Travel around the UK

Find out how to explore the rest of the UK by using public transport.

Ways to get around the UK

The UK is relatively small compared with other countries – about the same size as the US state of Michigan and roughly the same population as France or Thailand. This means it’s easy to travel across the country and discover beautiful countryside, historic cities and varied coastlines.

The UK has an extensive public transport network and there are plenty of ways to get to your destination.

Buses and coaches

Buses and coaches can be a cost-effective way to get around.

National Express and Megabus are two companies that provide coach travel to major destinations across the UK.

National Express also provide services to Heathrow Airport direct from Brighton. Although services may be slower than the train, they are often cheaper.

As a Sussex student, you are also able to apply for a Young Persons Coach Card from National Express, providing a third off most fares.

Trains

There are lots of different train companies in the UK depending on which region you are in, and sometimes more than one train company operates the same route. Locally, for example, companies include Southern Railway and Thameslink.

Your ticket will be valid for any company that operates the route you are travelling, unless otherwise stated on your ticket – for instance, ‘Not Gatwick Express’.

You can often save money by booking tickets in advance of your travel or by buying off-peak tickets, which are only valid outside of the busy morning rush hour.

For more information on types of tickets see National Rail Enquiries.

The Cheapest Fare Finder is also a useful way of finding the cheapest way to travel from one destination to another.

It’s important to travel with the correct ticket and your railcard, otherwise you could get a fine.

If you’re not sure what ticket you need, speak to train staff who can make sure your ticket is valid.

16-25 Railcard

As a Sussex student, you are eligible for either a 16-25 or 25-30 railcard. You can either apply online for both, or you can get a 16-25 railcard application form from our office.

If you’re over 30, you will need the application form signed by a member of staff. Come to our office with your student ID card and we will sign the form for you.

London Underground

If you’re travelling around London, the ‘Tube’ is quick and easy to use, with stations close to all major landmarks.

Use the Transport for London website to find out how much a journey will cost. There is a cap on how much you will be charged each day.

The easiest way of paying for a ticket is by tapping a contactless card or a mobile phone with Android or Google Pay on the yellow card reader in front of the barriers.

You can also buy an Oyster Card – a contactless card you top up with money before you travel – or get a ticket from a ticket office, although this may be more expensive.

Whenever you complete a Tube journey using contactless payment, make sure you touch out otherwise you’ll be charged the maximum fare.

If you’ve already got a ticket to another destination that requires travel through London, you don’t need a separate Tube ticket.

Travelcard

A Travelcard allows you unlimited use of Underground, bus and train services in London for either one day or seven days.

You can also buy a Travelcard from a station outside of London, such as Brighton or Falmer, which would also include your return ticket.

There may be restrictions on where you can go in London and at what time of day. Check with a member of staff before you travel to make sure you have the right ticket.

Planes

If you’re thinking of visiting Scotland, flying is often cheaper than getting the train. Both Glasgow and Edinburgh are major airports with direct flights from London Gatwick, with flights usually lasting one hour and 30 minutes.

You can use flight comparison websites to save money by booking early or booking at off-peak times.

Local travel

Find out about how to get around Brighton and Hove, and the wider Sussex area, using buses and trains.

Travelling around Europe

You don’t need a visa to visit Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland – which are all in the UK – but you might need one if you want to travel around Europe.

Eurostar

You can travel to France, Belgium and the Netherlands by train from London using a high-speed rail network called Eurostar.

This is a quick and easy way to travel to many popular destinations in Europe, however prices are generally more expensive than flying.

Travelling abroad

Find out what to do if you want to travel overseas during your studies.

See more from Life as an international student