For those traveling to Britain this summer, there's a new bus pass with special student and youth rates, a new youth hostel in the ancient university city of Oxford and a youth hostel in York in a Victorian house where historical sites are just a footpath away.
National Express has introduced a Tourist Trail Pass for 2001, which enables you to travel at whim to more than 1,200 destinations across Great Britain. Suited to those with lots of time, the pass is valid for any 15 days of travel within a 60-day period. The regular adult price is about $290. Full-time students and travelers 25 and younger can buy it for $226. Other versions allow you to spread your travel over 30 days. The student and youth rate for five travel days is $97; eight days is $140, and 15 travel days is $205. Students and youth can also purchase a pass for any two days of travel over three days for $55.
Your cheapest option is to buy a pass before you leave home. They are available through selected North American travel agents, including STA Travel, telephone (310) 394-5126, Internet http://www.statravel.com, and Council Travel, tel. (310) 208-3551, http://www.counciltravel.com.
You can buy the passes online or after you arrive in Britain from most major National Express agents, but you'll be required to have a special discount card that costs $13. For more details see http://www.GoByCoach.com.
A new youth hostel has just opened in Oxford. The riverside university town, with its spires and medieval architecture, has been a center of learning for more than 900 years. Just an hour by train from London, Oxford is not a single campus but rather a collection of colleges spread throughout the city. The hostel is at 2a Botley Road, a five-minute walk from the heart of the city, with easy access to bus and rail services.
This new Oxford Hostel, affiliated with Hostelling International, offers 24-hour access, a restaurant, self-service kitchen, and Internet services. Each common room has a different theme. Rates in shared rooms (two to six beds) start at $25 per person per night.
For more information on Oxford Youth Hostel, call 011-44-1865-762997 You can make reservations online at http://www.yha.org.uk.
The 150-bed York Youth Hostel is in a Victorian house on spacious grounds, a short stroll along the riverside footpath from the city center. For information, tel. 011-44-1-904-653147.
Lucy Izon is a Toronto-based freelance writer; www.izon.com.