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London, Edinburgh, and Brugge logistics questions

London, Edinburgh, and Brugge logistics questions

Mar 9th, 2019, 12:09 PM
  #1  
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London, Edinburgh, and Brugge logistics questions

I am planing a trip to the UK and Belgium in May for me and my husband and I have a few questions.
Our itenerary is as follows:
- Arrive from U.S. on Delta at LHR on Sunday at 11:05 am then fly on to Edinburgh on British Airways departing Sunday at 15:20. (Not a through flight)
- Spend 3 nights in Edinburgh, hotel in Hunters Square area, explore Edinburgh for 2 full days.
- Wednesday at 8:45 am depart from Gate J and K Bus Station with Rabbies Tours for 4 day, 3 night tour. 2 nights Inverness and 1 Fort William
- Saturday evening return to Edinburgh for 1 night staying in St. Andrew Square
- Sunday British Airways flight to Brussels, depart Edinburgh 8:40 am, arrive in Brussels at 15:40 then go on to Brugge for 2 nights staying in city center
- Tuesday Eurostar Any Belgium Station ticket to London- depart Brugge 11:10 arrive Midi 12:10, depart Brussels Midi 12:52 pm arrive in London at 14:05 London for 3 nights, hotel near Trafalgar Square
- Friday Depart LHR 12:35 pm

Questions
1) I found a good deal on round trip airfare to LHR from the U.S. so I jumped on it and started to plan our trip after airfare was booked. We decided to include Scotland for this trip and thought that since we would already be at the airport, we could just head right to Edinburgh when we arrived. We are scheduled to arrive 11:05 am from the U.S. and I booked a 15:20 flight to Edinburgh thinking that a 4 hr 15 min. Layover would be plenty of time to go through customs/passport control, pick up luggage and go through security again for our next flight. I have since read some things that passport control at LHR is now taking 2 to 3 hours to process non UE residents instead of what should be no more that 45 minutes. Is this true? Should 4 hours and 15 minutes be enough time? If we get hung up going through passport control and miss our BA flight, what would our options be?

2) I know when we get to Edinburgh we will just want to get to the hotel with the least amount to hassle as possible. I thought I read something somewhere that said to be aware of certain taxis at the airport. Are the taxi stands at the airport safe?

3) For our Rabbies tour from Edinburgh, they specifically state a baggage restriction to 1 carry on size bag per person. Now, since we are traveling from the U.S. for 2 weeks to a cooler climate, there is no way we can only bring carry on size luggage. I figure that we can combine our stuff together into one larger bag and store the other one for the 3 night tour. From my research, it looks like the best place to do that for one bag, for that length of time, would be the train station. Would that be correct? If yes, since we are staying in Hunter Square, is that walkable to the train station pulling luggage? Or would it be better to get a taxi, drop off our bag and taxi on to the bus station?

4) When I first started researching for my trip a few months ago, I thought that viator had a taxi from Brussels airport to Brugge for about a $180 now when I look it up it is listed as $230. That’s a huge diffence. What should a taxi from Brussels to Brugge cost? I was hoping to do the taxi for under $200 instead of dealing with transferring to the train station, etc. Any recommendations for a taxi company?

5) For the trip back to London we plan to take the train from Brugge to London. I have tickets for the 12:52 train departure from Brussels. The departure times for the trains leaving Brugge are 9:10 and 11:10 the 11:10 train arrives in Brussels at 12:10. That would only be a 42 min transfer time. Would that be enough time or would the 9:10 train be recommended?

Thanks in advance!


Last edited by Canon; Mar 9th, 2019 at 12:48 PM.
Canon is offline  
Mar 9th, 2019, 12:27 PM
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1). No one can tell what the Passport control situation will be on the day. But I've see the airport staff being very helpful when one is on a short connection. If the queues are enormous, inform someone in uniform of your departure time and they will move you to the front. Traveling carry-on only would help a lot.

2) I have absolutely no idea what you could have read. Taxis in Edinburgh are totally reliable.

3) >>Now, since we are traveling from the U.S. for 2 weeks to a cooler climate, there is no way we can only bring carry on size luggage.<<

Why not?! In Dec. I did a trip to Germany (LOTS of snow) and London with carry-on only. May is not winter anywhere you will be going. Hunter Sq is just off the Royal Mile so and easy walk to the station being all down hill. But it would be a slog with large bags.

4) >>I thought that viator had a taxi from Brussels airport to Brugge for about a $180 now when I look it up it is listed as $230<<

Viator is just a reseller of other tickets and tours. But why do you want to take a taxi service from Brussels to Bruges? You can take a bus for a tiny fraction of that, or you can take the train BRU > Brussels the Brussel > Bruges for a bit larger fraction of that.

