Life in the UK: Travel

The UK has reliable public transport and a major motorway network that will get you wherever you need (or want!) to go. Below is some information on the main methods of travel. We have included websites that will be useful when you plan your travels: from the short trip to work to an exciting journey to explore the great British countryside!

Plan your journey

Traveline is a very useful website that brings together information on travelling throughout Great Britain by bus, rail, coach and ferry. It allows you to plan your journey, see the different ways to travel and view your journey on a map.

Buses/Coaches

In Britain, people use the term ‘coach’for a bus that travels long distances between towns and cities. For long journeys, coaches are less expensive, but slower, than trains. Outside of London, coaches are run by private companies. You will find details of routes, timetables and ticket prices on their websites. Two of the main companies are:

Trains

Most British towns and cities are linked by rail. You can find information on timetables and fares on the National Rail website.

Tube

In London, the underground train, the ‘Tube’, is the main method of transport. Tubes go regularly all day. On the Transport For London website you can check the times of the first tube in the morning and the last tube at night. Maps are available at every tube station or, if you have a smartphone, you can download an app such as Tube Map.

Oyster Card

If you are living in London or nearby it’s a good idea to buy an Oyster Card. Oyster Cards are plastic travel cards that can be used on all buses, tubes, trams and trains within London.

You have to swipe your Oyster Card every time you enter and leave a station: if you don’t, you could get a fine or penalty. You can ‘top up’ (add credit to) your Oyster card online or at any station. Oyster Cards cost £5 and you must add £10 credit to it before you can travel for the first time. Find out more about Oyster Cards here.

Taxis

Taxis or cabs can be hailed or stopped on the street or you can get one from a rank (a set parking spot for taxis). You can also reserve a taxi. Appy Taxi is a smartphone app that allows you to request, book and pay for a taxi directly from your phone anywhere in the UK. Visit the Appy Taxi website here.

Driving

Anyone over the age of 17 with a valid license may drive in the UK. A driving license from any EU/EEA country will be valid for up to three years after you come to the UK, licences from other countries will only be valid for 12 months.

When your license expires, you will need to either exchange your license for a British one or get a provisional license and pass a driving test. Get more information on driving licenses here and on The Highway Code (Driving Regulations).

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