In Britain, we drive on the left hand side of the road, with the steering wheel on the right hand side of the car. It is normal for people to have manual (stick-shift) cars but automatics are available.
Despite reasonably heavy levels of traffic, particularly in major cities, Britain has a good, clearly marked, road system that is fairly easy to navigate.
In some rural areas, particularly in the North and South West of England and in rural Scotland and Wales, there are some stunning drives on quiet, country roads that take in fantastic scenery and can be a great part of your UK tour.
Keep your eyes peeled for any parking restrictions before you park your car. Double yellow lines on the side of the road mean you cannot park. A single yellow line means that there are parking restrictions at certain time so, if you aren’t sure when they apply, it is best not to park on a yellow line. Where there are no yellow lines, there may still be restrictions such as ‘residents only’ parking, so look for signs.
In city centres, it is very unusual to be able to park freely on the street, so look for public car parks or on-street ‘pay-and-display’ spaces. Make sure that you purchase a valid ticket and that you return to the car before your ticket expires. If you fail to display a valid parking ticket where required, you will receive a ticket requiring you to pay a fine, which can vary between around £25 and £80.
Several cities (including Oxford, Bath and York) have ‘park and ride’ systems, which means that there are large car parks outside the city centre with regular bus services taking passengers directly from the car park into town. There is generally no charge to park but you have to buy a bus ticket. This is often an easier and cheaper way to park than to try to find a city centre space.
In rural areas, it is more common to be able to park for free, either on the street or in free public car parks. However, this is unlikely to be the case in busy tourist areas so make sure you check.
Britain has a comprehensive and fairly reliable public transport system. Delays do occur but they are unlikely to be significant enough to severely damage your travel plans.
Fast trains link all of the major cities, with London, Birmingham, York, Edinburgh and Glasgow being the transport hubs. To maximise your holiday time, there are a couple of options for sleeper trains from London: to the Scottish Highlands or the far south west of Cornwall.
There is also a wide network of local trains to transport you to smaller places in each region. Should you choose to use public transport for your UK tour, we will advise you on the best options for you.
There are some wonderfully scenic train journeys in Britain that can form a great part of your holiday. The Settle-Carlisle Railway through the Yorkshire Dales and Cumbria, the Kyle Line from Inverness to the Kyle of Lochalsh, and the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways through Snowdonia are notable examples.
There is a wide network of bus services in Britain, including long-distance journeys, regional trips and local services. As there are many different companies providing bus transport, it can be difficult to work out your options but, if you decide to travel by public transport, we will arrange the best options for you.
The Tube, or the London Underground, is so famous that it is almost a tourist attraction in its own right and is bound to form a part of your tour of London. Its wide coverage and regular service makes the tube a very easy way to travel around London and most places you will want to visit will be in easy walking distance of a tube station.
The most cost effective way to use the Tube is to get a Visitor Oyster Card. The Oyster Card allows you to pay significantly lower costs for travel than if you simply buy a ticket and is also valid on London Buses. Although Oyster Cards can be purchased online in advance, it is also very easy to pick one up at the Tube Station the first time you travel.