During your vacations and weekends you may wish to travel around and see more of the United Kingdom. This section is designed to inform you of the different options available to you for travelling in the UK.
Where to go?
There are many very different exciting and beautiful cities in the UK, as well as vast expanses of countryside and coastline. The website www.visitbritain.com is a very good resource, and is available in many different languages. Through this site you are able to search for places to visit by region, or simply browse the site’s detailed information and top ten guides for inspiration.
Of course, some of the most spectacular and beautiful landscapes in Britain are right at your doorstep, in Wales. One very useful site for tourism in Wales is Visit Wales. The site contains info on weekend breaks, places to visit, pubs, festivals and events, plus places to stay and proper backpacker tours.
Once you have decided on your destination, it may then be worthwhile to visit the website of the county council of that area, for more in-depth local knowledge about the best things to see and do.
If you are particularly interested in seeing more of Wales then please drop in to see us in H027 – we have a Lonely Planet guide to Wales and many other leaflets and resources that you are welcome to browse through.
You might also be interested in having a look at the Travel Section of the UK Student Life site, which has been created with international students in mind.
Where to stay?
If you have a reasonable amount of money to spend there will be countless options available to you; simply browse the internet for hotels in the area in which you wish to stay until you find one which suits you.
Budget accommodation, however, can be a little trickier to find. It is worthwhile to check hostel websites such as www.hostelworld.com. Staying in a hostel in Britain does not necessarily mean sharing a room with strangers; private rooms are often available for a good price. Check on the websites for further details about the rooms and also for reviews of the hostels from other travellers.
If you are planning a trip to London you may wish to have a look at the website of the International Students House: www.ish.org.uk. International Students House offers student accommodation 365 days a year and is a social centre for students, located in one of the safest areas of central London.
How to get there…
Coach travel is likely to be the cheapest option for travelling around the UK. However, it is always worth comparing prices with the train operators, as coach journeys are often very slow and can take several hours longer than travelling by train.
There are several ways to lower the costs of coach travel; students can get 30% off fares by buying a Young Persons Coachcard for £10, and by booking early you can reserve a funfare or earlybird seat for as little as £1. Visit the National Express website at www.nationalexpress.co.uk for full details about these offers and for all destinations and coach routes.
If you are planning an extended trip around Britain then the ‘Brit Xplorer’ coach pass may be of interest to you. There are three passes to choose from, at a cost of £79 for the 7 day pass, £139 for the 14 day pass, or £219 for the 28 day pass, which enable you to travel all over the UK for a fixed price. For further information visit www.nationalexpress.com.
Britain has a comprehensive rail network which is the most popular method of long distance public transport in the country. For a map of rail routes in the UK please see www.nationalrail.co.uk. Although rail travel can be quite expensive, it is a faster and often more comfortable option than travelling by coach, and cheaper fares can be obtained by booking as early as possible.
You can buy a Young Persons Railcard (if you are aged 16-25 or 26+ and in full time education). For £30 a year, the card gives you a 33% discount on standard prices.
You can book train journeys either online at www.nationalrail.co.uk, by phoning National Rail Enquiries on 08457 48 49 50, or in person at Cardiff Central, Newport or Treforest train stations.
...By Megabus (and Megatrain)
The Megabus offers very cheap bus travel to London from Cardiff. If you book early enough your seat can cost as little as £1 each way. It also offers services between Cardiff and several other cities such as Birmingham, Manchester and Bristol. The website for the Megabus is https://uk.megabus.com/.
Also available from this same website is the Megatrain, which offers train travel again from as little as £1 each way. The routes of the Megatrain are rather more limited than those of the Megabus, but it does run from London to several destinations throughout the country, including Bristol.
Domestic flights are gradually becoming more popular in Britain, however they are still generally more expensive than other forms of travel and are also more damaging to the environment.
From Cardiff airport you can fly to Belfast, Cork, Dublin, Anglesey, Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Newcastle and Jersey.
If you do decide to fly you may find it useful to visit www.travelsupermarket.com and use the ‘Compare flights’ tool. This will search all the major UK airlines on your behalf to find the best value flights for your journey.
Driving is generally the most convenient way to travel around Britain. The roads are good and, providing that you avoid travelling during peak times, you should have few problems with heavy traffic.
Websites such as www.theaa.com and www.rac.co.uk have route planner tools to help you find your way, and also contain up to date reports of any recent accidents or issues you may need to be aware of whilst on your journey.
There are many places from which you can hire a car in Cardiff, such as AVIS (www.avis.co.uk), Easycar (www.easycar.com), Enterprise Car Rental (www.enterprise.co.uk) and Europcar (www.europcar.co.uk). For more companies you can search the internet or the Yellow Pages.
Please note that different car hire companies may have different requirements regarding the kinds of driving license that they will accept, so please enquire beforehand.
If you are driving your own car in Britain then please ensure that you are complying with British law. For further information, please visit the driving in the UK page.
You may also wish to have a look at GoEuro a site that helps travellers easily compare and combine all modes of transport to the cities they wish to visit across the UK and overseas.