Travelling around Britain by coach will often save you money and offer an alternative to train travel if you're on a budget - just be aware that the journey time will probably be longer. If you know the route you wish to take, plan ahead and book your coach before you arrive in the UK to guarantee yourself a seat. For ideas on places to visit by coach or bus, discover our Destinations around the UK.
The British coach networks
The largest British coach operator is National Express, which has a nationwide network of more than 1,200 destinations. The company offers a number of discounts, such as their £5 Funfares (+50p booking fee), which are available online, to over 50 destinations.
Did you know you can travel as far north as Scotland by National Express coach? If you’re travelling from London Victoria Coach Station it will take you 8hrs 15 mins to Glasgow, 9 hrs to Edinburgh and 12hrs 35 mins to Inverness.
Megabus offers tickets to destinations all over Britain from as little as £1 (+50p booking fee). Make sure you book early to get the best deals. If you travel to Glasgow from London on a Megabus you also have the option to book a sleeper coach with a bed!
The Oxford Tube and Oxford X90 run frequent, wheelchair-friendly services between Oxford and London, while Scottish Citylink is a major operator running regular services between London, the North of England and Scotland. Some services run from Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports.
Discounts are available for full-time students and anyone under 25. The over-50s qualify for a discount coach card, which means the save up to 30 per cent on many fares.
Take a coach tour
A fun way to experience Britain is by taking a coach tour, which will usually take you to a variety of destinations. A coach tour may last anything from a couple of hours to two weeks or more, touring coast or countryside and stopping at places of interest. Some are highly structured, organising every break en-route; others leave you to sightsee or shop at your own pace. Any large town will have a selection of coach companies and don't forget to check online for top tour tips. It's also a good idea to book coach trips directly before you arrive in the UK.
Seaside resorts and tourist sites are perfect day trip destinations, especially during the high summer season. In some of the more popular rural areas, such as the Lake District, special small coaches operate, making it easy for you to travel around. You can book these in advance or just turn up before the coach leaves, although be aware that tours do book up quickly. The local tourist information point or travel agents will be able to tell you everything you need to know.
Travel by bus
Catching a bus is a popular way to travel around the UK. As a rule, the further you get from a city, the fewer the buses and the more expensive the fare. On the plus side, local buses can be a sociable way of travelling around Britain’s lovely countryside.
Always check routes, schedules and fares at the local tourist office or bus station before you depart on a bus to avoid running into travel trouble. If you're travelling via bus around London make sure you invest in an Oyster Card.