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England Travel Guide
General Information on England TOP

Much of the countryside is relatively flat, consisting of fertile plains and gentle hills. Mountains, moors and steeper hills are found mainly in the north and the west; the Lake District (Cumbria) and the northwest are divided from the Yorkshire Dales, and the northeast, by the (relatively) high-rising Pennines, ‘the backbone of England’. The eastern part of the country, particularly East Anglia, is the lowest lying. The coastline is varied, and ranges from long stretches of sandy beaches to steep cliffs and isolated rocky coves.

Language: English. The multiplicity of local dialects throughout the country, overlaid with class, and town and country accents makes English a language of astonishing diversity – words and forms of syntax which are obsolete in the southeast may often be found elsewhere. In the larger cities, particularly London, there are many communities who do not speak English as a first language (or who have a patois – originating outside of this country – which adds yet more variety to the English language).

The Climate Of England TOP

The climate is temperate with warm wet summers and cool wet winters. Weather varies from day to day and throughout the country as a whole. The west coast and mountainous areas receive the most rain; the east coast, particularly in the north, is colder and windier. The southeast is sunnier than the north with less rain and a climate approaching the continental. The southwest has overall the mildest climate.

Required clothing: European according to season, plus rainwear.

Getting To England TOP

England’s principal international airports are:

