Driving in the UK tends to take the element of surprise for most travellers. You drive on the left side, and the steering wheel of British cars is on the right. This is something that you might want to take this into account if you consider bringing along your own car to accommodate your life in the UK.
While driving on a foreign license, you must be registered with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency. Exchanging your license is a matter of filling out the D1 form and sending it, along with any additional documentation and 43 GBP, to the address on the form. Other than that, there are no obstacles to driving in the UK as long as you are over 17 years of age and have a valid (provisional) driver’s license. While living in the UK, a driver’s license issued in your former country of residence only remains valid for up to three years (EU/EEA countries) or twelve months (other countries). At the end of this period, you’ll need to exchange it for a British license (EU/EEA countries) or get a provisional license and pass a driving test (other countries).
There are different companies which maintain the national and regional networks, with Network Rail managing the majority of the national network in Great Britain, and NI Railways managing the railroad traffic in Northern Ireland. The price of your train ticket is typically determined by the distance and time of your journey.
If you are a frequent train traveller, you should check out the National Railcards or Regional Railcards, which — if applicable — might be a great deal and ultimately save you a lot of money. BritRail passes, on the other hand, target tourists and are only available for purchase from abroad by foreigners who have not lived in the United Kingdom for six months or more.
Traveling by coach is an easy way for exploring the country on a budget. Please remember that you need to buy coach tickets in advance as they can’t be purchased directly when boarding.
The main, but not only, operators in the UK are:
- National Express
- Scottish Citylink
- Ulsterbus and Goldline in Northern Ireland
You can also easily get around cities and towns by bus, including the iconic double-deckers found in London. The local bus networks are run by different companies, so you would most likely have to contact them individually for ticket prices and time tables. Typically, you can buy the ticket directly from your driver or from local travel centers.
Taxis and Uber in the UK:
A very good reminder is that taxis are not available everywhere in the UK. You can hail a taxi in the street if it has switched on its yellow “Taxi” sign. If you are unsure where to find a taxi, local train stations or airports are a great place to start. In London, use of the Hailo App and taxi apps in general has also become a popular method for hiring licensed cabs. In addition to the fare, as shown on the meter, you should tip the driver by rounding up the fare, or adding about 10%.
Unlike taxis, they do not have a meter. Therefore, you should ask the operator or the driver about the price before you start your journey. Please remember, for your personal safety, only use licensed minicabs, especially in big cities like London. Minicabs from unlicensed providers are illegal, uninsured, and potentially unsafe for passengers.
Ferries: Perfect for Exploring Remote Isles:
Ferries are a popular form of transportation when it comes to getting to the United Kingdom. They’re indispensable when it comes to traveling along the Scottish Highlands as well as to and from the many British and Scottish Isles. Tickets are usually best bought directly from the operator, either online or at local ferry terminals, but you can find an overview of the various ferry companies and travel routes on websites such as Discover Ferries.
Public Transportation Resources for the Disabled:
Most trains in the UK carry a wheelchair access ramp, and buses are often able to tilt down to meet the sidewalk. If you look at the London tube map, you’ll also notice that stations with disabled access are clearly marked.