The flashing amber lamps aside pedestrian crossings in Britain, are known as Belisha beacons...
Lord Leslie Hore-Belisha served as Minister for Transport from 1931-1934
When he took the post, there was no speed limit in Britain, & road casulaties were at a rate that he described as, "mass murder"!
After a near miss with a sportscar, while he was attempting to cross Camden High Street, Lord Belisha took it upon himself to start a road safety campaign...
His Road Traffic Act of 1934 - introduced a speed limit of 30mph for vehicles in built-up areas, where the majority of pedestrian deaths were occurring...
He also re-wrote the Highway Code, to update it to modern road conditions, & introduced a driving test to raise the overall driving standard on British roads...
His other contribution to road safety from his 3 years in office, was the design of the pedestrian crossing, made obvious to drivers, even after dark in the foggy weather that was common in London at the time, by flashing amber lights...
The public chose to call them Belisha beacons in his honour...
The first such crossing using these beacons was made available to the public in Wigan, on Mesnes corner, on 4th July 1935
Although these 'zebra crossings' exist all over Britain, by far the most famous is that in London's Abbey Road, as immortalied on The Beatles album of that name (see separate London tip...)
0ther countries that have copied the design, include Eire; Poland; Netherlands; Australia, & NZ...Related to:
- Road Trip
- Hiking and Walking
Coming to Britain ? From the airport (Stansted)
From Sourbugger's Stansted page :
The Stansted express train to London (Liverpool Street)is a disgusting rip-off at TWENTY FOUR pounds ONE-WAY. (or express class as they call it).
It certainly is not a sleek, aerodynamic, high-speed train either.
There are now a few more journeys in the dead of night - but they are sporadic and the dreaded 'engineering works' (Oh no it doesn't) may mean you have to use a coach.
It is at least clean and convenient. Some Low-cost airlines offer tickets whilst on the way to London that will give you a bit of a discount, but remember that the road links are far, far cheaper. (see other tips on Stansted page)Related to:
The East Midlands airport
From Sourbugger's Nottingham page :
East Midlands airport was supposed to be the regional airport for Nottingham, Leicester and Derby. After some argument it was recently re-named Nottingham East Midlands Airport despite the fact there is already (very small) Nottingham airport. It also ignores the fact the airport is actually in Leicestershire, and the nearest city is actually Derby.
Apparantly foreign visitors had trouble recognising the existence of 'East Midlands' but found 'Nottingham' much easier to place.
With the growth of low-cost airlines such as Easyjet and Easyjet it is now quite a busy place.
Gone are the days when Jasper Carrot could reasonably describe East Midlands Airport as the only airport he knew 'With a cattle Grid on the runway'.
Despite all the development transport links are still not great. The 'Rainbow 5' bus into Nottingham from the aiport is certainly cheap - but is also quite slow taking about an hour.Related to:
- Budget Travel
London Airports Transfers
Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton or Stansted are served by Easybus, which is a shuttle bus service that operates several times an hour between the 4 airports and central London (Earls Court). If you book online far enough in advance the ticket will cost only £2 which is an unbeatable price. With this ticket you may catch another bus one hour either side of your booking time, if seats are available. I used their service twice last year from Stansted and Gatwick, both times took advantage by catching a bus different from my booking time, and plenty of spare seats were available. I suggest if you have luggage book a journey 90 minutes after your plane is due to arrive as clearing immigration may take the best part of an hour so this gives you some leeway if your plane is early or an hour late.
cheap car hire
I usually return to England every two or three years and normally have to rent a car for some of the time that i am there. If i am staying with family near Heathrow i find that the cheapest car hire company is Enterprise with a compact Chevy starting at just over £100 for a week, which is a lot cheaper than their outlets in other parts of London. Similarly, when i visit Scotland i also rent from Enterprise, finding them the cheapest. I think i have used them 5 times and always been given a car with very low mileage.
cheap train ticket
Cheap train tickets are available online at www.megabus.com and www.thetrainline.com. I have often used Megabus for my trips in England and last year i found a good deal with the Train Line by booking well ahead and saving £100. I think that you can only book 90 days in advance so if you know your travel dates, take advantage of this offer.Related to:
- Budget Travel
Victoria Station: A Victorian train and tube station named after Victoria Street, not Queen Victoria. Pretty. After African time trains I was gobsmacked at how efficient British Rail is. It is the London station for the Orient Express so we got to imagine that exotic luxury as we scurried around central London to and from Victoria Station.