Heathrow (LHR): Located 24km (15 miles) west of central London. Airport information: (tel: (0870) 000 0123; website: The airport has three passenger terminals grouped together in the airport’s central area. The fourth terminal is a short distance from the main complex. Facilities: Banks (daily) and currency exchange in all terminals (T1: 24 hours for arrivals, 0600-2130 for departures; T2: Open from first to last international flight; T3: 24 hours for arrivals, from first to last international flight for departures; T4: Open from first to last international flight); ATMs in all terminals; left luggage in all terminals; post office (T2: Mon-Sat 0830-1730, Sun 0900-1300; T4: Mon-Sat 0900-1730, Sun 0900-1300); a variety of restaurants, bars, cafes and other eating places in all terminals (24 hours); babycare rooms in all terminals; St George’s Chapel, opposite entrance to T2 car park (tel: (020) 8745 4261); duty free in all terminals; gift/general shops in all terminals; Travel Care Unit in Queen’s Building (tel: (020) 8745 7495, open Mon-Sat 0930-1630); The Business Centre, Heathrow (tel: (020) 8759 2434), next to T2 24-hour emergency medical service; hotel reservation service in all terminals; facilities for the disabled: wheelchairs, telephones, toilets, special parking bays in short-term car park and coach link to long-term car park. There is also an induction loop link system for the hard of hearing. Underground: The airport is linked to the entire Greater London area by the underground railway network. Stations for Heathrow Terminals 1, 2, 3 and 4 are on the Piccadilly Line. The travel time to the West End is 47 minutes, and to the mainline stations King’s Cross and St Pancras 55 minutes. All other mainline stations can be reached with only one change of train in central London. Services run Mon-Sat 0511-2349, and Sun 0557-2330. 24-hour information on the London Regional Transport network may be obtained by dialling (020) 7222 1234. Train: The Heathrow Express (tel: (0845) 600 1515; website: is a fast service from London Paddington to Heathrow. Trains depart every 15 minutes (travel time – 15 minutes). There is a Railair (tel: (08705) 747 777) coach, with frequent express services connecting Heathrow with trains at Reading and Woking stations. Details are available in each terminal. Coach: London Transport operates Airbuses, providing an express service between Heathrow and central London. Airbuses call at all terminals and have ample space for passengers and baggage. There are also wheelchair facilities for the disabled. The A2 service to Kings Cross Station, and other central and west London stops runs every 30 minutes from Heathrow 0530-2208 and from Kings Cross Station 0400-2000 (travel time – 1 hour 40 minutes). Speedlink Airport Services’ Jetlink operates every 30 minutes (almost 24 hours a day) to Gatwick (travel time – 1 hour 10 minutes). The service now runs to Stansted airport twice every two hours (travel time – 1 hour 25 minutes), operating 0600-0110. Green Line coach/bus services (724), run to Watford, St Albans, Hatfield, Welwyn Garden City, Hertford and Harlow. London Transport’s 726 bus runs to Kingston, Sutton, Croydon and Bromley. For information on these services, dial (08705) 747 777. National Express (tel: (08705) 808 080) runs direct Rapide coach services from Heathrow to most parts of the UK including Manchester 11 times a day (travel time – 6 hours); Bristol 18 times a day (travel time – 2 hours); and Birmingham 16 times a day (travel time – 2 hours 35 minutes). Speedlink luxury coaches connect Heathrow with Gatwick (travel time – 1 hour). Coaches depart every 30 minutes, operating 0440-0040. Many private companies have long-distance coach services linking Heathrow with the rest of the country. West Midlands area: Flightlink (tel: (08705) 757 747). East Anglia: Cambridge Coaches (tel: (01223) 423 900). For information on schedules, on-line booking and and fares for Airbus, Speedlink, Jetlink and National Express services, contact GoByCoach (website: Local bus: London Transport (tel: (020) 7222 1234; website: services 81, 105, 111, 140, 222, 285, 555, 556, 557, 726, A10, H30, N105, N140, N285, U3, and its night bus N9 operate from Heathrow Central bus station to various parts of London. The Oxford Bus Company (tel: (01865) 785 410) runs the Oxford Express service directly between Heathrow and Oxford at half-hourly intervals during the day and two-hourly intervals throughout the night. Green Line also operates local services (see above for coach operations). Note: London Transport Travelcheck (tel: (020) 7222 1234) gives up-to-the-minute information on how London services are running. Taxi: Available for hire outside each airport terminal. Each terminal has its own taxi rank and the information desk can give an indication of fares. Car hire: Avis, Europcar, Hertz and National self-drive and chauffeur-driven cars can be hired from desks in each airport terminal. To central London takes 30 minutes to 1 hour. Private car: Heathrow, 38km (24 miles) from central London, is reached either through the tunnel of the M4 motorway spur or from the A4 (Bath) road. It is also close to the M25 orbital motorway, making journeys to virtually all parts of the country relatively simple. It is advisable to avoid the area during peak times (0700-1000 and 1600-1900). Unloading but no waiting is allowed outside terminals. Short- and long-term car parking is available; there are coach connections from the long-term car park to all terminals.
Gatwick (LGW): Located 46km (28 miles) south of central London. Airport information: (tel: (0870) 000 2468; website: Facilities: Banks/currency exchange, ATMs, shops, restaurants, left luggage, duty-free shops, chapel, babycare rooms, medical room and facilities for the disabled. All facilities are available 24 hours. There is a conference and business centre in the South Terminal, open daily 0830-1830 (tel: (01293) 555 777). Train: Gatwick Express (tel: (08705) 301 530; website: operates a nonstop service from Victoria Station at 15-minute intervals from 0430-0030 and at hourly intervals daily 0135-0435 (travel time – 30 minutes). Passengers travelling with British Airways, American Airlines and GB Airways can check in at Victoria Station. There are also regular services to Gatwick from London Bridge Station (travel time – 30 minutes). There are fast and frequent trains from Gatwick which connect with mainline stations throughout southeast England. There are direct trains daily between Gatwick and many other cities nationwide. For further information, contact National Rail Enquiries (tel: (08457) 484 950). Coach: Flightline to Victoria Coach Station and Stansted Airport runs hourly 0415-2240 (travel time to Victoria – 1 hour 25 minutes). Jetlink (tel: (08705) 747 777) to Heathrow runs every 30 minutes during most of the day and night (travel time – 1 hour 10 minutes), with extensions to Luton Airport every hour and to Stansted Airport every 2 hours. The service to Heathrow runs every hour until 0005. National Express (tel: (08705) 808 080; website: has many direct coach services to most parts of the UK including Birmingham (approximate travel time – 4 hours); Leicester (approximate travel time – 4 hours 5 minutes); and Newcastle (approximate travel time – 9 hours 50 minutes). Flightlink goes from other cities including Bristol, Cardiff, Sheffield, Swansea, Manchester and Birmingham. Certain charter tour operators also provide coaches from Gatwick for arriving passengers. Check with relevant tour operator. Contact GoByCoach (website: for information on schedules, on-line booking and and fares for Flightlink, Jetlink and National Express services. Taxi: Available outside the terminal (travel time to central London – 1 hour) (tel: (01293) 502 808; fax: (01293) 569 790). Car hire: Avis, Europcar, Hertz and National self-drive and chauffeur-driven cars can be hired from desks in the arrivals hall. Private car: Gatwick can be reached from London on the A23/M23. It is also close to the M25 orbital motorway, linking all main routes from London. There are ample parking facilities for short and long stays. Fee enquiries (tel: (01293) 256 9671 (short-stay parking) or (0800) 128 128 (long-stay parking, North Terminal) or (0800) 626 671 (long-stay parking, South Terminal).

