Worldwide Bus Travel Tips

The best ways to travel in the UK: bus, coach and train

This article was updated on July 24th, 2023.

The United Kingdom is a place packed with attractions and easy travel options. When it comes to getting around, you’ve got two choices – using your own car for the freedom to explore even remote spots, but keep in mind the expenses like rental fees, fuel costs, tolls, and traffic.

On the other hand, public transportation is a great option. England has an extensive network of trains and coaches (buses) that’ll whisk you away with ease. It’s often the more budget-friendly choice for getting around, and once you’re in the city, walking is the way to go!

No worries, we’ve got you covered with this handy guide to navigating England. From the best companies to the coolest ways to reach your destinations, we’re here to make your life easier and help you save money by finding the best deals on bus and train fares. Get ready to explore the UK efficiently and on a budget.

Travel by Bus and Coach in the UK

Traveling by bus and coach in the UK offers a cost-effective and scenic way to explore the country, and is usually the go-to option for budget travelers. Numerous companies operate extensive networks, connecting cities, towns, and tourist destinations. Here are some popular bus and coach options:

National Express: National Express is one of the largest coach operators in the UK, covering a wide range of routes throughout England, Scotland, and Wales. They offer comfortable coaches with amenities like air conditioning and onboard restrooms. 

Megabus UK: Megabus UK is known for its budget-friendly fares, with tickets starting as low as £1. They have a broad network of routes, making it an excellent option for travelers on a tight budget. While the prices can be incredibly low, it’s essential to book in advance to secure these deals.

Stagecoach: Stagecoach operates in most regions across the UK, offering convenient services in cities like London, Manchester, Cambridge, Edinburgh and more. They also have regional day passes and travel cards, providing flexible options for frequent travelers.

FlixBus: FlixBus is a well-known European bus company that has expanded its services to the UK. They offer international connections to destinations like France, Belgium, and Germany, making it a great good for those planning a broader European tour.

BlaBlaBus (formerly Ouibus): BlaBlaBus is another European bus operator that provides affordable travel options in Europe. They offer routes connecting London to major cities in Europe, like Paris, Amsterdam and Brussels.

For an overview of all your bus and coach options and compare prices, view all coach routes in the United Kingdom.

When to choose the bus/coach for traveling around the UK

Traveling by bus and coach in the UK offers a host of advantages, making it an excellent choice for specific situations and preferences. Here are some scenarios when opting for bus or coach travel can be the ideal option:

Exploring the Countryside and Scenic Routes: One of the standout advantages of coach travel is the opportunity to immerse yourself in the scenic beauty of the UK’s countryside. Coaches often take routes that offer breathtaking views of rolling hills, picturesque landscapes, and charming villages. If you’re a nature enthusiast or simply want to enjoy the journey as much as the destination, traveling by coach allows you to savor the stunning vistas along the way.

Cost-Effective Travel: If you’re on a budget-conscious trip, coaches can be a more affordable option compared to trains. Companies like Megabus UK and National Express offer incredibly low fares, with tickets starting from as low as £1. By booking early and taking advantage of special promotions, you can save significant money on your travel expenses.

Flexibility in Itinerary: Coaches serve a wide network of routes, connecting cities, towns, and even more remote areas. If you have a flexible travel schedule and want to explore multiple destinations without being tied to fixed train timetables, coaches can offer greater flexibility and convenience. They are particularly useful for travelers who wish to visit off-the-beaten-path locations, where the train tracks don’t go.

Comfortable Onboard Amenities: Most coach operators in the UK provide modern coaches equipped with amenities like WiFi, power outlets, and comfortable seating. These amenities make long journeys more pleasant and allow you to stay connected or entertained throughout the trip.

European Connections: If you’re planning a broader European adventure, some coach companies, such as National Express and FlixBus, offer international connections to neighboring countries like France, Belgium, and Germany. This can be an economical and hassle-free way to explore multiple European destinations in one trip. The hours are longer, for sure, but you can save some money.

Avoiding Urban Traffic and Parking Hassles: When traveling to popular cities where parking can be a challenge and traffic congestion is common, taking a coach can save you the hassle of navigating busy urban roads. Coaches usually have designated drop-off points in central locations, providing convenient access to major attractions.

Travel by train in the UK

When it comes to long-distance travel within England, trains offer a clear advantage over buses, providing a faster and more comfortable option for exploring the country. With an extensive network of train tracks, several companies cater to even small cities in the United Kingdom, ensuring convenient connectivity for travelers.

