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Manchester to Caernarvon on public transport after long flight

I'm 63 yrs old and this is my first trip in many decades (and the trip I took long ago I was part of a group of young people and things were organized for us), and I would like people's experience/opinions about the feasibility of traveling from Manchester to Caernarvon by public transport with the following timeline:
Plane is arriving at approx 7 AM local Manchester time (will feel like 1 or 2 AM to me).
Then my plan is to travel by public transport (which seems from google directions like it would take almost 5 hrs) to Caernarvon.
So guessing realistically will be in Caernarvon at 1 PM local time (feeling like 7 or 8 AM my body time).
Earliest check-in for the hostel I have a reservation at in Caernarvon is 2 PM.

I doubt I'll be able to sleep on the plane, maybe I'll be able to snooze an hour.
So how do people do this? Is there any affordable way/place to take a nap in Manchester from approx 8 AM - Noon?
Or do people stay awake easily from all the excitement of arriving and being in another country?

Posted by
3079 posts

Many trips, different results, and it doesn’t exactly get easier the older one gets, in my experience. Lately, I’ve tried to sleep on the plane going over as much as reasonable, and taking a melatonin pill has often helped me drop off to sleep. On some past trips (Iceland 4 years ago, Paris and London, each many years before that), by landing then staying upright and moving all morning and early afternoon, we stayed awake the first day, but fell asleep early that night and were groggy the next day or two. Keeping moving is key, but that’s getting harder and harder with each trip, and sleeping before landing has been the better strategy - but only 1-4 hours isn’t much.

So is napping on your 5-hour public transportation to Caernavon possible? This past September, we flew from Denver, Colorado, USA to Dublin, Ireland and immediately caught a bus across Ireland to Galway, several hours. Stayed awake about the first hour, until the bus leaving the airport had passed through downtown Dublin, but slept almost the rest of the time, which allowed us to get on a British Isles time schedule somewhat, stay awake for supper in Galway, and make it back to that night’s B&B for a decent night’s sleep. We were ready to go then the next morning, and not jet-lagged for a day or two.

Posted by
3944 posts

You should try to get to your destination asap, as you are going to feel more weary the more the day progresses. You have picked a tricky journey by public transport, which isn’t ideal when you will be tired and don’t know the geography.

Caernarvon- the closest rail station is Bangor 10 miles away (you will need to change trains to get there) then you will need to catch a bus. Isn’t there an easier location that you could pick for your first few nights? This is a journey that I wouldn’t relish when fully alert!

Posted by
5817 posts

I would look to break your journey. It's an easy train journey to Chester where you could spend your first day/night getting over the jet lag. It's a nice historic city to visit in its own right. You can then do the next half of your journey when you are fresher.

Remember, even if your plane lands at 7am it doesn't mean that's when you will be leaving the airport.

Posted by
15566 posts

Train connections are fairly frequent from Manchester Airport to Bangor. Train from Manchester Oxford Road to Bangor is 2 hours, time enough for a nap. Total travel time to Bangor is around 2 1/2 hours. There also some connections through Crewe in similar time.

I think I am very typical traveler, in that I don't sleep on airplanes, maybe a couple of hours of torpor with eyes closed. After landing and going through immigration and customs, I get a second wind and can punch through to the destination before I get really tired.

Posted by
1832 posts

It does not take 5 hours - Google are wrong! It takes between 2 hours 20 minutes & 3 hours to go by train from Manchester Airport to Bangor - with one change en-route. Go too www.nationalrail.co.uk and put in for MIA > BNG. Then click ‘details’ on the various options and make a note of the trains and change point as you will see this vary from one schedule to another being as there are 2 routes between the Airport and Chester. So, when you arrive and purchase your ticket, simply match up your departure time from the Airport rail station with schedule and choose the ‘best fit’ service. Also note that the return fare is just a smidge higher than the one way (single) fare so, if you are returning, you might as well buy a return - ask the ticket clerk if this is correct for your return date.

To get from Bangor to Caernarfon you go by bus and it takes 30 minutes with buses every few minutes. See:> http://www.traveline.cymru

While in Caernarfon, take a trip on:>https://www.festrail.co.uk

Posted by
3944 posts

Although James is correct in that the train takes around 3 hours travel time, you have to allow at least an hour (possibly 90 minutes) to get out of the airport and find your way to the train station (can be a 15 minute walk), get a ticket, walk onto platform, then wait for the next train.

In Bangor, you will have to walk from the train station over to the bus station and wait for a bus.

Your arrival time is probably about right.

Posted by
5 posts

Thank you so much for the helpful replies. I re-checked the google directions and I had not thought about the time zone difference and it seems the original directions had me standing at a bus stop for a couple hours in the middle of the night waiting for bus service to start in the morning! ha ha!

Also thanks for pointing out that I will not 'arrive' exactly when the airplane arrives, had not thought about Customs.

If I was starting over my plans from the beginning I think spending the first night in Chester would have been a better plan, but I'd already made reservations in Caernarfon (and was completely unaware of the existence of Chester prior to this awesome travel forum).

I will make a serious effort to get some sleep on the plane (have packed both melatonin and bendryl).

Posted by
5817 posts

If you haven’t travelled long distance in a long time I would be very careful taking drugs to sleep on the flight. Better to be a bit naturally tired than chemically drowsy when you arrive.