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The Best Way to Travel around Britain

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From London to Land’s End, Edinburgh to Essex, Cambridge to Cardiff, we’ve packed plenty onto our little island and we truly believe that it’s all worth seeing. And while it’s true that towns in the UK are not that far apart, seeing it all means travelling – a lot.

The Best Way to Travel Around Britain

Now, for a country that contains so many sights, Britain is relatively small. By car, you can cover the entire island within a matter of days, with the length of the country a mere 874 miles – roughly the distance between New York and Chicago. The problem is, however, is that Britain is a product of history: Our roads are a poorly connected mess of motorways and A roads, whereas our train network would give even Thomas the Tank Engine a headache. Therefore, let’s take a look at the different modes of transport available to find the one that’s right for you.

Travelling by Car

Despite the confusing setup of Britain’s roads, travelling by car still remains one of the best ways to travel in Britain. A week’s rental costs between £200-£600 on average including a tank of fuel (depending on the model you choose) and you have complete freedom to drive where you want – the point at which a car comes into its own. As a point of reference, Oxford, Bath, Bristol, Birmingham, Cambridge, Brighton, Portsmouth and Bournemouth are all less than three hours’ drive from London, whereas the north of England lies around five hours away. Driving up to Scotland from London can also be done in a day, with the UK’s most northerly point, John O’ Groats, reachable in twelve hours. What’s more, Britain’s motorways can be serenely picturesque places, with the M6 snaking up through the bucolic Midlands and up through the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District. Just remember we drive on the left!

Travelling by Train

If you were to travel by train, however, you have the benefit of not having to worry about parking, fuel or speeding tickets – and you can properly enjoy the ride. The downside is that Britain is known for having some of the most expensive rail fares in all of Europe. A ticket from London to Bristol might set you back around £100 during peak travel hours, for example. If you book well in advance, however, and are flexible in when you travel, you will be able to save substantial money. And if you plan on doing a lot of train travel while you’re here, a BritRail GB Pass will save you a small fortune.

Rail travel in the UK is also a remarkably comfortable experience, with most carriages coming kitted-out with Wi-Fi.

More Exotic Options

Canal Boating

If you are looking for a truly unique experience, however, you may want to consider something truly original. And Britain is not short of original.

Canal boats have seen an increase in popularity over the last few years and, considering Britain’s abundance of picturesque canals, are a surprisingly efficient way to get around, if not a little slow. A quintessentially English pastime, canal boating is a charming way to discover a quieter side of the country, you’ve just got to be prepared to pay good money for the experience.

See Britain by Helicopter

If you’re looking for something a little more luxurious, consider helicopter rides. Due to Britain’s size, the country is perfect for travelling by helicopter, with all key tourist spots only a short flight from one another. The unique perspective afforded by a flight in a helicopter also means that you get an experience like none other, as well as knowing that you can squeeze in maximum visits into shorter timeframes. London from the air, for example, is unparalleled.

What is the fastest speed a private helicopter can fly?

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One of the most common questions that all helicopter pilots are asked is how fast the helicopter can fly. Because a helicopter is typically much smaller than a fixed wing aircraft, flight speeds can often appear different to what they actually are. To answer the question accurately, however, we need to examine the different helicopter models, as maximum speeds vary significantly, depending on several factors. These include the size of each model and their passenger capacity, as well as their range, size, weight and maximum speeds amongst other factors. Regardless of which model you’re looking to fly with, there’s something guaranteed to meet your needs.

Sikorsky S92 helicopter
The Sikorsky S92 can accommodate up to 16 passengers, making it one of the largest private charter helicopters available. It has a maximum weight of 12020 kgs, a range of 625 miles, and a top speed of 160mph. This is a very large helicopter that suits larger corporate groups perfectly.

Sikorsky S76 helicopter
This helicopter was launched way back in 1977 and is still one of the most widely-used helicopters in the charter world. It is fitted out with 8 seats and has a maximum weight limit of 5307kg. Travelling at a top speed of 180mph gives it a range of 400 miles to the tank.

Agusta 109 helicopter
Agusta 109 is another design that has a long history in the charter market. It also flies at a maximum speed of 180mph, but has just five passenger seats, and a maximum weight limit of 3175kg. It can reach a very respectable range of 500 miles.

