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Getting There

London is one of the most important air-transport hubs in the world and the centre for discounted long-haul airfares, so there are plenty of opportunities to find cheap flights. There are five international airports servicing London (Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton, Stansted and London City), and international connections to Manchester, Newcastle and Bristol. The departure tax on international flights is £20 (£10 if you're flying to an EU country).

For the first time since the ice ages, Britain has a land link with mainland Europe. Two services operate through the Channel Tunnel: Eurostar is a high-speed passenger service between London, Paris and Brussels; Eurotunnel has a shuttle service (Le Shuttle) for cars, motorbikes and buses between the English port of Folkestone and the French port of Calais.

If you feel uncomfortable with the idea of a tunnel or want to get some fresh air in the English Channel, you can get a bus or train connection to mainland Europe with a short ferry or Seacat ride thrown in. The boat trip on the shortest routes (from Dover or Folkestone to Calais or Boulogne) takes about 90 minutes; the Seacat takes about 35 minutes. Ferries go to France, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and Scandinavia from a number of southern and eastern British ports; to Spain from Portsmouth; and to Ireland from a handful of western English ports.

Getting Around

Public transport in England is generally of a high standard, but can be expensive. Buses or coaches are the cheapest but slowest way to get around. On longer journeys they are also the least scenic way to travel. England has an impressive rail network which includes a couple of beautiful lines through sparsely populated country. Fast intercity trains make air travel unnecessary unless you're in a real hurry. Car hire is worth considering if you want to explore some of the remoter towns and villages at your own pace. Taxis are plentiful in London, but less conspicuous in regional centres.

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