This page is about how to see Britain without using travel agents and using public transport.  It is compiled from my own personal experience. 


What is Britain?  Britain within this page is defined as all of mainland Britain and the Isle of Wight.  That is England, Scotland, Wales and Cornwall since the latter is technically a Duchy and not part of England.


Why see Britain?  Mainland has an incredible amount of beautiful scenery and some very beautiful villages, towns and a few cities within it.  One has all the scenery of mainland Europe compressed within a small island.  Scandanavia in the Scottish Higlands, the Alps and the Tyrol in the Scottish Highlands and the Welsh Mountains,  the Austrian Lake District in the English Lake District, the Mediteranean in Cornwall and the Low Countries in East Anglia plus some bits that are peculiar to this island and that do not exist in mainland Europe, for example the Jurasic Coast Equally I accept that there are things on mainland Europe that do not exist on this island for example Moorish Spain.


When to go? That is for you to decide.  Just because you can see more on the journey in the middle of summer does not necessarily mean that that may be the best time for you.


Deciding where to stay.  This is something for you to decide on the reason for your holiday.  Of course if you are going on business you will know the place you are staying in.


Guide books.  The trouble with modern guide books is that by and large they do not give the same amount of information as the old ones.  It is probably best to have a look at a variety of guide books including some of print ones such as Blue Guides, which even if they are slightly out of date have more information than a lot of those printed recently.  Cast your net widely as it were.


Finding somewhere to stay.   The best place to try is the local tourist board.  Tourist boards will send you brochures about accomodation in their area.. Looking up accomodation in a particular place on the internet is also very useful.  You do need to shop around according to your budget and your accomodation needs.  


Getting there.  On the whole trains are the best form of transport as sadly not all rail routes now have parallel coach routes.  Flying is not recommended for several reasons.  Firstly with trains there are no luggage restrictions including liquids in hand luggage  as such restrictions do not apply on trains.    Secondly for a lot of places the overall journey time by rail is quicker than by air if one takes into account the time taken to reach the airport, check in and then after arrival at the other get from the airport to ones destination.  This includes journeys such as London to Edinburgh and vice versa.  Even on a journey from London to Inverness and vice versa or London to Penzance and vice versa  unless you are on business rail is better as you can relax on the way.   Another thing is that not everywhere is served by air.  I am not aware that it is possible to fly from London to Bristol, London to Birmingham, London to Cardiff or London to Norwich.


Buying a ticket.  If you can buy a ticket in advance it makes extremely good sense as tickets bought on the day can be very expensive compared with a ticket bought in advance.  Unfortunately.   However in some instances this is not possible.  One does have to shop around on the internet though to find the best deal. One should also not be fussy as to whether one has a window or aisle seat if the ticket includes a seat reservation as part of the price, particularly if a window pillar  obscures a large part of the view from the seat. Except for sleeper services  and a few other trains  reservations though are not compulsory,  but  advance tickets will  as indicated earlier include one.  


Travel insurance.  That is a matter for you decide.


When to avoid travelling.  Ideally at public holidays and weekends as those are the times when engineering works take place and may well mean rail replacement bus service with time at to the overall  journey time.


Buses.  In some instances because a line to a place no longer exists or was never built it will be necessary to us a bus to reach a place.  In such cases use the internet to find details of bus services to place.  A few journeys will involve travel by ship look up the relevant shipping operator. Through bookings by rail and ship are possible to the Isle of Wight.


Getting around.   As to how you get around during your stay at your destination.  It depends where you want to go and what is the easiest way of getting there whether it be bus, train or ship or walking.   


Other useful information.  


1: As food and drink on trains can be expensive if you can you should buy your food and drink before you board the train.   


2: British trains compare very favourably with those on mainland Europe.  On some of those in mainland Europe reservations are required for all journeys even to the next station.  As to how easy it is to get a ticket with a reservation depends on the country, the level of service, the time of the year  and even the particular day.


3:  The best trains in Britain are the Highland Chieftain from London Kings Cross to Inverness and the Cornish Riveira from London Paddington to Penzance.