London City Airport (LCY): Located 10km (6 miles) east of the City of London. Airport information: (tel: (020) 7646 0088; website: This airport, situated at the Royal Docks in the London Borough of Newham, provides frequent scheduled air services linking the City of London with Amsterdam, Antwerp, Athens, Bangkok, Barcelona, Basle, Beijing, Belfast, Berlin, Brussels, Dortmund, Dublin, Dundee, Düsseldorf, Edinburgh, Frankfurt/M, Geneva, Glasgow, Hamburg, Inverness, Isle of Man, Jersey, Le Havre, Luxembourg, Manchester, Munich, Paris, Rotterdam and Zurich amongst others. Scheduled airlines include Air France, Aer Lingus, British European, KLM UK, Lufthansa, Luxair, Swiss and VLM. Check-in time is usually about ten minutes. Facilities: Duty-free shops, car hire, bank, bureaux de change and ATMs, left luggage, information desk, restaurant and bars, newsagent and bookstore, and business centre with meeting rooms/conference facilities for up to 80 persons. Train/Underground: Silvertown Station, on the Silverlink Metro line, is 328m (300 yards) from the airport terminal; connections with the Underground are at West Ham (District and Hammersmith and City Lines), Stratford (Central Line and Docklands Light Railway), Highbury and Islington (Victoria Line), West Hampstead (Jubilee Line) and Willesden Junction (Bakerloo Line). Plaistow (District Line) is approximately 3km (2 miles) from the airport; it has its own taxi rank. In 1999, the Jubilee Line opened at Canning Town, which is approximately 1.6km (1 mile) away (travel time by shuttle bus – 5 minutes). Canning Town is also on the Docklands Light Railway and the Silverlink Metro. Coach/Bus: A shuttle bus operates every 10 minutes from the terminal to Canary Wharf (Docklands Light Railway); Liverpool Street Station (London Underground and mainline trains to the east of England) and Canning Town (London Underground, Docklands Light Railway and the Silverlink Metro). The service operates approximately Mon-Fri 0600-2220, Sat 0600-1300 and Sun 1005-2220. London Transport buses 69 and 473 stop at the terminal, linking it with nearby Docklands Light Railway and Silverlink Metro stations. Taxi: Widely available; may be booked in-flight. Car hire: Avis, Europcar (tel: (08456) 005 000) and Hertz. Private car: The airport is reached from the City via Commercial Road/East India Dock Road (A13) over the Canning Town Flyover, turning right into Prince Regent Lane, or via Tower Hill along The Highway (A1203) and Silvertown Way (travel time – 30 minutes); from the M25 via the M11 and North Circular (A406) or the A13. Access from the City of London will usually present no problems provided the morning and evening rush hours are avoided. London City Airport has ample car parking space located just outside the terminal building.