4) (really 5) >>That would only be a 42 min transfer time.<<

That is much more than you'd need.
janisj is online now  
Mar 9th, 2019, 01:05 PM
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Sunday British Airways flight to Brussels, depart Edinburgh 8:40 am, arrive in Brussels at 15:40 then go on to Brugge for 2 nights staying in city center>

7 hrs for a flight that short - must be big layover somewhere. Taking train from Edinburgh to London and then Eurostar to Brussels and train to Bruges could be quicker than that.

Trains from Brussels Zavantem Airport to Bruges is so so simple - with one easy change at any of three Brusels stations would save you a few hundred bucks and may be faster - taking all in all just 1 1/2 hours. You can change at Gare du Nord -much less hectic than Midi station and with a ticket you just take any train that day - could spend few hours in Brussels too and see the Mannequin Pis and Grand' Place, two most famous things - put bags in lockers at say Gare Central - just a short walk from those two things and downtown Brussels (not sure Central has luggage storage as it is a relatively small station.

4- The departure times for the trains leaving Brugge are 9:10 and 11:10 - check schedules better - there is also a 9:30ish, 9:58, 10:10 and 10:30 Bruges-Brussels trains even on Sunday - problem solved - check www.bahn.de/en for easy to reference schedules for all European trains. 42 minutes should be more than enough but why not take the 10:30 train for more leeway for late trains though those trains seldom are.

For lots on trains check www.seat61.com; BETS-European Rail Experts and www.ricksteves.com. Belgian domestic trains take no reservations and again with a valid ticket you can get on and off and spend as long between changes as want.

Last edited by PalenQ; Mar 9th, 2019 at 01:09 PM.
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Mar 9th, 2019, 01:07 PM
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Always interested in exactly where people read comments on length of time getting through airports especially passport control. No one can accurately predict what may happen. I would think you have plenty of time.
As far as luggage with Rabbies is concerned, I have found them somewhat flexible but please don’t show up with several large bags or even one large bag. I always travel with a 22” Rimowa and Osprey Porter 46 backpack which is carry on size and like janisj have traveled in cool weather for 2 to 3 weeks with several fleeces, light weight rain jacket, thick socks, turtle necks, sweaters etc.all in 22” bag and backpack. The overhead racks on the bus are small and will only hold a small bag/ backpack. You can store luggage at train station.
historytraveler is online now  
Mar 9th, 2019, 01:26 PM
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>>7 hrs for a flight that short - must be big layover somewhere. <<

There is a time change so actually 6 hours - so it likely flies via LHR and not that long a layover really. The trains would take almost 2 hours longer.
janisj is online now  
Mar 9th, 2019, 01:31 PM
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Actually trains take 9 hrs real time so yes 3 hours longer. But, one could take overnight train Edinburgh to London and then be in Bruges an extra half day - instead of wasting one by air - but air would be cheaper probably.
PalenQ is offline  
Mar 10th, 2019, 12:02 AM
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42 minutes to transfer from the local train to the Eurostar should be enough, but I would take an earlier train. Eurostar advises 45 minutes in advance (I think), and you do need that for security and customs. Trains in Belgium are quite frequently late. If you miss your connection you'll have to buy a new Eurostar ticket. I do this fairly often, taking a train from Antwerp to transfer to Eurostar. I take a train that gets me there 1h15 minutes in advance, since the next one only leaves me 45 minutes and I don't want to risk that.

Take the train to Brugge when you arrive in Brussel. It's much easier, faster and cheaper. You can take a taxi from the station in Brugge to your hotel.
If you want to take a taxi from the airport, ask your hotel to recommend a local company. There are several companies that specialise in airport transfers. Since parking at the airport is so expensive, locals often take taxi's. Here is one;
https://taxi-brugge.be/en/airport-tr...els-charleroi/

Last edited by Tulips; Mar 10th, 2019 at 12:05 AM.
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Mar 10th, 2019, 12:13 AM
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By the way, where do you get the train times Brugge - Brussels Midi?
I see direct trains on Tuesdays at 10:08, 10:31, 10;58, 11:08.
The 10:58 gets to Brussels Midi at 11:53.
check www.nmbs.be
Tulips is offline  
Mar 10th, 2019, 08:37 AM
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I heartily agree with Janis about carry on luggage only. We did a month long trip from Venice (hot) to Normandy and Paris (cool fall weather) with one carry on and one personal item each (I learned this from Janis). It is the most liberating decision I have ever made. I do a little laundry once a week, either in the sink in my room or at a laundromat. I often find a laundromat close to a cafe or bar and people watch for an hour. I always have one outfit that is dressier (black dress pants and a silky top). Scarves are your friends. I think Janis may have taught packing at some time so her tips are travel tested. Last year we traveled London-Bruges-Florence-Rome for two weeks and then did a 12 day cruise of the Greek Islands all with the same luggage configuration. If you are still feeling concerned about needing more luggage, there is lots of info about packing light. Happy Googling!
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Mar 10th, 2019, 12:20 PM
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Packing light is imperative for trains IME - often have to lift bag into overhead luggage rack and can walk seemingly miles in stations - recommend wheels on luggage though may not qualify for carry-on.
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Mar 10th, 2019, 12:33 PM
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>>recommend wheels on luggage though may not qualify for carry-on.<<

