A good way to get started is to get in contact with a centre that specialises in skydiving and parachuting. This is a cost effective way to see if the sport is for you.
It's advisable to find one that operates under the regulations of the British Parachute Association.
Also, centres generally have restrictions for safety reasons, for example, you need to be 16 years old to jump.
The most popular jump for beginners is a tandem sky-dive where you are attached to an instructor. You only need a short briefing for this one and the freefall lasts for about a minute.
If you enjoy the tandem skydive and want to take it further, the next step is to do a static-line course: a one day course where you learn about equipment, steering, how to land etc. There is a progression training system which will take you from static line through to freeflow until you are classed as an experienced jumper.
A tandem skydive costs £260. A static line course costs £210 and each subsequent jump costs £35.
Once people become very experienced and dedicated to the sport, they often consider the option of buying their own parachute, but until then, the centre will provide you with all the equipment you need.