England Planning a Trip

Visiting Trafalgar Square and London Eye

The city of London is one of the most well-known and popular destination on earth. As the capital city, London is often referred to as the capital of the world, and in fact has the largest population of any urban area in Western Europe. Visitors will find countless fantastic attractions in the city, from world-class museums and art galleries to historical landmarks like Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and the Tower and Bridge of London. Two of the most popular attractions in the city are the London Eye and Trafalgar Square. The following is an introduction to these two attractions.

The London Eye

This giant wheel is an impressive structure that dominates the skyline of England’s capital city. Due to a recent sponsorship deal, the official title has changed from the British Airways London Eye to the EDF Energy London Eye. It stands at 443 feet tall, and is located along the Thames River. As the tallest ferris wheel in the Europe, and the world’s tallest cantilevered observation wheel, it should come as no surprise that it the most visited paid tourist attraction in the entire country of England.

Each year, well over 3 million visitors take a trip on the London Eye and climb into one of the 32 glass domes, many of which have tour included within their London holiday packages. Each domed pod holds up to 25 people, who can sit or stand during the 30 minute revolution. The speed is quite slow, meaning anyone can ride it and few people complain of motion sickness or discomfort. Since the opening of the London Eye in 2000, it has become an icon in the city of London. For significant national occasions, the wheel is outfitted with stunning lights in themed colors. Recently, it donned patriotic colors to resemble the Union Jack for the royal wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton, and in 2012 it will be outfitted with the Olympic rings.

Trafalgar Square

This public space is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the city of London. Created in the 19th century, it was designed to be a public area that was a central focus of culture and politics in the city. Indeed, it has served that purpose for decades. The focal point of Trafalgar Square is the Nelson’s Column, which dominates the look of the area. The column stands at 169 feet in height, and was created to in honor of Admiral Horatio Nelson, who died during the Battle of Trafalgar. At the four corners of the base of the column are lion statues, who are meant to guard the column constantly. Until the last decade, the square was known for the massive population of pigeons who called the square home, thanks to millions of tourists who fed them. Those were eventually removed and feeding made illegal, and today it is more commonly used for political demonstrations, screening sports events, and holiday celebrations like Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

Photo by: Thamer Al-Hassan

England Planning a Trip travel guide

Getting from London to York

Located in Yorkshire, York is an ancient cathedral city. Its history dates back to pre-Roman times and the city is filled with excellent preserved historical buildings. In Roman times , York was one of the most important cities in Britain and is directly linked to Constantine the Great, who was proclaimed emperor here. Later it was a major Viking settlement.

The closest airport to York is Leeds-Bradford International Airport (LBA) but it’s the least convenient and most expensive in the area. Further away is Manchester Airport (MAN) which has quite good connections to the rest of Britain and Europe. But the majority of visitors arrive through one of London’s airports.

>>read more about Getting from London to Manchester

Quick summary

The fastest and easiest way to get from London to York is by train. But there are also buses if you want to save money and don’t mind 5 hours of traveling.

Trains from London to York

Nation Rail operates trains between London’s Kings Cross and York. The travel time is about 2 h and the single fare starts at £47.00, but depends on the time of departure. There are departures about every 30 min to 1 hour.

Grand Central Rail also operates trains between London Kings Cross and York. There are departures about every 30 min to 1 hour, every day. The travel time is also about 2h and the off peak single fare is £93.10.

>>read more about Train Travel in England

Buses from London to York

National Express operates direct buses between London and York. Connection buses are also available and there are departures about every 30 min to 1 h , daily. The fastest travel time is 4h 50 min and the single fare starts at £16.50 but depends on the time of departure.

>>read more about Bus Travel in England

Driving from London to York

You can rent a car and drive the 200 miles between London and York. The travel time is about 4 h, but it does depend on the traffic.

