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Overnight before flight from Manchester

We're planning a trip to Wales before heading to Scotland.

We've been to the interior of Wales, so I thought we take a train from LHR to Cardiff, rent a car, and spend the first night in someplace like Caerphilly, then Laugharne, St. Davids, Aberyshwyth, two nights in Carnmarfon, then a mystery location before catching a LoganAir flight from Manchester to Kirkwall. I'd like to stay the last night in Llandudno, but the drive to Manchester is too far to make the flight without heading out really early, so I'm looking for a spot "near" MAN that is less than an hour from the airport (on a Friday morning). I've considered the train from Liverpool, but the same risk exists, and it's actually more expensive.

Where is a good spot to stay (maybe on the coast) that's a short trip to MAN? I've been to Blackpool fifty years ago, and it seemed pretty touristy.

Posted by
5703 posts

I've considered the train from Liverpool, but the same risk exists, and it's actually more expensive.

Really? The train, on Advance Fares from LIV is £6 to £8 each on almost all departures. Fact.

The train is pretty low risk, as there are several routes the train can take. Never no risk, but low risk. There is also National Express regular bus service from Liverpool One (opposite Albert Dock). The first Nat Ex of the day is at 0245, then every hour or so from about 0530. The journey time is 65 minutes. Also £6 to £8 each.

Where is a good spot to stay (maybe on the coast) that's a short trip to MAN? I've been to Blackpool fifty years ago, and it seemed pretty touristy.

Stay a bit south of Blackpool around Lytham St Anne's- much less touristy and, well, brash. Far more genteel may be a good word.

Posted by
599 posts

It's only more expensive because of LoganAir's wierd pricing. A train from Liverpool to Edinburgh might be L20, while a flight from EDI to KOI is around L200. A one-stop flight from MAN/ABZ/KOI is the same L200 and way shorter than the train/flight combo.

I'll look into your suggestion south of Blackpool.

I'd also like feedback about Carnmarfon, since I could probably do Llandudno instead.

Posted by
5703 posts

Caernarfon vs Llandudno is an unfair question for me. Due to family history I am biased as anything to Caernarfon.

Trying to be unbiased- Caernarfon obviously has the castle, a real working harbour, proximity to Anglesey (Beaumaris et al) ,the steam train and southern/central Snowdonia

Llandudno- Conwy Castle, the glorious seafront and promenade, the pier, the Great Orme for walks and it's history, northern Snowdonia (the slate side and a bit less touristy), but Llandudno itself is much more touristy than Caernarfon.

Two sides of a coin, it depends what you are wanting, your interests and priorities.

Either works well, either is worthwhile but Llandudno is clearly closer for your onward journey. You will like either, Llandudno is a nice seaside resort- Lytham St Annes not Blackpool!!

Maybe not a help, but there you are.

Personally if I was flying Loganair I would go from ABZ or INV (and have), as it's usually quite a lot cheaper than MAN/GLA/EDI. Only £10 more train fare than EDI/GLA then a £2 bus if packaged into the train fare. For me, personally, much the same travelling time as MAN but that is obviously not true for you. That's where YMMV.

Posted by
599 posts

We don't want to spend an extra night in Glasgow or Edinburgh. The GLA flight to KOI is too early, and the EDI to KOI is late enough but is rather pricy. The MAN/ABZ/KOI is almost the same price as train + EDI and gets us to Kirkwall three hours earlier. The train would be scenic, but we'll be on the train from LHR to Cardiff earlier in the week and there's no shortage of "scenic" in Wales and Scotland. I'll just hope the view from 25,000 feet is a good substitute.

I'm always impressed by the Loganair price comparison from Aberdeen. In fact, we're taking the train from Glasgow to Aberdeen to take advantage of that for a flight to Shetland in a few months. Must have something to do with oil rig traffic.

Posted by
2399 posts

I would not rent a car on arrival in Cardiff but stay in a downtown hotel rather than Caerphilly. Caerphilly Castle is a proper medieval ruin built in the 1100’s and is just a 20 minute local train ride form Cardiff. Caerphilly town is not attractive. You can also easily visit Cardiff Bay on a local bus* / train as it is only just over 1 mile south of the compact city centre. Cardiff Castle is also only a 13 minute walk from Cardiff Central station. * Cardiff Bus 6 from south side of Library - almost by Marriott Hotel.

The Council in Cardiff have gone to war against cars. They have created bus lanes and if you stray into them in a car, they photograph the number pates and you get fined £70. Parking would also be expensive unless provided hotel.

A car would be handy for Castell Coch in north Cardiff and for St.Fagans Castle and Museum on the west side of the city. You may like to consider hiring the car just before you leave Cardiff and then use it to reach those places before heading west.

Should you wish to stay in central Cardiff & visit St.Fagans without a car, you need Adventure Bus 320 - which is rather infrequent. Whether more services exist in summer remains to be seen. The present schedule is >
https://www.adventuretravel.cymru/bus-services/cardiff/320-from-8th-january-2024/
(Get off by St.Fagans Church & walk by the Castle wall to the electronic gate - press button and just walk in for free).

Laugharne is about a 1 hour 50 minute drive from Cardiff with no stops. However, I would consider Tenby as an alternative and certainly not miss this attractive seaside town. Should you stay in Laugharne, note that if going to Tenby via the coast road through Amroth, that west of Pendine, it is narrow in places. (Look at it on Streetview).

Try and see this place - near Porthmadog:>https://portmeirion.wales
Also >https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/wales/bodnant-garden

Posted by
5703 posts

There is a complete cultural difference here in travel.

On the Manchester flight you are basically paying £100 to hang around Aberdeen airport for 3 1/2 hours connecting between flights.

I would far and away prefer to get the 0645 train out of Liverpool- arrive Aberdeen 1300 via EDI. Through railcard fare just over £20. Time for a quick look at Aberdeen City before the airport transfer.

You won't do anything anyway with the day arriving at Kirkwall at 6pm.

Or even better 3 nights a week stroll across the road at Aberdeen to the ferry terminal. Have a good dinner and a drink on the ship, a stroll on the deck or round the ship. Arrive Kirkwall around 11pm. A hugely more interesting and rewarding travel experience to me, and a great sail in on a nice night. The way I like to arrive on an island.

Posted by
599 posts

Thanks for the tips, James.

The 12:25 LA flight from Manchester only lays over in ABZ for 50 minutes and the combined total time is 3:10. We'll have been to Aberdeen (this year), so an overnight in Aberdeen can be missed. Taking the ferry from Aberdeen is not something my wife would enjoy, since she gets seasick on the calmest days.

Posted by
14952 posts

I have flown in an out of Aberdeen a few times including to and from Manchester.

It's a small terminal and a 50 minute transfer shouldn't be a problem.

You said your wife doesn't like ferries.....are you aware your flight from Aberdeen to Kirkwall is on a turboprop aircraft? It can be a little bumpier than a jet.

Posted by
599 posts

Thanks. We are flying through Aberdeen in a few months, so the advice is welcome. We've flown on the smaller LA flights several times with no issues. Seasickness seems to be the result of rhythmic rocking, not noise or bumps. We sail for our local vacations, and she has a full armament of drugs and aids which sometimes fail. And being seasick ruins you for more than just the ferry trip.

Posted by
14952 posts

The good news is the smaller Saab 340's that Loganair flew were retired two days ago. They will be using the larger ATR 72's.