Last week we were invited to travel up to Glasgow with Virgin Trains and spend a couple of days away. Since we’re not going abroad this summer, short trips like this are a great way to break up the school summer holidays and get a change of scene.
The boys hadn’t been to Scotland before, and had been keen to go, but with it being quite a long drive (6.5 hours from our place in West London), we hadn’t made time to do this until now. Travelling by train brings the journey down to only 4 hours, and of course there’s the novelty of doing the journey by train too, which can be quite fun for kids!
This is the first time in a few years that we’ve done a long train journey with the boys, and we found it very manageable. We travelled in standard class, without having reserved seats, but I needn’t have worried at all as we easily got a table seat both ways and the unreserved carriage wasn’t too busy or crowded.
Travelling by train allows the kids a lot more space to spread out, compared to travelling by car. A couple of my boys tend to get a bit car sick if they read or colour when in the car, so travelling by train offers much more entertainment options especially for those children! They brought a backpack full of books, card games, small toys and activity books and kept themselves busy throughout the journey.
Since they have an on board shop selling sandwiches, drinks and snacks, there was no need for us to pack those we just bought what we needed on board.
Virgin Trains also have a very handy new feature – the Beam app, which is an onboard entertainment system you can access on your phone or tablet. Download the app before you travel, and then once on board you can connect it to Wifi on the train and watch TV and movies for free. This is really useful if you have a few hours to kill on your journey. The boys all watched Despicable Me on the journey up, and my youngest relaxed with some Peppa Pig on the way back, while his dad took the opportunity to relax and watch Independence Day! Since he’s normally behind the wheel on all our trips, that was a nice luxury for him.
Of course since we’re not at the wheel, the train journey gives us more chance to play and chat with the kids too – compared to travelling by car. There’s also no need to stop for toilet trips or for the children to stretch their legs (which can easily make a 6.5 hour journey end up being 7 or 8 hours end to end!)
We found the Virgin Trains standard seating comfy and not cramped at all, with plenty of leg room for the adults and the kids even found they had enough space to lie down and sleep when they were tired.
If you’re worried about not having your car with you when you reach your destination, you could still take the train up for the main journey and then hire a car to get you around if you want more freedom to explore the area. This is what we decided to do in Glasgow, although there is plenty to do in central Glasgow near the station too if you prefer to explore there. We stayed in Premier Inn Glasgow Central in West Nile Street, which is a really handy central location. I’ll be writing up another post all about what we saw and did once we’d arrived in Glasgow, so look out for that one soon!