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 Post subject: Travel Inquiry - S. England to N. Ireland
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 3:27 am 
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Chard Martyr
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Hello UK and Ireland friends!

My fiance and I are planning a trip to the UK and Ireland for our honeymoon. We have various places to stay (with my relatives)...so we're starting in Lewes, then London, then Manchester, and I'm hoping York and Edinburgh, before heading over to Ireland (that order can totally be mixed up). What's the best (read: cheapest) way to get to Ireland (probably starting in the North?) from, well, maybe Edinburgh or Manchester. Flying? Bus then ferry? Train then ferry? We are hoping to end our trip in Dublin to fly back to Vancouver, but we'll see how the costs work out.

Within England, should we spring for the trains or take the buses? I know buses are much cheaper, but it is a honeymoon after all and we pretty much already have places to stay in all those places, so my carsick-prone self says trains.

Also, obviously I want to see PPKers.

Excuse my ignorance. I am somewhat familiar with the places we are visiting (except N. Ireland! Exciting!), but my parents have always helped me with travel plans in past visits.


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 Post subject: Re: Travel Inquiry - S. England to N. Ireland
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 4:00 am 
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Ulster bus have some journeys from the mainland, pretty sure it has one from Glasgow to Belfast, the Mr did it during the summer, I'll ask him later if it's a scenic route. If not, it might be better just flying into either Belfast International airport or George Best airport, both are with in easy drive from mine so, if I'm not working that day, you have your airport pick up sorted :D Of course there is also a spare room here for as long as you like. When in NI, there are bus trips to the Giant's Causeway/Antrim Coast and tour buses around Belfast, it is a good base for seeing the rest of the country, the advantage of it being so small. Where possible, I can provide local transport drop off and pick ups for you both, and probably get a day trip or two out in the car, anything I can do to help make your stay fun! We're also a couple of hours from Dublin by train, it's a nice scenic route.


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 Post subject: Re: Travel Inquiry - S. England to N. Ireland
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 4:03 am 
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Trains.

If you can afford it, forget that buses exist - particularly if you or your fiance are over 5ft tall and like leg room :)

They can be pretty cheap if you book far enough in advance / travel outside rush hour. Also, some lines are cheaper than others - London Marylebone to Birmingham is a lot cheaper than London Euston to Birmingham, and only slightly slower.

Can't comment on Ireland.

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 Post subject: Re: Travel Inquiry - S. England to N. Ireland
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 4:13 am 
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Chard Martyr
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Thanks! fezza, I will happily take you up on that offer. <3 I really want to meet you regardless!

Mr. Flibble, my partner is 6' 4", so yeah, good advice. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Travel Inquiry - S. England to N. Ireland
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 6:44 am 
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I think flying would probably be the cheapest way to get from London or Edinburgh to N. Ireland . Probably with Easyjet.

As for getting around the UK I'd definitely go for the train option & plan to travel outside of peak times. Booking tickets in advance (12 weeks before you plan to travel is usually the time you'll get the best deal) through companies like Southern Railway or The Trainline will be cheapest. If you'll be taking a lot of trains it might even be worth getting a network railcard, there's a helpful post about how to get the best UK train deals here.

I'd love to meet up either in Lewis or Brighton whilst you guys are here and you're very welcome to come & stay in my spare room.

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 Post subject: Re: Travel Inquiry - S. England to N. Ireland
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 10:35 am 
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I book travel at work, so I can echo what others have said.

Travel throughout the UK - Yes, get trains between cities. If you look on The Trainline (link in jojo's post), they'll give you the fastest/cheapest options. They even have a thing to the side (for major journeys, like Edinburgh to London) that tells you if you can get cheaper tickets if you travel at a different time of day. I'd just say that you're best booking things about 8 weeks ahead - when the prices become available at 12 weeks, they're usually higher than at 8-10 weeks. But you should be able to get a good deal on first class tickets that way - I booked 1st class to London for £53.35 each (single). Which reminds me - you'll often be better off booking two singles than a return. If you can't spring for 1st class, book a table seat. Oh, and you get free stuff in 1st class (though mostly not vegan).

You can check skyscanner for deals on airfares. Easyjet, Ryanair and Aer Lingus are usually best for flying to (N) Ireland, but skyscanner will pull up prices for all of them.

And if you come to Edinburgh, we have a spare bed and will also have a pretty decent air mattress (my bff just offered it to me) if you need a place to stay. I might even get around to redecorating the cat's room, so you wouldn't have to sleep in the living room! But even if you have a place to stay, I'd love to meet you and show you around!

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 Post subject: Re: Travel Inquiry - S. England to N. Ireland
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 11:13 am 
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Just to reiterate what everyone else has said, really... book your tickets in advance! If you're aged 16-25 you can get a Young Person's Railcard which gives you a third off all prices for £28. I've only taken long-distance buses a handful of times, and the price difference isn't big enough to counteract how long it takes or how awful it is.

I grew up in Lewes, and Brighton's only 16 minutes by train and is one of the most veggie-friendly places in the UK.

Be aware that budget airlines often charge slightly extortionate amounts for baggage so sometimes BA or other "good" airlines work out cheaper. Oh, and have a fantastic time!

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 Post subject: Re: Travel Inquiry - S. England to N. Ireland
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 11:27 am 
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Chard Martyr
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Thanks guys! Great information. And yes I would like to stay with you whom have offered, and I promise something or other in return. :) I love both Edinburgh and Brighton, so those won't be missed for sure. And I am SUPER excited to finally see Northern Ireland.

I guess since we'll be darting around so much, we'll probably only have the ability to stay in most places for a couple of days, but we are trying to extend it as long as possible so it will be great to keep travel times at a minimum. Must justify those flight costs from Canada! We have so many groan family obligations across England, so fun times with PPKers along the way will be most welcomed.

