I am very pleased to say that I woke up, in Birmingham, today to no rain! We had breakfast at our hotel, the Staybridge Suites, then checked out and headed to the Birmingham New Street train station. Here, we dropped off our luggage so that we wouldn’t have to carry it around all day.
With our luggage taken care of, we walked to the Birmingham Snow Hill train station intending to take a train to Warwick Castle, only to find out that the train had been cancelled! It’s great that there are so many trains running because we were able to hop on a train to Birmingham Moor Street station and depart from there, with our BritRail Passes, without losing any time. Needless to say it’s been a busy morning already!
A quick thing to point out which is so convenient is that a lot of the trains have outlets at every seat, so I have been keeping my charger and adapter on me so I can keep my camera fully charged throughout the day.
The Sun & Blue Skies Meet Us At Warwick Castle
When we got off the train in Warwick, it was about a 15 minute walk to Warwick Castle. The town was really cute and quaint, so, aside from the high winds and occasional drizzle, the walk was nice. Warwick castle was gorgeous. The grounds were huge and there were so many different parts of the castle you could tour. It was so interesting walking through and thinking about how people used to live. The landscaping surrounding the castle was breathtaking, I couldn’t stop taking pictures of everything! I’m so happy we had the chance to spend time there.
After walking around for a little while, we had lunch at the Mediaeval Undercroft Restaurant, inside the castle. It reminded me of a Thanksgiving dinner, ham, turkey, stuffing, vegetables & potatoes. I’m beginning to think that they make the best roasted potatoes in England – between dinner last night and lunch today, they are just so good.
We got back to the Warwick train station to learn that our train to Oxford had been delayed due to a landslide, or a ‘landslip’ as everyone here calls it. There was the option to take a bus, but it would arrive in Oxford after the train so we decided to just wait. When we got to our next train connection at Leamington Spa, we discovered that all trains from this station were cancelled as well. Luckily, the station had a coach bus waiting outside to substitute the train for everyone whose stop had been cancelled, at no extra charge. It’s nice to know that they take care of their patrons and make sure people get where they need to go.
The University City of Oxford
The bus arrived into Banbury where we had one more train to take, a First Great Western train that brought us to Oxford, finally! We did the Oxford Hop-on/Hop-off Tour. This is a great way to see the city while having the opportunity to further explore the different parts you want to spend more time in later. We braved the cold and rode on the upper deck of the bus.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from Oxford, but I have to say that the buildings were so unique and possess so much history. It seems to be made up predominantly of universities, all of which were beautiful with very detailed designs. I wouldn’t mind spending more time there and having a chance to get to know more of the history of the universities and those who attended them.
Taking the Train From Leamington Spa to Birmingham
Being that several trains were still cancelled due to the landslide, we took a coach bus back to the Leamington Spa station then headed back to the Birmingham Moor Street station via train. The station provided everyone with free hot beverages for the inconvenience, despite the cancellations being out of their control – which we thought was really nice.
On-board the Cross Country Train From Birmingham to Manchester
Once we made it back to the Birmingham New Street station we retrieved our luggage, so convenient being able to leave it there all day, grabbed a quick sandwich for dinner then hopped on a Cross Country train to Manchester. A lot of transportation today! Although a lot of the ways we were supposed to get from place to place had to change, we were still able to do everything we had planned, just had to adjust a little. Things happen!
Once we arrived at the Manchester Piccadilly train station, we took a taxi to our hotel, The Midland. We were so taken back by the hotel as soon as we walked in. It was gorgeous! The lobby was stunning with beautiful marble and exquisite flowers all around. When we got to our rooms, they were equally as amazing as the lobby! Our room was spacious with high ceilings, two very comfy beds and a smart tv. The color palette and pictures in the room give it a very serene feeling. I am going to get a good night’s sleep tonight!
Tomorrow we will be touring Manchester then making a trip to Liverpool for a Beatles tour! I am so excited for that! Looking forward to another day of new places!