The reason why I’ve not simply named this article ‘Isle of Wight to the Midlands travel’, is because I am sure many people are also interested in the London to the Midlands part of this journey, so I’ve tried to make the title clearer for those readers.
One cold December’s morning we got up at 5am. I was so sleepy I had trouble locating and turning the alarm off. It had been a tiring week, with poor sleep, so getting up even earlier than normal was a challenge.
We were leaving the Isle of Wight via Ryde, and as we strolled down the pier, we wished we had put our woolly hats on as not only was it cold, but windy and then rain decided to fall. However don’t get me wrong, I usually enjoy strolling down Ryde Pier, especially early in a morning, I just hadn’t prepared properly. Then a quick wait and we were on the 6:47am Ryde to Portsmouth fastcat traveling to the mainland.
The benefit of going via fastcat across the solent as opposed to other options for this journey, such as the hovercraft, is that the fastcat takes us directly to Portsmouth Harbour train station. The fastcat terminal is connected to Portsmouth Harbour train station, which basically means you walk through one building to another, without venturing outside.
At Portsmouth harbour we grabbed a tea and coffee at the station café, and then got on a train for London waterloo just after 8am.
We had brought along our own breakfast of veggie sausages in rolls, to devour on the journey to London. Luckily no noisy school children were on the train, and we arrived at Waterloo just after 10am.
Over the years I’ve visited Waterloo station on many occasions, and at one stage was there two to three times a week, but it had been a while and it has changed slightly again.
However we were not stopping, and took an escalator and jumped on the Northern Line to Leicester Square, and then the Piccadilly Line to Kings Cross, all without leaving the tube network.
Kings Cross isn’t the only train station with good connections to the Midlands, but for travelling up to locations such as Doncaster, Leeds, York, it has good connections.
I never ever buy train tickets travelling to the Midlands on the day, as that would be too expensive! Instead I try and buy the tickets around 2 to 3 months in advance online, to help keep the costs down. Unfortunately this train trip was planned at the last moment, but I still managed to buy cheaper tickets online four days before the journey, and had the tickets delivered to my home the next day. i could of picked the tickets up at ‘Portsmouth and Southsea’ train station, but that would of caused a few travel headaches for this particular journey.
Some people like to avoid London when travelling from the Midlands to the south coast via train, as they don’t like the ‘tube’. I’ve never found it to be an issue, especially if I know which underground tube train ‘lines’ I will be using beforehand.
It had been a while since I had visited Kings Cross station, and blimey o’reilly it had changed! They have extended and changed the layout, and it is now a much better hub, with two train display boards to view upon, rather than one central board, which had everyone crowding too much to view the displays.
Once our train was announced we slowly strolled to the carriage, found our reserved seats, and settled in with tea and coffee brought on the train. If you ever make the journey in the early morning, evenings or at weekends, you should definitely make sure you have reserved seats as it can be a nightmare finding a seat.
We obviously had a ‘newbie’ near us on the train, as he kept getting frustrated with mobile phone call disconnections for a while as we left Kings Cross, which is to be expected if you know the route.
As we left London and a few towns behind us the countryside began to roll into view, and as we were travelling after 11am, the train wasn’t packed and the carriage wasn’t that noisy. Within a couple of hours we rolled into our stop. The train’s final destination was York, but we were getting off sooner, and then walked to our destination.
So one boat, four trains, up at 5am and arriving at our destination before 1pm. From the Isle of Wight to the Midlands in seven hours, but it wasn’t the end of our train journeys for the day, but I will save those details for another blog post.