While you’re in the UK, you’ll be on the move all the time. Whether you are just going to class or to a local store, taking a weekend trip to another part of the country, or travelling to Europe, you’ll need transportation. The UK has a very good public transport system, with an extensive network of buses, planes and trains which simplify travelling - plus you can rent cars pretty cheaply as another option.
With the huge growth in low cost airlines over the last five years, it is now easier than ever to travel the UK and throughout most of Europe. Some fares on the main low cost airlines will be as little as £0.01 for a one way trip (plus taxes and charges) and so at these prices you cannot go wrong! One tip – watch those taxes and charges, as they can add up quickly.
The main low cost airlines include:
Underground / Trams
If you are located in a major metropolitan area, such as London or Manchester, the cheapest and most cost effective means of transport is the underground or tram system. In London, the underground (otherwise known as the "Tube") offers a vast network of lines traveling to all parts of the city. They run all day and generally finish at midnight most days. For smaller cities such as Manchester or Nottingham, tram systems offer service to major parts of the city. Trams and underground offer discounted longer-term passes, like the Oyster Card for the Tube, which will save you a lot of money in your daily commuting.
Train service around the UK is improving rapidly, as the National Rail Network works hard to overcome its historical stigmas of frequent delays and high costs. The train is an efficient and comfortable way to travel around England, especially if you are going to or from London. To learn more information about the National Rail Network, please visit http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/
The UK is also a great stepping stone to Europe, and with the Channel Tunnel, you can now travel direct to Paris, Brussels and other major European destinations very easily. More on the Eurostar can be found at http://www.eurostar.com/
As a student, buses will be the most popular form of transport if you want to travel locally and throughout the country. Most cities and towns have some form of bus service – the larger the city, the more extensive the service. To travel throughout the UK, the National Express bus service runs convenient service to all parts of the UK. To learn more about their service, please visit http://www.nationalexpress.com/
Traveling by car can be very expensive and thus may not be an option for many international students. There is also the added complication of licenses and registrations. If you decide to purchase a new car, the dealer from whom you purchase should take care of all the registration documents.
If you are coming from one of the following countries (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) you will be able to drive using your current license. However if you are not from one of these countries you will have to check to see if you can drive on your current license - more information can be obtained from the DVLA in the UK.
If you do drive in the UK, please observe these main rules:
- You must drive on the left-hand side of the road and overtake on the right
- If you are riding a motor cycle or a moped, you must wear a crash-helmet
- The driver and front seat passengers must wear seat belts. Rear seat passengers must wear seat belts where they are fitted
- You must not drive whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- You must observe speed limits:
- 30 or 40 mph (miles per hour) in towns and built-up areas
- 70 mph on motorways and 60 mph on all other roads
- You must observe the minimum age requirements:
- The minimum age for driving a car or riding a motorcycle up to 25kW is 17 years of age
- The minimum age for driving a medium-sized goods vehicle is 18 years of age
- You must have a license that allows you to drive in the UK