Eeeee I am so excited. Any relatively inexpensive and yet not too shabby recommendations for accommodations in London?


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 Post subject: Re: Travel Inquiry - S. England to N. Ireland
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 11:55 am 
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Premier Inn can sometimes be pretty cheap (comparatively). Just steer clear of Travelodge. I've never heard anyone say anything more positive than "it was a bed to sleep in", and I've mostly heard horror stories. Just bear in mind that if you're getting it for less than about £60 in the city centre, it's probably a room the size of a box and/or in a terrible state.

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 Post subject: Re: Travel Inquiry - S. England to N. Ireland
PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 11:36 am 
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Travelodge is what it is: basic ensuite no frills rooms, generally in former office blocks. They have no character (unless you're into 80s decor) and you won't want to spend any more time awake there than you need to. I've stayed at the ones by Waterloo, Euston and Marylebone stations in the past year - all were fine and incredibly convenient for getting early trains the following morning.

I've my fair share of horror stories (including a piece of condom wrapper under a pillow at Travelodge Coventry a couple of months ago), but I wouldn't rule it out completely. I've stayed at far worse hotels with more prestigious names, fancier lobbies and in pricier locations.

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 Post subject: Re: Travel Inquiry - S. England to N. Ireland
PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 12:01 pm 
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Ha! A piece of a condom wrapper floated up from the drain and circled my feet in the shower at the Meadway one, f'kin knockin' shops!


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 Post subject: Re: Travel Inquiry - S. England to N. Ireland
PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 2:08 pm 
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Mike and I stayed at the Travelodge when we went to Brighton a few years ago. They gave us the key to a room with someone in it. Lest you think this is unusual, one of my co-workers was staying in the Euston location, and they gave her room key to someone else who walked into her room at 2am. Also, another co-worker once walked out of that same location, refusing to stay there, and got a room somewhere else because it was so grotty.

Basically, Travelodge is not where you want to stay on your honeymoon.

ETA - Re: condom wrappers - at least they didn't leave the condom.

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 Post subject: Re: Travel Inquiry - S. England to N. Ireland
PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 3:31 pm 
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Yeah. When Nick & I stayed at one near Edinburgh it was hideous. I would have left had it not been 4am after driving all the way from Brighton. I probably woulda slept anywhere!

We did stay at one near Kew gardens once and it was fine.

I prefer a Holiday Inn, I think there's one right by Camden Lock which would be a great place to stay. I also liked the few EasyHotels I've stayed in in London, tiny tiny rooms & very orange but cheap & clean.

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 Post subject: Re: Travel Inquiry - S. England to N. Ireland
PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 8:18 pm 
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You might also want to consider Tune Hotels. My o/h stayed in one and said it was pretty basic but a crash pad was all he needed. There are nice rooms but you also have the option of windowless rooms in the basement if you want to pay the absolute minimum (probably no Internet or phone reception in those). I think you pay extra for any 'frills' like toiletries and towels so read up carefully beforehand to avoid unexpected expenses.
http://www.tunehotels.com/our-hotels/kings-cross-london


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 Post subject: Re: Travel Inquiry - S. England to N. Ireland
PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 4:09 am 
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rachell37 wrote:
Mike and I stayed at the Travelodge when we went to Brighton a few years ago. They gave us the key to a room with someone in it.


To be be fair that happened to me too at the Tower Bridge Travelodge a few years ago :p

Without wanting to sound like a Travelodge connoisseur (I stay in other hotels too, promise!) I've also stayed at the Brighton one (Preston Road) :)

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 Post subject: Re: Travel Inquiry - S. England to N. Ireland
PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 4:26 am 
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Also, the beds in Travelodges are always horribly uncomfortably and the pillows are useless. At least in Premier Inns you'll get a decent bed (I have to stay in the premier a lot for work).

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 Post subject: Re: Travel Inquiry - S. England to N. Ireland
PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 5:04 am 
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Chard Martyr
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Ha, so no Travelodges. Beds are important. Especially because, honeymoon, but also because Jay is 6'4".

Once at a motel here I was given the key to a room that had someone in it, and he was in the bath and flipped out at me and then at the front desk staff. It was terrifying, as I was staying there alone and it was at night.


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 Post subject: Re: Travel Inquiry - S. England to N. Ireland
PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 8:40 am 
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That has never happened to me but I always lock hotel rooms from the inside just in case. I suppose if you were out when that happened someone could steal your stuff! I'll be hiding my valuables in future having read about this!


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 Post subject: Re: Travel Inquiry - S. England to N. Ireland
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 9:55 am 
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It's nice that you'll be seeing different parts of Britain.

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 Post subject: Re: Travel Inquiry - S. England to N. Ireland
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 10:29 am 
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When you coming over? If I happen to be off I will come up to Dublin to meet up.

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 Post subject: Re: Travel Inquiry - S. England to N. Ireland
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 12:20 pm 
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Chard Martyr
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Efcliz wrote:
It's nice that you'll be seeing different parts of Britain.

Ha, yes. I hope you are around! So far we have no dates set.

daisychain...I would love to meet up and I'll let you know when we solidify some dates!


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 Post subject: Re: Travel Inquiry - S. England to N. Ireland
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 12:26 pm 
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Viji - if you're heading to the South West, you're very welcome here. We have Stonehenge.

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 Post subject: Re: Travel Inquiry - S. England to N. Ireland
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 12:32 pm 
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and Bath, which is quite nice for a day trip. but if you can't come out this way, i could possibly come out to London or Brighton.

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 Post subject: Re: Travel Inquiry - S. England to N. Ireland
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 6:54 pm 
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Chard Martyr
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You are all so welcoming, thank you! We would love to visit as many places as possible.


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