Connections are relatively straight-forward from both Gatwick airport and from Heathrow: Gatwick has a train link to Reading station (which is on the Paddington to Exeter line) and Heathrow has a RailAir bus, again to Reading, from all terminals. People who came to the UK meeting in Reading probably recall this.
Once you clear immigration and customs at Heathrow, look for signs to the RailAir bus stop (the bus stops at all terminals). You can buy a ticket as you board the bus to get you to Reading (cost: about 7 GBP) and then a return rail ticket at Reading to get you to Exeter and back. This bus has only one purpose - to ferry people between Heathrow and Reading - it does not stop anywhere else.
Gatwick has its own Rail terminal; head for that once out of customs and buy a return ticket to Exeter at the Rail ticket desk. The train from Gatwick to Reading is a not-terribly-quick service stopping at lots of small commuter towns. Reading is the end-of-line for this service, so you should not be able to miss your connection with the Paddington-to- Exeter service.
Rail ticket prices between Reading and Exeter vary wildly, depending on what day of the week and time of day you travel; the cheapest is currently 36 GBP and the most expensive currently 70 GBP, standard class. (First class prices would be almost double these). These trains always include a buffet and restaurant car - the restaurant food is usually quite good, while the buffet snacks are fairly indifferent.
It is possible (although fairly boring) to drive to Exeter from London (or from either airport) in about 3 to 4 hours, using the M4 and M5 motorways. Alternatively you can take the M3 and A303; this combination takes you past Stonehenge, near Amesbury on Salisbury Plain. If you can time your trip to pass the stones just before sunset it is an unforgettable scene.
Once you arrive at Exeter, Crossmead is a short (~1 mile, or 1.5 km) taxi ride from Exeter Rail Station. Almost immediately opposite the Rail station's main entrance is a Hertz car rental office, for those who are interested in exploring the local highways and byways. Devon traffic conforms to the UK preference for driving on the left-hand side of the road - but if you stray onto the many minor roads you'll find that they're too narrow for such considerations! A piece of trivia: Devon has as many miles of road as Belgium - but most of them are only just wide enough for one car at a time, so mind how you go!
The University's Conference centre is centred on a Victorian house in its own mini estate on the western edge of Exeter, well away from the main campus and largely unvisited by our students. The prices they quote, effective for May 1997, are as follows:
In other words, for those of you who stay at Crossmead everything is included in the room rate, including the Meeting room.
If people decided to stay elsewhere in Exeter, they would still have to pay the 15-95 GBP per day non-residential fee.
I am still researching the costs of photocopying, but it appears that hire of an A4 copier will be the most cost effective solution for the week.
Exeter is a cathedral city, at the neck of the south-west peninsula of England, about 20 miles east of Dartmoor and 10 miles north of the English Channel coast. It sits on the River Exe estuary, and features 'Probably the best University in the World', to quote local student literature.
More information on Exeter, including maps, is available on
...if you're interested.
-- _________________________________________________________________________ David Cannon University of Exeter, IT Services Laver Building, North Park Road Systems/Network Programmer Exeter, EX4 4QE, Devon, UK Phone: +44 (0)1392 263939 Fax: +44 (0)1392 211630 _________________________________________________________________________