London theatre hotel and rail – probably one of the most popular ways of organising a trip to a West End show and it is easy to understand why. This combination offers you the chance to book everything together in one neat package, for a good price, with very few extra costs. It may even include evening meals at the hotel. Perfect if you want a quick, easy, convenient trip to London with very little fuss. You get tickets for a London theatre, hotel and rail fare all packaged up in one simple transaction. Once you have chosen a show and checked your dates are available, there is nothing left to worry about.
London theatre, hotel and rail – Why choose the train not a coach ?
My top reasons for choosing the train are speed, comfort, convenience and independence.
If you live more than a couple of hours by road away from London then the trains offer a much better travel experience. For example an average train journey from Leeds is between 2 hours and 2:30 minutes. By coach the same journey can take around 4 and a half hours! Look at both journeys and that is over 4 extra hours out of your precious holiday time.
Not everyone enjoys coach journeys and some of us, me included, find coach travel a little tricky. I suffer from travel sickness and although modern coaches are wonderful and much more comfortable than those old fashioned bone shakers, traffic is unpredictable. London traffic can suddenly jam adding hours to your journey time. Modern trains are usually fairly comfortable and reliable. You can get up and stretch your legs, have a wander and grab a coffee or even a little bottle of red! For extra comfort you can usually upgrade to 1st class for a supplement, if you are really pushing the boat out. Well worth it on a longer journey, say from Truro, Glasgow, or even Newcastle.
The train will deliver you into the heart of London, and if you are careful with your hotel choice, you will be relaxing in your room very soon after your arrival. I think it is worth choosing either a hotel near your station or a central London hotel for your theatre breaks by rail.(See below for more advice on this)
My final reason for choosing a London theatre hotel and rail deal is the independence that it gives you. Now this is very much a matter of personal taste. The theatre/hotel/train packages are much less organised than a coach trip would be. You are left to your own devices much more and there are no friendly bus drivers or couriers to chaperone you in the big city. Personally, I like this sense of freedom. It gives you far more flexibility and means that you are much more in charge of your own time. If you want to while away the morning watching the world go by at a pavement cafe then that is your choice (and mine!). If on the other hand you want to spend every minute dashing round the sights then you are free to do that. The only place you absolutely have to be is at your theatre 30 minutes before the show. Feel like lingering in the West End after the show soaking up the atmosphere, then maybe a little late night drink and perhaps a tapas? Fine, not a problem. There’s no coach waiting for you.
Choosing your Hotel
Outer London hotels may look a cheaper option but the convenience of easy travel makes the inner city hotels a much better choice. Remember though, if you see a hotel somewhere like Docklands, that it is really easy and quick to get into central London using the DLR.
Think carefully about how much luggage you will be bringing and be honest with yourself. If you know you will want that heavy suitcase then choose a hotel near your station.
If on the other hand you are happy to travel light then a West End hotel will put you right in the centre of the action and mean you can squeeze every last minute of fun out of your stay without worrying about tubes, buses, taxis or even rickshaws. (Don’t get in one of those without reading this post!)
Top Tips for your London break
While you are on the train they will usually offer to sell you an Oyster Card, if not buy one at the station when you arrive. This is definitely worth doing as it makes travelling round the city much easier and cheaper.
Go for a 2 or even 3 night deal if you can. The extra nights do not usually add all that much to the overall cost, making them much better value
Eating out – you can either eat at your hotel or try some of the great places to eat in the city centre. Dining out somewhere in Chinatown is great fun and really very reasonable. Prices in Soho and the West End really are not too bad. See this post for some great places to eat.
Click here to check availability for your London theatre hotel and rail break.