UK’s main airports are:
• London Heathrow Airport is the world's busiest international airport,situated 15 miles west of Central London. http://www.heathrowairport.com/
• London Gatwick Airport, 30 miles south of London in Sussex, is the second-largest airport. http://www.gatwickairport.com/
• London Stansted Airport in Essex is a hub for the budget airlines. It is about 40 miles outside Central London so always factor in extra travelling time. http://www.stanstedairport.com/
• London Luton Airport in Bedfordshire is also a major hub for budget airlines. http://www.london-luton.co.uk/en/#96
• London City Airport is the most central airport in London, situated 7 miles east of Central London. http://www.londoncityairport.com/
• Manchester Airport in the North of England is the UK's third-largest airport. This could be a more convenient arrival airport for visitors to North Wales, the North of England and Scotland.
• Liverpool John Lennon Airport, in North West England, is the UK's fastest-growing airport. http://www.liverpoolairport.com/
• Newcastle International Airpor. http://www.newcastleairport.com/
• Birmingham International is the UK's second largest airport outside of London. It is an ideal gateway to Central England and Wales. http://www.birminghamairport.co.uk/
• Cardiff International is the only international airport in Wales. http://www.tbicardiffairport.com/en/#146
• Belfast International Airport, in Northern Ireland. http://www.belfastairport.com/en/#133
• Edinburgh, Scotland. http://www.edinburghairport.com/
• Glasgow, Scotland has two airports: Glasgow International (for most major airlines) and Glasgow Prestwick (for low-cost flights). http://www.glasgowairport.com/
Fast trains to airports
The Heathrow Express train is the fastest way to get into central London from Heathrow Airport. Trains depart every 15 minutes and take just 15 minutes to reach London Paddington train and underground station. The same journey by taxi would take about 1 hour 15 minutes and cost 4 times as much.
Book Heathrow Express tickets at the VisitBritain Shop.
The Gatwick Express train is the fastest way to get into central London from Gatwick Airport. Trains depart every 15 minutes and take just 30 minutes to reach London Victoria train, bus and underground station. The same journey by taxi would take about 2 hours and cost 4 times as much.
Book Gatwick Express tickets at the VisitBritain Shop.
The Stansted Express train is the fastest way to get into central London from Stansted Airport. Trains depart every 15 minutes and the journey time is 46 minutes. The same journey by taxi would take at least 1.5 hours and cost at least 4 times as much. You can save £5 by booking in advance. There is now a £5.00 premium for customers who purchase their tickets on board.
Book Stansted Express tickets at the VisitBritain Shop.
Eurotunnel is the company responsible for building the twin railway tunnels under the English Channel linking Britain and France at Folkestone, in Kent and Coquelles, in the Nord Pas-de-Calais. Eurotunnel carries passengers and their vehicles and operates between Calais and Folkestone. Trains run 24 hours. There are 2 trains an hour between 06:00-00:00, and around 1 train an hour from 00:00-06:00.
More info: http://www.eurotunnel.com/uk/home/
From Belgium and France
Eurostar high-speed trains run between London (St Pancras International), Ebbsfleet and Ashford through the Channel Tunnel to Paris (Gare du Nord), Lille and Brussels. During the summer an additional weekly train operates to Avignon and during the winter a weekly service runs a ski service direct to the French Alps. Through tickets and connections are available in Lille, Paris and Brussels from many European cities to most large UK cities. Journey times average two hours fifteen minutes to and from Paris, and one hour fifty minutes to Brussels.
From The Netherlands
Multiple daily connections from Dutch cities are possible via Brussels and the Eurostar to London. It can be cheaper (and more flexible) to book an 'Any Dutch station' Eurostar ticket that permits connection to/from any Dutch station provided the itinerary doesn't use the more expensive Thalys services.
Combined train and ferry tickets are available to travellers from stations in the Netherlands to train stations in East Anglia, Essex and East London. Express trains from Harwich International are timed to meet the ferry and allow a simple transfer to London Liverpool Street.
