Tales on Rail: Day 1 – London to Birmingham via Virgin Train

After a day of worrying about making it here due to all of the snow in New York, I am very happy to say that we made it to London with only a slight delay. Once we landed, we made our way through the airport to take the Heathrow Express. The station was in the airport and really easy to navigate.

Tales on Rail London

Waiting on the platform at Heathrow Airport for the Heathrow Express to Paddington Station

A Smooth Ride on the Heathrow Express to Paddington Station

When we were on the platform waiting for the train, and again when we got on, I couldn’t get over how nice and how clean it was. On top of that, it was so convenient how the tickets were able to be scanned from a smart phone, no need to keep track of any extra papers. We took a walk through first class to get a glance and I was kind of taken back by how spacious & modern looking it was, I could definitely see the appeal in it. After about a 15 minute ride on Heathrow Express, we arrived at Paddington Station. The station was so big and airy, with gorgeous arch ceilings, I really loved the overall design of it.

Tales on Rail London

London Paddington Station, England 

From Paddington Station, we used our Visitor Oyster Cards to ride the underground to Euston Station. I am very happy I packed light since I had to carry my luggage up and down steps to transfer between 3 different trains. It was pretty hectic navigating where we needed to go, and getting on and off in what felt like a subway station during New York City rush hour. It was a relief when we finally made it to our last stop.

Traveling by Train From London to Birmingham

Tales on Rail Virgin train

Virgin train from London Euston Station to Birmingham

Once we got to Euston station, we had our Britrail Passes validated and had a little time to walk around while waiting for our train to Birmingham. We took a Virgin train, and rode in first class. I seriously cannot get over how nice the trains are. The seats are so comfortable, and we were given tea and little breakfast sandwiches in first class. Even though it’s cloudy out, it’s still so pretty seeing all the green field landscapes and even better, no snow!

Welcome to Birmingham, England!

Tales on Rail Birmingham

St. Martin’s Church In Birmingham, England

Unfortunately when we arrived in Birmingham, it was really rainy and cold, but it seems that’s to be expected this time of year. We checked in at the Stay Bridge Suites, which are very modern and new. When I got to my room I was so confused trying to turn on different light switches and nothing was working. I eventually realized I had to put my room key into a little holder by the door which then activated the light switches, who knew. I later found out that everyone went through the same confusion I did.

Tales on Rail Birmingham

Teresa standing over a canal in Birmingham, England

Shortly after, we went on a walking tour of the city. Birmingham features a lot of very modern architecture, mixed in with some much older buildings. Our guide told us that it is a very industrial city that is always innovating itself. We were shown several new buildings, including their very impressive library, and new outdoor centers, so innovative seems to be the perfect word to describe it.  The city also has so many beautiful outdoor areas for people to enjoy. The canals, which run through the city, were unexpected and very serene, sort of tucked away.  It was interesting listening to the history, as well as the city’s plans for continuing to build.

We Enjoyed Our First Dinner In England

Tales on Rail Birmingham

White chocolate strawberry tart dessert in Birmingham

To finish off the night, we had dinner at a nice restaurant which was actually in the theater building attached to the library. They had a nice Valentine’s Day menu for us to order off of. To start, I had a roquefort and tomato tart with a broccoli salad on top. For my main course I had sea bass cooked in a champagne hollandaise sauce. And after all of that I still somehow managed to save room for dessert and had a white chocolate strawberry tart. The food was so delicious. We walked it off back to the hotel and are resting up for another big day! Birmingham was so wonderful and so were the guides who were courteous enough to show us around.

I can’t wait for tomorrow to go to Warwick castle and Oxford! I am keeping my fingers crossed for better weather!

  • Patrick McNally

    I am Glad You * The Team Got There Safely. And Had a great first day

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