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England Planning a Trip travel guide

Getting from London to Birmingham

London is a major European transportation hub and , especially if you fly from other continents than Europe, your first encounter with the UK will be London’s Heathrow airport. And even if you fly from Europe, you might find better deals for flights into one of London’s airport rather than flying directly into Birmingham . So, chances are you’ll need to travel between the two cities.

London and Birmingham are just 118 miles away, so there is no reason to fly between the two cities. So, you are left with traveling overland: by train, bus or car.

Quick summary

Prices are similar whether you choose the bus or the train. However, the trains travel faster than buses. Most trains run between London Euston station and Birmingham New Street Station.

Trains from London to Birmingham

Birmingham’s main station is New Street, which offer direct connections to London Euston station. Service is also available between London Marylebone station and Birmingham Moor Street station.

There are trains departing every 15 to 30 min between the two cities, with most departures from London Euston station. You can purchase the ticket online and pay as little as £6 per person, one way. The travel time is between 1 ½ h and 2 h, depending on the train.

Details , schedules and prices can be found here .

>>read more about Train Travel in England

Buses from London to Birmingham

All intercity buses arrive at Birmingham Coach Station, which is located close to the city center. Serving to London is very frequent and you can choose between two companies:

  • Megabus : offers 7 departures per day and the travel time is about 3 h. Fares range from £5 to £8 per person, one way and depends on the time of departure.

  • National Express : offers departures about every hour and connects Birmingham to London’s Victoria Coach Station. The travel time is 2 ½ h to 3 h. Fares range from £6.50 to £12 per person, one way and depends on the time of departure.

>>read more about Bus Travel in England

Driving from London to Birmingham

You can rent a car in London and drive the 118 miles to Birmingham via M1 and M6. It should take about 2 hours, but it does depend on the traffic.

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England travel guide

Travel Tips: When London Returns to Normal

London is in the news right now for all the wrong reasons, along with more cities across England with each passing day. People are starting to try to take their city back from the looters and vandals, but it’s clear that it’s going to take a lot more than London’s firefighters to quell the flames that were ignited over the weekend.

Eventually, however, the fires will be put out, the windows repaired, the shops re-stocked with merchandise, and – hopefully – the hoodlums appropriately punished. And although it may not look like that will happen anytime soon when you’re watching the BBC right now, London especially has an enormous incentive to make quick work of the cleanup – the city will increasingly be in the spotlight between now and next summer’s Olympics.

If you’ve got a trip to London planned in the near future, it may be smart to keep track of the news to see if you might want to postpone your trip. It’s not as if London or England as a whole is a dangerous place to be, but if you can avoid being around this kind of unpredictable violence that’s probably smart. If you’re visiting a few months from now or planning a trip to see the Olympics, however, it’s likely you’ll see very little of the damage visible on the city streets right now.

London and the rest of England will want to put this behind them as soon as possible, and that includes bringing tourists back. For those future trips you’re thinking about, here are some travel tips you might find useful:

In the meantime, keep up with what’s going on in London and throughout the country by checking the following sites for reports:

England travel guide

Travel Through History in England

One of the biggest draws for visitors to England is the living history found throughout the country. From the mysterious pillars of Stonehenge  to the famous hands of Big Ben, the sights of England are those right out of our history books.  When it comes to World War II, England offers even more for the history buff.

Though the fighting of World War II took place all over Western Europe, for those with a keen interest in the war, England is a perfect base for seeing many of the most important sights. There are nearly a dozen important World War II sights in England and France so if you can stretch your trip to both countries with a eurail pass, you can see even more.

Check out the Churchill War Rooms in London and the sober Battle of Britain Memorial in Kent and then head over to France for a trip to the battle-scarred beaches of Normandy and the small town of Sainte-Mère-Église, where it is said that a soldier’s parachute became hooked on the town church, and he survived the battle by hanging there pretending to be dead as the fighting went on below.

Once you’ve had your fill of history for the trip, take in some of the more lighthearted activities in the area. There are plenty of things to do in Normandy, for example. Visit the beautiful Mont St. Michel, tour Monet’s gardens, and make your way along the cider route. Though the ugly past of World War II still haunts much of England and France, the present couldn’t be more beautiful.

