Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Holiday time .... part 1 ... Sheffeld - Windsor

We really made the most of the last week of our Easter Holidays, even better due to the fact our kids were
off when the southern schools had gone back.

We chose to go to Windsor and make a day (and a half) out of our Merlin Passes at Legoland then onto my mums for a couple of days before she brought us home on Sunday.  Despite living on the high speed rail line to London (2 hours) the connections etc to Legoland make it that little bit too far to do comfortably in a day.... but that's a tale for later in the week.

This holiday was all about budget .... fun and experiences.... but budget and trying not to spend too much on unnecessary items or expenses.

We got all the bags packed and ready to go Monday evening, including all the rolls made up for a picnic.  and what a picnic it was...mainly thanks to Morrisons woopsies, without which we would have spent twice as much.  We had choc chip muffins for breakfast (due to leaving too early for us to stomach breakfast), numerous rolls with various fillings (pork and stuffing for me, footballer Turkey for the boys and ham for hubby).  a tub of Morrisons pringle style crisps, mini sausages, sausage rolls, a bottle of diluted cordial, scotch eggs ......mmmmm  I didn't keep the receipt but I would guess we spent about £10.

Wanting to spend the afternoon in Legoland we'd booked on a really early train (8.30am) which meant having to be out the house by 7.30 on Tuesday morning.  The tickets were booked in advance and with our railcard cost us £66.45 - to buy on the day (or even when advanced aren't available) it would cost us £171.

Train Journey

We managed the journey with no problems and got to London at 10.30.  Once in London the boys got their first trip on an underground train to travel from London St. Pancreas to Paddington. We had a fab time on the tube telling the kids stories or random facts about the stations we passed or heard about...

Paddington - obviously Paddington Bear
Great Portland Street - for the private hospital where the wealthy and some celebrities have their babies.
Hammersmith - known for the Apollo where famous people perform
Edgware Road - for being a light blue space on our Mega Monopoly
Baker Street - Sherlock Holmes

If you want to improve your quiz knowledge of the London Underground you can't beat these 150 facts compiled by the Telegraph

The Hammersmith and City route

The journey had been far too smooth sailing as we sat 2 stations away from Paddington for almost 15 minutes as the tube in front had "no driver".  It was real panic stations as we watched the time to our next connection tick away.  This meant the easy 50 minute transfer window was quickly used up and we made it to the platform with minutes to spare.  And this was no easy transfer to make either....  sure it looks it from the picture but what you forget is the underground is just that ... and the platform we needed - 10.  So with 2 kids, 2 very heavy rucksacks, 2 bags and about 7 minutes we legged it up and down a few thousand stairs along the concourse and all the way back on ourselves until we found out platform.
a map of Paddington Station

But we made it!!!!

We got to Slough unscathed but desperate for a wee, again with a connection to make we hopped from one side of the platform to the other to wait for our train.  Spotting the toilets I was left on bag duty while hubby took smallest into the gents.  He returned and I set off with Ben.  Just as I got to the door a very very rude cleaning lady pushed it in my face telling me to "go away".  I explained my little boy needed a wee but she told me to "go to platform 5".  Even when I explained I didn't have time to make it there and back with him before my train she simply shrugged and went in the loos.  The look from the other passengers around will show you how smacked our gobs were.  Fair enough she has a job to do but isn't this why female cleaners clean female toilets???
   We then had to head back down the platform so my husband could take him ........ and I continued to cross my legs (good job I did my pelvic floor exercises after 2 kids eh!).

A quick 5 minute trip to Windsor and I got my wee (yup you were waiting to find out weren't you) in possibly the nicest (free) toilets I have ever been in in my life.  ..... they were later to be outdone by the ones close to the riverside which my husband informs me had everything but a golden throne.

Windsor is no ordinary train station - it is bang in the middle of a very posh shopping centre/eating experience.   If you want coffee and dresses this is the place to go.


I had been well informed that the Travelodge was only a small distance from the train station - and so we followed the exit signs.  We came out on the main road through Windsor with a fantastic view of the castle ..... but no Travelodge.  Even the sat nav on the phones sent us on strange wild goose chases and of course mummy got in trouble for not having printed off a map.... why did I need a map it was soo easy to find (apparently).

   Anyway somehow ....perhaps 20 minutes later ..... and don't ask what type of miracle occurred ... we found it, hidden away round a corner.... and YES it WAS bang on the entrance/ exit to the train station .... not the one we'd gone out of but it was on one and the annoying thing ... had our train been still in the platform we could have seen it from where we were stood!!!!
     The Travelodge had also been booked WAYYY in advance to get the best prices February and we got 2 nights for £76.  Not the cheapest they do but compared to booking today for a couple of nights (£139) it's quite a saving.

We were far to early to check in (we knew that anyway) but the lovely lady at the reception desk kindly took our bags and put them up a corner until we got back so we could have a luggage free trip to Legoland for the afternoon.

With helpful directions to the bus stop we got there ...... just as the shuttle pulled away.   Remembering my research we headed down the road, past the castle, and a really cute crooked house, until we reached the 201 stop where the green line also operated to Legoland and fortunately it arrived 5 minutes later :)   £10 lighter (2 adult day tickets, kids travel free) and we were on our way.... with the boys still thinking they were in Manchester and were going to the Legoland discovery centre (again) - they have even less sense of direction then me!!

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