Emily and I made the long trip up to London to see family last week from Ramsgate. Without a car it’s difficult to go back to my hometown and see family with a little baby and this was my first trip since I was pregnant going up for my baby shower last August. On the 1st of March it was my Grandparents 60th anniversary and we had planned to go up to Isleworth for a long weekend. Getting to Isleworth from Ramsgate takes about 2 hours on average, depending completely on trains being on time and there being no delays.
Trains are a great way to get around the country when they’re working but can be difficult with newborns. Emily’s first trip on the train was when she was 6 weeks old and I was meeting Emma, Adam, Sanna and Kai in Canterbury. It was only a 20 minute train journey and she slept most of the way in her carrycot. Now that she’s a nosy little one and refuses to go in the carrycot, it’s now all about the car seat. For a few days leading up to our trip on the 2nd, I was very nervous. It would be the first time I’d be travelling with Emily on a long train trip to London, but that part isn’t the bother, it’s the underground that made me nervous. The whole thought of travelling to Isleworth is similar to a military operation. I tried to plan the whole trip around feeds, naps and prayed that Emily wouldn’t do a poo as we walked to the station or at any time on the train to St Pancras. But with so much planning, babies are unpredictable and you can never really be 100% prepared for what’s to come. Thankfully the staff at Ramsgate were very helpful accommodating us for our journey and Emily slept most of the way.
I was lucky thy Emily slept most of the way. We sat near the toilets at the front of the train. The few moments she did wake up and want holding attracted attention from a toddler and his mum who played peek-a-boo games with Emily. The last leg of the journey from Stratford Intl to St Pancras required me singing 3 Blind Mice on repeat till she fell asleep to distract herself from all the people that had flooded on the train.
I had booked a month in advance the following:
- Train tickets to London’s St Pancras
I booked return tickets through The Trainline, paying just £13.60 each way. My ticket isn’t refundable but I can at least get the fast service to St Pancras and get to London in an hour and 16 minutes. With the buggy being the size of a spaceship we had to sit near the toilets, which didn’t bother me. Thankfully Emily slept most of the route so I could entertain myself with games on my phone and reading the Highway Code.
Seeing as the rugby 6 nations is on and my family live about 15 minutes walk from Twickenham stadium, hotel prices in SW London was borderline a joke. All I wanted was a family room that could provide a cot, reasonable space, a good sized bathroom, some sort of sound proofing and a comfy bed for Sam and I. I didn’t want to spend a lot of money and managed to find a Travelodge providing accommodation for 4 nights for £151. I decided against additional extras and breakfast. Knowing Isleworth all my life, I know where to get a good fry up for a fiver and not spend £9 on a buffer in the hotel.
Pro’s to the room:
- Great size
- Family room
- 2 single beds, 1 double bed, cot on request
- Bath/shower facilities
Cons to the room:
- Nowhere to store clothes
- No fridge to store bottles if I have to keep formula
- No hair dryer (you have to ask in advance)
- The cot is as hard as rock. Sam had to strip the two single beds of their duvets and make a mattress out of them
- Very small bathroom
The whole experience being back in London with a little lady was OK thanks to my family rallying around giving us lifts. Although transport is a lot better and more convenient in London, everyone has somewhere to go, are in a rush and have little patience for babies and buggies. If you dawdle, you’re out. As my mum witnessed within seconds of pushing the pram through Kings Cross. There were some people who were polite, obsessing over Emily and others who were rude and too much in her face. Those that helped were lovely and staff at all stations were a pleasure to deal with and made the whole experience for me and Emily easier. I did panic a lot more than I needed to but when I can drive in the future I can cut all this traveling by train out.
The next time I visit Isleworth I won’t feel so scared or worried and hopefully in months to come I’ll be able to drive up. We’re looking forward to her next visit.