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Travelling to Britain

Reflection of man with camera in side view mirror of car

Introduction

Whether you’re travelling by Eurotunnel, Eurostar, coach, ferry or plane, there are plenty of options to make getting here as easy as possible.

Getting to Britain by air

Flying to Britain is easy. London Heathrow is the largest airport and is very well connected to central London. The capital is also home to Gatwick, Stansted and City airports.

Other major international airports include Manchester, Liverpool and Newcastle in the North of England, Birmingham in the Midlands and Bristol in the South West. Scotland is served by both Edinburgh and Glasgow airports. Cardiff Airport provides international connections for Wales, while Northern Ireland is served by Belfast.

All British airports are well connected with local public transport. The Heathrow Express provides a fast, direct train into London Paddington station, while the airport is also connected to the London Underground network. Gatwick, Stanstead and Manchester have regular express train connections, while Edinburgh has a tram link to the city centre.

Getting Britain by train/Eurostar

You can cross from continental Europe to Britain directly by train. The Channel Tunnel links Britain to the European continent via Eurostar trains (which take passengers) and Eurotunnel trains (which take passengers in their cars) providing a greener alternative to flying. Eurostar trains link Paris, Lille and Calais in France; Brussels in Belgium; and Amsterdam and Rotterdam in the Netherlands directly via the Channel Tunnel with London and South East England.

Once in Britain, the rail network here covers the whole country, serving more than 2,500 stations. From London, it’s possible to be in Scotland in just four hours, and in Wales in around two hours.

Getting to Britain by car

A network of car and passenger ferry services conveniently link several ports around the UK with northern and southern Europe. Key international UK ferry ports include: Felixstowe, Harwich, Folkestone, Dover, Southampton, and Bristol in south England; Hull and Liverpool in north England; Edinburgh in Scotland, and Belfast in Northern Ireland. 

Fares vary according to the season, time of travel and duration of stay so it’s worth checking before you book. Crossing times also vary, from just over an hour on the shortest routes to 24 hours on services from places like Spain and Scandinavia.

Eurotunnel trains connect Calais in France with Folkestone in just 35 minutes. Unlike ferry services, all passengers remain in their vehicles for the duration of the journey, meaning the Eurotunnel can be a better option for less able-bodied passengers.

Travelling to Britain by coach

Using coach or bus services is a cheap but often time-consuming way of travelling to the UK. Many services offer regular routes that cross the English Channel from the European continent. You could choose to terminate your journey in London or other major cities in the UK.

Where to visit when you get to Britain

Unsure of where to visit when you get here? Here’s just a handful of what Britain has to offer.

Step into a land of castles, world-renowned rugby and a whole host of myths and legends.

A gay couple enjoying the shopping facilities at Castle Arcade in Cardiff.

From palaces to cobbled alleys, and a dormant volcano, this city is a real show-stopper.

A young couple taking a selfie of view over historic town

Packed with lively pubs, an eclectic food scene and a myriad of immersive experiences.

Sunset over the red basalt column. Sea views

An unmissable destination for travellers, London is a melting pot of history, culture and green spaces.

Picadilly Circus underground station

Hugging the south-west, Devon is a playground for adventurers, explorers and foodie lovers.

Couple carrying surfboards and wearing wet suits on beach

Birthplace of the great bard, William Shakespeare, fall in love with this hopelessly romantic 16th century town.

Couple walking around the exterior of Shakespeare's Birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England