Double Deckers, London
London double deckers are the most convenient and inexpensive way to travel and see the city of London from the top of the bus - certainly better and more enjoyable than travel by London Underground. The red double deckers which dominate the streets of London are also regarded as tourist attractions by many foreign tourists! As for the locals they are just another means of transportation!
Most of the London double deckers are approximately 10 meters long and approximately four meters high with excellent view from the upper deck. Some old model double deckers known as Routemaster introduced in the middle of the 20th century are still in operation in the streets of London. The London double deckers are owned and operated by Transport for London (TfL) which also owns and operates London Underground.Related to:
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London Underground is a mass rapid transit system in Greater London and its neighbourhoods such as Essex and Buckinghamshire. It is also known as the Tube due to the tube shape of its tunnels. It was founded in 1863. Thus it is the oldest underground system in the world. London Underground is also one of the busiest underground systems in the world which handles approximately three millions passengers daily.
London Underground has a total of 12 lines with approximately 275 metro stations. The total length of track is approximately 400 kilometers which makes it the longest undeground system in the world. Nevertheless approximately 55% of its total network is above ground. London Underground is owned and operated by Transport for London (TfL).
Operating hours are between 5.00 a.m. and 1.00 a.m. daily. You may also e-mail to the following address for more information regarding London Underground:- firstname.lastname@example.orgRelated to:
- Family Travel
Gatwick International Airport, West Sussex
Gatwick International Airport is located in Crawley in West Sussex (formerly known as Surrey), approximately 45 kilometers south of Central London. It is the world's busiest single runway international airport. It handles approximately 35 millions passengers per year! Gatwick International Airport is also the second largest international in the United Kingdom after the main Heathrow International Airport.
Gatwick International Airport has two passenger terminals, i.e. North and South terminals. They are linked by a three car monorail transit system which runs in less than five minutes between the two terminals. Approximately 80 airlines operate from Gatwick International Airport serving more than 200 local and international destinations. Gatwick International Airport is operated by BAA (British Airports Authority) Airports Ltd.Related to:
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Point to Point tickets
BritRail also sell point to point tickets, apart from their passes. They have some very good deals for trains out of London, the main touristy routes. However, when comparing prices I found out that their point to point tickets for routes off the beaten path tend to be really expensive! If you plan to use a train outside the main lines, buying your ticket through National rail or simply at the train station will save you lots of money.Related to:
Since I don't like renting a car when I'm going on my own I've taken the National Express coaches a lot. They take longer than the train but they can take you to places without a rail station. They are also cheaper. A return ticket is just a bit more than a single. I've also booked an open jaw ticket a few times and found it a very good way to save money. This option is now hidden in the FAQ section, it used to be on the home page.
Just a word of caution, however: Don't plan your schedule too tight, the coaches are never on time. If you have to make a connection, allow for at least one hour in between.Once a coach broke down completely, which caused a delay of almost two hours, while we were waiting for a substitute coach.Add to your Trip Planner
A very good way to save money are the rail passes and the point-to-point tickets which you can buy from outside the UK.
I've done it very often through BritRail. They send the ticket to you, I usually got it within two or three days.Even with a fee of 5 Euro the tickets are still a lot cheaper than buying them at the train station in the UK.
There is a cheaper rate available for young people, 25% off the regular price for people up to 25.Related to:
London Gatwick International Airport
Located about 28 miles (45 kilometers) south of central London, London Gatwick International Airport (LGW) is the second-largest airport in the United Kingdom, and is among the top ten of the busiest international airports in the world. Most airlines serving the airport are from the United Kingdom and European countries, although there are flights from Africa, the Middle East, and North America as well. The airport is also a major hub for many of the no-frills airlines that have proliferated in recent years.
Airlines serving London Gatwick International Airport: Adria Airways, Aegean Airlines, Aer Lingus, African Alliance International, Afriqiyah Airways, Air Algerie, Air Arabia Maroc, Air Europa, Air Malta, Air Moldova, Air Nostrum, Air Seychelles, Air Southwest, Air Zimbabwe, airBaltic, Aurigny Air Services, Belavia Belarusian Airlines, British Airways, Bulgaria Air, Cimber Sterling, Croatia Airlines, Cubana Airlines, Delta Air Lines, easyJet, Emirates, Estonian Air, flynas, Gambia Bird Airlines, Garuda Indonesia, Germania, Ghana International Airlines, Hellenic Imperial Airways, Iberia Express, Iraqi Airways, Jet2, Kam Air, Malev Hungarian Airlines, Medview Airlines, MeridianaFly, Montenegro Airlines, Norwegian Air, Onur Air, Pegasus Airlines, Qatar Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Ryanair, SAS-Scandinavian Airlines, SATA International, Swiss International Air Lines, TAP Air Portugal, Tianjin Airlines, Transavia, Tunisair, Ukraine International Airlines, United Airways of Bangladesh, Vietnam Airlines, Virgin Atlantic Airways, WestJet, Wind Jet, and WizzAir.Add to your Trip Planner
Although by far the most expensive way to get around the capital, upon arriving in this incredible city, you really HAVE to take one of these taxis! The more traditional ones are of course the black ones, but I found this one amusing as it reminded me of home!
Dont take a long ride in it as the fare will quickly add up!Related to:
- Family Travel
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Busses and Trains
Renting a car is going to be pricey because the cost of the gas/petrol is not cheap. If you feel adventurous, get a BritRail train pass. There are lots of options and types and prices and you can get first class and regular coach.
You can also get around by bus which may service areas that don't have train stations. Bus is often cheaper too but takes a bit longer sometimes.
