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
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.