Public Transport

The United Kingdom is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen and it’s a place you are going to want to explore.

Pistyll Rhaead, Wales June 2017

Even if you don’t have a car you don’t need to worry, the transport links here are brilliant and you can get to a lot of places without one. I didn’t drive for the first 9 months but I never had a problem getting anywhere I needed or wanted to be.

Buses
The most important thing you need to know about riding the bus here is you enter and exit from the front of the bus and you always thank the driver when you get off. Everyone does it and  it’s very British, like queuing.

In addition to city buses, there are bus companies that provide services to surrounding towns & villages.  In Plymouth during the summer, they run a open topped bus back and forth to the beach. I love the double-decker buses, you can sit in comfort and enjoy the amazing views for a very small charge. You can buy either single, return, unlimited travel, day rider tickets and family tickets.  On most buses as long as your dog is well behaved, they will be welcomed on board as well.

Paris, 2015

If you want to go further and explore the country or Europe there’s a lot of bus companies to choose from. National Express and Mega Bus are two of the biggest and often have seat sales and special excursions.  My husband and I went to Paris on Mega bus a couple of years ago, and it cost £100 for the both of us there and back.

Trains
The train can be faster than the bus as long as there are no delays (which happens quite a bit) but I have for the most part found them to be fairly reliable.  You will find train stations in a lot of towns and some smaller villages as well as the major centers. Ticket prices vary depending on where you are going and when you book.  You can purchase single, returns, open returns etc and you have the option, if you are a frequent traveller to purchase a rail card.  Most of the major centers will have fast trains to London.  Your pooch is welcome on the train as well.

Ferries
I’ve caught the ferry a few times from Dover to Calais and on average the crossing is 1.5 hours.The ferries are quite large and on board facilities include: restaurants, a gift shop, cinema and lounge areas as well as a outside seating area to enjoy the view.

Dover to Calais, May 2013

The White cliffs of Dover are gorgeous in a photograph but seriously breath taking when you see them from the Channel. Prices vary greatly depending on time of year, type of vehicle and how many people. I haven’t ever taken the ferry to Ireland (I have yet to go there) but I have looked a prices and for some reason they are a lot more expensive then taking one to mainland Europe.  Bear in mind they drive on the right hand side of the road in Europe and there are compulsory items that you must carry in the vehicle with you.

There’s loads of smaller, local passenger only ferries as well. I have on a few occasions taking the ferry from Plymouth in Devon over to Cornwall for a coastal walk, a pub lunch or a cream tea. It will only cost you a few pounds and it’s a lovely way to spend a day.

Casteldefels near Barcelona Spain, April 2018

Air Travel
In addition to the big ones (e.g. London and Gatwick) most larger cities have local airports and for the most part flights to Europe can be quite cheap. You can fly round trip from Bristol to Amsterdam from £60 to £70 pounds ($115 -$135 Canadian). There’s tons of different comparison websites offer seasonal deals and seat sales.  I took my two daughters to Spain in April and it was £235 return for the three of us.

 

Staverton Station, Devon

Travel Insurance
As long as you are travelling within the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) you’ll be covered by the NHS (National Heath Service) provided of course you have registered yourself and been given a NHS number. If you’re traveling outside the United Kingdom it’s a good idea to get private travel Insurance. There is no shortage of online travel insurance providers and comparison websites. You can buy it easily online after answering a few simple questions. Make sure you read the terms and conditions and be sure to include ALL the countries you’ll be visiting or passing thru. One other important thing to note is make sure it has repatriation (covering the cost of bring you back -dead or alive should you have an accident). You can also apply for a EHIC (European Health Insurance Card ) to cover you for basic medical care whilst aboard.

Helpful links:

http://uk.megabus.com/
http://www.nationalexpress.com/
http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/
https://www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk/
http://www.directferries.co.uk/
http://www.brittany-ferries.co.uk/
Health Care Abroad
https://www.trivago.co.uk/