The gallery will close at 18:00 on Thursdays, but will remain open late on Fridays until 21:00.
  • Eurostar now offers direct train service between London and Amsterdam (and Rotterdam). Trains will run twice daily, taking 3 hours 41 minutes. Initially trains will only run direct from London to Amsterdam – those traveling from Amsterdam will need to change trains in Brussels and go through passport control. Direct service from Amsterdam may be running by late 2019.
  • The budget airline Monarch is no longer in business.
  • The budget airline Thomson Airways is now called TUI Airways.
  • In 2018 Trooping the Colour is taking place on June 9 (not June 17).
  • Afternoon tea at the V&A Café is now Sunday 15:00–17:00, and requires a reservation.
  • The Orangery at Kensington Palace is now closed for restoration work until 2020.
  • Evan Evans tour company's US phone number has changed: (+1) 800-422-9022.
  • The family discount for the London Zoo is only available online, not at the entrance.

For books printed before December 2017, the following may also apply:

  • The Banqueting House is now closed to the public on Thursdays.
  • The Geffrye Museum is closed for a two-year refurbishment, with plans to reopen by 2020.
  • The National Army Museum has a new website: www.nam.ac.uk.
  • London Duck Tours has ceased operations.
  • The bus from Southampton's cruise port to Southampton Central Station is now called QuayConnect.
  • BritainShrinkers (a company selling "unescorted tours" from London via Eurostar trains) is no longer in business.
  • Big Ben will only ring for special holidays and occasions while the four-year restoration to the Elizabeth Tower and clock is underway.
  • Ebury Wine Bar has closed.

For books printed before July 2017, the following may also apply:

  • The time of the Changing of the Guard in front of Buckingham Palace has changed to 11 a.m. To see it up close from one location, we recommend getting there at 10 a.m.
  • The Abbey Museum inside Westminster Abbey has closed (to be replaced by the new Queen's Diamond Jubilee Galleries, opening in 2018).

For books printed before April 2017, the following may also apply:

  • Teapod, near Tower Bridge, is no longer a tea shop.

For books printed before October 2016, the following may also apply:

  • A one-way ticket on the Eurostar train between London and Paris or Brussels now runs about $225 for standard fare, $130 for "standard premier" fare, and about $380 for "business premier" fare.

North Wales

  • The Cantorion Goledd Cymru men's choir in Betws-y-Coed (in Snowdonia National Park) holds practices (not concerts) every other Sunday afternoon in summer, which are held at St. Mary's Church, not St. Anne's.

For books printed before May 2018, the following may also apply:

  • Conwy Valley Railway has a new website: www.conwyvalleyrailway.co.uk.
  • Veloconwy bike rental shop in Conwy has closed.
  • Conwy Pantry restaurant is now called "Love to Eat."
  • The bluegrass festival in Conwy has been cancelled for the forseeable future.
  • Official guided tours of Caernarfon Castle have been discontinued.
  • Totters Hostel in Caernarfon has a new email address: totters.hostel@gmail.com.
  • Blas restaurant in Caernarfon has closed.
  • Pen-y-Gwryd Hotel near Beddgelert can only be booked by phone (+44 (0)1286/970-211).

For books printed before October 2017, the following may also apply:

Oban

For books printed before April 2018, the following may apply:

St. Andrews

For books printed before April 2018, the following may apply:

  • The Glass House restaurant has closed.
  • The Grill House restaurant has closed.

Stirling

For books printed before April 2018, the following may apply:

  • Cressington B&B has closed.

Stonehenge

Stratford

For books printed before April 2018, the following may apply:

  • Individual tickets can now be purchased at all Shakespeare Birthplace Trust sights. A "Full Story" combo-pass covering all five sights (Shakespeare's Birthplace, Shakespeare's New Place, and Hall's Croft in town; and Mary Arden's Farm and Anne Hathaway's Cottage just outside Stratford) is available to purchase at any of the sights or from the tourist information office, and is 10 percent cheaper online (£22.50 at sights, £22 from tourist information, £20.25 online). The "any three" combo-pass is available only at the tourist information office (£16.95). Shakespeare's Grave is not covered by any combo-ticket.

Warwick & Coventry

For books printed before April 2018, the following may apply:

  • The Coventry tourist information office is now located in the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum. It has new hours and a new telephone number (Mon–Sat 10:00–16:00, Sun 12:00–16:00, tel. +44 (0)24/7623-4284).

Windsor & nearby

  • Those traveling to Windsor in the lead-up to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding at Windsor Castle on May 19 should expect strict security measures.

For books printed before December 2017, the following may also apply:

  • The railway formerly known as First Great Western has been renamed to the Great Western Railway. Downton Abbey fans visiting Highclere Castle can take these trains from London's Paddington Station to Newbury, then hire a taxi for a ride to the castle.

York

For books printed before April 2018, the following may apply:

  • Free walks with volunteer guides on summer evenings now begin at 18:15.
  • Clifford's Tower may be closed for renovation in 2018.
  • The Jorvik Viking Centre has reopened.
  • The Blue Bicycle restaurant is indefinitely closed after suffering flood damage.
  • Evil Eye Lounge has stopped serving food, but still serves drinks.
  • Abbeyfields Guest House has closed.
  • Amber House B&B has closed.

For books printed before April 2017, the following may also apply:

  • Abbeyfields Guest House has been sold, and is no longer a B&B.
  • The extra free town walks with volunteer guides that run in July–August leave at 18:15, not 18:45.