Getting Around England

The English complain loudly and often about the shortcomings of their transport system, but if you avoid commuter trains and the rush hour, getting around England can be easy and surprisingly pleasant.Trains, coaches and buses are common across the country. London has its Underground. And some cities such as Sheffield, Manchester or Croydon have trams running. Taxis are everywhere. And then - of course - there are cars and campers.

Ticket prices for all of these transport options vary widely.

Generally, tickets are most expensive when bought on the day and when you travel before 9:30am in the morning or around 5pm in the afternoon.

Tickets bought a few days ahead or for travel during the day can be significantly cheaper, as are travel passes, which are very popular. The London Travel Card, for example, is valid for the whole day and permits unlimited travel on the Underground, all buses and trains in Greater London. This is excellent if you're making your way across the capital sightseeing.

Domestic Flights

England is not a huge country, so the usefulness of domestic flights is a bit limited. But if you are in a hurry you can catch a plane from London to Manchester, Newcastle or one of the Scottish or Irish airports.

Travelling by Train

England has an extensive rail network and a number of large and small operators. Train travel can be expensive, especially during peak times, holidays and over long journeys. But if you can book your tickets a week ahead and be a little flexible about your travel times, then substantial savings are possible.

Check out this page for more information about train travel in England.

Travelling by Coach

Coach companies, such as National Express, serve scheduled routes up and down the country.Services run to a frequent timetable and are clean and reliable. They're also extremely affordable, allowing considerable savings on your travel costs.

Many companies also run organised coach tours or day trips. Information about these is usually available from local Tourist Information Bureaus. Most good hotels, guest houses and Bed & Breakfasts also keep a list of what is available and will be able to advise how to book a trip.

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On the Buses

Buses are the most common means of travelling around England's towns and cities. Most have numerous routes from the centre of the town into the outlying areas or even neighbouring towns and villages.

If you want to use a bus, find out which route you need and just wait at a bus stop. Mostly you can buy a single ticket from the driver, even though they can be quite expensive.

Buying a book of tickets or a saver ticket from the Tourist Information Bureau is often a better option.

If you have to buy a single ticket on the bus make sure you have enough change on you, as many buses require you to have the exact fare.

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Trams are making a comeback in a number of English towns and cities. They're easily recognisable and very clean and comfortable.

Trams tend to run between popular areas around the city and tend to avoid traffic snarl ups.

Tickets can be bought from most tram stops and pricing is similar to that of a bus ticket. Again, saver tickets and books of multiples are often available.

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Travelling by Taxi

There are plenty of taxis in every English town and city and all genuine taxis have to display a licence plate, which gives the number of the cab and how many people it is allowed to carry. Traditional English taxis are big and black and very recognisable, but there are many independent taxi firms around which use 'normal' cars.

Airports, train and coach stations have taxi ranks where the black cabs queue up waiting. But you can also flag down a black cab in the street. A taxi is free if its orange light is lit. Just catch the driver's eye and he'll stop.

Hotels and restaurants keep the numbers of local taxi firms and will call a taxi for you if you ask and, for your safety, it's well to remember never to get into an unlicensed cab.

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Exploring on your own

If you prefer to explore on your own, you can hire a car or even a campervan. Just remember to drive on the left!

Cycling is popular and there are many companies offering escorted cycling tours.

And if money is no object, or you want true luxury, consider a chauffeur-driven trip. Not only will you be wafted in style across the countryside, your chauffeur will also be an invaluable source of information.

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