Photo by: heatheronhertravels

Articles England

Staying in a Narrowboat in London

When it comes to accommodation choices – especially in a big city where camping might not be an option – you’re generally limited as to the type of place you stay. Sure, you can choose between a hotel, hostel, B&B, apartment, guesthouse or inn, but really these are all just variations on a theme – a building with multiple compartmentalized rooms that offer a bed, a bathroom, and if you’re lucky, access to common room and kitchen.

But there are other options. In fact, there is a whole host of unusual places to stay in Europe, from convents and cave hotels to prisons, castles and mountains huts. You can stay on a farm, in an igloo, in a barn, and on a boat. If that last one piqued your interest, check out the narrowboats in London.

London’s narrowboats are generally about 7 feet wide, made to fit the narrow canals of England. You can rent one for a weekend or longer and pilot your way through the many canals in the London area. Stay in one spot for the whole trip or travel around, stick close to London or venture father afield – the choice is up to you. Prices range according to the length of the rental, the size of the boat and the season in which you’ll be traveling. Of course, the more popular the season (summer) and the more people with whom you’ll be sharing the boat, the more expensive the rental will be. But if you come in off season, you can score a boat that sleeps 2-4 people for as little as 200 pounds per night.

Booking in off season can help you save big. Even if you book a boat that sleeps seven people in shoulder season (May and October) you’ll pay less than 80 pounds per person, per night; it’s more than a hostel, but comparable to the cost of many hotels, and you can save money by cooking your own meals on the boat. Plus, since the boat also serves as your transport, you’ll save on the cost of a car rental or train tickets if you plan to explore outside of London. That actually makes a narrowboat stay one of the better London travel deals available.

Photo by James K Thorpe

England travel guide

Travel to England this Spring and Summer

londonspringSpring and summer are the most popular times to visit England, and with good reason. Days are warm but not hot and the grey, drizzly days of winter are long forgotten.

Sights like the London Bridge and London Eye seem ever more beautiful and the countryside blooms with wildflowers. Stroll the stylish streets of London, wander through the Cotswolds or trace the early history of the Beatles in Liverpool.

Traveling to England during peak season can make this already expensive destination even more pricey. Higher demand equals even higher prices, and the poor dollar to pound exchange rate doesn’t help matters.

You can still find cheap flights to the United Kingdom, but to get the best prices you’ll need to book in advance (or conversely, snag a good deal at the last minute) or be flexible with your travel dates. You can also look at flying into another European capital and looking for cheap flights to Heathrow on a budget carrier like Ryanair. Play around with different dates and routes to find the best deal.

If you’re travels take you to England during the World Cup this summer, be sure to pack your England World Cup jersey. We think the team’s got a pretty good chance of making it to the final, if not walking away with the whole thing.

Even if you aren’t a big fan, you’ll want to be among the crowds cheering on the team on game days. Head to a local pub, order up a few pints and you’ll be sure to make some new friends.

Photo by haemengine

Edinburgh Planning a Trip

Edinburgh: getting here by plane

Edinburgh International Airport is 12km (8 miles) west of the city centre and is easy to reach thanks to an excellent – and regular – Airlink Coach service and good taxi services. It takes about 20 minutes to get from the city centre to the airport.

London, the UK’s major international hub, has more than 40 flights to Edinburgh per day (1 hour). There are also regular services to Edinburgh from other major UK airports (including three airports in Ireland) and frequent scheduled flights from 40 European airports – from Amsterdam to Zurich.

>> Read more about getting to Edinburgh from London

If you’re heading to the city from the other side of the Atlantic, Continental Airlines offer a daily flight form New York’s Newark airport direct to Edinburgh Airport. Plus many transatlantic flights land at Glasgow International Airport, just an hour’s drive away. Delta Airlines also offers a daily direct flight between Edinburgh Airport and Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.