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London to St. Ives with toddler

New York
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London to St. Ives with toddler

I'm trying to figure out the best logistics of getting my family from London over to St. Ives. (actually Carbis Bay) in August. I've never been to Cornwall and have a three year old (well, he'll be three by August!). My husband will be traveling and then can meet us in St. Ives so I will need to do this trip solo with my son. I can't drive and hate flying unfortunately, so would prefer the train. I'm torn between a day train, and risking meltdowns during a VERY long 6 hour trip, or the sleeper train, and risking meltdowns by a freaked out toddler in a small compartment all night.

He's a pretty good traveler, but a very typical high energy, rambunctious and talkative little guy.

Part of me would like the sleeper train and hope it could be seen as a big adventure for him and essentially sleep - hopefully - through most of it, but would love some input from anyone with more experience than me!

Vancouver, Canada
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for London
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1. Re: London to St. Ives with toddler

Since there are only a handful of flights from London Gatwick airport to Newquay, flying is not much of an option in any event. The trek from central London to Gatwick, lead time before the flight and shortish drive from Newquay to St Ives would probably not do a great deal to placate Master 14 I suspect.

It *is* a long journey by rail, so unless you're willing to break it and travel over two days you will have to take the train or (and I wouldn't recommend this) a National Express coach. Consider booking into First rather than Standard class if you take a daytime train. There will be fewer seats in the carriage, refreshments available, and with power points at the seats, if you will have a laptop you will have the option to let Master 14 watch something to distract him on the journey. Take a blanket along so if he does get tired you can cover him and let him nap.

Were I making a trip such as yours this would be a time I would consider spending more than I might want in order to obtain a better outcome. August will be a busy time for the train to Cornwall, so aim for comfort and a bit of spoiling to make the long journey easier for both of you.

Bodmin, United...
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for Cornwall
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2. Re: London to St. Ives with toddler

He will probably really enjoy the train. Take something he enjoys doing, at that age they love repetition anyway, so a couple of "activity" type books, where he might have to count something, or lift a flap would be good. Mine liked to play simple games like "snap" too. You can get up now and then and he can walk with you to the buffet car when he starts to get a bit restless. A laptop you can show him a DVD on is a good standby, and one of the carriages on that train has seat back TV, so you could also let him watch something on there (take earphones so he can hear!).

You can also play games spotting things out of the window (can you see any boats? etc) and if he is chatty, I expect he will melt the hearts of some fellow travellers too.

Don't worry too much about it, it's not a horrendous journey. If you go into it prepared, and in a positive frame of mind, expecting him to enjoy it and behave, then he most likely will.

truro
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3. Re: London to St. Ives with toddler

Hi

I would recommend the train by day.

I used to make long distance train journeys by myself with my kids when they were toddlers.

Mostly they enjoy it,take a packed lunch,some colouring items,a comic etc...

I won't recommend the sleeper!

We took the sleeper up to London.It was the trip from hell.The AC was freezing and I mean bone chilling freezing.

We had to unpack stuff out of our cases not just to put on but wrap around our heads like turbans.

When we departed all the travellers were complaining and saying they felt hyperthermic.

england
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4. Re: London to St. Ives with toddler

first class travellers are not always welcoming to young children., personally I'd travel second class. Get a new toy and give him part way through the journey. Books, colouring book, and lots of snacks are essentials. A portable DVD player is less expensive to replace than a laptop. Hopefully the motion will lull him to sleep for part of the journey. Travel as light as you can or chose someone safe looking to mind your things when you chase the aisle after him. Good luck.

Plymouth
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5. Re: London to St. Ives with toddler

I've done this journey many times on my own, and am currently debating the best way of doing it with my three year old grandson. IMO train travel is better than a car for this age group - they can see out of the window, they can walk around, eat, go to the toilet whenever they need, play games, chat up other passengers - just opening and shutting the pull down table keeps him occupied for some time!

Bear in mind a three year old travels free, but this gives them no right to a seat. My thoughts so far have been

1. The sleeper -, doesn't leave London until midnight, so what do we do until then? Would be fine if he sleeps, but will he? Train gets in to St Erth (where you change for Carbis Bay) very early in morning, what to do if you can't get on to your accommodation until later?

2. Day journey first class. More comfortable, less crowded, good chance he could get a seat if he goes free. My ticket will cost more first class. But might be embarrassing if he disturbs other passengers. But we are as entitled to first class as anyone else

3 Day journey 2nd class - more crowded, less space in individual seats, probably other children travelling, disturbance to others is less of an issue, my ticket will be cheaper BUT greater risk he won't be able to get his own seat for all or part of the journey.

I haven't yet made final decision but am veering towards day 2nd class and buying him a ticket to ensure he has his own seat.

Hope this helps

Cornwall,UK
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for Cornwall, Isles of Scilly
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6. Re: London to St. Ives with toddler

Just make sure you aren't booked into the 'quiet' carriage.

england
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7. Re: London to St. Ives with toddler

with a 5 year old you could get a family railcard and get 1/3 off seats, possibly saving more than the card cost. Not sure if you can buy a card for a 3 year you want to have a ticket for.

New York
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8. Re: London to St. Ives with toddler

Thanks for all the tips! Do any of these trains have a family car like the some of the Eurostar ones? Less embarrassing if he has a meltdown if surrounded by fellow weary parents!

Plymouth
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9. Re: London to St. Ives with toddler

No designated family cars - in effect they are all family cars apart from, for obvious reasons, the quiet carriage. Just don't choose that option when you book

10. Re: London to St. Ives with toddler

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