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Train queries for day trips from Birmingham

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Mumbai (Bombay...
posts: 893
reviews: 33
Train queries for day trips from Birmingham

Our family of 4 will be staying at Novotel Birmingham Centre May 2-5. We plan to take 2 day trips to Thomasland at Drayton Manor in Tamworth and Stratford-upon-Avon. Based on reading posts on this forum, it seems traveling by train will be the quickest option. I've also read the train travel guide seat61.com/…20fares

But I'm still a bit confused about how to go about getting the tickets.

Birmingham-Stratford-upon-Avon. 2 adults, 2 kids, May 3. Same day return.

Birmingham-Tamworth. 2 adults, 2 kids, Saturday May 4. Same day return.

I would prefer not to be tied to a particular time, if there is no difference in fare.

So should we book the tickets in advance? Or will they get more expensive closer to the journey date.

I was trying to make a return booking from Birmingham to Tamworth. The tickets for 2 adults, 2 kids. I selected particular train times, because I couldn't get to the next step... 10.17am and 7:02pm. The tickets that came up were Anytime Day Return for a total of GBP 22.80. Does this mean, I can travel only on the selected train or anytime that day?

On the next page, I was asked to reserve seats. But if I reserve seats, that locks me into that particular train doesn't it. Won't I lose flexibility? And if I don't reserve seats, will I be able to travel on any train. Or will I have to reserve seats at the station before going on-board?

I've aborted the booking... and posted here hoping to get some clarity about what exactly I was booking.

Ideally I don't want to be tied in to a particular time as we're traveling with small kids.

Also, what would be the advice for booking tickets from Birmingham to Stratford-upon-Avon.

Sorry... if it sounds confusing. But this is my first experience with the train travel in the UK and I'm not sure about the general rules of train travel in the UK.

Thanks a lot.

PS: Am posting on the Train Travel forum too.

Edited: 7:58 am, April 08, 2013
Plymouth
posts: 1,609
reviews: 27
1. Re: Train queries for day trips from Birmingham

Hello! Don't worry, you can just turn up on the day and buy your tickets at the same price as is showing on the web - they won't get more expensive. These are very short journeys, the very cheap 'advance' tickets aren't available on these routes and the difference between 'off peak' and 'anytime' isnt enought to bother about. For such short journeys you needn't worry about reserving seats - if the train is full which is unlikely you can easily stand for a short time.

Note the Stratford train goes from Snow Hill station which is in the centre of Bham but is a different station to New St. Also a few trains involve a change of train at Warwick, but that isnt complicated.

Finally make sure you get returns, cheaper than two singles.

Stirling, United...
Destination Expert
for Stirling
posts: 10,557
reviews: 5
2. Re: Train queries for day trips from Birmingham

Buy your tickets at the station on the day of travel. It will not cost any more. You do not need seat reservations to board the train.

For Tamworth you can travel on any train on an Anytime Day Return ticket.

For Stratford-upon-Avon you can travel on any train on an Anytime Return, or on the 0927 or any later train on an Off-Peak Return which is cheaper. On Saturday/Sunday , Off-Peak is valid all day.

Children are aged 5-15 for railway ticket purposes. Under 5s free. 16s and over are adults.

UK
posts: 10,187
3. Re: Train queries for day trips from Birmingham

Assuming you're all going to travel together, leaving after 9.30 (ie, off-peak), the Stratford journey should be eligible for a GroupSave fare, so pay for the 2 adults and the other 2 passengers go free (age irrelevant). Buy at the time of travel - total cost £14.20.

Edited: 8:35 am, April 08, 2013
Mumbai (Bombay...
posts: 893
reviews: 33
4. Re: Train queries for day trips from Birmingham

Wow... Quick replies... and extra money-saving tips!!!

Am relieved to know, I won't have to rush the family through brekkie on vacation. We'll go to the station and buy tickets for the first train available.

Thanks a lot, Sandy, Bobelinks and Diz :)

Tamworth, United...
Destination Expert
for Staffordshire
posts: 7,607
reviews: 8
5. Re: Train queries for day trips from Birmingham

Do be aware that Tamworth railway station is around 5 miles away from Drayton Manor Theme Park / Thomas Land. You will need a taxi when you get off the train to transfer you to the theme park. They are normally waiting at the station for prospective customers.

