Other Ways of Getting About
You already might have noticed an article discussing air travel to and around the U.K. so this is where other travel options are mentioned. Now that a lot of information has been added to my transport blog, it has usurped anything that I have here. In so doing, it partly has addressed the conflict between local, regional, national and U.K. level travel information provision that is typical the way things are in Britain. The result is that what you see is in process of getting transformed in order to add a little more in the way of insight for anyone coming from afar for the first time or even those coming from nearer and those who have been in the U.K. before.
For now, you find lists of information sources on the web that help you to get around. Usefully, there are multi-modal journey planners together with route planners for car drivers. Then, there are places to look for road and rail public transport guidance. Change may be coming but I hope that what's here is a help for now.
Travel Planning: All Modes
Quick access to variety of journey planners, from the local to the national: very useful for planning journeys that require both rail and bus journeys. They also operate a national 7 days a week telephone enquiry service between 08:00 and 20:00. I think that its the best place to look for any journey in the U.K.
Even though there is a link to this on the Traveline website, its worth highlighting here for a few reasons. First, there's a journey planner and a road traffic news system for car users. Not only this but there are journey planners for coach and air services in addition to its rail planner.
Travel Planning: Train
This site, maintained by ATOC, the Association of Train Operating Companies, is the official place to look when it comes to planning your rail journeys. Timetable information, train running times and lists of service disruptions distinguish this web offering. Other more mundane stuff like ticketing policies, contact details for train operating companies are also featured. A more notable facility is the ability to buy train tickets online.
Formerly two separate companies but now two parts of the same empire, but former differences were a big help when booking journeys (the old Qjump algorithm was the better, methinks, even if non-available ticket choices got shown to catch out the unwary). Nowadays, I usually book ahead on thetrainline before picking the tickets up at my local train station: saves the headaches formerly suffered when waiting for the things to turn up in the post.
Yes, it might be German but it covers all of Europe and is a very nice alternative to the British offerings. In fact, I'm inclined to think that it is much better. Anything has to be better than the silly algorithms in use by the U.K. equivalents. I'll see how it goes from here.
Travel Planning: Car
The focus of these two is on mapping, very useful if you haven't your "A-Z" handy. They also help when locating bus and train stations should you decide to leave the car at home. In practice, I have found Multimap to be the more detailed though.
Though both organisations offer much more to motorists than this, their websites feature full automated route planning, which means that you get your itinerary with little more than a click of the mouse.
If you're planning to drive in Britain as a visitor and it's your first time doing so, then this definitely is something that you need to peruse. It doesn't just cover the legal driving rules but also includes best practice as well as detailing all of the road signage that you are likely to encounter. That's not all because there are sections for other road users too with pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and others falling well within its scope.
Criticised for their aging bus fleet and the way they keep their vehicles, this company is now refocusing on its bus business. New vehicles are being introduced into service: let's hope they keep them clean!
Always seem to be changing their bus fleet and experimenting with new services such as the Oxford Tube and MegaBus.
This is the predominant company where I now live and continue to tout their purchasing of new vehicles though I see little evidence of that around me.
Like Arriva, this group has its headquarters in the north east of England. Apart, maybe, from travelling on of their London buses, I don't believe that I have sampled their services. Their forthcoming takeover of the West Midlands rail franchise has brought them very much to my notice.
This French has gained a good foothold in the U.K. within the last few years with their operations ranging from London to England's southern coast through its East Midlands area to Yorkshire and Lancashire.
This is the website of the operator running the majority of the express intercity coach services in the U.K. although their services miss out a lot of towns, Macclesfield for instance, and other places receive a patchy service, of which North Wales is an example. Scottish Citylink (see below) is the counterpart in that country.
Stagecoach's Megabus operation is something of an upstart in the intercity coach market. It's buy ahead (on the web) approach may not suit those who prefer an unplanned hop-on service but having £1 fares between the likes of Manchester and Leeds certainly does appeal.
The company which operates the express bus services between major Scottish towns and cities. Scotland is blessed with a decent network of express coach services although you do have to watch out for eccentricities in some of the timetables, especially with remote destinations in the Scottish Highlands. The service complements the rail system in such places because the terrain is not conducive to high population or the building of twin-track railway. It could be further improved though if coaches and trains were staggered for these destinations (though First Scotrail seems to staggering trains vis-à-vis coaches!).