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Advice on day trip from London in Sept 2010

Illinois
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Advice on day trip from London in Sept 2010

I am planning a day trip from London to the Cambridge area in mid Sept 2010. The main purpose is to go to the American Cemetery in Madingley and the Imperial War Museum in Duxford. Between these two, a lot of my day is taken up with travel. I have come up with 2 approximate plans:

1st plan

1) Train Kings Cross to Cambridge

2) HOHO Bus to Cemetery 10:06 (arrive about 10:40?)

3) Cemetery 1 hour

4) HOHO Bus into town (would stop by where Drummer St turns into Parker St behind Emmanuel College be the same as the City Centre bus stop for the Citi 7 bus to IWM Duxford or should I keep going to train station?)

5) Citi 7 bus to Duxford leaves train station at 13:25, arr IWM 14:08

6) IWM until 17:00, last bus back to train station 17:22, arr station 18:10

2nd plan puts IWM first, leaving train station 9:25, has the same amount of time in both places, and finishes at American Cemetery at 16:00.

With either plan, I might have a little time in Cambridge itself, but then could not use the HOHO bus back to the station.

I found 2 60 min self guided audio tours of Cambridge here:

www.tourist-tracks.com/tours/cambridge.html

Does this seem worth it? In that case, I should do the museum first as I would finish earlier in the day and then have more daylight for walking around Cambridge. I guess I will eat lunch at IWM, as there's not really any time budgeted in there for eating.

Any other suggestions or comments on the plan? I know it looks really strictly timed (and has a lot of walking), but I was going by the times of the HOHO bus and the Citi 7 bus to see how it would fit together.

Cambridge, United...
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1. Re: Advice on day trip from London in Sept 2010

If you come up on a Sunday remember the last bus out of Duxford museum is 1631 - and a lot of public transport slows down on Sunday.

The IWM has a lot there - OK Im a bit of a plane nut and have a FoD membership so I can walk in and out but I still spend half a day there any time I visit and that won't necessarily get round everything. I'd think you might not really have time to do much in the city itself if you are travelling from London and want to visit both cemetery for an hour and the IWM.

If there was one thing to tack on then given your visit choices it would be this, go into town after the tourist visits to the cemetary and Duxford, find the Eagle pub, ignore the plaque about discovery of DNA, go into the back room of the pub and look up - if the cemetary means anything to you, that ceiling and the graffitti left behind by the WW2 aircrew may well mean as much or more. Eat some food there, or just have a drink and get a later train back to London.

Sydney, Australia
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2. Re: Advice on day trip from London in Sept 2010

It's a lot to try to squeeze into one day, partly because of the travel. The problem lies with having to go back into Cambridge and then out again to each attraction

I think you can save a fair chunk of time to free up some more space for Cambridge, but it may cost you a bit of money. My suggestion is:

Take a stopping train from London Liverpool Street towards Cambridge, and get off at Whittlesford station. This is about 1 mile from the IWM at Duxford. Walk from the station to the IWM (it's an uninspiring walk along a busy road, but this way you can time yourself to get there as early as possible after the museum opens, which is 10am. If you take the 0828 train from London, it arrives at Whittlesford at 0930. Dawdle a bit on the walk and you'll get to the museum just at opening time

Spend 2 or 3 hours there and instead of catching buses in and out of Cambridge, book a private hire car (a minicab/taxi) to the cemetery; by road up the M11 this journey only takes 10 minutes, whereas messing about with buses will take you about 1.5 hours to make the journey

Then from the cemetery you can catch the HOHO bus back into town, and you should be there late afternoon which will give you plenty of daylight hours to walk around and do a quick tour, have a drink and a bite to eat, and catch the train back to London

The extra cost would be the difference between the taxi fare and the return bus trip from Cambridge to Duxford - maybe £15 or so? But I think you'd give yourself much more time to spend on what you are going there for, rather than spend all your time on travel between the two venues

Illinois
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3. Re: Advice on day trip from London in Sept 2010

Yes, I had already come to the conclusion that I shouldn't come on Sunday because the buses start later and end earlier. I would like more time at IWM, but I couldn't figure out a way to do it. I don't know if I need an hour at the cemetery, since I haven't been there. We went to the one at Omaha Beach on a private tour and had about 30 min there, and that felt a little rushed. I figured I'd rather budget more time than I need than not enough.

Can I take a train London-Whittlesford and then Cambridge to London as a return, or do I have to buy 2 singles? Otherwise I could take the first bus from Cambridge to the IWM, which leaves the train station at 9:25 and gets to IWM at 10:08 and then follow the rest of your plan.

Can I get a taxi from the IWM, or do I have to book it in advance? If I have to book it in advance, then I assume I have to know what time to tell them to come. I guess that's not that different from the bus though. If I need to book in advance, is there a company you would recommend?

Thanks for your help.

Sydney, Australia
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4. Re: Advice on day trip from London in Sept 2010

Yes, you can buy a return; you'd just buy a return ticket to Cambridge and get off at Whittlesford instead of staying on the train to Cambridge. As trains from Cambridge travel to two London termini, they are sold as "From Cambridge to London Terminals" rather than a named station

You've got a point on taking the first bus out of Cambridge - So you could take a fast train to Cambridge, catch the bus and get to the IWM by 10am or so, or do it by using a slow train and walking from Whittlesford. To be honest the former probably makes more sense, especially if the weather is a bit marginal

I don't know which taxi firms are the best to try but I do think you'll need to book - otherwise you could be waiting around a fair while which defeats the object of taking a taxi in the first place

Cambs
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5. Re: Advice on day trip from London in Sept 2010

I'm not sure I would fancy the walk from Whittlesford to Duxford. The distance isn't enormous - about 1.5 miles, but for part of it you have to walk along the A505 (is there a pavement - I pass along there several times each week, but can't remember?) and then you have to cross over the motorway junction.

South Cambs taxis are often to be seen at Whittlesford Station. I think you have to book them. The telephone number is: 01223 83 48 58 and website is:

www.southcambstaxis.co.uk

Surrey UK
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6. Re: Advice on day trip from London in Sept 2010

I don't know if this makes a material difference, but travelling early by train on a weekday will cost you £27.50. That comes down to £20 on a Saturday or £14 if you travel from and to London Liverpool Street (the slower route). The risk with a Saturday is disruption as a result of engineering works which can mean a tedious and time-wasting transfer on to a bus. But you would be unlucky if both routes to Cambridge were closed for engineering works on the same day. While it's true that you can use tickets from King's Cross to come back to Liverpool Street, you can't use the cheapest tickets from Liverpool Street to return to King's Cross. The train operating companies are different. Details of train times and fares are here:

http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/

Illinois
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7. Re: Advice on day trip from London in Sept 2010

Unfortunately, I already have something booked for the only Sat I am there, so it's Sun or a weekday. I guess I'll just have to pay the extra £7.50, as I don't think I will have enough time if I wait until 9:30 for off peak tickets. I'm thinking that I will do the early train from Kings Cross, as it is also more convenient on the London end, being only about 5 min from my hotel there. I will need to do more research on taxis. I didn't see much searching on the forum, mostly I got posts about taxis from the airports.

8. Re: Advice on day trip from London in Sept 2010

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