Travelling around the UK
Life is easy for those, who are travelling to London or any other large British city. You must get to the city centre by the public means of transportation and then travel around using the local public transport.
In the following article, you get to know the basic information about travelling from one city to another, getting from the airport to the final destination or simply searching for connection, while going for a trip.
Before your departure, I would gladly give you the instructions, how to look for the best connection. It concerns mostly travelling for longer distance. If you are looking for connection for example from London to Brighton, just have a look at the price of trains or buses.
- At the beginning, you must realise how much time and money you are willing to spend. Doing that, you exclude the options that are not relevant to you (fast transport excludes the buses, fast and cheap transport means choosing the train, etc.).
- Combine different options (very often, it pays off to choose different means of transport). For example, you might fly to the final destination, as it costs the same (or even less) as travelling by train. Return ticket might be too expensive, so it might be worth looking at the prices of buses and trains.
- Write down everything!
It is the best to write down all options and then choose the best of them (plane/train/car/bus/combination of each). You must take into consideration extra expenses, for example for travels, luggage, your time, etc.
- Ask! No one is omniscient and you wouldn’t be the first one to travel that way (especially, when you know the people). On the Internet, you might participate in discussions (e.g. on Facebook), where you can ask.
I would categorise the transport around the UK in 5 basic groups:
1. Travelling by plane
Thanks to the low-cost companies, there are more options for you now than before. Especially, on the long-distance travels (e.g. London -> Glasgow, Scotland), you save a lot of time that you would spend in a train or bus. Nevertheless, you need to count with the fact that the price might be much higher (particularly, if you try buying the tickets at the very last moment, extra payment for the luggage, expenses for the travel to and from the airport).
The travel companies, which fly around the UK:
You might find many others on the Internet.
2. Travelling by car
In case you have your own car, the problem is solved and I only recommend to refresh the basic traffic rules in the UK.
3. Travelling by bus
Another alternative is to travel by bus that have very frequent connections in the UK. Thanks to their quality, you can travel comfortably and fast at the same time. While travelling with the suburban buses, but also coaches, take into account that the bus (resp. coach) is going to stop on the way quite often. The time spent on board increases with the number of times it goes to the city centre, for example in case of coaches.
While looking for transport, pay attention to the quality of the bus and company. It is not that important, while travelling by the suburban buses (short distance). However, if you are about to travel for 4 hours and more, it is better to choose a company that has comfortable seats, do not stop that often on the way, etc.
The same as in other European countries, the bus (coach) is usually cheaper option than travelling by train. However, you need to spend more time on board. Sometimes, there is not such a difference in time and it pays off to save dozens of pounds to spend a short while longer on bus (coach), rather than in the train.
The big advantage of trains and buses is their connection. Very often, they take you to the city centre (or very close to there) and you do not have to care about how to get from the airport.Example
Example of the bus companies that are providing the transport around the UK (some of them even internationally):
- National Express
One of the biggest transport companies with very well developed network. It is possible to find the tickets for a couple of pounds, but also 15 and more, depending on the distance and capacity. While booking the ticket, you are charged an extra fee of 50p and you must have your ticket printed. For the so-called ‘e-ticket’, you pay another small fee. Except for the connections around the UK, the company also provides connection with the rest of Europe.
In contrast to the previous, they do not have so well developed network of connections, but they specialise in most frequent lines. For example for the return ticket from London to Glasgow or Edinburgh, you might pay 2 pounds. Of course, the sooner you buy, the lower the price gets. They also provide connection with Europe.
- Scottish Citylink
The most common transportation around Scotland.
One of the most popular companies in Wales, focused on transportation for longer distances and closely cooperating with local public transport.
The most common means of transport around Northern Ireland with more than 300 connections in that part of the UK. You might find it useful to ask for bus timetable as the Northern Ireland is divided into 19 local areas. You might get it for free at any of the local branches of the company.
4. Travelling by train
The same as in other European countries, in the UK you find several companies that provide railway connections. However, in contrast to the bus, travelling by train might be much more expensive. On the other hand, you might save a lot of time while looking carefully for the tickets in the same price category, as the bus companies.
National Rail Enquiries, (NRE), a webpage that provides information for all clients that decide to travel around England, Wales and Scotland by train. NRE belongs to the railway association that is responsible for providing services on the rails. To put it simply, you set the start and final destination and choose the best option for you.
5. Travelling by ferry
You come across this type of transport for example, while travelling to the UK by car . The same as travelling to Ireland, the Isle of Man or the Isle of Skye.
You can get the tickets on the following webpages: