Public transport

Living in Europe | Access to the culture of the host country/language courses | United Kingdom

Getting around is generally quite easy in the UK, as the public transport network is very well developed, although the costs of the different types of transport available can vary according to region.

Rail

Britain’s rail network connects over 2000 stations around the country and the trains are run by a number of different rail companies (Southestern, Virgin Express, etc.). You can normally buy a variety of different tickets for your journey, which differ in the class of travel (1st or 2nd class) and the flexibility of the ticket (refundable, non-refundable, two-way, open return or a single journey). You are also able to apply for different discount cards depending on you are a student, an elderly person, or if you are disabled.

For more information visit National Rail.

Coach and Bus

Within most cities, towns and rural areas there is a local bus service for short to medium distance journeys.

For longer distance journeys between cities and to and from the airport there are scheduled coach services, mostly run by National Express and Scottish Citylink.

London Underground

The London Underground is the world’s oldest underground railway networks and is operated by Transport for London (TfL). You can buy single, return, or one-day travel card tickets.

The cheapest way to travel around in London is using an Oyster card. This is a card which you top-up when needed, and is valid on the Tube, as well as on London buses, trams and the Docklands Light Railway (DLR). It will always automatically calculate the cheapest fare for the journeys you make in a single day.

Alternatively, you are able to use contactless payment debit or credit cards on TfL operated services which calculates the same fare as an Oyster card, but doesn’t require topping up. The fares' cost depends on the travel to and between the different Zones in London, Zone 1 - 6. You can get a discount on your daily, monthly or weekly Oyster card if you are a student, pensioner or disabled.

Visit TfL to learn about fares and tickets.

Access for disabled people

The Department for Transport is aiming to improve access to public transport for disabled people but shortfalls do exist, for example in access to underground stations, which make some journeys more difficult for people with certain disabilities. Some underground stations have elevator access to platforms.

Useful websites are Door to Door, which is a national guide to transport for disabled persons, and the Transport for London Accessibility page, where you can find information about travelling around London.

If you are disabled and live in London you may be eligible for a freedom pass which allows you to travel for free on London’s public transport network.

Boat

Ferry services connect Britain to mainland Europe, Ireland, the Channel Islands and to the numerous other islands around the British Isles. There is no single ferry operator, and sometimes a route is served by more than one company, so check around for the best price.

Flights

There are domestic flights available to large cities in the UK and most small cities as well. To fly you will need to provide a form of valid photo ID evidence. A UK driving license may be used as well as a passport. Main UK airports are London Heathrow, Gatwick Airport, Luton and Stanstead for London area, as well as Bristol, Manchester, Cardiff, Glasgow, and Edinburgh.