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Just when I thought I had it all planned - UGH!

maryland
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Just when I thought I had it all planned - UGH!

Well, I had the whole "quick" trip planned.......we arrive early am on June 21st and leave in the afternoon of the 23rd for Spain. My husband just informed me that he has a business meeting the afternoon of our arrival - in Birmingham!

My questions.....how far of a train ride is Birmingham from London (we are at the Holiday Inn Kensington Forum). I thought maybe we'd just take a nap and a short walk without him until he returns and then we can all go to dinner. But now I'm wondering if there is anything in Birmingham - should we tag along with him? I will be with my three boys (ages 5, 11 and 14) and they will be tired! But, if we can't get in our hotel yet, it could give us something to do. After traveling all night though, I think our best bet is to wait to check into the hotel and take a nap though. Any thoughts????

Southlake, Texas
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11. Re: Just when I thought I had it all planned - UGH!

1) Agreed, do anything but DO NOT NAP! You'll adjust much better if you try to sleep on the plane then when you arrive in the UK try to stay up until at least 9 or 10pm. This way you will get on the European clock much more quickly.

2) I went to Birmingham last month for the BBC Good Food Show. We got there at 9.30am, after a 1 1/2 hour train ride from Euston. By 1pm, we were done, so we went to the tourist office at the NEC and tried to find something to do in Birmingham until our train at 6.30pm - alas, we were so underwhelmed we paid an extra 70 pounds to GET OUT of Birmingham early (bl**dy non-changeable tickets on Virgin Trains)

Stay in London. Go to Harrods if it's hot. But whatever you do, don't go to Birmingham!

(Apologies to Brummies, it's just my opinion, do not skewer me please...)

Windermere, Florida
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752 posts
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12. Re: Just when I thought I had it all planned - UGH!

onward...yes, it is my husband....and waxworks Diana. I need to get another photo in here to fool you all...who else have we met...hmmm...

Also, yes people were wearing shorts. When it gets as hot as it was here, you will almost wear anything (or nothing) even if it is not acceptable. I never wear shorts when I travel (except to Hawaii or the Bahamas!) but I was actually looking for something to wear other than the pants I had. I had one pair of jean capris that I sorely wished were dressier. The other thing I wish I had brought was a lovely summer skirt and some sandels...that is what others were wearing that was an acceptable alternative to shorts. That said, my husband wore shorts a couple of times in our neighborhood (Notting Hill) but that is kind of a trendy, young hip area and lots of people in the restautants were wearing them. Alas...those young people can get away with a lot that we somewhat more mature people cannot! (Not that he is young...he is just tan and wears shorts well!)

Seriously...when it was not....you saw people in all kinds of dress and undress so it almost didn't matter.

maryland
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27 posts
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13. Re: Just when I thought I had it all planned - UGH!

Wow - you guys are great. I just finally got back to the computer and look at all this advice! I'm sold - No Birmingham!

I agree with you all about the No naps in theory....but in 5 years of flying over to Spain, I've never been able to go napless.....I know, I'm a whoos (how the heck do you spell that anyhow!). My kids never sleep on the plane - At all! Eeeek.

Anyhow, we're doing the hop on/hop off tour on our full day there.....the 22nd. I love the ideas you had though for the first afternoon. Never thought about the science museum. But the walking, picnic and gardens sound nice too.

The good thing about hubby working one afternoon is now he can have his company pay for our hotel room and taxi from Heathrow. Which in turn gives me more money to play in London!

How often do the trains leave for Birmingham? If my husband has a 2 pm meeting, how long can I truly expect him to be gone for (let's say the meeting is from 2 - 4 or so). I'm thinking 12 -6 pm maybe?

Thanks for helping me make the best of this. Now, if I can just get through the last days of school, work and sports and find the time to pack, we're good to go. One week and counting!

La Rochelle
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14. Re: Just when I thought I had it all planned - UGH!

If you have to nap, you have to nap. Don't worry too much about it. Just set your alarm clock so you don't overdo it. I always nap if I'm tired, as I find it difficult to sleep on planes, and it's never done me any harm, but then my body clock's pretty flexible compared to other people's.

Trains to Birmingham are very regular - every 15 mins or so, but they depart from different stations (Marylebone and Euston) so every half hour from each station. Your husband's best bet is to travel Virgin from Euston. If he can afford first class, so much the better. Virgin First Class is wicked. I think Virgin use pendolinos on this route, and if this is the case, he should *not* sit in the very first carriage. These are tilting trains and the closer you are to the front of the train the more nauseous you get.

If his meeting is 2-4, at a location other that Birmingham New Street station, he probably need to leave London around 11:30 and will be back by 5:00. Remember to take into account the time it gets to get from the station to the meeting location, which involves getting off the train, walking to the exit of the station, queuing for a cab and finally travelling to his destination.

You can check train times here: http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/

La Rochelle
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15. Re: Just when I thought I had it all planned - UGH!

Let me start again...

If his meeting is 2-4, at a location other than Birmingham New Street station, he probably needs to leave London around 11:30 and will be back by 6:00 - 6:30. Remember to take into account the time it gets to get from the station to the meeting location, which involves getting off the train, walking to the exit of the station, queuing for a cab and finally travelling to his destination.

OK I think that's better ;-)

La Rochelle
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16. Re: Just when I thought I had it all planned - UGH!

Duh! still didn't get it right... but you'll get the gist. It's too early in the morning for me.

Another useful link: www.virgintrains.co.uk/travellingwithus

london, england
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17. Re: Just when I thought I had it all planned - UGH!

Dont go to Birmingham ( sorry Brummies). Stay put and take up some of the suggestions listed. Although I would say that your 11 and 14 year old might find a childrens playground a tad boring. There are loads of shops they might like on Kensington High Street or Fulham Road. Try 'River Island' or 'Urban Outfitters.'If jet lag kicks in, your kids might like to see a matinee of something like Billy Elliot, which might tie in nicely with your husbands return. Anyway, enjoy yourselves. Hope the weather stays good

Scotland, United...
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for South Ayrshire, Glasgow
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18. Re: Just when I thought I had it all planned - UGH!

I think that economy on virgin trains is excellent and way better than any of the other companies - don't worry if he can't go 1st class.

If you are feeling tired then perhaps hitting the shops (particularly UK teen mecca, Topshop on Oxford street) might be a bit too fraught, but you'll know how you feel on the day.

There are probably some nice shops a bit closer to your hotel if you don't fancy dragging a reluctant five year old on the tube to very hot and very sticky central London.

Not long now!

Calgary, Canada
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19. Re: Just when I thought I had it all planned - UGH!

Deb ~> Thanks for the info. I don't get how women can wear skirts even in winter but men can't wear shorts when it's hot. I've seen skirts that should be banned.

Nance ~> Enjoy your trip. I'm jealous that part of your time is paid by your husbands employment.

maryland
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20. Re: Just when I thought I had it all planned - UGH!

Thanks again everyone!

Yes, the husband's work paying part is a plus - although it would be nice to escape the job sometimes also.

You're suggestions are much appreciated! Today was the last day of school and my work.......so vacation time is getting close!