transport around the uk
We have every transport option imaginable in Great Britain to make your new life convenient and fun. The GB Mag team has summarised a few of the options to get you from A to B conveniently and safely, as well as get you around the UK and Europe when you want to go exploring!
The flight will be the first step you take in your big move to the UK. This makes it vital that you choose a flight and a company that suits your needs. GB Mag’s partner, British Airways (BA), understands the special requirements of students studying overseas and offers many options to make the move easier.
Student flights with British Airways
Special fares for student travellers with British Airways are valid from May to October. Another benefit of the British Airways student ticket is the luggage allowance. Moving countries to study requires a lot of packing and it is not always easy or affordable to send over your belongings as cargo, and they will arrive long after you do! With British Airways’ student fares you are entitled to a double baggage allowance of 46 kilograms, made up of two bags weighing 23 kilograms each. Take full advantage of the weight limit and avoid the hassle of shipping possessions.
Student fares are available from nearly all major international airports to seven major UK cities including London, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, Newcastle or Jersey (all via London Heathrow).
Visits from Mum and Dad
Study periods range anywhere from one semester to more than eight years, depending on the length of the course. This gives parents the perfect opportunity to not only come and visit you, but also to take a holiday to the UK. Britain offers everything from medieval history to luscious country landscapes and luxury city-centre stays. British Airways can get your parents to the UK in style with many flight options to suit all needs.
Flying is all part of the holiday experience with British Airway’s World Traveller and World Traveller Plus aeroplane cabins. They include new seats and state-of-the-art in-flight entertainment systems on all our new long-haul aircraft. The World Traveller Plus entitles passengers to a quieter cabin with a maximum of six rows, larger seats, lap-top power plug-in, in-seat phone, three-course meal and a double baggage allowance. This is the ideal start to any holiday!
Going by train is one of the fastest routes to travel in the UK and an airport free route to reach the rest of Europe.
Express trains can take you quickly across Britain. Local trains are also very useful for shorter distances.
Tickets and timetables
You can book tickets and check timetables online or by going into stations directly. The National Rail website is a great way to check routes and times of train journeys. You can also log onto the websites of individual train companies for travel information and discounts.
It's cheaper to book train tickets in advance, online and can be even cheaper if you book with your student railcard! One good discount rail website is www.thetrainline.com
If you book in advance you'll be able to reserve a seat, which makes life a lot easier. You can also book first class or standard class along with the time you want to travel. However, this can increase the cost of your ticket, so check out the different options before booking.
If you are booked on a train on a certain date or time, that means you can only travel on that date and time. If you want flexibility buy an' open return' or an 'open single'. That way you can travel whatever time you want and with an open return you can make your return journey within a month of purchasing the ticket.
When on the train make sure you keep your ticket with you at all times to avoid getting fined (although it rarely ever happens).
Young Persons Railcard
If you're between 16-25 years old buy a Young Persons Railcard to save a whopping 1/3 off train fares. Keep this on you when travelling and you'll soon notice the saved pounds.
Trains into Europe
You can get the Eurostar, which goes underneath the English Channel, to reach other European destinations. If you want to travel to Europe by train, you can buy an InterRail or Eurail ticket. These come in a variety of different forms depending on your length of stay, and it is also possible to get a student deal.
Different bus companies operate around the UK. Buses are a great way to get around cheaply, whether you're travelling around your local area or travelling further afield. Although do bear in mind a journey by bus can take longer than other modes of transport.
Prices depend on the company and how far you're going, so be sure to state where you want to go and say whether you want a single (one way) or return ticket. If you want to use the buses regularly it will work out cheaper to buy a weekly or monthly pass.
Coaches are one of the cheapest ways for long-distance travel in Britain and can connect you to the whole of Europe. Again, book in advance to get super cheap tickets. Good companies include:
- National Express – affordable and nationwide
- Megabus – extremely cheap UK travel
- easyBus - low-cost airport transfers
- Scottish citylink - Scotland's leading coach travel service
Though they're cheap, coach trips take a long time, especially if going abroad. So remember to bring plenty of things to keep yourself entertained on the journey!
Taxis or 'cabs' can be expensive but can also be extremely useful. Save a local taxi number on your phone or call 118 118 and they will redirect you. In the London area text 'cab' to 60835 and you'll receive three mini-cab numbers.
There are also Smartphone apps you can use to find a taxi in London including Kabbee and Hailo Cab which is GB Mag’s top pick. It uses GPS to find the closest black cab to you.
Your taxi fare will depend on the type of taxi you take, the time of day and whether it's on a meter (which means they charge a fixed price per mile) or whether it's based on a fixed price for a destination, so our advice is always check with the driver before the start of the journey.
With safety in mind the GB Mag team would also recommend you book a taxi and make sure you get the driver to confirm your name and destination when they arrive to pick you up. Your other option is to get a taxi from a taxi rank (a place where a certain firm of taxis park-up to collect customers) or hail a black cab, which some cities and towns have.
Fancy a road-trip with your new mates? If you hire a car you can drive across the lush rolling British countryside at your own pace and with complete freedom.
To do this you need to hold a full driving license and as a student specific rules apply to you. To find out more visit direct Gov. And remember that the British drive on the left-hand side and you might want to practice things like roundabouts on quiet roads if you aren't used to them!
Cycling around Britain is a fun and free way to see the sites. If you've brought your own bike with you, great, if not you are able to buy or hire them for a reasonable price. Check out the Yellow Pages or visit www.cyclehireinfo.com for more details.
Transport for London operates a cycle hire programme throughout the city and you may hear locals refer to them as 'Boris bikes', appropriately named after the Mayor of London. You can either get a membership online or pay directly at the cycle stations and then pick a bicycle and pedal away!
Trams and tubes
Some parts of GB have trams or underground train systems which are often faster than buses, but don't go as far as trains do.
The London Underground:
The Tube is the most efficient way to get around London. And it's simple to use once you've got used to the different lines, which have a name and a colour to distinguish them. To plan your journey and to find out if there are any delays log onto TfL
You can by a one day ticket or an Oyster card (that allows you to pay a fixed amount for unlimited travel for a week, month or a year which works out cheaper) at the underground stations, ticket machines or at some train stations.
Your underground ticket or Oyster card allows you to travel on the underground, buses and on some trains. And remember if you have an Oyster card to tap in and out each time you travel otherwise you could incur a charge.
The GB Mag team also recommends you register your Oyster card online because if you lose it you can claim the remaining credits or get a refund.
Glasgow, Newcastle, Liverpool and Manchester also have underground rail and tram services. You can usually buy tickets for different lengths of time and distance so check at the station or on board the tram or log onto National Rail for more information.