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Looking for advice for how to manage things during a one-day "layover" between a flight (from the US) and the overnight train from London to Edinburgh.


I'm heading to Scotland for a wedding in the fall, and will be seeing some of England as well. We're using London as our flight base of operations (flight from US to/from London), and taking the Caledonian Sleeper to Edinburgh. I have myself, my wife, and two children (2 and 4).

On the way in, we'll be taking an overnight flight to London, landing around noon. We're then taking the Sleeper that evening. We're travelling Economy class (on Virgin Atlantic, to LHR) from/to the US, and haven't yet booked our train tickets.

What are our best options for stowing our bags and taking showers? We plan to spend the day in London seeing a few sights (though we'll be back the next week for a longer period). The way I see it we have a few choices, given we want to take one shower sometime between the flight and the next day (so either before the sleeper ride, or after @ Edinburgh).

  • Stow bags at LHR vs stow bags @ Euston, or perhaps a third location?

  • Shower @ LHR vs Shower @ Euston vs Shower @ Edinburgh; for Euston, we can get first class tickets to use the Lounge, or otherwise pay.

Is there a better option of these? I've never used showers at a public airport/train station before, though I'm sure we'll manage with anything that's usable. We're in particular concerned about the kids (who we don't worry about showering/bathing, but we do want to not lose track of!) and also read that in Euston they won't necessarily be allowed in the Virgin lounge.

  • Better organized question or travel plans? :) – Joe Aug 10 '15 at 21:40
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    Quicker, at least based on our trip this spring (Germany, so basically the same time difference). After returning they had some issues waking up early but all in all easier time for them than for me... – Joe Aug 10 '15 at 21:55
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    Showers at Waverley cost £5. They are within the main toilets, so you don't need access to the lounge. See networkrail.co.uk/edinburgh-waverley-station/facilities – vclaw Aug 10 '15 at 22:01
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    For more general information about left luggage in London see this question: travel.stackexchange.com/questions/14612/… – djr Aug 10 '15 at 22:03
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    Given the kids, I'd suggest you use someone like between 9 and 5 to book a day room at a hotel in London (not Heathrow!), shower there, let the kids have a nap if needed, then leave you bags with that hotel when you checkout before going sightseeing. Return later, grab bags, then have a much shorter trip to Euston. If that sounds of interest, I'll write it up as an answer – Gagravarr Aug 11 '15 at 6:59
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I'm not sure there's a good solution here, it'll depend if you want to maximize time or minimize money. Heathrow is off in the wrong direction, leaving the bags there is going to burn between 90 minutes and a few hours collecting them so I doubt it's worth it.

Honestly, I'd consider a cheap hotel/B&B in the Euston or Paddington area. You could even reach out to a few of them in advance and explain you just need somewhere to leave luggage and have a shower, they may be able to help, it can't be that unusual. That also gives you the option of somewhere to rest if you need it.

The main problem is that all the left luggage places in the stations (at least the rail station part) are run by the same company and so charge largely the same prices -- £10 per item/day.

Going to Euston and leaving your bags there would be the obvious good plan. As mentioned in the question and the comments you could use the lounge there or the showers at Waverley (as mentioned, £5 per person).

However Heathrow to Euston isn't that easy an journey, if you're taking public transport the TFL Journey Planner is suggesting the Heathrow Express to Paddington.

But, if you're going via Paddington you may as well leave your bags there (same price) and there are showers there, again same price.

Or you could go via Tube to St Pancras/Kings Cross left luggage is the same and there are showers at Kings Cross.

Note that all those luggage services close at 11pm, so you'd have to be back there in enough time.

If the luggage price is too steep your other option is Victoria Coach Station (as mentioned in the answer linked in the comments). There luggage is £4 to £6 per bag. I can't find showers in either the Rail or Coach station at Victoria, but you'd still have the option of Waverley or Euston. You could get the National Express Coach direct to Victoria. Luggage closes at 10:45pm but you'd need to be there beforehand to make it to Euston in time.

Overall, it depends how much you want to spend, how much time you want to have free and how much luggage you have.

If money is no object then Heathrow Express to Paddington, leave bags there (optionally shower), get the tube to go see some things, get back to Paddington before the left luggage closes and take a taxi to Euston. But, if I were doing that I'd be very tempted to check out hotels near there, there are a lot within walking distance that are really pretty cheap.

Cheapest option I can see (that's not just carrying your bags all day) would be National Express to Victoria.

And hopefully everything above gives you some insight as to the choices in-between.

I'm trying to think if there's some 'out of the box' solution, but it's escaping me. There may be some travel package you could book that would take care of the luggage -- that'd be a question for a travel agent somewhere.

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    The walk from Kings Cross St Pancras to Euston is only about 5 minutes, so if wanting to leave bags near Euston, I'd suggest Piccadilly Line Heathrow-Kings Cross, 5 minute walk, leave bags + shower at Euston. I don't think you gain anything by leaving bags or showing in Kings Cross or St Pancras – Gagravarr Aug 11 '15 at 8:07
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    Another advantage to your suggestion of leaving luggage at Victoria is that it's en route between Heathrow and Euston and close to lots of things to see in London: Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Trafalgar Square... – djr Aug 11 '15 at 8:34
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    @pnuts, yeah. Maybe even change the flights to go direct to Edinburgh or add another leg to Edinburgh (not sure if Virgin still fly or code share that route). I understand the desire to see London while you're there but there are lots of potential issues -- and any flight delays are just going to screw things up completely. – SpaceDog Aug 11 '15 at 9:02
  • You're right that we've both answered the question as written, but I agree with you that this sounds like an horrendous day rather than a relaxing start to a holiday! If it's possible to modify your booking to add an extra leg LHR --> EDI it might be worth considering doing that? (But I wouldn't recommend that you buy a separate LHR --> EDI ticket unless your travel insurance covers you for missing it due to a delay in the transatlantic leg.) – djr Aug 11 '15 at 18:35
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    An 'out of the box' solution to having a shower might be to visit a swimming pool. There are public ones near both Victoria (better.org.uk/leisure/queen-mother-sports-centre) and Euston (better.org.uk/leisure/pancras-square). The price is similar to the showers at the station, depending on the facilities it could score higher on the 'feeling human again' front. – djr Aug 11 '15 at 18:50
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Check out https://www.between9and5.com/en/c1591803/day_rooms_London/

A day room accommodates bags and showers in one swipe, you get to pick the location (to some extent), the kids can take a nap and its pretty convenient.

It may be a little more expensive than a locker + public-shower option but probably not by much and the convenience should be significantly better.

  • @pnuts For 4 showers in Euston + 5 bags you'll hit that same price-point too! OP doesn't necessarily need a 6pm checkout though, 3pm would do as the hotel will almost certainly hold bags until the evening – Gagravarr Aug 12 '15 at 6:59
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Partial answer: I would store your luggage in central London, if you store it at the airport you'll spend a large proportion of your day going back and forth to Heathrow.

There is a left luggage storage company at Euston, though it's expensive at £10 per item.

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    Good lord, for that price I hope they wash and fold my clothes while I leave it there... (I wonder if that might actually be cheaper...) – Joe Aug 10 '15 at 22:25

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