The well-equipped trains and train stations enhance the overall travel experience, providing passengers with comfortable and pleasant journeys. It’s no surprise that British trains have earned a reputation for their punctuality, with the majority of services running on time, earning the trust of both locals and visitors alike.

However, one drawback of train travel in the UK is the potential cost, particularly when tickets are booked close to the travel date. For budget-conscious travelers, planning ahead and purchasing tickets early is highly recommended, as it can result in substantial savings, making train travel a more affordable option for most of us.

By opting for trains, travelers can look forward to an efficient and enjoyable way to explore the diverse landscapes and charming destinations that England has to offer. While fares may pose a challenge, early booking allows you to embark on your journey with both comfort and budget in mind, ensuring a rewarding travel experience across the scenic landscapes of the United Kingdom.

Train travel in the UK offers a convenient and efficient way to explore the country, connecting major cities and regions with speed and comfort. You can still find the best option by comparing bus and train ticket prices on platforms like Busbud, which allows you to make the smartest choice for your journey.

Eurostar train

Top Train Companies in the UK:

  1. GWR (Great Western Railway): GWR operates services between London and the West of England, including popular destinations like Bath, Bristol, and Cardiff. They also offer scenic routes through the beautiful countryside of the Cotswolds.
  2. LNER (London North Eastern Railway): LNER operates on the East Coast Main Line, connecting London to cities such as Edinburgh, Newcastle, and York. Their Azuma trains offer a comfortable and smooth travel experience.
  3. TransPennine Express: TransPennine Express specializes in connecting cities in the North of England and Scotland, providing convenient routes between locations like Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle, and Edinburgh.
  4. CrossCountry: CrossCountry operates a vast network of routes, connecting cities in the South West, Midlands, North East, and Scotland. Their services provide connections to various locations, making it a versatile choice for travelers.
  5. Eurostar: For European journeys, Eurostar remains a popular choice, offering high-speed connections from London to Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, and other European cities. You can easily find and book Eurostar train tickets on Busbud, where you can compare train and coach ticket prices to travel all over the world.

When the UK trains are your best choice:

Speed and Efficiency: Trains are generally faster than coaches, making them a preferred choice for longer journeys between major cities. High-speed trains can significantly reduce travel time, allowing you to cover more ground in a short period.

Comfort and Amenities: Many train services in the UK offer comfortable seating, onboard facilities, and amenities, such as WiFi, refreshments, and restrooms, ensuring a pleasant travel experience.

Convenient City-Center Locations: Train stations are often located in the heart of cities, providing easy access to local transportation and major attractions. This saves time and effort when arriving at your destination.

Reliable Schedules: Trains in the UK generally operate on reliable schedules, with frequent departures, allowing you to plan your travel with confidence.

Eco-Friendly Option: Train travel is a more environmentally friendly choice compared to other modes of transportation, making it a sustainable option for conscious travelers.

Whether you choose to travel by bus or train, the UK offers an extensive transportation network to cater to various travel preferences and needs. To make the best decision for your journey, compare ticket prices, consider the distance and convenience, and enjoy exploring the rich cultural and natural wonders of the United

Comparing Prices Between Coach and Train

Here are the minimum prices you should expect when travelling from London.

Prices Comparison For National Journeys by Coach and Train

From London to: By Coach By Train
Edinburgh £18 £58
Manchester £8 £35
Birmingham £5 £17
Liverpool £12 £56
Glasgow £17 £67
Oxford £13
Bristol £2 £32
Brighton £4 £7
Cambridge £5 £16


Prices Comparison For European Journeys by Coach and Train

From London to: By Coach By Train
Paris £32 £157
Calais £28
Amsterdam £36 £155
Prague £71
Barcelona £85
Brussels £27


* Prices based on lowest adult fares (no railcards required) available on for coaches and for national trains and,, and for European trains for a one month advance booking for Friday, February 27th 2015.


Car Rentals in the UK

If you prefer the flexibility of driving, car rentals are available throughout the UK. However, it’s important to be mindful of the left-hand traffic system, which can be confusing for foreigners from most Western countries. Take some time to familiarize yourself with the local traffic rules and road signs before embarking on your journey.

Plan your trip around the United Kingdom

The UK offers a well-developed transportation network, catering to all types of travelers and their needs. If you’re in a hurry to reach your destination, the train may be the ideal choice. On the other hand, if you want to enjoy sightseeing or are on a budget, the bus or coach can be a fantastic option. 

Check out Busbud for the best deals on trains and bus tickets! Don’t miss out on scenic views, comfy rides, and incredible savings. Start planning your journey now at Busbud and get ready to hit the road for an unforgettable UK travel experience!