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Train Travel on Christmas Eve

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Train Travel on Christmas Eve

We will be staying in a cottage over the holiday season near Grantham. We are planning to spend Christmas Eve in London, Christmas Day back in our cottage and then drive to a hotel near Gatwick on the 26th (as we will be flying out of Gatwick on the 27th).

Are train services running Christmas Eve? Will we be able to get back to our cottage near Grantham if we spend the day in London? Would driving as opposed to taking the train into London on Christmas Eve be a total nightmare?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated! This is my 3rd time to the UK, but never over the holiday season. Thank you!

Bingley, United...
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1. Re: Train Travel on Christmas Eve

Trains will stop running earlier on Christmas Eve - when they'll stop hasn't been determined yet. But at a guess you should be able to get a train at around 5:00pm

Corringham, United...
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2. Re: Train Travel on Christmas Eve

http://www.eastcoast.co.uk/

Their timetable only goes up to Nov 21st for trains to Grantham from Kings Cross.

Suggest you check in a month or so to see when their trains stop running on Christmas eve

Having said that some train services do finish early on 24th Dec though not sure about inter city services

Edited: 21 August 2014, 15:14
London, United...
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3. Re: Train Travel on Christmas Eve

Trains on Christmas Eve will probably be busy with people going home for Christmas, there maybe only standing room if you haven't got seat reservations.

Harrow, United...
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4. Re: Train Travel on Christmas Eve

I used to travel on the same route xmas eve between york and london and even with seat reserved ended up struggling to get on the train due to the amount of luggage/people stood in the aisle/entrance in every carriage. Maybe first would have been better?? Many times ended up stood like a sardine for nearly 2 hours

London, United...
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5. Re: Train Travel on Christmas Eve

Is the cottage near Grantham now a done deal? If not, is it possible that somewhere nearer to London - and Gatwick - would be a better option?

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6. Re: Train Travel on Christmas Eve

"Many times ended up stood like a sardine for nearly 2 hours"

Grantham is an hour from London, so two hours' standing is impossible. The last train to Grantham on Xmas Eve last year, BTW, left KX at 1930.

Relatively few people travel long distance on Xmas Eve these days: London is almost deserted, and on my line, there's almost no-one travelling after 1800. In fairness, these things change from year to year (anecdotes about what trains were like in the 1970s really don't get us no further than irrelevant sobstories about journeys to York), and though fewer people travel on Xmas Eve now than 30 yeats ago, there ARE more of them when Xmas Eve's midweek (as it is this year)

To avoid the outside possibility you MIGHT have to stand for an hour, I really wouldn't reorganise any of a holiday, BUT:

Do realise that some attractions close all day, or early, Xmas Eve. Most major museums closed all day Dec 24 last year, though most commercially run attractions didn't. Lists usually appear on this site around late Sept.

Driving absolutely ISN'T a nightmare on most Xmas Eve roads, and parking in London is a pleasure, if pricey, as lomng as we don't have one of those one Xmas in 20 where there's savage frost and our systems collapse.. My experience used to be that the northbound rush out on the A1 was over by 1600 - though I'd try to find someone with more recent experience of that road than me. As a rule, long-distance driving before Xmas is staggered over several days: the killers are usually a couple of days after, if everyone goes back to London at once - or at certain suburban bottlenecks, if everyone goes post-Xmas shopping at once.

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7. Re: Train Travel on Christmas Eve

Thank you everyone for the advice so far!

We have the option of going on the 23rd as opposed to the 24th as well. Would you recommend this instead? Also, we will already have a rental car...so that is definitely an option as opposed to the train. We just are uncertain what to expect with regards to parking and traffic.

London, United...
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8. Re: Train Travel on Christmas Eve

Christmas eve is not technically a public holiday, so it may be that normal parking and congestion charge costs apply. That said, many businesses shut or close early and many people take that day as leave, so the roads and parking will probably be quieter, as long as you avoid top shopping areas.

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9. Re: Train Travel on Christmas Eve

I would visit on the 23rd - apart from anything else, many major sites museums and galleries are closed on the 24th - and I would come by train. The journey takes around 1h to 1h 12 each way and if you buy Advance tickets (which are non changeable/cancellable) you can get a seat reservation as well as the cheaper fares.

And I would disregard Flanner;s 'advice' - trains north and to Scotland will be absolutely rammed on Xmas Eve. The time this may not happen is when the 25th falls on a Sun or Mon and travel can be more staggered.

10. Re: Train Travel on Christmas Eve

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