How to Travel within England

Going to England next week. I was under the impression that travel would be relatively easy, quick, and convenient between cities in England but I think I'm beginning to find out that is not the case. Whats the cheapest way to get around between cities? The train quoted 44 pounds just to get from Blackpool to the Cotswolds. I could fly across the U.S. for that price! We were planning on going all over England but now I'm having 2nd thoughts due to high price and inconvenient modes (i.e. 5 changes to get to Cotswolds). Any suggestions?

Posted by Julie
Washington, DC
4 posts

Tom - you can fly from Baltimore to Palm Beach for $74 U.S.

Posted by Tim
Knoxville, TN, USA
3710 posts

You can fly across the USA for 88 US dollars??? Please tell me how.

Posted by Andreas
Frankfurt am Main, Germany
2690 posts

A lot of my UK co-workers fly easyjet, Ryanair and Co. within the UK or just drive. I find driving in the UK (with the exception of London) very easy and relaxed. The UK rail system cannot compare at all with the one in Continental Europe. There are, however, some cheap bus links between cities.

Posted by Tim
Minneapolis, MN, USA
8700 posts

Walk up train fares are very expensive in England. However, advance fares booked on the Internet can be a lot cheaper. For example, I found a 21 GBP fare for Blackpool to Moreton-on-Marsh at www.nationalrail.co.uk and it required three changes, not five. If you don't want to commit to specific dates and times in advance, then a BritRail England Consecutive Pass or a BritRail England Flexipass might work well for you. See here: www.ricksteves.com/rail/greatbritain.htm.

You might also consider traveling by coach (bus). See www.nationalexpress.com.

Posted by Linda
Portland, OR, USA
389 posts

Hey, you do what you have to do, but I'm in a group of 6 this summer and we quickly figured out with gas and rental costs that 3 or more travel in a car cheeper than trains/bus (maybe not planes, depending on where you're going) and 2 is about even. There are advantages to the public system like free time to relax and no worries on the roundies about which exit to take, but I enjoy driving in England (NOT London!) and look forward to that mode of transport again this year.

Posted by Kate
Scotland
505 posts

Baltimore to Palm Beach is hardly across the US. Given the UK train system isn't perfect, but it's MUCH better than anything in the US. It's worth being carless for a while and cut the addiction! I've been here nearly four years without a car and have never regretted it.

I have a student railcard and a 3 hr trip is only the equivalent of $16 and without the card I can get a bargain berth to London on the sleeper (including breakfast and a toiletries pack) for < $60 - far better than any plane ticket and far cheaper than a car (at ยข5-6 per gallon for petrol, driving a car isn't cheap!).

What people tend to forget is that getting to airports, getting through security etc. can take a lot of time and hassle. No such hassle on a train, and more importantly these day, NO limits on luggage or liquids!

Cars are great for exploring smaller cities and towns, but parking in just about any large city is a nightmare and not worth dealing with...

Posted by katie
surrey, canada
10 posts

I am going to England soon too, and plan on using the bus. National Express (www.nationalexpress.com)has routes all over Britain, and you can get funfares on some routes. These start as low as 1 pound (but increase when you book closer to your date of travel). You can also get Brit Xplorer passes for consecutive days of travel (7 days:79 pounds, 14 days:139 pounds, 28 days:219 pounds).
The bus will be cheaper than train, but will also take longer and be a little less comfortable. However, from what I've heard you can also get to more out-of-the-way destinations by bus.

Posted by Julie
Washington, DC
4 posts

Baltimore to to Palm Beach is roughly the same distance as traveling from London to Liverpool five times.

Posted by Paul n Sara
Newburyport, MA
683 posts

English trains are half as good but twice as expensive as European trains. That said, thet are much better than US trains, but that means they are only slightly better than Third World.
We found bus (coaches) to be cheaper.

Posted by Toni
Charlotte, NC, USA
3055 posts

Trains in the UK are great! Get a BritRail pass and just go, go, go! You can get different passes- 1st or coach, travel 3 days out of 5, 8 out of 15, etc. We love train travel. You can also get "day trip" special tickets- you see them advertised all over the UK at the train stations. Don't be discouraged. You can take the train from London to Stratford-upon-Avon ( NO CHANGES)then take other trains to various Costwold locations, or take a bus from there.

Posted by michelle
northfield, NH, usa
7 posts

Hey Julie, I'm having same problems. I'm in a samll village outside Cambridge. The only saving grace is I'm here for 2 weeks on a home swap and we swapped cars. So its great driving around on day trips under an hour but try to order a train ticket on-line and they can only mail it to you if your departure does not have pick-up .. Taxi's are insane. a taxi from my Victoria hotel to Heathrow is 40 pounds. ($80.) with no other options....Guess I should have paid more for the fancy hotels that offer Airport shuttle free. It looks like traveling VERY light and planning travel between smaller connecting towns with exchanges in bigger ones is only way.
trying to combine Train & Bus requires a degree in computer science and Travel planning.....
Ya think they'd make it easier, why not ask the people who use it the most, I say.