Car Free Guides

Looking to find out a bit more about car-free walking? Here are our top tips for getting started, some other walking websites that we like, and information about general car-free living.

We also have a couple of dedicated pages with advice about taking the bus and catching the train.


Top tips for car-free walking

i) For long train journeys, try to buy your tickets as early as possible. Most cheap advanced tickets are available 12 weeks before the date of travel and you will normally save a considerable amount off of the 'standard' fare for longer journeys. Where advance tickets aren't available, the Cheap Train Tickets website has some great tips for finding bargains, plus information for disabled travellers and more senior walkers. For regular train travellers, Railcard.co.uk has all the information you need about discount railcards.

For more money saving ideas, make sure you read our Top Tips for Cheaper Train Travel.

ii) If you need to catch a bus as well Plusbus has can also save a few pennies. You can usually get group discounts, so ask if you’re travelling as part of a group. Some train and bus operators offer 'special' (and sometimes little advertised) Rover tickets where you can get on and off many regional services for one price – again, ask when booking.

iii) Have a back-up plan. Make sure you leave yourself a bit of time in case your walk takes longer than expected – trains and buses don’t wait. Have a plan B for getting home as well – maybe a taxi number or the name of a good pub while you wait for the next bus. Traintaxi has taxi services from each station, so well worth noting them down. And if you have one of those fancy phones with the internet on, Nextbus tells when the next bus from your location is due.

iv) Try something different. Car-free walking means you don’t need to start and finish at a car park. Make the most of this by choosing a linear route, or planning a longer distance walk over several days for a real adventure.

v) Be prepared. Make sure you know exactly when your bus or train leaves, and from where. And remember – better twenty minutes early than two minutes late! It's also worth taking a bit of extra cash should your travel plans change, and an extra layer of clothing in case you end up waiting a little longer than expected.

vi) Enjoy it! Nothing beats the satisfaction of a car-free walk. Not only will you be doing your bit for the planet, but you have more time to enjoy the day. The buses and trains dictate the schedule, so there is less temptation to jump straight in the car. Take things easy, get to know the place you have visited a little more, and enjoy the journey as someone else gets you home!

Some recommended walking websites

walkingbritain.co.uk - a good website for those that are completely new to the world of walking.
walkit.com - "the urban walking route planner" allows you to search for walking directions in the major towns and cities of the UK.
nationaltrail.co.uk - the central website for the National Trails, long distance routes for walking, cycling and horse riding through the finest landscapes in England and Wales, most of which are readily accessible by public transport along their routes.
walkersarewelcome.org.uk - a community-led scheme of 64 towns and villages across Britain committed to welcoming walking visitors.

General car-free living

If you are looking to pursue a wider car-free lifestyle, then these websites will be useful:

bettertransport.org.uk – helping to create transport policies and programmes for people better lives.
carfree.com - Carfree.com proposes solutions to the problem of urban vehicles.
giveupyourcar.com – handy information on going car-free.
livingstreets.org.uk – campaigning for streets that are more people-friendly and less dominated by traffic.
sustrans.org.uk – Sustrans is the UK's leading sustainable transport charity, working on practical, innovative ways of dealing with the transport challenges that affect us all.
vistrav.org.uk - the Sustainable Leisure Travel Network brings together professionals to pool their expertise and experience to make leisure travel more sustainable.

We also recommend Anna Semylen’s ‘Cutting your car use’ book. Car Free Walks members can get a 10% discount by ordering through Green Books - log-in to access the special discount code.

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