Stansted (STN): Located 48km (30 miles) northeast of central London. Airport information: (tel: (08700) 000 303; website: Facilities: Information desk, executive lounge, lost property, bureaux de change, ATMs, a variety of restaurants and cafes/bars, nursing mothers’ room, 24-hour emergency medical service, duty-free shops, fax and photocopying facilities, wheelchairs and toilets for the disabled as well as induction loop system in the international departures lounge. Train: The Stansted Express runs throughout the day (0430-0030) from London Liverpool Street to Stansted (website: Services run every 15 minutes (0800-1545) and every 30 minutes, evenings and Saturdays (travel time – 41 minutes). A replacement coach service will run every Sunday untill 2004. There are also services from Stansted to Cambridge and the North. Further information is available from National Rail Enquiries (tel: (08457) 484 950). Coach: Colchester Coach Link (tel: (08457) 484 950) runs services to Stansted from Dunmow, Bradwell and Colchester, daily 0525-2010. Airbus (tel: (08705) 747 777) connects Stansted with London Victoria Coach Station. Coaches run every 20 minutes during the day and half-hourly throughout most of the night (travel time – 1 hour 30 minutes). Jetlink (tel: (08705) 747 777) operates services every 2 hours, between Stansted, Gatwick, Luton and Heathrow. Jetlink also provides services to Ipswich, Braintree, Milton Keynes, Norwich, Cambridge and Oxford amongst others. Flightlink coaches operate to Gatwick Airport via Victoria Coach Station in London. Taxi: To central London takes 1 hour 30 minutes. Car hire: Cars can be hired from desks in the terminal building. For details, contact Avis, Europcar (tel: (01279) 680 154) or National. For air taxis/business aviation services, contact Artac Air Chartering Service (tel: (01376) 566 000). Private car: Situated 54km (34 miles) northeast of London, the airport is easily accessible by road on M25/M11 from London. The Midlands and the North are reached via the A1, A604 and M11. Long- and short-term car parking space is available.

Luton (LTN): Located 51km (32 miles) northwest of London. Airport information: (tel: (01582) 405 100; website: Facilities: Bureaux de change, ATMs, general shops, a variety of restaurants and bar/cafes, two 24-hour cafes, nursing mothers’ room, free play area (two to eight years) in departure lounge, duty-free shop, chapel, medical services and facilities for the disabled – wheelchairs, toilets and ambulift. Train: Access to Luton Airport improved with the opening of a new station – Luton Airport Parkway – in 1999. A courtesy shuttle service operates between the station and airport terminal. Luton is on the Thameslink line which runs from Bedford via London (stopping at King’s Cross and London Bridge stations) and Gatwick Airport to Brighton. Midland Mainline services connect Luton with the Midlands and the North. Trains run direct to Leicester, Nottingham, Derby and Sheffield. National Rail Enquiries (tel: (08457) 484 950). Coach: National Express (tel: (08705) 808 080) runs daily services to Birmingham and Manchester. Services also run to most other parts of the UK. Jetlink is a direct (limited stop) service connecting Stansted Airport with Luton, Heathrow and Gatwick, which operates hourly from Luton. It runs via Hemel Hempstead and continues on to Brighton. London Link 757 Express runs a daily service from the airport to Luton and on to central London. United Counties (tel: (01604) 676 077) operates directly to Bedford. From Bedford, there are connections to Cambridge, Huntingdon, Northampton, Peterborough and St Neots. Services vary in frequency. Flightlink operates direct between the airport and Birmingham, Nottingham and Leicester. Local bus: Buses (tel: (08706) 082 608) run from the airport to Luton bus and rail stations, with frequent services during the day, and hourly evening services (Monday-Saturday). Taxi: Can be hired from the rank immediately outside the terminal building. Car hire: Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz and National Car Rental have desks at the airport. Private car: The airport can be reached on the M1 exiting at Junction 10. Access to the airport from the east is via the A505 dual carriageway from Hitchin. The M25 connects all motorways and the airport can therefore be accessed from the East, South and West via M25, M4, M11 and M23. Travelling from the west also provides several routes from the Dunstable area through Luton. Airport signs should be followed throughout. Long- and short-term car parking is available within the airport boundary.

