Getting around the UK can be expensive, but for the committedly frugal or the adventurous, there are ways to minimize the hit on your pocketbook. And there are numerous resources devoted to helping you live up to your commitment and facilitate your adventure. Here are a few to get you started.
If the health benefits of walking aren’t enough to convince you, the cost of driving an automobile in London should be. And since the urban areas are fairly well compressed, the distance between many of the places you’re likely to go lends itself to a nice stroll. Here are a few resources to help you on your way:
- There’s a website that bills itself as The Urban Walking Route Planner (http://walkit.com/) that will assist you in planning your walking routes in most major cities and towns.
- An organization named Living Streets (http://www.livingstreets.org.uk/) is devoted to promoting the joys of pedestrianship, both by promoting programs that improve safety and providing information as to pedestrian-friendly locations, initiatives, and events.
- In addition to offering cycle-friendly route maps, Sustrans (http://www.sustrans.org.uk/) works with communities to enhance their appeal to cyuclists.
- The Transport For London website (http://www.tfl.gov.uk/roadusers/cycling/14808.aspx) provides useful information for cycling, as well as a link to Barclay’s Cycle Hire program, for those who opt to ride, but don’t have a bicycle.
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- One of the best sources for information on public transport in the UK is the Transport Direct website (http://www.transportdirect.info/Web2/Home.aspx). It offers everything from advice on finding cheap fares to traffic updates to door-to-door route planning.
- The Traveline website (http://traveline.info/) provides links to public transportation information throughout the UK. It also offers its NextBuses mobile app (http://traveline.info/mobile.html#) for searching bus schedules.
- The National Rail website (http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/) provides rail schedules, and allows you to book passage online.
- For London-specific information, including schedules, rail and bus passes, and other pertinent information, the Transport for London website (http://www.tfl.gov.uk/) can be particularly useful.
If you prefer to get your information from fellow travelers rather than from company or organization websites (or if you have some time to waste, and just want to read other people’s testimonials or complaints), you might wander over to the Money Saving Expert’s Public ‘transport and Cycling Board (http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/forumdisplay.php?f=225), an online discussion form covering all things relative to getting about in the UK. Some of the comments are little more than the bleating of those who feel they’ve been treated poorly, or others who sing the praises of the British Rail System, but you can also get some useful bits from folks who have racked up more than their share of miles, and learnt the tricks of the trade, about everything from cycling around London proper to the best time to purchase rail tickets and general feedback on bus routes. Best brew yourself a cup of tea before you begin, however, as the forum is somewhat addicting, and you’ll quite likely find yourself clicking about for some time, even in areas where you didn’t even know you had any interest.
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