Travelling around the UK

Exploring the island

Britain is a small island. It doesn't take long to travel between different regions and there is an extensive travel network. So, it really is worth making the effort to see what the place has to offer.

As well as travelling independently around the UK, your language centre, college or university will also offer excursions. Many language schools will organise trips to famous places around the UK and sightseeing in the local area. Sometimes these activities are included in the cost of your language course, or you may have to pay a small extra participation fee. All centres will be happy to assist you with your own travel plans and offer advice on the best places to visit.

If you're studying at university or college, student unions may offer day trips to places of interest. Student societies also provide opportunities for travel - for example, joining a sports team can be a good way to see other towns and cities.

If you're visiting somewhere for the first time, you might want to ask the local Tourist Information Centre for a map of the area, help with accommodation and suggestions of places to visit.

Travelling by rail and road

By rail

The UK has an extensive rail network, and stations can be found anywhere from the largest cities to the smallest villages.

The price of a ticket depends on the type you buy. Buying tickets in advance generally saves you money, as does picking a specific date and time for your trip. Tickets can be bought in advance online at www.thetrainline.com, or you can purchase your tickets at any train station.

If you plan to do a lot of travelling, it's worth investing in a Young Person's Railcard. The card costs £20 a year and allows people aged 16 to 25 (and mature full-time students of any age) to get cheaper rail fares. They can be bought at any railway station, or you can apply online at www.youngpersons-railcard.co.uk.

By coach

You can travel by coach to most parts of the UK and many other European destinations. Journeys generally take longer by coach than by train, but the fares are cheaper. As with train travel, it is a good idea to book your ticket in advance.

Student discounts are also available on coach journeys. National Express, the main coach company in the UK, offers a Young Person's Coachcard for people aged 16 to 26 and full-time students. You can apply online at www.nationalexpress.com, or through most UK travel agents. The Megabus network also links more than 40 towns and cities across Britain, and fares start from as little as £1 plus 50p booking fee. Visit www.megabus.com.

By car

To drive a car or motorbike in the UK, you must have a valid licence and be aged 17 years or over (or 16 years or more to drive a moped). For details about licences, visit the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency website at www.dvla.gov.uk.

Journeying by car can be a convenient option if you prefer to be flexible, you want to visit remote area, or you're travelling in a group. Most major towns and cities offer car hire services.

Good value travel

There are many discount cards and schemes available to help students save money, especially if you are planning to travel frequently. You may also want to invest in an International Student Identity Card (ISIC) or an International Youth Travel Card (IYTC), which can save you money on travel in the UK and overseas, as well as offer discounts on shopping, eating out and much more. You can apply for a card online at www.isiccard.com.

Travel agents offering cheap deals to students can be found in most towns and cities with large student populations. They can arrange student discount cards for you and reduced cost flights for students. Visit www.statravel.co.uk.

Local travel

Bicycles are a great way to get around at no cost, and they help you keep fit. It's also great to see cities on foot. You will find that most attractions in most towns and cities are within a short walk of one another.

If you are taking public transport, towns and cities often offer value tickets like one-day, three day and weekly travel cards. These are generally better value than buying individual tickets and will allow you to use most public transport in the city.

Exploring Europe

The UK is close to the rest of Europe and it's easy and cheap to travel there - either by air or train through the Channel Tunnel.

If you want to explore Europe, you could get yourself a Schengen Visa. With just one visa, you can visit 15 European countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Greece, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Sweden. Find out more about the Schengen visa.