If you don't go for the rail pass, you can buy tickets for both bus or train online and pick them up at the station and terminals. If you get them in advance more than 7 days you will probably get a better price as well. It might even be cheaper to do that then buying a rail pass if you know where you want to go and when.
Rail passes have to be bought outside the country so see your local travel agent of go online.
Train: http://www.networkrail.co.uk/Add to your Trip Planner
The Tube in London is an old system and much of the network was designed and built over 100 years ago. This makes refurbishment and repair to modern standards slow and difficult. It creates congestion, overcrowding and breakdowns that cause delays. In the meantime, there are some tricks known to experienced Tube travellers which you can use to make your journey easier and faster. For example, don't travel during the rush-hour but within that period there are times when it is less crowded than others. Arriving at your local station ten minutes earlier or later than you usually do, might put you in that "down" time. It can make the difference between getting a seat or not.
Tube maps, more tube tips and information can be found on the website listed below.Related to:
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Megabus Fails To Show Up
My wife and I were left stranded in Edinburgh on 31st December, when our bus failed to show up.
We had paid in advance but this did not help us when left in the city at night, when all other buses and trains had stopped.
With the following day being New Year, with all transport closed, and with all hotels full (Hogmanay celebrations in Edinburgh are massive), we were stuck.
Finally, we were forced to pay double fare for a taxi all the way to Perth.
This cost £90.
We "welcomed in the New Year" in the back of a taxi, and were left broke.
Megabus is run by Stagecoach. I have yet to receive an apology, let alone compensation.
The moral is, like other budget transport - Megabus cannot be relied upon.Related to:
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The one thing that bothered me when planning my trip was how I was going to manage train travel. Piece of cake...even with three pieces of luggage! Tickets are easy enough to buy...mostly at train stations.
Just know what platform you need to be on. If you aren't sure, ask anyone who looks like they work there!
Each carriage has a storage area for luggage. Just keep an eye on it at each stop!
There are always spare seats and you don't have to sit at your designated one. I always tried to sit as close to my luggage as possible.
When booking your journey try to get a route that gives you time to change trains if you have to. Once again just ask someone where the next platform is and head straight for it.
Sometimes you have to use lifts to get over to the other side. Can be a bit confusing the first or even maybe the fourth time but you'll get there. My theory was to always ask someone when in doubt...and it worked.
One more thing. Get yourself some snacks and a bottle of water for the journey as the food on board is a bit expensive.Related to:
NATIONAL EXPRESS are the coach operator with a monopoly on all UK mainline routes...
They are a privatised company, based in Birmingham, formed from what was the NATIONAL BUS COMPANY, in 1972 - 20 years later they became NATIONAL EXPRESS p.l.c.
They are such an institution of UK travel, that the band DIVINE COMEDY had their biggest hit with a song about travelling with them, of course called; National Express;
"There's a jolly hostess selling crisps & tea,
She'll provide you with drinks & theatrical winks,
For a sky high fee!"
Hostesses have become a feature of the past on the modern NATIONAL EXPRESS...
In fact they do not really have a competitor, except MEGABUS, whose tickets are only bookable online, & when I attempted to achieve this, the website was so unresponsive, I just gave up!
Coach travel is supposedly the 'budget travel' option, but when there is no competition, there is no incentive to offer competitive fares...
A classic example of this has been the effect of offering NATIONAL EXPRESS rail franchises, such as has happened on the Clacton-0n-Sea > London main line...
Since NATIONAL EXPRESS EAST ANGLIA have been responsible for running the trains on this line, their 484 coach service from Clacton-0n-Sea > London VCS has been reduced from 3 daily services, to just the 1, while prices instantly doubled to make it the same cost as travelling by rail...
For this reason I am not a great fan of the NATIONAL EXPRESS monopoly, which represents all that is wrong with public transport in UK!
Another issue that concerns me, is that although they are the official UK agent for EUROLINES, they do not operate any of the coaches, so if you have a complaint with the service you receive, as I did after the worst journey of my life, with them from Prague > London, NATIONAL EXPRESS, ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR COMPENSATION...
For this reason, UK passport holders are treated as second-class travellers on EUROLINES services, & given the worst seats, or just no seat at all...
However, my main annoyance with NATIONAL EXPRESS is the 'analogue attitude' of some of their staff...
Even though it has been more than a decade since the introduction of online ticket sales, some drivers response to the presentation of an online reservation code, is;
"0h, you ain't got a ticket, then!"
This really provokes me, because in the digital era, nobody needs tickets - the online reservation code is unique to every ticket sale, so only the passenger who can produce this number/letter combination to the driver's request, is due to travel...
Every driver is issued with an A4 sheet of these numbers, to check with that provided from a passenger, together with location of which stop that passenger will be waiting at, so this business of;
"You need a proper ticket!"
...is just being awkward for the sake of being an anachronistic-operative...
What is worse, is that once I bought a 1-way ticket from the sales counter at VCS, only for the driver to say he did not recognise it as NATIONAL EXPRESS - yet "NATIONAL EXPRESS" was clearly printed at the top of it - I despair!Related to:
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Motoring around the UK
I am a Land Rover enthusiast. Amercians beware, Brits pay about 74p per liter (that's almost $6 per gallon for you Americans!) Roundabouts are great. Look out for the wild teenage driver obviously speeding along in someone else's car- wrecks do not have to be your fault. Motorcycles and bicycles weave in and out of traffic.Add to your Trip Planner
By Air around the UK
Air travel can be a real bargain between major cities. It is worth watching the sites to see prices over a period. I have no idea why but they tend to move up and down!
If you are a bit flexible on day & time, you will see great variations.
There are some great bargains to be had.Add to your Trip Planner
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