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Visiting UK for 4 months -- help! :)

Saint Charles...
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Visiting UK for 4 months -- help! :)

I've never been to Europe and will be mentoring a small group of exchange students to Canterbury; we'll arrive the first week of January and be there 4 months. I will have quite a bit of free time and don't want to waste this opportunity to see as much of the UK and any other countries I can. Looking for very inexpensive travel, any tips, etc., anyone can give me about what to bring and that sort of thing. Of course, I want to see many of the touristy things, but I'm most interested in seeing the non-touristy things. Do you have any tips or suggestions as to how I can get the most from my time there? Thank you!

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1. Re: Visiting UK for 4 months -- help! :)

What you consider 'very inexpensive travel' may not be the same as what you will find in southeast England. www.nationalrail.co.uk is a good place to start, keeping in mind that rail fares will rise in 2014. Should you plan to visit London you should *not* pay cash single fares for transport in the city as they are usurious. You (and your students, if you take them for a day out or overnight trip) may use Travelcards or PAYG on Oyster, but that's getting a bit ahead of things.

www.eurostar.com and www.tgv.com are good places to start if you want to travel by rail to Paris, Brussels or beyond. Start with a rail journey through the Channel tunnel and you will open up plenty of possibiltiies for inexpensive rail journeys throughout Europe. As with some National Rail journeys in the UK, booking well ahead of your travel dates will give you the best choice of train times and fares. Book directly with the train operators when you can rather than third party agents like thetrainline.com or RailEurope.

'... anyone can give me about what to bring ...' Consider what you think you will need for a four month stay and leave half of it behind. It's almost inevitable that you will acquire things during your four months away, and there are plenty of shops selling all manner of goods should you find yourself without X on a Saturday morning in Kent.

'... but I'm most interested in seeing the non-touristy things. Do you have any tips or suggestions as to how I can get the most from my time there?' What are some things you would consider 'non-touristy'? With respect to making the most of your visit, you will need to decide what is important for you to see and do. If I suggested a visit to Sissinghurst when you in fact find gardens dull, you might not consider that a good day out.

Good guidebooks are stil the visitors' friends. Try the Eyewitness Guides and the Rough Guides as a start, then visit the forums for towns and cities you may wish to visit. You'll find more specific answers to questions on those forums, and plenty of suggestions of how to make the best of *your* time and energy.

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2. Re: Visiting UK for 4 months -- help! :)

What are your interests? Will you have a car? Do you want to do day trips from Canterbury or are you planning several days away each time you travel? What is your understanding of non touristy things?

Typing at the same time travellerplus.

Edited: 27 October 2013, 03:26
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3. Re: Visiting UK for 4 months -- help! :)

What do you mean by "non-touristy" things? Supermarkets? Car parks? Or do you mean interesting towns that are not in the Cotswolds? Given that you have 4 months, you could go anywhere in Europe, so you need to make some decisions yourself. Are you interested in, for example, mountains and national parks in England? Skiing in the Alps? Works of Art? Music? picturesque villages? Major cities?

Train tickets in the UK merit a book in themselves. Briefly, the cheapest train tickets are bought way in advance, but are for specific trains. Off-peak tickets allow you to travel at reasonably prices outside peak hours. Travel by coach (eg National Express) is often cheapest of all.

4. Re: Visiting UK for 4 months -- help! :)

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