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family in Cambridge - so should I...?

Vancouver, Canada
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family in Cambridge - so should I...?

I'm flying from Vancouver, BC., and hope to be travelling by Sept. 2014.

Do I arrive at Heathrow or Gatwick or Manchester?

I'm hoping to surprise my British family with my arrival but not quite sure how to do it.

Thinking 3 weeks max. vacation time & wanting to have two nights hotel upon arrival in England & two nights before returning home.

And I will also book my own accommodation in Cambridge.

Your suggestions are most welcome!

London, United...
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1. Re: family in Cambridge - so should I...?

Not Manchester. From Heathrow, you can get a coach (bus) directly to Cambridge. From Gatwick, you can get a train to St Pancras and then cross the road to King's Cross station and get a train from there to Cambridge. Depending on traffic and time of day and how well you time the train transfer, these routes will probably take roughly the same amount of time, so get the flight that's better priced and/or timed.

Vancouver, Canada
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2. Re: family in Cambridge - so should I...?

OK, good, thank you!

Was hoping to make a stop in Manchester as my father was born there.

London, United...
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3. Re: family in Cambridge - so should I...?

You can get a train from Manchester to Cambridge (though would require 1-2 changes en route). Manchester is in north west England. Cambridge (and London), south east England.

UK
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4. Re: family in Cambridge - so should I...?

I'm hoping to surprise my British family with my arrival but not quite sure how to do it.

--------

Surprise them with your announcement not your arrival. Or you may get a surprise when you turn up and find they've gone away. It's happened.

Cambridge, England...
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5. Re: family in Cambridge - so should I...?

Manchester to Cambridge is 3.5-4h by train, wih 1-3 changes depending on route (oddly enough, more changes is generally faster!). Into Manchester from the airport is 15 minutes or so.

Vancouver, Canada
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for London
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6. Re: family in Cambridge - so should I...?

Unless you decide to fly with Air Transat to LGW Gatwick, booking with BA, AC or VS (the latter airline are increasing services to five flights a week from late May through September) will see you fly from YVR to LHR Heathrow. Of the three carriers who fly to that airport I'd chooose to travel as mentioned above, although those who like VS like it a lot.

If you choose to fly with BA to LHR T5 you may book a flight from there to MAN, and from Manchester Piccadilly station travel by rail to London Euston. If you don't want to stay in the Smoke for a few days you may take the 10 minute walk from Euston to King's Cross and from there a train to Cambridge.

If you book a through ticket, YVR-LHR-MAN / LHR-YVR then make sure you allow at least 90 minutes between scheduled arrival from YVR and departure to MAN. Your bag will be checked through, but it's not out of the question for BA84 or BA86 to circle in the stacks before finally putting wheels down at Heathrow. Booking with the minimum connection time could lead to headaches aplenty, so give yourself more time and decrease the potential for aggro.

www.nationalrail.co.uk for trains from Manchester to London and from KX to Cambridge. Tickets go on sale about 12 weeks in advance; there is no need to book for the trip to Cambridge, just buy on the day.

Vancouver, Canada
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7. Re: family in Cambridge - so should I...?

Good info!

Cambridge is my top priority...anything else is gravy.

Is there any difference between Cambridge & Cambridgeshire?

Vancouver, Canada
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8. Re: family in Cambridge - so should I...?

Cambridgeshire is the county, Cambridge the city, which also happens to be the county town of Cambridgeshire.

Edited: 08 February 2014, 01:43
Cambridge, United...
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9. Re: family in Cambridge - so should I...?

I emigrated to Canada from Cambridge 21 years ago and have travelled home more times than I care to remember. I always take the coach from Heathrow direct to Cambridge now. Fighting through London via the Heathrow Express, underground and another train to Cambridge is just painful. Far better to arrive, walk to the bus terminal (close), grab a seat and just wait until you pull into Cambridge Bus Station. I shudder when I remember the years of taking the train.

Cambridge, United...
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10. Re: family in Cambridge - so should I...?

Oh and yes, I concur with the comment above about surprising people. I'd let one person in Cambridge know so that they can make sure you don't arrive to a dark house !!