Last week, I shared my top tips on transport between UK cities, however once you’ve arrived at your destination what’s the best way to get to your hostel? It may be tempting to just jump in the nearest taxi but there are some much cheaper alternatives out there!
All cities and towns have bus networks linking up transport hubs (e.g. the train station) with tourist attractions and residential areas. Buses in the UK can be pretty slow or infrequent (particularly in more rural areas), but the convenience of hopping on a bus to the town centre can’t be denied. Prices vary significantly between cities, and if you are arriving by train you can often purchase a discounted Plus Bus ticket – which allows one day of unlimited bus and tram travel in certain cities.
Note that within London, visitors can no longer pay for standard buses by cash, instead you will need to purchase an Oyster card or use a contactless debit card.
The London underground is probably the most famous metro system in the world, carrying commuters, school kids and, of course, tourists all around the capital. Tickets are pretty expensive, but I would recommend picking up a travel Oyster card, which offers you cheaper fares (including half price child tickets) and a daily price cap as well as discounts off major London attractions. Note that prices vary depending on the time of day, with 6:30-9:30 and 16:00-19:00 (“peak times”) being most expensive.
As well as the London underground, a couple of other cities in the UK also have metro systems – notably Newcastle upon Tyne and Glasgow.
Trams/ Light Rail
Some UK cities, for example Manchester, Birmingham and Edinburgh, have tram or light rail networks. These are something of a cross between trains and buses – consisting of one or two carriages travelling along a rail or guided by overhead wires, usually next to or on the main road. They have the convenience and good value of local buses, but usually also have priority on the roads – thus avoiding traffic jams/ delays.
Probably a pretty obvious one, but if you’ve only got to travel a short distance it may be quicker (and certainly cheaper) just to walk. Before you depart from your previous hostel/ WiFi spot, make sure you’ve loaded a map and checked the route. Take a screenshot and jot down some notes too just in case!