From the Republic of Ireland
From Dublin in Ireland, the Enterprise takes just over 2 hours to Belfast. Tickets available from Irish Rail (in the Republic) and NI Railways in the North.
Combined Rail & Sail tickets are available from any railway station in the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland to any railway station in Great Britain. Tickets can be bought from the railway company and ferry operators. Through tickets are available on most sea corridors.
There are a large number of ferry routes into the UK from continental Europe.
- Newcastle serves a route from Amsterdam in the Netherlands. Harwich has ferries from Esbjerg in Denmark and Hoek van Holland in the Netherlands. You can also sail from Rotterdam in the Netherlands or Zeebrugge in Belgium to Hull, or from Zeebrugge to Rosyth, near Edinburgh. There is a regular connection between Ramsgate and Oostende in Belgium.
- Dover is one of Britain's most popular passenger ports with sailings from Zeebrugge, Dunkerque and Calais in France.
- On the south coast, Portsmouth serves ferries from Le Havre, Caen, Cherbourg, St. Malo and Bilbao in Spain and there are speedy services between Dieppe and Newhaven. The other route from Spain is Santander to Plymouth, Plymouth also has ferries from Roscoff, Poole has ferries to Cherbourg as well as the Channel Islands.
- From the Republic of Ireland, ports of entry include Pembroke, Fishguard and Holyhead and Swansea. There are sailings from Dublin to Holyhead, and Liverpool.
- You can travel by ferry to a number of destinations all around the British coast, including routes to the Scottish Islands and the Channel Islands.
- Ferry travel to the UK from Europe is a popular, good value way to get to Britain with a car or caravan. The quickest and cheapest routes are from the cross-channel ports on the north coast of France (Calais, Boulogne, Dieppe and Dunkirk) to Dover and Folkestone. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that it might be more convenient to travel to a different UK port depending on where you’re coming from.
For up-to-date routes check www.ferries.co.uk
Coaches are the cheapest way to travel to the UK from France and the Benelux. Eurolines offer daily services from Paris, Amsterdam and Brussels to London Victoria coach station. Daily overnight coaches and limited day coaches travel between the UK and Ireland. Connections are available to most parts of the UK via the domestic National Express coach system, for most destinations it is cheaper to purchase this when purchasing your Eurolines tickets as discounts are available. Journeys take about 8-14 hours.
Eurolines will also take you to/from other major European cities. Taking a budget flight is normally cheaper (but with a greater environmental impact), and spares you from a 24h+ bus journey.
Various other operators compete with Eurolines, mostly between Poland and the UK; these come and go, http://www.eurolines.com/.
Below is a summary of the basic rules of the road in Britain. Drive on the left-hand side of the road.
• Always pass (overtake) on the outside (right) lane.
• Do not block the middle lane if the inside lane is clear.
• When approaching a roundabout, give priority to traffic approaching from the right, unless otherwise indicated.
• You must always stop at a red traffic light.
• At a junction there's no general priority rule - priority is marked at most junctions.
• All traffic signals and road signs must be obeyed.
• All vehicles must give way to emergency services vehicles.
• The use of a car horn is not permitted in built-up areas from 23:30 to 07:00 hours.
• Do not drive in bus lanes during restricted hours. See signs by the side of the road for times.
• It's illegal to use a mobile phone when driving. If you need to make a call, find a safe place to stop first.
• Seat belts must be worn by the driver and front seat passenger. Where rear seat belts have been fitted, they must also be worn.
• The minimum driving age is 17.
If you want to drive in Britain, you must have either:
• A valid full driving licence issued in a European Community/European Economic area (EC/EEA)*
• A valid, full national licence issued in your country (Provided your full licence or driving permit remains valid, you may drive vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes and with up to 8 passenger seats, for up to 12 months from the date of coming to the UK)
Note: A provisional (learner's) driving licence issued abroad is not valid for use in the UK.
*Countries included in the EC/EEA are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Republic of Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom.