Birmingham (BHX): Located 13km (8 miles) southeast of the city centre. Airport information: (tel: (0121) 767 5511; website: Facilities: Bank and foreign exchange services, ATMs, cafes and restaurants, duty-free shops, facilities for the disabled, medical centre, nursing mothers’ room, shops, spectators’ viewing gallery and left-luggage office. Train: The main terminal is linked to Birmingham International Station and the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) by the Air Rail Link courtesy bus service. Birmingham International is connected to the Intercity network and regional lines and has a fast service to London Euston every 30 minutes (travel time – 1 hour 20 minutes). Train information: (tel: 08457) 484 950, only available from within the UK). Birmingham New Street Station, in the city centre, is 10 minutes away by Intercity or local services and provides interchange for services throughout the rest of the country. Coach/Bus: Travel West Midlands operates local services into the suburbs. An Airbus service from the airport to the NEC and various locations around the city centre, operates every 30 minutes (0500-2100). National Express offers a frequent, daily service to central Birmingham, Coventry, Lancashire and the London airports. A service also runs to Birmingham, Coventry, Northampton, Cambridge, Chelmsford and Southend. Flightlink (tel: (0990) 757 747) operates connections to Gatwick and Heathrow with various collection points along the route. Frequent coaches run to and from Birmingham from London Victoria and most major cities and towns throughout the country. For further information, contact the airport (website: or GoByCoach (website: Local bus: Service 900 runs to the city centre Monday to Sunday every 20 minutes from 0322-0031. Taxi: Taxis are available outside the Eurohub Terminal (travel time to city centre – 25 minutes). Car hire: Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz and National Car Rental have offices at the airport. Private car: M1, M5, M6, M40 and M42 are the main routes to Birmingham. The airport is well signposted from the city. There is multi-storey and open-air parking (over 8000 spaces) at the airport. For further details, contact National Car Parks (NCP) (tel: (0121) 767 7861).

Manchester (MAN): Located 16km (10 miles) southwest of the city centre. Airport information: (tel: (0161) 489 3000; website: Facilities: Restaurants/cafes, duty-free shops, baby care facilities and play area, shops, banking services, bureaux de change, ATMs, medical centre, post office, conference and banqueting facilities for up to 400 people and full facilities for the disabled. Train: Manchester Airport station links the airport to Manchester city centre, with trains departing Mon-Sat every 15 minutes and every 20 minutes on Sunday (travel time – 20 minutes). Fast trains to all parts of the country leave from Manchester Airport station and there are connections for further services at Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Victoria (tel: (08457) 484 950, only available from within the UK). Coach/Bus: National Express (tel: (08705) 808 080) runs daily services to most parts of the UK including Scotland. Skyline buses 43A and 105 operate throughout the week from local villages to Piccadilly rail station and the city centre. Service 500 runs to Bolton and various other stops including the Trafford Centre. For more detailed information on times and frequency of these services, contact Greater Manchester Passengers Transport Executive (tel: (0161) 228 7811). Taxi: There are taxi ranks situated outside or adjacent to Terminals 1, 2 and 3 (travel time to the city centre – 25 minutes). Car hire: Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz, National Car Rental and Sixt have booking offices in Terminals 1, 2 and 3. Private car: The airport is at the heart of the country’s motorway network and a specially constructed spur from the M56 runs directly into the terminal building. Road connections serve Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Lancashire, Cheshire, the Midlands and West and South Yorkshire. There is car parking space within the airport boundary.
Newcastle (NCL): Located 8km (5 miles) northwest of the city centre. Airport information: (tel: (0191) 286 0966; website: Facilities: Bureau de change, bank, ATMs, restaurant/bars, shops (0500-2100), duty-free shop, left luggage, baby care facilities, play area, emergency medical services and facilities for the disabled. Metro: The Tyneside Metro Rapid Transport system connects the whole of the Newcastle area with the airport. It runs to Newcastle city centre, across the River Tyne to Gateshead and South Shields and to Tynemouth and the coast. For information, call Traveline (Public Transport Information) (tel: (0870) 608 2608). Train: Nearest railway station is Newcastle Central, 11km (7 miles) from the airport, linked by buses operated by Busways, which run Mon-Sat every 30 minutes, and every hour on Sunday. For further information, contact National Rail Enquiries (tel: (08457) 484 950). Coach: National Express and Scottish Citylink operates services to the airport from most major cities in Scotland and the North of England and Midlands. Local bus: Services 76, 76A, 77, 77A, 78, 78E, 79 and 79A run from Eldon Square bus concourse, in the centre of Newcastle. These stop on the main road at the airport entrance (travel time – 20 minutes). Public Transport Information (tel: (0870) 608 2608). Taxi: A taxi rank is situated outside the railway station, and at the Haymarket near the Eldon Square bus concourse in Newcastle city centre (travel time to city centre – 15-20 minutes). Only licensed taxi cabs are allowed to pick up at the airport. Car hire: Avis (tel: (0191) 214 0116), Europcar (tel: (0191) 286 5070), Hertz (tel: (0191) 286 6748) and National (tel: (0191) 214 5222) self-drive agents are located at the airport. Private car: The airport can be reached from the south by the A1(M) north, then the A696 Jedburgh trunk road, and from the north by the A1 south, then the A696 Jedburgh trunk road. Open-air long- and short-term parking facilities are available (advance booking recommended during busy periods).