We used this station extensively as we stayed at the Salvation Army visiting officers' quarters in Denmark Hill at less than half the price we would have paid elsewhere. I was a Salvation Army officer the first time I visited London, but I had left The Salvation Army the second time.Related to:
- Budget Travel
- Business Travel
Tubes and Trains
Even though the tubes and the buses can sometimes be crowded and the tickets are far from cheap these days, it is still the best way to travel around London. You can get anywhere you want to be with a tube, train or bus.
In Central London you won't have to walk more than 5 or 10 minutes before you find a tube station.
Each station and each train has large tube maps available so changes of getting lost is slim and if you do get on the wrong tube you just need to get of at the next stop and get on the right train.
Very easy.Related to:
- Budget Travel
It is busy and stuffy in the summer but so convenient. Living in SA all my life and being subjected to bad roads, congested traffic and rude drivers I find the subway a bliss. Even if I have to hang on for dear life I can listen to my ipod or read a book without being worried about anything. The maps might look scary and you the first time you believe you will get so lost no-one would ever find you again but within a day or two it is as easy as pie. My 16 year old son says if you can read you can figure out the subway. I suppose I will get blase about it like all Londoners eventually do but at the moment it is still great fun.Related to:
- Budget Travel
Bus, Rail , plane or car?
If you have the money and are short of time the best way to travel in England is to fly. For feedom to divert off on your own itinerary, renting a car can be an alternative. Rates vary from one region to another.
Failing that,the National Express Bus service covers a wide network and timetable and prices can be found and bookings can be made online. Coach sevice is much cheaper than by rail.
However I love travelling by train. Nowadays it is expensive but also faster, and trains seem to be running on time. Seats can be booked the day before travel and this can be necessary as some services can be fully booked. I have had to stand most of the way from London to Perth before now in summer when there are many tourists..
Usually the price of a one-way ticket can cost almost the same as for a return which can be used any time within a month.
Travelling by Bus allows more luggage than air. By rail , though there are no limits, can be congested and space for luggage is limited. And transferring a suit case from one platform to another can be exhausting, and even dangerous.
So you really have to plan carefully and decide which option or combination of options suits you best.Related to:
- Business Travel
Hydrofoil on Top of Water
In spite of the Chunnel now being the fast method, we used to take the hydrofoil across the Channel. It was exciting, even though noisy from the roar of the engines. The float gives you a sensation. You board at Dover and get to CalaisRelated to:
- Arts and Culture
Renting a car in UK
if you do rent a car, don't get one at the airport. they are far more expensive. There are many in town centres and there are some just outside the airports with transport from the airport that are much cheaper.
An automatic gearbox is more expensive.
Also i have discovered that if you book on .com it is usually more expensive than .co.uk????
Ferry up the Thames!
We caught a Thames River Services Ferry (there were two other companies operating from the same area offering similar products for similar prices).
We caught the first ferry around 10am and headed to Greenwich seeing a few more of the sights along the way (my favourite being London Bridge).
Had a few hours in Greenwich and then came back. Not high speed travel but the boat people were almost like tour guides along the way and it was very relaxing. The brochure they gave us when we bought the tickets was also very informative.
The return trip to Greenwich cost us 9 pounds 80 each. This allowed you to hop on and off.Related to:
- Family Travel
- Budget Travel
Walking Walking Walking
This is an unbelievable country for walking. Everything is so close. Walking tracks are so abundant and I guess the only problem is the possibly inclement weather. We only did little (1-2hr) stints and are no where near serious walkers but I think there would be something to suit all fitness and interest levels. It is such a peaceful way to spend your time and something I would really recommend. Best of all it is FREE!
Hertz Hire Car
We wanted to see more of the countryside and in our own time. I wouldn't recommend Hertz Hire car as an easy to deal with company. Both at the pick up location (Buckingham Palace Road in London) to the drop off (Fishguard in Wales) I found the servers to be arrogant and unhelpful. Details were mixed up including the date I was to drop off. It was supposed to be 6 days later but they put the next day. I pointed this out before picking up the car and the guy supposedly changed it but didn't give me any new paperwork and then the one in Wales carried on about it to me. Just left a bit of a bad feeling about the whole thing.
Mind you having a car to drive where and when we wanted was great except that to an Aussie who is used to wide open roads and free parking in most places the tiny lanes and roads were a bit scary not to mention having to pre pay for parking nearly everywhere.
We had been invited to a wedding in central London and decided to make a night of it and stay in a...more
One of the things you notice first of all about Manchester is how friendly and polite everyone...more
Sited in the Cornish village of Mawgan Porth, which is situated between Newquay and Padstow, the...more
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