Posts Tagged ‘Rail travel’

Travel in England: Logistics (Old Blighty – Part 4)

22 May, 2008

Just a few logistical things from the trip that may help you if you’re planning to go to England and want to save a little money.

I am a fan of Frommer’s. I used the England 2008 book and this book by Pauline Frommer.

1. If you plan to travel by train around the country (and I suggest that you do), plan ahead. Train tickets are much less expensive in advance. I went from London to Norwich for 6 pounds (12 bucks), Norwich to York for 12 pounds (double it for dollars) and York to London for 10 pounds (ditto). It takes 3 hours to drive from York to London, and 2 hours on the train. Here’s the web site you need.

2. Getting from Heathrow to central London: Yes, you’re tired after flying. There’s an expensive option for you. But if you want to save money, and you aren’t traveling with the red behemoth (yes, I was), take the tube from Heathrow to London. There are lots of stops, but you’ll be too zoned out to care. You’ll also be blissed out with the knowledge that you paid 7 pounds for an all-day, all-zone travel card (tube and bus) that you can use after you drop your stuff off at the hotel (or wherever). If you’ll be in London for a few days, consider a 3-day pass.

3. The infamous Terminal 5: After the initial bumps, it seems to be running smoothly. Arriving there was simple, and it’s easy to get to the tube.

Departing from Terminal 5: Check in is easy, but note which gate you will be departing from. We departed from a B gate, which means a trip on a train after going through security. It doesn’t take long, but factor it in since British Airways closes the doors 20 minutes before the flight takes off.

Terminal 5 is a giant mall. Bleech.

A friendly face in Terminal 5:

4. Riding the bus in London can be slow, but you see more. The first thing we did was hop on the #15 bus from Marble Arch. We ended up at St. Paul’s Cathedral and walked right into a choral evensong. Lovely.

5. Frommer’s says that cheap eats in London can be had via chain restaurants. I concur. Lucky for us, Tyburn of Wetherspoon was right across the street from where we stayed. Full English breakfast for cheap. Cheap affordable drinks at the end of the day.

No self-respecting American tourist would ever go to Cheers in London. Except self-respecting tourists who are stretching their money like me. We happened to go for happy hour (4:00 – 7:30 pm) – drinks are half price and there are several nice food options (read: inexpensive dinner).

Out of time. Bye for now.

Old Blighty (Part Three)

20 May, 2008

We left Norwich by train and hurtled through familiar scenery…Breckland, Thetford Forest, Brandon, even the spot where the train tracks cross the road that goes from Lakenheath to Feltwell. My junior high was in Feltwell, and I used the bus ride from Lakenheath to finish homework. (Aeriel view of the area.)

These photos are quite blurry, thanks to the fast moving train and smudgy windows. But this is what it looks like where I grew up.

Thetford Forest.

I saw a couple of jets from RAF Lakenheath, and caught one of them in the photo below (represented in classic black-smudge-at-the-top-of-the-frame fashion).

The train made a stop in Ely. Here’s a snap of Ely Cathedral, famous for its octagonal tower.

Next time I’m over, I plan to spend a bit of time in Ely.

The train continued to Peterborough, and there we changed trains for York. Peterborough, btw, has a booming economy (growing faster than the rest of England) and is home to many Italian, Indian, Pakistani and more recently Eastern European immigrants.

Still to come: John, Pauline and York.

Extra credit:

You can read about The Fens here.

Exactly where I used to live…9 Cedar Close, Lakenheath.  (See the house with the round pool in the back yard near the road?  That’s where my friend Missy lived.  If you go north from Missy’s house, that was my house.  The left side of the duplex.  I used to watch the sun set behind that farm across the road.  God, I love Google.)