It’s worth remembering that Britain is a relatively small country, so travelling to the many beautiful places is actually pretty easy. If you’re planning on visiting different areas of the UK there are a number of ways you can reach your destination in style.
If you’re looking to visit any of Britain’s major cities then travelling by train is a great option. Not only will you get from place to place swiftly, you’ll also get to view some spectacular British sights as you’re driven through. If you plan to do much travelling within Britain, invest in a rail pass. You can buy one before you arrive in the UK and a number of the schemes available cater to overseas visitors. If you’re looking for an alternative option, coaches cover a wide number of UK destinations and are cheaper than trains.
Car rental can be arranged at major airports, large train stations and city centre outlets. To get the best deals, do your research and book before you arrive in the UK. If you want to take the car rental experience to the next level, consider using a chauffeur service like Cars Exec — rent a driver along with a vehicle!
A chauffeur service will run airport transfers from Taunton or any of dozens of other cities, so both arriving and leaving your destination city is done in style.
You may prefer more leisurely forms of transport such as bike, narrowboat or horse. Sometimes there are unusual picturesque local options, like the rowing-boat ferry between Southwold and Walberswick on the Blyth Estuary. Larger car ferries travel to Britain’s islands and there is always the option of flying by plane from far southerly to far northerly destinations.
Urban public transport in Britain is efficient and can be fun. Fares are reasonable, especially compared to the expense of parking a car. Most of the larger cities have good bus services. London, Newcastle and Glasgow also have an underground system, while Edinburgh, Manchester and Nottingham have trams. Taxis are available at every train station and at ranks in city centers. The best way to see many cities is on foot, but whatever transport you opt for, try to avoid the rush hours from 8am to 9:30am and 5pm to 6:30pm.
Buses come in all shapes and sizes, with automatic doors and comfortable interiors. They include driver-operated double-deckers, smaller single-deckers that can weave through traffic more easily and, in London, the new Routemaster double-deckers with doors at front, center and rear and ‘conductors‘ as well as drivers to check tickets. The only London route on which the old, open-backed Routemaster buses are still used is Heritage route 15, between the Tower of London and Trafalgar Square via St Paul’s Cathedral.
In London you cannot pay with cash on city buses, although you can use a contactless credit or debit card (with a non-UK card this will incur extra charges). Instead, you touch an Oyster electronic card against a ticket reader as you enter, or show a travel pass to the driver or conductor. The best ticket options are a Visitor Oyster Card, charged with an amount of credit that diminishes each time you use it (but can be recharged) or, if you only use public transport for a day, a one-day Travelcard.
In most other cities you can still buy tickets from drivers when you board a bus, but large urban areas – the West Midlands, Greater Manchester – have their own regional travel cards valid on all public transport within their area, which are more economical than individual tickets. Details for each area are available from local tourist offices. Night services are provided in larger cities from about 11pm to 6am. In London, night buses are prefixed with the letter “N”, and most pass through Trafalgar Square.
If you want to board a bus, raise your arm as the bus approaches: to get off, ring the bell once before your stop. Destinations are shown on the front of buses. If you are not sure which stop you need, ask the driver or conductor to alert you and stay on the lower deck. Keep your card or ticket until the end of any journey, in case an inspector gets on board. They can impose an on-the-spot fine if you are without a valid ticket.
Driving in city centers is increasingly discouraged. London has a congestion charge – if you drive or park within the congestion zone from Monday to Friday (7am to 6pm), you will be charged a £11.50 fee to pay online before midnight that day. Not paying the charge will lead to a large fine. See Transport for London‘s website for more information. Other cities are considering similar steps to keep drivers out of the centers. Parking in city centers is also strictly controlled to prevent congestion.