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Eurostar / St Pancras toddler tips?

(22 Posts)
Yespleasetotea Wed 28-Aug-13 23:05:42

I'm going to Bruges to visit friends with my lively 18 month old DS next month and am after some advice on how to make it as painless as possible.

Are there any places in/around St Pancras where we can go to let off a bit of steam and run around? Is that a completely ridiculous idea?

Any advice on what to do when aboard the train? Was thinking of taking lots of books and toys of course.

Also, will I be able to fit a buggy on the train and what's the luggage space like?

Any tips would be gratefully appreciated as I'm getting more worried as it draws closer.

Thanks in advance.

mikkii Thu 29-Aug-13 00:45:05

I can't help with open spaces, but there is loads of luggage space at the end of every carriage, certainly enough for a buggy, but I would say a flat folding type might be easier than an umbrella fold one as they tend to be longer than a suitcase, so might have to lie across people's bags. The step up onto the train is high, but ask someone to help you as a bag/case plus buggy plus baby is a lot.

On the train, he would enjoy wandering to the buffet car, so perhaps a small shoulder bag to take the valuables with you, whilst leaving changing bag on seat (unless going to change him of course grin

Have a great break, we loved it in April

mikkii Thu 29-Aug-13 00:46:22

Oh, the buggy would o on folded into luggage, but depending on the buggy would not fit in the aisle, and would completely lock it anyway, so I can't see that would be allowed.

mikkii Thu 29-Aug-13 00:46:53

Block it, not lock it (must preview posts.....)

ZadokTheBeast Thu 29-Aug-13 00:57:25

The journey's not that long, you'll be fine. Use a rucksack not a suitcase. There will always be someone to help you with the buggy on to the train. There's nowhere at St P's that I can think of that would be any use for running around, it's just too busy. The post check-in waiting area is quite spacious but again, usually busy.

Security is just like an airport, you'll have to get Dc out of the buggy and put it through the scanner. Aim to have as many hands free as possible!

Staff are generally v helpful. I've always found space for the buggy (Maclaren Techno, hardly tiny). Last time I travelled it was really quiet so they upgraded me and DD didn't even have to get out of her buggy, she just wheeled in beside me in a single seat!

I presume you're going to Lille. The Eurostar part of the station is a complete dump. Expect nothing. There is a lift though so don't worry about access to the platform.

Good luck!

janinlondon Fri 30-Aug-13 09:59:17

Try Camley Street Gardens - just out the back of St Pancras.

Janek Fri 30-Aug-13 19:33:55

Our maclaren techno xt fitted in the overhead luggage racks, much to my surprise. Also, both of my dds have had their daytime sleep in the pushchair, parked in the space by the door to the carriage (one of us sat out their with them). The rocking motion of the train rocked them off to sleep and the journey was much more fun for the grown ups as a result!

Bunbaker Fri 30-Aug-13 21:10:20

Hmm. The area around St Pancras/Kings Cross isn't the most salubrious part of London and I wouldn't want to take a toddler and luggage away from the large concourse.

Yespleasetotea Fri 30-Aug-13 23:29:20

Thanks so much, I feel a lot more confident now!

Monty27 Fri 30-Aug-13 23:35:17

Why would you want your dc to go outside to run around? It's a double lane one way street with bus stops and traffic lights, and in fact a building site across the road. You go in the station, check in and get on the train don't you? St Pancras is not child friendly, nor child unfriendly, it is full of commuters mainly.

I think you would get the buggy on the train if that helps.

It's not really a biggie.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sat 31-Aug-13 08:17:31

Would agree with Bunbaker; that whole area is not very salubrious at all.

Luggage space for suitcases particularly on Leisure Select can be at a premium; try to board the train as quickly as possible after the departure is announced.

Janek Sat 31-Aug-13 09:15:21

We normally travel normal class, ie the cheapest we can and there is usually plenty of room for all luggage. More recently a eurostar employee stands by the door instructing people not to put their ordinary-sized luggage in the oversized luggage space at the end of the carriage. The luggage racks are surprisingly capacious (see my previous post about our pushchair fitting up there) and most things can be put up widthways, rather than lengthways iyswim eg my 65 litre (ie quite big) rucksack can fit with the bottom touching the side of the train, rather than the side, so it takes up much less room. There is also room behind any seats that are back-to-back.

Some people do take a ludicrous amount of stuff with them, i often wonder how long they are going for...

Yespleasetotea Sun 01-Sep-13 00:06:51

Thanks good tips about the luggage, I've booked a seat at the end of the carriage nearest the baby change. I will force myself to pack light and hope the relaxing sway of the train leads to some sleepy time!

I wouldn't want DS to run around outside in the road! Was just wondering if there was a bit of secret (known only to MNers) space in a waiting area or somewhere that would be suitable to let him stretch his legs so we don't get in the way of commuters etc. We will have to get a train to St Pancras that morning so it's quite a long time for a toddler to be cooped up.

Monty27 Sun 01-Sep-13 00:15:23

Yesplease there is a small Hamley's in St Pancras. wink

The area's not that bad, it used to be red light around King's Cross but it is almost totally regenerated.

But yes, my advice is, just get in there, and on the train. Have a good trip smile

comeonbishbosh Mon 09-Sep-13 09:27:25

This may be too late but 2 places could be useful for toddler runaround.

Top level of St P, above the shops, level that Leicester, Sheffield trains come in. A lot less busy and easier for a bit of toddler running.

Kings x station has been redeveloped. There's now a small plaza on the side adjacent to St P, and a nice fully pedestrian walkway that goes over the station, about 500m to a large square in front of Central St Martins college with steps down to the canal. If you have 45mins to spare and it's a nice day I'd head thataway.

Monty27 Tue 10-Sep-13 00:02:17

Come I think I will too :D

I've heard of this canal business but I've never had the time to find it. Apparently there's a really nice pub there grin

Guitargirl Tue 10-Sep-13 21:33:27

There is open space in front of the British Library which is a 5 minute walk down the road where he could run around. If you wanted to go a bit further afield (am talking 20 minute walk) there is Coram Fields. But am guessing you won't want to bother with that when you are travelling. I have done LONG train journeys with my 2 DC from when they were newborns. I would advise not taking loud toys or books that make a noise. Have a spare plastic bag for rubbish and lots of snacks.

RosesInTheRain Tue 10-Sep-13 21:56:16

We went to Bruges when DS was 19 months. It was not a great trip all round so I hope yours is better (discovered I was pg the day before- an unwelcome surprise, then DS had diarrhoea for most of the weekend leading to emergency nappy stops involving full changes of clothes, so I don't look on it fondly).

For the train itself- sticker books, if you haven't seen/got them already the Usborne ones are great. DS liked walking up and down the train. Think we had a few episodes of Numtums or something on DH's phone as well!

Be prepared for the connecting train to Bruges- the ones we got were double deckers, but when you got in there was no immediate seating, you either had to go up or down stairs to get to seats. Was quite difficult with the buggy.

Good luck smile

fuckwittery Tue 10-Sep-13 22:02:39

How long will you have in st pancras? If you go upstairs, towards the carluccios at the end of the station where the trains stop if that makes sense, there is quite a lot of room there, not busy in the day, a huge statue (of a couple kissing) to run around. If I had an hour in st pancras I might buy a new toy from hamleys and take it up there to play with, with sandwiches.

fuckwittery Tue 10-Sep-13 22:03:19

Oh, and you can watch the eurostar coming in and out from the top level,mthrough a glass screen, quite exciting for a toddler

Monty27 Tue 10-Sep-13 22:08:12

Oh I didn't think of that space in the British Library. I walk through it every morning and night blush

I wonder if there's anything entertaining in the library for littlies?

That sculpture of the two kissing in St Pancras is lovely, I think it's called Journey's End of something, it's quite moving. So you get to see a sculpture as well OP smile

There's a champagne bar there too, but I suppose that's offsides grin

Monty27 Tue 10-Sep-13 22:10:08

How much time do you have to pass in between trains in London?

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