Getting Around Britain: Travelling in the UK on the Cheap

England, or more generally and correctly speaking, the United Kingdom of Great Britain, is famed to be a very expensive country. Nowadays this is no longer true, especially for people coming from Europe. However for some aspects and services, prices are still above the average.
Having a look at the trains and hotels rates should would give you an idea of what I’m talking about. Fortunately though, in Britain is relatively easy to save money on special deals, as long as you carefully follow a few tips.

Let’s the best ways to travel around Britain and how to save money in the process:

 UK map

Bus

The bus services, mainly operated by the national company (National Express) cover the whole country and it’s usually the cheapest way to travel. Booking with few days in advance, an off-peak bus trip across the country might cost £5.

Other companies offer local services, some of them are the low-cost company in the bus world: Megabus might take you from London to Bristol for just £1! Although it’s quite unlikely to find the £1 fare, you can easily find the cheapest tickets on the market.

 

Train

If you don’t have time to cruise around on a bus, the train is your option. Very efficient and nearly always on schedule (but I’m from Italy so the standards I’m used to are quite low…), they’re fast as a bullet: London-Manchester in 2 hours and few minutes, but also very expensive.

Don’t be scared of the standard rates, as there are many ways to save money.
First thing: book in advance. I know it’s not always possible, but this will help you saving money. Second: travel off-peak, this will save you not just money but also the discomfort of travelling on a train packed with unhappy commuters.

Your bargain research should start from the National Rail website, if nothing can be found here  you can use one of those rate comparison websites (like Skyscanner for trains). I usually go to these:

www.thetrainline.com
www.mytrainticket.co.uk

It’s also worth checking the Virgin trains website looking for special offers: www.virgintrains.co.uk

 

Car Hire

When travelling off the rail tracks, or for a wild ride in the countryside, hiring a car can be a good option. Car rentals are very affordable in the UK. With Enterprise I usually rent one for little more than £30 a day, or about £60 for the whole weekend. A small car runs on a £13-15 per 100 miles, so if travelling in a party of 3-5 people can be very convenient.

 

Airport

With no doubts the most complicated city in the UK, in terms of airport transfers, is London.

Which airport are you flying to and from? What’s the best way to get there, bus, train, tube, taxi…? To avoid getting lost in the maze of airports and options check the guides to London airports:

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After being in Rome a few times without even looking at the Coliseum I realised that there's more to travel than sightseeing: meeting the local culture is what, 10 years later, determined the birth of this blog.

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