UK life Exploring the UK Travel around the UK
Travel around the UK
There’s a lot to explore in the UK, including the historic castles of Wales, the wild Scottish Highlands, England’s lively cities and Northern Ireland’s stunning coastline.
Getting around is easy. The UK has extensive and well-used rail and coach networks.
What may hit you when you come to the UK is just how small it is, and therefore just how easy it is to get from place to place, with many interesting sights and cities in within close proximity of one another.
You should be able to walk around your campus quite easily. If you are lucky, you will find student residences close enough to the university and town to be within walking distance. If not, buses are usually readily available in college and university towns and cities.
A lot of students, particularly in the smaller, more intimate cities such as Oxford, Cambridge and Durham, use bicycles (bikes) to get around. This is a cheap, healthy and relatively safe way to get around. If possible, however, take a bicycle training course before starting to cycle in the UK. The local police or the local authority sometimes offer these courses and they can teach you how to ride a bicycle safely on the roads while you’re here.
To find out about bicycle training courses in your area, ask at your students’ union.
By rail and coach
Cities in the UK are connected by a fast and efficient railway network and by frequent coach services. Several different travel passes are available, providing unlimited travel over specified periods and distances.
Many UK travel organisations offer special discounted fares for students. Although you can get a small discount with an ISIC card, if you pay £26 for a 16–25 Railcard you can get even more money off – a third off all train journeys.
Young Persons Coachcards are also available from National Express.
For more details, ask at your students’ union office or any main railway or coach station, or try one of the specialist student travel agencies that can be found near many campuses.
For those longer journeys (for instance, from London to Scotland or Ireland) frequent and efficient air services connect major UK cities with one another, as well as to other cities in Europe.
There are four major airports near London: Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton and Stansted. Other major international airports are located at Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Belfast, Manchester, Birmingham and Aberdeen.
A lengthy motorway network links all major towns and cities. If you want to drive a car or motorcycle in the UK, you must have a valid licence and you must be at least 17 years old (16 years old to drive a moped). For further information, contact the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).
Distances in the UK are given in miles. To convert to kilometres, divide by five and then multiply by eight. For example, 100 miles is approximately 160 kilometres.