July 5, 2022

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Visiting the UK? Here Are Some Handy Websites to Help Plan Your Trip

Planning on visiting the UK?  Whether you are visiting for just a week to sight-see and drink tea, city hopping throughout the four countries, or visiting friends and family, this roundup will help you plan your travels.

We’ve collected some of the most useful websites and apps to help you plan and make the most of your visit.

Planning Your Trip to the UK

Planning is often the key to success, and it certainly pays off to research a place before arriving. Trip planning is especially useful for booking accommodation and public transport in advance.

With that in mind, the following resources can help you plan your travels before you arrive in the UK.

1. VisitBritain

Visiting The UK? Here Are Some Handy Websites to Help Plan Your Trip

VisitBritain is a great resource full of information on popular visitor destinations in the UK. It’s useful to get an idea of where to visit, what’s on in each region, and to plan some fun activities.

There’s a section for things to do in the UK, from discovering “traditional” and “royal” Britain to attending music festivals, plays, and other arts and culture attractions.

Use the “planning your trip” area to discover the best way to travel to the UK, as well as find out any customs, visa, or passport requirements for entry.

VisitBritain also offers a newsletter service, which gives top recommendations, articles, and tips on everything to do with Great Britain.

2. GOV.UK Website

Visiting The UK? Here Are Some Handy Websites to Help Plan Your Trip

An indispensable website for all things UK travel-related, GOV.UK is the best place to find government services and information.

Here you will find detailed advice about entry requirements for the UK, including whether you need to apply for a tourist visa or not. It’s also a useful resource if you are interested in working or studying in the UK.

3. Airbnb

Visiting The UK? Here Are Some Handy Websites to Help Plan Your Trip

Organizing accommodation is vital, and Airbnb is a great place to find self-catering options all over the UK.

You have a lot of flexibility when booking on Airbnb, from choosing between booking shared homes and private homes to pet-friendly accommodation and self check-in options.

Download: Airbnb for Android | iOS (Free)

4. holidaycottages.co.uk

Visiting The UK? Here Are Some Handy Websites to Help Plan Your Trip

If you want to stay in a typical British home or cottage, check out holidaycottages.co.uk.

Initially established in 1989 with a small portfolio of ‘Farm & Country Holidays’ based in rural areas of the South West, you can now find and book over 7,000 holiday cottages throughout the UK.

holidaycottages.co.uk is also a VisitEngland quality accredited agency, which means the business has met strict criteria when assessing its services, efficiency of the booking process, and general quality levels.

5. Booking.com

Visiting The UK? Here Are Some Handy Websites to Help Plan Your Trip

A useful website to find all types of accommodation throughout the UK, including self-catering, B&B, apartments, and hotels. You can also use Booking.com to book flights, car rentals, and airport taxis.

Related: Google Adds New Ways to Plan Your Next Vacation

Make the Most of Your Trip After You’ve Arrived

The UK has its quirks, especially when it comes to the changeable weather and public transport systems. Look at the following websites and apps to help you manage the climate and navigate the UK.

1. BBC Weather

Visiting The UK? Here Are Some Handy Websites to Help Plan Your Trip

The weather in the UK is forever changing, making it difficult to know what to wear each day! Using a weather forecast website, such as BBC Weather, will help you plan by the hour for rain or shine, so you won’t get caught out.

It also features daily pollen counts and UV levels, which is helpful if you are susceptible to seasonal allergies and want to avoid sunburns.

2. National Rail

Visiting The UK? Here Are Some Handy Websites to Help Plan Your Trip

You can travel across and around the UK easily by train, but you might want to keep up to date with the live timetable provided by National Rail in the case of delays or platform changes.

National Rail has both desktop and app services, where you can plan your journey, follow live train journeys, and book tickets. Booking tickets in advance may help you score a discount, as train travel doesn’t always come cheap in the UK.

Download: National Rail for Android | iOS (Free)

3. National Express 

If you prefer traveling by coach and don’t necessarily mind a longer ride, visit the National Express website. Coach tickets tend to be cheaper than train tickets, and there are many accessible locations to board and visit across the UK.

Download: National Express for Android | iOS (Free)

4. Uber

Visiting The UK? Here Are Some Handy Websites to Help Plan Your Trip

For quick rides and shorter journeys, Uber is the ideal, easy-to-use app.

You can use the desktop site to check car ride rates and to set up an account, but the app is more user-friendly (and more practical when you’re standing on the sidewalk waiting for a ride).

Bear in mind that Uber isn’t as established in the UK. So you’re likely to only find Uber available in large cities.

Download: Uber for Android | iOS (Free)

Related: The 10 Best Car Rental Apps

If You’re Visiting London

There are many apps and websites which are very handy when traveling around London city. Here’s our pick:

1. Visit London

Visiting The UK? Here Are Some Handy Websites to Help Plan Your Trip

A great place to start if you’re aiming for the capital city. Positioned as the official visitor guide for London, the website is sectioned into Tickets & Offers, Things to Do, Accommodation, and Traveler Information.

Make sure you check out the Essential Information section to get clued up on transport, money, and visitor tips. You can also download handy transport maps for free.

2. Oyster

Visiting The UK? Here Are Some Handy Websites to Help Plan Your Trip

Using an Oyster travel card for hopping on the bus, Tube, and DLR can be one of the cheapest ways to travel around London. You can find an easy-to-understand guide to Oyster cards and travel on Visit London, if you’re struggling to work out which travel card to buy for the city.

As an Oyster card holder, you also have access to a range of discounts and special offers across the city, applicable at select London restaurants, shops, and other entertainment venues.

3. City Mapper

Visiting The UK? Here Are Some Handy Websites to Help Plan Your Trip

Once you have your Oyster card or other travel card sorted, you’ll want to download the Citymapper app. Also available for other UK cities, including Birmingham, Citymapper provides live train, bus, and tram updates.

You can plan a route from A to B and find out which routes are the quickest on which transport methods.

Download: Citymapper for Android | iOS (Free)

4. Time Out London

Visiting The UK? Here Are Some Handy Websites to Help Plan Your Trip

If you’re looking for things to do in London, Time Out London is an active hub of knowledge for what’s going on in the city. The renowned website provides guides on the best food and drink, up-to-date events, activities to engage in, and other attractions in London.

Visit Beaches Without The Crowds

Visiting The UK? Here Are Some Handy Websites to Help Plan Your Trip

The UK Coastline is stunning, and for that reason, many seaside spots can become overcrowded–especially in the summer months.

Enter the newly launched Beach Check UK, an innovative app which allows you to check how busy a beach is before arriving. Not only can you find quieter coastal areas in the UK, the app can also help you discover lesser known beaches to the usual popular and crowded spots.

With new coastal locations being gradually added to the app, Beach Check UK is a brilliant tool for avoiding crowds and even checking car parking spaces at UK beaches.

Download: Beach Check UK for Android | iOS (Free)

There Are Many Ways to Explore The United Kingdom

The above resources should help you plan and enjoy a successful trip to the UK. If you’re looking for more inspiration, online travel guides such as Lonely Planet and World Travel Guide offer some great travel advice and tips to compliment your travels.


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