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Unread 12 Jan 19, 09:00 PM  
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Gill H
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VIP Dibber

Join Date: Jan 08
Location: London

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All of which brings us to Thursday morning, when we packed our stuff, said goodbye to Mum and Dad, and walked up to the railway station for the start of what was to be a very long day of travelling.

Llantwit Major railway station is very small and very exposed, and the bitterly chilly wind that morning made it not the best place to wait around for a train.

To add to that, the departure board was showing that our 9.19am train to Bridgend was expected at 9.31am – OK, not a major delay, but it meant that we might have to rush to make our connection. As we walked up and down the platform to keep warm, the indicator kept moving between ‘expected 9.26’ then ‘expected 9.31’ and was constantly changing. Well, 9.19 came and went, and so did 9.26, but at 9.30 the board changed to ‘Arrived’. This was just to play games with us though – for some reason the board at that station always shows ‘Arrived’ for a good few minutes before the train actually does arrive. Is this just a local quirk or do other people get it too?

Anyway, fortunately at 9.31 the train did indeed arrive, and we were in Bridgend just after 9.45, which gave us just time to go over the bridge and wait for our 10.02 train to London.

Fortunately the next leg of our journey was uneventful. The train left on time, and we chatted, read and dozed until we arrived at Paddington station at 12.30 – bang on schedule. We headed over to the Hammersmith & City line platform – a much nicer experience since so much work has been done to that side of Paddington station. There’s even a nice looking coffee van with the unusual name of Collici, which I presume is Italian and pronounced col-leech-y? I initially read it as ‘colicky’ and wondered why you would want to drink coffee if you had colic…

Anyway, no time for a coffee, we were off to catch our tube. Which arrived in minutes and was pleasantly empty. The joys of travelling during the week! And just 20 minutes and five stops later, we arrived at Kings Cross St Pancras, with plenty of time to spare before our train. Which meant our next task was finding somewhere for lunch.

There are several places to eat at St Pancras. However, if you want to have a main meal rather than a quick bite, and want to be indoors escaping the cold, you need to be prepared to spend quite a bit. Even the chain restaurants like Carluccio’s seemed more expensive than usual, perhaps because they didn’t seem to do the budget-friendly set menu that other branches do. We toyed with the idea of busting our budget at the Brasserie, but the 12.5% service charge would have taken it beyond what we could afford. Eventually we settled on the Betjeman Arms, where we had enjoyed an extremely good breakfast on a previous trip.

Evidently we weren’t alone in this idea, as the Betjeman Arms was extremely busy and we wondered whether we’d manage to get a table. A friendly waiter took us through to the large main dining room, and told us to wait there for a moment, and one of his colleagues would soon come and show us to a table. Well, we waited … and waited … and waited. Eventually someone took pity on us and asked if she could help. When we explained, she immediately showed us to a nearby table and sorted us with menus.

A quick scan of the menu was a little daunting. Main courses were over £15 each, and we wanted something substantial as it would be a long time before we ate again. However, we eventually settled on one of their sharing boards. We figured that at £23 for two people it would likely be more than just a starter size, and the ‘Chippie’ board sounded interesting. It consisted of ale-battered cod and sausages, fish fingers, breaded and seeded sprats, and what were described as ‘proper chips’, accompanied by tartar sauce, curry sauce, bread and butter. Just to make sure it was enough for a main meal, we also ordered a side of beer-battered onion rings for £4.50 between us, and a couple of Cokes to drink.

If you are ever in the Betjeman Arms, I can heartily recommend this sharing platter, but please take warning from us and don’t bother adding the onion rings! Not that there was anything wrong with them, they were lovely. But the Chippie platter is a substantial meal for two in itself. It arrived piled high with freshly cooked and enticing food. Everything was delicious and we felt it was a very substantial meal, and particularly good value for the price, given the other options available.
Queen of Team Wimp
DLP: day trips 2000, 2003; Cheyenne Sep 2009, Feb 2011; Sequoia Lodge June 2008, May 2012; Elysee May 2012, Jan 2013, Sep 2013; Disneyland Hotel Mar 2015, Santa Fe Nov 2016; Newport Bay Sep 2017
WDW: Port Orleans Riverside Dec 10; SSR Nov 14

Edited at 09:07 PM.
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