If you try a Google search for a phrase like 'Speaking French' you will find there are 100s of websites dedicated to learning French online, most of which are free.
Some of them combine their courses with forums where you can communicate with French people who are learning English which is a very good way to practice your written French but not so good for your spoken French.
Courses on spoken French are offered at many Further Education
Colleges. If you don't already know what your local college is in the
UK, you can search for it on
UPDATE: That site has now closed, and in a fruitless search I came across several government sites full of self-promoting "newspeak" jargon, setting out aspirations and promises in place of any content that would actually be useful: such as a full list of Further Education Colleges in the U.K. perhaps.
There are also websites that list regional courses in France for those that choose to throw themselves in at the deep end and move to France first and then learn to speak French. You can find one of them here: europa.
Better for your spoken French but not a cheap option. For instance, the complete 16hr French Language course by Linguaphone costs about £175.00 on Amazon.
This is my preferred option, combined with starting
conversations with as many French people as I can. Complete strangers,
drunks, idiots, madmen, tradesmen, villains, or
even estate agents, if they are willing to have a French conversation
with me I don't care who they are.
For books, a trawl of your local second hand or charity bookshops is the best first step. I managed to pick up Hugo's Simplified System from this source, and found it so useful that I later managed to find a second copy which I keep in the house in France. I also found a really good hardback English - French, French - English dictionary at a car boot sale.
The VERBPACK is a must as it not only includes the conjugation of Fench verbs, but also gives examples of how they would be used in conversation.
I've thrown the last one in in case you've purchased a French property 'in need of renovation' or 'a bit of a wreck' as we say in plain English. In which case you will find this book extremely handy.
If, like me, you find one of the hardest aspects of learning French is not so much speaking it but understanding the torrent of French that sometimes comes back to you in reply, one thing I can recommend is to keep one of the presets on your car radio tuned into a French station. This helps enormously in this respect. There is a station with very clear reception in the UK at about 162 long wave which largely consists of conversation as opposed to music. Very good practise trying to understand what they're on about.
NEXT PAGE: LEARNING FRENCH 2
Acknowledgements: images used on the left in the text area are mainly from morguefile.com, my thanks to biberta, missyredboots, rosevita, doctor_bob, cohdra, mconners, kairily, clarita, scott. m. liddel, and anyone else from morguefile whose image appears here. All the images in the right hand column on each page have been taken by me during my various travels in France and are copyright of buyahouseinfrance.info.