Public transportation is used by people of all classes and backgrounds in Britain and Europe. It can be an easy way to get around if you do not have a car. I come from Denver, Colorado so I am used to using things like buses and the lightrail. I can understand that it is a daunting task if you have never used anything like this before. I like to use Google Maps when I am considering taking public transportation because it does all the coordinating for me.
Buses are an easy way to get around, especially if you do not drive or are a family that shares a car. They can get you where you need to go. I use mine from my village outside of Cambridge to get into the city centre if I am not cycling. There are buses that do stop in the smaller villages so do not assume that there is not one out in your direction. This is great in a bind! Life in the UK is very different I am sure you can appreciate. So many things that apply in the States do not apply here. I wanted to talk about buses as I know that there is a huge difference between the people who use them in the States and the people that use them here in the UK.
Depending upon where you are from in the States, riding the bus is not a regular thing to do and generally only people who cannot afford cars ride buses. Here in England (and the rest of Europe) it is not the same. Sometimes it is peoples main way of travel, just as some people might take the train to London for work. This goes for the whole of Europe as well.
Running cars are expensive, nearly £5,000 per year (maintenance, gas, car tax, etc). Also it is not as convenient as to drive into the town centres as it is States due to traffic and parking costs. Offbase locals spend up more that $8 a gallon for gas.
So if you lived somewhere such as Cambridge, Bury St Edmunds or Ely, you might hop on a bus to go shopping or to work rather than drive into town, find a parking spot and fight the traffic in and out of town. Ely has a free one that runs on the weekends.
Some families are one car families here. Also surprisingly, not everyone drives here. Many people are put off from getting their license as it is also very expensive (driving lessons, theory and practical test). They also do not feel comfortable driving as you know the English roads are not the friendliest ones.
Buses are not to be confused with coaches. Coaches are the buses that you take for long journeys.
The buses nearly run through every village and can almost get you to where you are going. A good resource to get directions to where you are going is Google Maps.
They are not necessarily always convenient as you think they would be, so plan ahead for delays. But they definitely can get you out of a jam if your car is in the shop.
Another way to get around is the bus or coach as the English call them. Coaches are like Greyhound Buses. This can be useful when you are going to the airport. It saves someone having to drive you to the airport or saves you money on a taxi. I always send my visitors to and from the airport on the coach; it saves me time, frustration and money. It is great for those travelers who brought everything and the kitchen sink with them! Also after traveling who wants to go up and down the stairs from the tube to the train with luggage?