How to get around England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – and not pay an arm and a leg! There are two main types of train travel in the UK – regional (stops everywhere) and intercity (stops only at major towns and cities). This guide shows you how to use both of these types to help you plan your journey around the country. It’s written in plain English – no jargon here!
Why I love trains
Trains are really magical. Not only do they allow you to see different parts of your country in different ways, but they also expose you to new people and let you enjoy beautiful scenery in peace. There is no better way to travel then by train! Trains are a bit more expensive than busses but depending on how long your trip is it might actually be less costly as well. Travelling with trains allows you two luxuries
What kind of train pass should you get?
There are several different types of rail passes available in Britain, including a daily train pass, an off-peak weekly pass and first class annual pass. If you’re planning to do any day trips or explore multiple cities, it’s probably worth purchasing an off-peak weekly train pass. This will cost £38 but give you unlimited first class travel anywhere in England, Scotland and Wales Monday through Friday after 9:30 AM. However, if you’re sticking mainly to urban travel or looking for budget-friendly ways to travel from city to city (e.g., taking a sleeper from London or Edinburgh straight into Glasgow), buying individual tickets is your best bet.
Tips for getting the most out of your pass
Discount train passes can be a great deal, but in order to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth, it pays to do some research. First and foremost, know where you plan on traveling. Some tickets may only apply to certain zones (areas) of Britain, while others may restrict travel during peak hours or offer discounted fares at off-peak times. The National Rail website is invaluable here—it provides detailed information about every aspect of rail travel in Great Britain: timetables, fare rules and restrictions, service changes/disruptions and more. To find out how much your trip will cost without a pass as well as how much you’ll save with one, just enter in your departure station and destination along with your travel dates.
Where to stay
Before you travel, you’ll need somewhere to stay. If you’re travelling overland, there are more than 400 stations in England, Scotland and Wales where you can sleep. Prices vary from $20 per night at tiny rural stations up to $160 per night for centrally located places like London’s Euston Station. First Great Western, ScotRail and Virgin Trains all offer discounts of 30% or more if booked online (rather than through an agent) but it’s best to book as early as possible — popular stations fill up quickly. The booking window is generally one month ahead of your arrival date but can be as short as seven days in peak seasons (particularly Christmas).
Where to eat
To truly experience London, there’s no better way than doing it free of charge. The city is teeming with a great number of museums and historical sites that are completely free for anyone with an interest in art, history, or culture. It’s even possible to spend a full day or two in London without spending any money if you know where to go and what events are happening during your visit. You don’t need much more than your curiosity and some time during your trip!
Best UK tourist attractions outside London
If you’re looking for things to do outside London, then it’s worth checking out some of Britain’s top tourist attractions. Whether you want to check out some history, culture or nature, there are plenty of interesting places just waiting for you! There are so many possibilities that you may find yourself wanting to book an extra day or two so that you can fit in as much as possible. If history is your thing then why not check out one of Britain’s top visitor attractions: Stonehenge? This impressive structure has stood here for more than 5,000 years and it continues to fascinate people from all over the world who flock here year after year.
Best free things to do in London
London’s museums and galleries are some of its most-popular tourist attractions. But what if you can’t afford London? Don’t worry—there are still plenty of affordable (and free!) ways to enjoy yourself in London. While it may not be possible for budget travelers to visit every attraction, there are plenty of things you can do for free. Here is a list of top activities that won’t cost you a penny
Transportation within cities
Within cities, you should focus on local transportation. Trains and buses are often cheaper than taxis and Uber, but still fast and convenient. If you’re in London for example, consider getting an Oyster card if you plan to use public transportation regularly. You can purchase an Oyster card with pounds at any subway station; it costs about $10 or so but then allows you free access to all modes of transport throughout London. (You can also get one at Heathrow Airport). Another great option is Car2Go, which allows users to rent cars by the minute–literally–and use them anywhere in London they’d like. It’s affordable as well as convenient!