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Heathrow - Kings Cross - Inverness

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Jun 29th, 2013, 06:12 AM
  #1
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Heathrow - Kings Cross - Inverness

Arriving at 7 a.m. on a Wednesday, Heathrow. Hope to catch a noon train from Kings Cross to Inverness. We are both 60 and will have carry-ons only, in good shape but not sprinters. We need to get to Kings Cross in time to validate our BritRail passes, change some money and hopefully make a reservation for that train. Is that realistic?
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Jun 29th, 2013, 06:34 AM
  #2
 
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You can validate your BritRail Pass at Heathrow's train station and then take the spiffy Heathrow Express to Paddington Station then a cab or tube or bus the few miles over to King's Cross - BritRail Passes passes in fully on the Heathrow Express, the fastest and most comfy way into town IMO.

Change money at Heathrow - either in ATMs or at the banks outside Customs.

Do you have a first or second-class BfritRail Pass - if fifrst class then IME of decades of annual BritRail Pass trips I have never ever not seen empty seats and usually many of them in first class - 2nd class can be full but even then there are two trains an hour I think Kings X to Edinburgh where you probably change to a train to Inverness - you can just show up and board the train and since it originates in Kings X you should find empty seats - but look to see if those seats may be reserved down the line - look for a reservation tag on seats indicating between which two stations those seats may be reserved.

You can make a seat reservation at Kings X but not sure how close to the train this can be done - I'd just hop on the next train after you get there.

There is also an overnight train from Euston station right to Inverness - spend the day in London and hop the train - and maybe consider staying the first night in London rather than a marathon all-day train ride?

For lots of great info on British trains, using passes, etc check out these IMO fantastic sites - http://www.budgeteuropetravel.com/id11.html; www.ricksteves.com and www.seat61.com.
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Jun 29th, 2013, 06:54 AM
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Yes, you could make a noon train.

Though you could fly up to Aberdeen with Virgin from £58 and be in Scotland in 90 minutes rather than enduring an 8 hour train journey.
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Jun 29th, 2013, 08:23 AM
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>>Though you could fly up to Aberdeen with Virgin from £58 and be in Scotland in 90 minutes rather than enduring an 8 hour train journey.<<

Or even take the express coach to Gatwick and fly to Inverness.

though I suppose you already paid for the BrutRail passes
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Jun 29th, 2013, 01:40 PM
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If you haven't paid for the pass then do consider the flight from Gatwick as the train is an 8 hour journey plus the 5 hours from landing to train and however long you spent in the air plus travel from home to flight.

Even better book tickets from home to Inverness - which probably means flying via Amsterdam which avoids all the hassle of immigration at a mid-point airport, collecting and rechecking luggage and the worries about missing your onward connection (whether train or plane). You could be in Inverness before you even reached Kings Cross
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Jun 29th, 2013, 03:29 PM
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Or maybe they just want to see the lovely English and Scottish countryside as well - do not know their motive - maybe to see something in between London and Inverness and not just airports and tarmmacs? Not saying flight don't make common sense but see some of Britain could be a factor?
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Jun 29th, 2013, 03:45 PM
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If you arrive at 7 AM at Heathrow (which airline?) you can easily make either a 9:05 Virgin flight to Aberdeen (£59) or a 9:50 BA flight (£84) which would put you there at 10:50 or 11:20 respectively. A five minute cab ride later you're at the Dyce rail station, where you wait for the 12:09 PM train direct to Inverness, arrving at 2:13. If you miss the noon train there's another around 1:30.

If you take the HEX to Paddington then tube to Kings Cross, you're probably looking at £45-£50 just to get into the city (vs. £6 or so for the cab ride in Aberdeen). If you went all the way into Aberdeen (don't know if you can activate your pass at the Dyce station or actually on the train) you'd still have time and be hours - hours - ahead.
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Jun 29th, 2013, 03:51 PM
  #8
 
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PQ: >>Or maybe they just want to see the lovely English and Scottish countryside as well <<

They probably won't see much of it -- they will be getting off an overnight flight, will dash across London to Kings Cross, and sit in a train for 8 hours (after sitting in an airplane for HOURS) -- in a jet lagged fog. That would be deadly tiring, they'll likely sleep through most of it which will totally screw up their body clocks for the next 3 days. And much of the scenery is utterly miss-able. Bits are nice - especially once they are in Scotland. But not worth the trek.
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Jun 30th, 2013, 09:40 AM
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If you take the HEX to Paddington then tube to Kings Cross, you're probably looking at £45-£50 just to get into the city>

nope - the HEX is fully covered by their BritRail Pass - just the tube fare to pay.
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Jun 30th, 2013, 10:12 AM
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nope - the HEX is fully covered by their BritRail Pass - just the tube fare to pay.

Right you are. Sorry.
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Jun 30th, 2013, 10:20 AM
  #11
 
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>>nope - the HEX is fully covered by their BritRail Pass - just the tube fare to pay.<<

May be - but the pass won't schelpp their luggage on the Hex, off the HEX, on the tube (or to the taxi queue), off the tube, on the train . . .

Any way you look at it, this is just a lot of messing about to get to Inverness after an overnight flight
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Jun 30th, 2013, 11:56 AM
  #12
 
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janisj - I am not doubting that just correcting some info in case others are reading this and have passes and are taking the HEX or Gatwick Ex or Stansted Ex - I am not saying it is a great idea to do an all-day train trip from the get-go - thus I suggested above a stay overnight in London then they can enjoy a train trip thru England and Scotland, which to some may be unremarkable but to those less jaded and never been to the UK before quite captivating - who ever dreamt there were so so many sheep in the UK and the trip from Newcastle to Edinburgh was rated by some British mag as Britain's most scenic rail line and as it tracks right along the coast I could make a case for that (though the Scottish Highlands rail lines that the OP may take to me are much much more scenic.
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Jul 2nd, 2013, 03:44 PM
  #13
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Many thanks for all your comments. I appreciate all the suggestions, but we already have our return tickets from NY-London and have purchased first class BritRail passes and have made the decision to take the train to Inverness rather than stay a day and night in London. So information about getting to Inverness is what I was hoping for and it is very helpful to get feedback about trains in particular. We have read many horror stories about the theory of rail passes vs. the reality of getting on a train and finding all the seats reserved but we are hoping for the best and have come to the place in life where even screw-ups and bad decisions are acceptable as part of the process of travel and are sometimes the inevitable result of making plans from 2000 miles away. Hopefully we will have many more years, and future trips - knock wood - to rectify mistakes made on this trip. Thanks again,
Char
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Jul 2nd, 2013, 03:53 PM
  #14
 
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In which case use the HEX but take a taxi from Paddington to Kings Cross, rather than fighting the tube during the morning scrum.
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Jul 2nd, 2013, 05:27 PM
  #15
 
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Definitely a cab The tube scrum will be difficult. But realize the taxi queue can be very long at Paddington during the morning commute. So factor in extra time.
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