For the benefit of anybody weighing up the pros and cons of the different options for theatre breaks, London by rail versus coach breaks versus the ‘self-drive’ possibilities, I offer some important information and a few useful ideas which may help you choose.
Breaks in London by Rail
One of the ways in which our theatre breaks are thoughtfully put together is demonstrated by the way in which Hotels for theatre breaks to London by rail can always found close to the main London railway terminus stations, which is way more convenient than having to trek out to some distant suburb or alternative centre. For the coach trips, great value high quality Hotels further afield make sense, because you can all travel by coach right into the West End theatre where your chosen show is on, and back again afterwards. But if you are arriving by rail, then you have your own luggage to lug about and you want to be able to get installed in your comfortable Hotel room as soon as possible. Similarly on departure day being within striking distance of the station allows you to fully enjoy the whole theatre break London experience right up to the last minutes.
Consider Your Options – Rail, Coach, Self Drive and Air
Realistically, one of the main deciding factors is going to be the unchangeable place where you are coming from. If you live near any of the fast mainline backbone rail services, then it’s always going to be a tempting option. If you live close to Birmingham, Sheffield, Bristol, Lincoln, Manchester, Cardiff, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool or Newcastle – in fact any of the main England and Wales cities, then you can take advantage of the West Coast line, the electric East coast, Great Western, Midland and other main intercity rail services which will get you to London at speed and in relative comfort. For Scottish theatre fans, and there are many, then it’s slightly different because the greater distances involved can make air travel a valuable time saver. You really have to weigh up all the individual legs of the journey to compare total door to door times. How are you going to travel from your house to the railway station? Drive and park at the station? Take a taxi, a bus, or can you perhaps get a lift from a neighbour in exchange for returning the favour when they want to travel themselves? A member of the household who isn’t accompanying you on your romantic theatre break weekend and who can drive will come in very handy if you can arrange for them to drive your own car or travel with your luggage in theirs.
Hotels for London Theatre Breaks by Rail
Look carefully at the location of the Hotels offered with each of the theatre breaks found after searching for your preferred combination of travel dates and West end shows. If you are arriving from Southampton into either Waterloo or Victoria, and you are going to see Wicked at the Apollo, which is also right next to Victoria Station, then you probably won’t see any advantage in having a hotel near to Kings Cross St Pancras. But if you are coming down the line from Bradford, Newcastle, Leeds, Lincoln, Cambridge, Peterborough or Edinburgh then it’s all good to go.
London by Rail, Car or Coach?
Sitting on the train just seems a lot less like dead time than when you are behind the wheel of a car. You can read a book, catch up with DVDs (please use headphones) gaze out of the window or have a quiet conversation with your partner. There’s a lot less stress involved than on the motorways, and even on a coach tour you can still get caught up in traffic. The trains aren’t 100% reliable of course, but delays and cancellations are pretty rare on the busy main lines these days. My advice would be to avoid travelling on a Sunday if you can. There are still occasional necessary engineering works and Sunday travel tends to be just a little bit less frequent and direct than on other days.
Even though London is situated in the South East corner of England, if you look at the way all the railways connect over the UK it seems as if all lines end in London. So for many people booking theatre breaks, London by rail is an obvious option to consider. Arriving in London by car poses more problems than it solves, even with a Hotel parking space and coach journeys are just fine when you are in the mood for it. Sometimes you want to be outgoing, feel part of a group, or just be taken care of and other times you want to be part of a smaller more intimate and independent group of just the two of you, for the occasion.