Cheap bunks in shared dorms and a backpackers-of-the-world-unite atmosphere
How tourists can stay in cheap university housing in the U.K.
Couchsurfing and other hospitality networks allow you to sleep for free in other member's homes
Hospitality networks gather folks who are willing to put up fellow members in their homes for free or for a small fee
Camping and campgrounds are a cheap way to spend the night while traveling
Sleep in a religious guesthouse or retreat at abbeys, monasteries, priories, and convents across the U.K. from just £45
Bunkhouses, camping barns, and bunk barns are like rural hostels in the U.K.
Sleep for free on vacation by watching someone's house (and, often, watering their plants and feeding their cat)
Programs like WWOOF and Helpx let you barter your services for a free place to stay
If you love sailing, or just have an unquenchable taste for adventure and new experiences, you can sign on to help crew a boat just about anywhere in the world, including the U.K.
A network of free stone cabins where you can sleep off the beaten path in the U.K.
Singles tours and other options and tips for solo travelers in the U.K.
Advice and tips for single travelers in the U.K.
Though rarely do they have U.K. offerings, Intrepid Travel is well worth checking out. it is one of only two only major tour outfits I know (along with G Adventures) of that makes a concerted effort to travel like real independent travelers—small groups (max of 12 people), staying in mom-and-pop accommodations and getting around by public transport rather than a big tour bus.
This fantastic Australian company marries an independent travel style with the expertise of truly knowledgeable guides and a focus on the cultural experience of travel. There are usually around 30–35 Italy trips on tap each year—though half of those will be longer overland treks across Europe and/or the Middle East (with Italy making up just a slice of the two– or three-week trip), and a handful are self-guided walks (no group to follow, just you, your itinerary, and your pre-booked accommodations).
Intrepid really does run a different breed of group tour. Let me put it this way: When my parents—who travel widely and on their own and normally would never have even considered taking a group tour—suddenly found themselves with airfare to Japan but no time to plan a trip, I suggested they try booking with Intrepid. They did—and they have raved about it every since. Nearly seven years later, they were still in touch with their guide via email.
There is no place in the United Kingdom that is more than 113km (70 miles) from the sea. The most landlocked place in all of Britain? Coton in the Elms, an English village of around 900 souls in Derbyshire, just NE of Birmingham.