Travelling Around England TOP

RAIL: The Intercity network serves all main cities in the UK mainland. All routes radiate from London. For all rail information, call National Rail Enquiries (tel: (08457) 484 950, only available from within the UK). Following the privatisation of British Rail, rail services are operated by numerous private companies. Terminus stations in London serve the following regions:
Southern England and South London: Charing Cross, London Bridge, Victoria and Waterloo.
East Anglia, Essex, North East and East London: Liverpool Street.
South Midlands, West of England, South Wales and West London: Paddington.
East and West Midlands, North Wales, North West England, West Coast of Scotland and West London: Euston, St Pancras and Marylebone.
East and North East England, East Coast of Scotland and North London: King’s Cross.
There are also many smaller lines which operate less frequently. There are services to the Republic of Ireland via Holyhead, and to Northern Ireland. Services to the Republic of Ireland via Fishguard are also available.

ROAD: England is served by a good network of motorways and trunk roads which connect all the main cities and towns.
The main motorways are: M1: London, Luton, Leicester, Sheffield, Leeds. M2/A2: London to Dover. M3: London to Winchester. M4: London, Reading, Bristol, Newport, Cardiff, Swansea. M5: Birmingham, Gloucester, Bristol, Exeter. M6: Coventry, Birmingham, Stoke, Warrington (connecting with the M62 for Liverpool and Manchester), Preston (connecting with the M55 for Blackpool), Morecambe, Carlisle. M11: London to Cambridge. M20/A20: London to Folkestone. M25: London orbital. M40: London to Birmingham. M62: Liverpool, Warrington, Manchester, Huddersfield, Leeds, Hull. The main trunk roads are: A1/A1(M) (motorway in parts): London, Peterborough, Doncaster, Darlington, Newcastle, Edinburgh. A3: London, Guildford, Portsmouth. A5: London, St Albans, Nuneaton, Birmingham area, Shrewsbury, across inland north Wales to Holyhead. A6: London, Bedford, Leicester, Manchester. A11: London to Norwich. A12: London, Ipswich, Great Yarmouth. A23: London to Brighton. A30: London, Basingstoke, Yeovil, Exeter, Penzance. A40: London, Oxford (M40), Gloucester, Cheltenham, across inland south Wales to Fishguard

Distances from London (by road): To Birmingham 169km (105 miles), Manchester 299km (186 miles), Liverpool 325km (202 miles), Exeter 278km (173 miles), Penzance 452km (281 miles), Bristol 185km (115 miles), Carlisle 484km (301 miles), Newcastle 441km (274 miles), Sheffield 257km (160 miles), York 311km (193 miles), Cambridge 89km (55 miles), Southampton 124km (77 miles), Dover 114km (71 miles), Oxford 92km (57 miles), Norwich 182km (113 miles), Portsmouth 113km (70 miles) and Harwich 122km (76 miles).