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION IN UNITED KINGDOM:
You can buy a train ticket for any departure point to any destination on the National Rail network at any UK train station, train travel point or online. Prices vary greatly depending on a number of factors including:
- day and time of travel
- how far ahead you book
UK train journeys may be cheaper if you book in advance or buy a non-refundable ticket. Journeys are usually cheaper if you travel outside peak hours: 05:00-10:00 and 15:00-20:00 Monday to Friday.
For information, exact fares and to book tickets online, go to the National Rail website, http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/.
From London to Edinburgh
London and Edinburgh are perhaps Britain’s most popular city destinations and are England and Scotland’s capitals respectively. Travelling between the two by train has the advantage of taking you directly to and from the city centres, and giving you the chance to sight-see from the comfort of your carriage. However it can be cheaper to fly unless you book a train in advance.
There are two options when travelling between London and Edinburgh by train – regular daytime trains from London Kings Cross station to Edinburgh Waverley station and the overnight Caledonian Sleeper between London Euston station and Edinburgh Waverley station which operate six nights a week. The regular London to Edinburgh train takes just 4-5 hours and usually departs every hour.
Taxis are a really convenient way to travel short distances as your driver will take you directly to your destination.
For over 300 years, taxis have been part of London life and both the vehicle and driver are licensed to carry passengers. The famous London 'black taxi' still exists but they now come in a variety of colours. There are currently over 20,000 licensed taxis in London, and over 25,000 licensed taxi drivers. Black cabs are also now common in most towns and cities throughout Britain.
You can hail a taxi in the street when its yellow 'For Hire' sign is illuminated. Taxis can also be found at taxi ranks outside or near most major rail stations and airports. They are usually licensed to carry 4 or 5 people. A meter registers the fare and it is customary to tip the driver about 10% of the fare.
Traintaxi gives information on whether there's a taxi rank at train, tram or underground stations.
Minicabs are a cheaper alternative to black taxis, but can't be hailed in the street. Generally they carry up to 4 passengers, but some are able to seat up to 7 people. You can ask for a larger vehicle when you book.
Minicabs look like regular cars and don't have a meter, so it's advisable to agree a fare with the driver before your journey. In London all minicab operators must hold an operating licence issued by Transport for London (TfL), and for your safety and security you must only use licensed companies. Remember that unbooked minicabs are illegal, unsafe and uninsured. When you book a minicab make sure you always sit in the back and that when the driver arrives they can confirm your name and destination.
Public buses outside London are run by a number of private companies. They're a great way to get around cities and towns, and run regularly. Every city and town in Britain has a local bus service. These services are privatised and run by separate companies.
You can buy your ticket when you get on board a bus, by telling the driver where you're going. 1-day and weekly travel cards are available in some towns, and these can be bought from the driver or from an information centre at the bus station. Tickets are valid for each separate journey rather than for a period of time, so if you get off the bus you'll need to buy a new ticket when getting on another bus.
Ferries link the mainland to the many offshore islands including the Isles of Scilly from Penzance; the Isle of Wight from Southampton and Portsmouth; the Isle of Man from Liverpool and Ireland and the Orkneys and Shetland Islands from Aberdeen and the far north of Scotland. There are numerous car and passenger ferry routes between England and France and between Ireland and the UK. There are also regular ferry services between Northern Ireland and Scotland and these depart Larne, Belfast, Troon, Stranraer and Cairnryan. There are routes from Northern Ireland to Birkenhead and Fleetwood (both near Liverpool in England).
With Britain's coastline exceeding 12,000 kilometres it's no surprise that cruising around these islands is becoming an increasingly popular choice. Cruising provides you an opportunity to visit the parts of Britain that would otherwise be out of reach to the regular visitor.
Hiring a bike is an easy way to cycle around Britain without having to bring your bike with you. There are lots of bicycle hire companies around, and many offer great deals. Some of London's royal parks offer bike-hire services if you just want to spend a day riding around the vast parkland.