Robinson R44 helicopter
One of the smaller helicopters used for charter flights, the Robinson R44 has three passenger seats and a maximum weight of 1134kg. Cruising speeds for this helicopter are a little lower, at 130mph, but the range is still exceptional, at 400 miles to get you where you need to go.

Airbus H155 helicopter
Considered a mid-sized helicopter, the Airbus is perfect for longer journeys, as it has a range of 530 miles. With space for 6 passengers, this helicopter has a maximum weight limit of 4850kg. It flies at a maximum speed of 170mph.

Airbus H135 helicopter
One of the most popular charter helicopters available, the H135 is well used everywhere. Capable of carrying up to six passengers in style, it has a weight limit of 2910kg. The H1 flies at a maximum speed of 155mph and has a maximum range of 395 miles.

Airbus AS355 helicopter
Comfortably carrying up to five passengers, this twin-engine helicopter is another firm favourite with charter clients. It can cruise at up to 150mph and can fly for up to 440 miles. Confined spaces are easily dealt with by the AS3, and can fly in most weather conditions at a weight of 2540kg.

Airbus AS350 helicopter
This make can carry up to six passengers and has a maximum weight limit of 2250kg. With a top cruise speed of 150mph and a range of 400 miles, this is a popular choice for sightseeing, VIP flights, aerial photography and air ambulance duties.

Airbus H120 helicopter
One of the smaller choices in the charter sector, the Airbus H120 offers 4 passenger seats and has a maximum weight limit of 1715kg. Whilst it is one of the smaller helicopters available for charter flights, it still has an impressive range of up to 440 miles, and it can fly at up to 140mph. This is just as popular as the larger makes and makes for just as impressive an experience.

Why is luxury air travel by helicopter popular?

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Regardless of where you are in the world or what language you speak, someone making an entrance via a helicopter indicates that he or she is a big deal. Once considered the preserve of the rich and famous, things have changed dramatically in recent years as private helicopters have become more accessible than ever, whilst losing none of their excitement or efficiency.

A taste of the high-life
Whilst it’s true that more and more people are choosing to travel by helicopter, it still retains a sense of luxury and sophistication. A flight on a commercial airline involves tedious journeys to crowded airports, waiting in line for security checks and regular flight delays. Flying by helicopter, however, is an altogether more refined experience. Helicopters usually operate from private airfields, so there are no crowds to contend with, and no delays for security clearance. Passengers are treated courteously at all times, and there are often luxurious extras, such as elegant waiting lounges, personal assistants and gourmet snacks.

Fast journey times
Getting anywhere in the UK by road, rail or commercial flight can be a frustrating experience. With helicopter travel, it’s fast and easy to get to where you need to be. Travelling by car from London to Oxford, for example, would take at least two hours and that’s assuming a lack of traffic. In contrast, if you were to travel by helicopter, the journey would take just 30 minutes.

Comfort and style
There’s no denying that travelling by helicopter offers a high degree of comfort and style. The cramped seats offered by the budget airlines are nowhere to be seen, and passengers can sit back and relax in spacious and comfortable surroundings. Luxury and star treatment sits at the heart of the entire experience and extends beyond the flight itself. It’s undeniably a pleasure to stroll through the terminal building after a helicopter trip, with no crowds or hustle and bustle.

Access all areas
Since helicopters don’t need a fixed runway to land, they can go almost anywhere within legal boundaries. Chartering a private helicopter is an ideal way of visiting out of the way locations, such as country estates, vineyards, golf courses and luxury hotels. Whether you are travelling for business or pleasure, flying directly to your venue by helicopter is the most impactful way to arrive!

Combine business and pleasure
One of the beauties of private helicopter travel is that the flight path really is up to you. If you want to take in some sightseeing on the way to an important business meeting, all you need to do is arrange it beforehand with your charter company. Therefore instead of your usual boring commute, even the most routine of trips become infinitely more memorable. Little can compete with flying over the London skyline, spotting familiar tourist destinations and looking out for lesser known places that are usually hidden from view. How many people, for example, can say that they’ve seen the gardens of Buckingham Palace from the air? That frequent business journey along the M4 will be even less appealing after you’ve flown by helicopter, following the winding path of the River Thames instead. No matter where you are travelling to, flying by helicopter makes every journey an adventure.

Support London’s Air Ambulance

We are delighted to support London’s Air Ambulance, helping to extend the reach of their lifesaving missions across London. The London Helicopter will match your donation to double its impact.

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