Hello, now a few months ago I went to Liverpool from Exeter for less than 24 hours. (I know anyone from the UK, or understand the geography of the UK, will be thinking I’m mad. To be honest you’ll probably correct in that assumption). Since university I have friends all over the place, a few not even in the UK now. So when it comes to our group meeting up it tends to be somewhere a bit random, and most of them live up north (there was only 2 southerners, including myself in our group) so I tend to travel in this direction a lot. This time as a bit different though as I tend to drive up and often pick up the other southerner en route; yet, his was (and still is) in Itlay. This along with knowing that I was only going to be there for 1 night, and we were going out drinking, led me to rethink my mode of transport. Most of you are probably thinking that the UK isn’t that big so the drive can’t be too long or maybe just get a train or bus so you can have a few to drink. Well, from my house to the centre of Liverpool you’re looking at 4 and half hours with the roads being clear and no road works. Now if any of you have ever driven in the UK you will know how much we love our road works – especially on our motorways! Believe me, there are a lot going on, on the motorways that I would need to drive on. So safe to say that put me off driving (as well as it meant that I could drink) as well as a bus/ coach – 4 and half hours of not being able to move about and no leg room – no thanks. Being around 6 ft in height generally, puts you off anything with limited leg room for a long amount of time. Apart from the title of this post you would probably be thinking I got the train, well I did for a small portion of my journey, yet it would take over 5 hours to get there by train. Yes, I would be able to move about and chill -however, a return trip is over £100! Flights from Exeter to Manchester return are under £100, and 2 one way tickets from Manchester to Liverpool on the train was around £20. This and the fact it only took me 3 hours from my house to where we were staying each way – what’s there to complain about.
Now, I would totally fly from now on. Check in online up to 24 hrs before my flight, I could even use an app on my phone so I didn’t lose my boarding passes – I totally didn’t think that Exeter Airport would be that up to date. I did have any issue at Manchester with this, though (likely I had printed both of my passes out before I left home). I only took hand luggage for obvious reasons – but if I’m flying anywhere in the UK I’m not going to be there long enough to need liquids over 100ml, plus there is always the samples in hotels theses days. I only had to be at the airports 30 minutes before my flights as well (this was included in the 3 hours each way) and half an hour in the air. Then an hour on the train between Manchester and Liverpool. Like I said, what’s there to moan about?
Well not a lot really, but because I’m British (yes, I’m going to fall into one of our stereotypes – I do try to avoid doing so). I do have one thing, now if I wasn’t working the job that I was and had been able to book time off this wouldn’t have been a big deal. However, that wasn’t the case. The flights aren’t that frequent there is at least one a day but at the weekend it is only the one there and back each day. You’re probably thinking that it not a problem, yet the flight there was at 3 pm – so whilst most of my friends were meeting between 10 am and lunchtime I was still in Exeter. So I missed out seeing the docks and all the other bits that they did during the day. I meet up with them about 5 pm so I was there before dinner and pre-drinks (don’t get me wrong I had a great time). But, my return flight was also 3:30 pm after most of my friends had left – not a problem right I get to check out all the places they had already been too right? Wrong, due to Sunday train times and being the UK’s best day for rail replacement meant I had to leave before them all and spend over an hour at the airport – it did mean I got to finish reading my book that I had started on the way to a different friend’s hen do. Whereas, if I had been able to get the flight the night before that was at 6:30 pm I could have had the day on Saturday to spend catching up with them all. Like I said if I had been able to get the day off on friday or finish early it would have been perfect, but I couldn’t so I can’t really tell you where to go in Liverpool. I would totally go back to check out the docks – it has a huge section on the slavery trade (whilst being an unpleasant time in our history it is still our history to which we could all be educated more on to ensure we learn the lessons). And, the Beatles museum too. When I do get to go up there to do those bits along with some others, I will more than likely fly as it was just so easy and stress-free. Driving the same pieces of motorway whilst the end maybe slightly different each time does get tedious – especially without your road trip pal. However, I do think that everyone should drive across the UK as well. We have some of the best views from our roads and you wouldn’t even know that they existed if you didn’t drive along them. If I was to be going up north for longer than a few nights it would be worth the drive but otherwise, it’s not. To fly works out around the same amount as the fuel I would spend to drive plus then I would have to pay for parking as well, whereas I can get lifts to the airport.
So to anyone looking at doing a long drive for a short trip away within the UK – go and look at the flights we have more domestic ones than you would have known about – plus Flybe are meant to be opening a Gatwick to Exeter flight. (I’m not at all excited about this happening, being a Sussex girl living in Devon). Anyway, that’s all for now.