Not sure what you mean by that? MANY carry-on eligible bags have wheels.
janisj is online now  
Mar 10th, 2019, 12:43 PM
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We don't travel with anything BUT luggage with wheels, usually a 22" rollaboard (never bigger than that), and we take trains all over Europe, sometimes for weeks at a time, and sometimes in cold and unpleasant climates. I have never encountered a problem with luggage with wheels "not qualifying" for carry-on. There is hardly anything other than "carry-on" for European trains, anyway, other than some select, expensive services. We just returned from a 5-week trip, admittedly to mostly a warm climate, but never needed more than one small suitcase each and a day pack. You really have to experience it to know what a huge PITA it is to be lugging around a lot of stuff and trying to move it from one place to another.
StCirq is online now  
Mar 10th, 2019, 12:47 PM
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Of course I was stupid to think wheels could not be retracted. I always had one larger bag that had to be check and had a small day pack.
PalenQ is offline  
Mar 10th, 2019, 01:11 PM
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We don't ever retract our wheels. No need to.
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Mar 10th, 2019, 01:14 PM
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We don't ever retract our wheels. No need to.> Sounds like you're on a roll. But seriously for OP having wheels is so so nice - I have wheeled my backpack literally for miles around cities - to and from hotels and at cities where I just wanted to get out and see a bit of - but still pack light in any case. Anything you need you can buy there and leave some room in bag for things purchased.
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Mar 10th, 2019, 01:17 PM
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>>Of course I was stupid to think wheels could not be retracted.<<

Retracted? No. Why?
janisj is online now  
Mar 10th, 2019, 01:19 PM
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Seriously, it's not landing gear.
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Mar 10th, 2019, 02:49 PM
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Thank you all for your replyís. The train schedule link with the full list of train times is very helpful. I found the original times I had from the chart on seat61, so I will definately be using 10:31 am direct train. The train schedule also makes it easier to see how simple it should be to get to Bruges from Brussels airport.
As far as the passport control times, I read a thread ( I believe ) on this forum discussing the long wait times so I did a google search and I did find a couple a articles about it.
Unfortunately, after I booked my flight from Edinburgh to Brussels, the airline canceled the original flight we were on and rescheduled it to one with an extra hour layover at LHR. I checked and that is still the quickest travel time available.
I really admire anyone who can fit all their stuff for 2 plus weeks of travel in a carry-on size bag, but I know no matter how hard I try, I know thatís not me. Plus, I like to have a little room to bring home things buy there. I did measure my bags though, I have a 26in and a 28in, Iím going to try to make the 26in one work.

Thank you all again!!
Canon is offline  
Mar 10th, 2019, 03:06 PM
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>>I really admire anyone who can fit all their stuff for 2 plus weeks of travel in a carry-on size bag<<

You should try harder (not being snarky -- really mean it). Don't think in terms of weeks and don't think in terms of outfits for so many days. Think coordinated colors and layers layers layers.. For two weeks you don't need 14 or 15 distinct outfits. You need 3 or at most 4 'bottoms' (pants and/or skirts) and one of those you'll be wearing on the plane. So only 2 or 3 in the suitcase. Then a slew of tops/pullovers/cardigans which can be layered or un-layered as the weather demands. With 3 'bottoms' and 6 to 9 tops (9 is overkill but would still fit in a small bag) plus a jacket . . . you'd have about 30 or 35 possible outfits. 2 or 3 pair of shoes -- one pair on your feet and the others in the bag. easy peasy.

Many of us can do 2 days 2 weeks or 2 months out of the same sized bag.
janisj is online now  
Mar 10th, 2019, 03:24 PM
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I think that learning how to pack before going would be nice to see how much you can really take. There are many ways to pack - janis I think could pack twice as many necessities somehow whilst others could not. There is a method to packing which I unfortunately could never really master so I just had a big backpack on wheels. Of course easier getting out of airport but like one says above that they would need space for things they may buy on the trip.
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