Getting around the United Kingdom
Updated last year

The United Kingdom has a very developed transportation network which however varies from one region to another. The country has a long transportation history. The first steam locomotive was invented in Great Britain in the early 19th century, and since then there has been much improvement.  

In 1952, there was a huge increase in the use of cars in Great Britain. The demand for buses and train correspondingly reduced. The result still somewhat contributes to the collapse of the British transportation industry compared to other leading countries like France or Germany.

The huge investment in the transportation industry in recent years, especially in big cities, like the Manchester tram network, has improved the situation. In the early 1980s, most of the available public transport were privatised, which lead to the varying price of transportation depending on the company chosen, the city and the type of use.

Types of transportation in the UK

The Uk, especially in the bigger cities offer a range of transportation options like aircraft, trams, buses, trains, boats and ferries, car hire, public bike hire, etc.

Aircraft in the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom is home to many international and regional airports. In many cities, some airports serve domestic, regional and international flights. Since aircraft is one of the fastest means of transportation and the most convenient, especially when on a business trip, many prefer it to other means of transportation. During festive periods, many airlines provide a discount on their tickets.

Good to know:

Advance booking is recommended for both domestic and international flights.

Useful links:

Ryan Air
Easy Jet
British Airways
Atlantic Airways
Eastern Airway
Virgin Atlantic
Thomas Cook Airlines

Trains, Trams, and the Underground in the UK

The railway is one of the most developed transportation networks in the UK. It easily connects the different cities to one another. Several private industries run both national and regional trains, and these offer comfortable and regular trains always. To get cheaper tickets, advance booking may be required. However, you can still get tickets on the travel date. The prices are affordable, but they often vary according to regions and companies.

Good to know:

Eurostar help links both the United Kingdom and France (Paris and Lille) taking just 3 hours to arrive at the heart of the cities.


If you are under 26, you can apply for the young person's travel card which will allow you to travel across the country at a discounted price. Pensioners also enjoy free transportation when within their region and discounted prices when travelling elsewhere.

Getting a travel pass

If you will be commuting daily to the same location, it is recommended that you get a monthly or yearly travel pass to help you save some money. The price of travel passes usually depends on the area and the company you are using. For instance, in London, the Oyster card includes all form of public transport. Other cities and towns also have their monthly cards for a unique form of transportation.

Useful links:

List of UK rail companies

Buses in the United Kingdom

Buses are one of the cheapest means of transportation in the United Kingdom, even though it is not the fastest. Several private bus companies serve different cities and nationwide. A good thing about British buses is that they are regular and comfortable, and their rates depend on the city and distance covered. Tickets can be bought online, on board, and at the bus station. If you are going on a long journey, checking the bus schedules is important, and so is advance booking.

Useful links:

List of bus service providers
National Express
Easy Bus
City Link
Megabus '''''''
Cook coaches

Boats and ferries in the UK

Travelling to England from most European cities is possible through ferries and vice versa. The most regular service links France to southern England. You can also travel from Northern Ireland to the northern part of Scotland via ferry. Travelling from one region to another is made possible by boats and the many canals. However, it is mostly a form of leisure and is not recommended for urgent trips. The rates vary but ferries and boast are usually more expensive than other means of transportation. Besides, you can ship your car or motorcycle when travelling via ferries.

Useful links:

P&O Ferries '''''''
Brittany ferries '''''''
Condor Ferries '''''''
LD Lines '''''''
Trasmediterranea '''''''
Canal River

Taxis in the United Kingdom

There are several taxi companies across different British cities. Keep in mind that it is best to hire a registered taxi. If you come across a taxi in the street, make sure that they have a tax registration number which is often located in the passenger's area. It is always best to inquire about the price according to your destination to prevent the driver from hiking the price.

You can make use of Uber, which is a new form of transport. It has a mobile app for requesting their services. It is relatively cheaper and easier compared to other types of traditional taxi companies. The taxi drivers have ratings; more importantly, you receive a price estimate before accepting the journey.

Useful links:

City cab '''''''
Panther taxi '''''''
Cam Cab '''''''
Radio taxis

Renting a car in the UK

If you prefer travelling alone or with your family, you can also rent a car. However, you must own a valid driver's license to be able to hire a car. Most British cities and airports are full of car rental companies. Keep in mind that you will be requested to subscribe to damage insurance. Some of these companies provide emergency assistance.

Carpooling is now quite widespread in the United Kingdom

Good to know:

You must be at least 23 years old to be allowed to rent a car in the United Kingdom.

Useful links:

Hertz '''''''
Thrifty '''''''
SIXT '''''''
Avis '''''''

Bike hire in the UK

There are bike lanes in many cities in the UK. This makes cycling safer and more enjoyable. This also encourages people to ditch their car whenever possible and cycle around the cities. Several companies in the UK offer bikes for hire at affordable prices.

Presently, London is leading the way in the eco-friendly public transportation system, and like other European capitals, public bike rental services are available across the city. These are affectionately referred to as Boris Bikes as they have been named after the mayor that founded it. This system is also expanding to other UK cities.

Useful links:

Hour Bike '''''''
British Bike Hire

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.