Alternatively you could price up a taxi from Birmingham to Drayton Manor because it is situated on the outskirts of Tamworth well before the town and the train station.

Do be aware that Drayton Manor gets veryyyy busy at prime times and your dates coincide with the bank holiday weekend so be prepared to queue. That's queueing to get up the drive and queueing on the road as well as waiting for each ride. Aim to get there as early as possible. Book your tickets online for Drayton Manor and you will save considerably. If you pay upon arrival it will cost you a lot more.

Edited: 10:41 am, April 08, 2013
Mumbai (Bombay...
posts: 893
reviews: 33
6. Re: Train queries for day trips from Birmingham

Thanks for the heads up... DaisyEngland. Based on your advice, I'll book tickets online for sure. I had been toying with the idea of buying them at the venue if the Days Out 2-4-1 gets extended beyond Apr 14. But such a saving might be false economy, if I waste too much vacation time standing in line.

Initially, I was hoping to go to Thomasland on Friday to avoid the queues. But my brother's family (also vacationing in England) has decided to join us. Saturday is the only day possible for them.

So in fact, there might be 4 adults and 3 kids at the train station, assuming our trains come in at around the same time. The Drayton Manor website says that are taxis waiting at the station which can take upto 8 people. Any chance, you might have a rough idea how much the cab fare from Tamworth station to Drayton Manor might be or where I can find such info on the web.

Thanks again :)

Tamworth, United...
Destination Expert
for Staffordshire
posts: 7,607
reviews: 8
7. Re: Train queries for day trips from Birmingham

It's currently £7.50 from the train station to Drayton Manor and £8 return because of the one way system. Based on this price I'd also get a price for a taxi from your hotel in Birmingham because by the time you've paid for the train and then a taxi it might be as cheap to just have a taxi from Birmingham to Drayton Manor. Not sure where the other members of your family are coming from to join you, but it may also be an option for them.

Do make sure you prebook your theme park tickets. We were amazed at what people were willing to be charged on the day. It's a huge saving. Enjoy your time there.

Mumbai (Bombay...
posts: 893
reviews: 33
8. Re: Train queries for day trips from Birmingham

Thanks Daisy England. Will definitely price both travel options and see which works out better. :)

Tamworth, United...
Destination Expert
for Staffordshire
posts: 7,607
reviews: 8
9. Re: Train queries for day trips from Birmingham

Desi_Gal, you must have been on my mind when I was driving past Drayton Manor today (I do so most days to work) and I think I should add that you need to start out as early as possible. The taxi fares are correct according to the price they gave me when I rang them last night, but I'm wondering if they will charge extra for being stuck in traffic. It really does get to be a nightmare in the area. You can queue for simply ages and ages. Do aim to get there ready for when the park opens to get the best value for money for both the taxi and your fair share of rides. Our long range weather forecast is starting to look good and it has (fingers crossed) forecast good weather for May and June and if this is the case then it will be very busy.

Mumbai (Bombay...
posts: 893
reviews: 33
10. Re: Train queries for day trips from Birmingham

Daisy England, I can't thank you enough for calling a cab company to enquire about fares. Folks like you are a blessing, really :)

Diz too has helped out more than she could have imagined on the other forum post by giving me the link to the days out 2-4-1 in Warwickshire.

daysoutguide.co.uk/days-out-in-warwickshire/…

I was showing the kids the attractions on that site hoping to drum up some enthusiasm for the Stratford-upon-Avon attractions... And they came across the Warwick castle... Whoa!!! That's where they want to go.

So I've changed plans slightly. We'll go to Thomas Land on Friday May 3. Hopefully won't be as crowded as on the weekend. And we'll go to Warwick castle on Saturday May 4. There will be re-enactments and other such fun things on that Bank Holiday weekend.

Now hopefully the weather gods will smile on us. Or as my 9-year-old mythology-obsessed son says... Lord Indra... or whoever the Rain God over there is... should not make it rain there, when we go.

Thanks again for the help... :)