Travel United Kingdom
You must be aged between 17 and 30 and from Commonwealth states to qualify for a Working Holiday Visa (WHV), which lasts for two years and is a one-off, meaning you can’t apply for another one in your lifetime. You have to be able to support yourself financially during your stay, meaning paid, but casual work is a must – unless you’ve got absolutely loaded parents. However, you can only work for 12 months of your stay and you cannot set up your own business or become a professional sportsperson during this time.
The gist of the visa is that you should basically be in the UK to travel, and not just to line your pockets. People from Commonwealth countries, including Australia, New Zealand, Cyprus, Canada and Malta are eligible to apply for the WHV. Citizens from all European Union countries can work in the UK without having a WHV. For more information on visas you can visit the official UK government website here.
From The Airport
You’re most likely to arrive at either Heathrow or Gatwick – London’s two major airports.
The Heathrow Express is a non-stop train service that offers the fastest travel option between the airport and central London, where you get on the underground network. Services run every 15 minutes, costing (£14.50 one way) and it takes just 15 minutes (or 23 minutes from terminal 4) to get there. For further information and to book tickets visit www.heathrowexpress.com. There are several coach services available as well, with over 500 local and national destinations. Log on to www.heathrowairport.com for more details. The Gatwick Express offers the fastest way between the airport and central London (30 minutes), costing £12 for a single fare. To pre-book tickets visit www.gatwickexpress.com.
Coaches also depart Gatwick for London, and hundreds of other UK destinations, on a regular basis. Check out www.gatwickairport.com for more information.
If you’ve got mates already in the UK, you may fancy kipping at their gaff for the first few days. But once you have had enough of the creaking sofa, you’ll want to find your own place.
Hostels are great places to meet other travellers and you should expect to pay anything from £8 a night upwards, depending on the quality of the place you’re looking for and how many other smelly people you want to share a dorm room with.
But if you’re planning to stay in a city for the long term, it’s probably best to find shared accommodation or to rent a flat. This will usually set you back between £35-150 a week, again depending on the type of quality you’re after. Expect to fork out between £25-60 a month for extras, like bills, unless they’re included in the deal.
Some of the best websites to check for accommodation are www.gumtree.com, www.spareroom.co.uk, www.flatmatefinder.co.uk, www.accommodationlondon.net, www.easylondonaccommodation.com and www.studios92.com. Also check out the Evening Standard (www.thislondon.com) if you’re basing yourself in London.
The UK’s other big cities also have their own daily newspapers, like the Manchester Evening News (www.manchesteronline.co.uk), Liverpool Echo (www.icliverpool.co.uk/), Birmingham Mail (www.icbirmingham.co.uk), Belfast Telegraph (www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk), Cardiff’s Western Mail (icwales.icnetwork.co.uk) and the Glasgow Herald (www.theherald.co.uk). All are worth sifting through if you’re looking for a place to live in these cities.
Unless you fancy sitting in traffic for most of the time, the best way to get yourself about the UK’s cities is on public transport.
In London, the options are quite extensive. The Underground (Tube) is a godsend – at least when the drivers aren’t on strike. Depending on how far you want to travel around the city, you can buy daily tickets or monthly ones, which work out a lot cheaper (see www.tfl.gov.uk for latest prices and timetables). Buses are slower, but provide good links to places where the trains don’t go and they also operate throughout the night, which is great as the Tube shuts down at around midnight.
The famous Black Cabs are another good way to get around, particularly in the early hours, as the drivers usually know London’s streets like the back of their hand. Beware of the unlicensed cabbies who like queuing up outside nightclubs trying to lure you into their cars. They can be cheaper, but they can be dodgy too.
Trains run to all major towns and cities in the UK (check www.nationalrail.co.uk), as do coaches (see www.theherald.co.uk), so it’s easy to escape London when you’ve had enough.
If you fancy the DIY method, car rental firms are ubiquitous across the country. Try www.europcar.co.uk, www.rentacar-uk.com , www.hertz.co.uk and www.travelsupermarket.com/UK for starters.
If you are lost or looking for some helpful ways to navigate around the country why not try – Google Maps or download a great app called waze.com