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Saturday, March 2, 2024

Heading Down to London This Winter? Here’s How to Get There…

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Whether it’s for work, a few days away with the family, or a weekend enjoying the nightlife, lots of us will be heading to the Big Smoke this winter. The trip will be filled with choices – where to stay, where to eat, what to see. And there’s even a range of transport options for getting to and from the capital. So which is the best option in terms of price, speed and carbon footprint? Here’s a quick guide.

By plane

Internal flights are not normally on our radar when we consider how to get from A to B in the UK. Living in a smallish country, it seems any time you might save is negated by the waiting times at check-in and the luggage carousel. You’ll also have to travel to your nearest airport, find a place to park and – once landed – find your way to the centre of London from Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton or whichever out-of-town airport you land in. The hassle appears to outweigh the benefit and, on top of this, it’s also the most expensive way to travel and the least environmentally friendly.

By car

This is definitely the most convenient option if you plan to stop at attractions on the way. The road network is extensive, especially travelling from north to south. The problem with driving to London, though, is that getting to the centre can be time consuming, and parking is both difficult and expensive. The congestion charge adds another barrier, meaning you’d probably need to use public transport for the final stretch of your journey anyway. Travelling by car also has a far higher carbon footprint than travelling by bus or train.

By coach

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This is the cheapest option especially if you book in advance and are prepared to travel at ungodly hours, with fares as low as £1 with certain companies from certain locations. Your carbon footprint is also considerably less than if you travelled by car or plane.

It is, however, rather a slow way to travel, especially when traffic is heavy, and many find it less comfortable than other forms of transport. But it’s an excellent option if you’re on a budget.

By train

All things considered, this is the quickest way to travel. If, for example, you’re boarding the Bradford to London train, it’ll take less than three hours to reach the capital. The same journey by car would take up to four hours and a bus would take five or six hours.

It’s also the most eco-friendly way to travel, having less than a quarter the carbon footprint per passenger than that of a car and less than a sixth that of a plane. Tickets can be expensive, but if you book in advance the discounts are considerable. You won’t get held up in traffic, you won’t have to worry about parking, and you’ll end up at a station right in the heart of the city that is well linked to the tube and London buses.

However you choose to travel to London, making the decision early and booking in advance is definitely the way to save you money and stress. Once you get that out of the way, you can concentrate on getting the most from your time there.

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