Coach: Many coach companies offer express and stopping services throughout England and the rest of the UK. National Express (tel: (08705) 808 080) provides nationwide coach information. The head office is at 4 Vicarage Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 3ES (tel: (0121) 625 1122; fax: (0121) 456 1397; website:

Urban transport in London: The Underground: London has a comprehensive metro service known as the ‘Underground’ or the ‘tube’. The tube is the oldest and one of the most extensive underground railway networks in the world. There are 13 lines, including the Docklands Light Railway, and some – such as the Central and the Metropolitan – extend well into the surrounding suburbs. Each line has its own colour on the network map, copies of which are widely available. Some lines operate certain sections during peak hours and some stations close altogether in the evenings or at weekends. There is also an extensive network of overground rail services in the London area, particularly in the southeast, many of which connect with Underground services. All of the railway terminus stations connect with at least one Underground line, with the exception of Fenchurch Street (which is, however, virtually adjacent to Tower Hill station on the District Line). Various travel discounts are available. The one-day or weekend Travelcard offers unlimited travel on bus, Underground and overground rail services in one or more zones; it is one of the best methods for visitors to travel throughout London. Weekly and monthly Travelcards require a passport-size photograph.
For 24-hour enquiries on bus and underground travel, contact London Transport (tel: (020) 7222 1234). For enquiries about rail services, contact National Rail Enquiries (tel: (08457) 484 950). Maps and leaflets are widely available, although it should be remembered that the maps of the Underground and overground rail networks are diagrammatic, and do not indicate the relative distances between stations. Bus: London is served by an excellent network of buses (about 300 routes), although recent policy has been to cut some of the lesser-used services. Some operate only partial routes at specific times or may discontinue service in the evenings or at weekends. During rush hours, bus travel in central London can become agonisingly slow, although the introduction of bus lanes and ‘red routes’ on some roads has partly improved this situation. There is a good timetabled network of night bus services, and all routes passing through central London call at Trafalgar Square. Taxi/Car hire: Black cabs can be hailed in the street or ordered by phone. Fares are metered but surcharges are levied for extra passengers, large amounts of luggage, travel at night, and on Sundays or public holidays. Over 3000 new black cabs have facilities for wheelchair-bound passengers. Mini-cabs and cars for hire are also available; numbers are listed in the Yellow Pages telephone directory. River transport: Leisure and commuter services on the River Thames are run by a variety of private companies, including Collins River Enterprises (tel: 020 7977 6892), which operates a commuter service between Canary Wharf and Savoy Pier, and Thames Clippers (website: The main commuter service is between Chelsea Harbour and Embankment. At weekends, there are a variety of cruises and pleasure trips. For further information, contact London Travel Information (tel: (020) 7222 1234; website:

Urban transport: Elsewhere: All towns and cities have bus services. In addition, the areas of Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester and the cities in South Yorkshire and Newcastle have suburban rail services. Newcastle also has a metro, which consists of a circular line with three branches. It connects with Newcastle Central, Manors and Heworth railway stations and terminates at South Shields (ferry connection to North Shields, also on the metro), St James and Newcastle Airport. Manchester has a fast metrolink tram service running on former railway lines from Bury in the north to Altrincham in the south. There is also a brand new line from Eccles in the west via Salford Quays to the city centre. All cities have taxi services, many using London-type black cabs. Taxi ranks are usually placed near bus stations, railway stations and town centres. Local telephone directories give the numbers of mini-cabs and hire cars.

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