Put that textbook down, study time is over. That calls for one thing (no, not the pub): it’s time to go and explore a little further afield than your new campus and city. University is more than just lectures and seminars. To make the most of your experience, you should try to visit as many places as you can: whether that’s the unique coastal town of Brighton, the exquisite city of Edinburgh, or the lush greenery of the Lake District.
If you’re contemplating studying in the UK, or are deciding which area of the country to move to, here are a few ideas that’ll give you the inspiration you need to make your decision.
The fastest train from London to Brighton is 54 minutes, which means you can escape the bustling city and enjoy the famous Sussex coastline in the blink of an eye. Get up early at the weekend or on your day off, and take in this famous seaside town that’s famous for its Victorian pier, Regency-era buildings, amusement arcades, and for being immortalised in popular culture in films like Quadrophenia (and, of course, Brighton Rock).
The Charming Cotswolds
The Cotswolds is a dedicated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty that covers six counties. It’s world famous for its quintessential honeypot towns, rolling hills and commons, medieval churches and distinctive stately homes built in local yellow limestone. The stunning Blenheim Palace is somewhere you’ll definitely want to look round, and if you’re after a little more exertion, a walk along the 102-mile Cotswold Way will provide ample thinking time.
Travel up to Edinburgh and make it your base for a long weekend. Depending on where you live, the best ways to get there are either flying with a low-budget airline or getting the train. Once you arrive, you can head into the famous Highlands and take a boat across Loch Ness, discover your inner geek and learn all about William Wallace at the site of the Battle of Culloden, or if you like, stay put in Edinburgh itself and amble around the quiet coffee shops and take in the local atmosphere.
Depending on the time of year you visit, there’s lots to do. There’s Hogmanay, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and the thriving arts and culture scene is always throwing up a surprise or two, whether it’s music, theatre or street parties.
Cornwall, on the rugged tip of England’s South-Western peninsula, is a huge area consisting of miles of coastline, beautiful beaches and jagged cliffs, inland moors, and plenty of picturesque fishing villages. Known as The English Riviera, a weekend isn’t enough time to see everything. It’s been popular with families for generations because of the variety it offers, so try and spend a week there – whether between semesters or during your summer holidays.
Manchester has got everything London has, but on a smaller scale. No, really. It was the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s; Karl Marx met Friedrich Engels there before inventing Communism; there are two huge football teams; and the arts and culture scene is thriving. Just over two hours on the train from London, there’s a reason why the BBC decided move their entire operation to nearby Salford. It’s just up to you to go and discover the city for yourself.
The Lake District
Our final choice is the glorious Lake District, a National Park in North West England that’s famous for its expansive bodies of water, traditional villages and pubs, imposing mountains, and wonderful forests and wildlife.
A weekend in the Lake District is never enough. People who have been going there for a lifetime are still discovering new places. There’s a lot to do, from scaling the highest point at Scafell Pike, to taking a boat across Windermere and exploring the Grizedale Forest, or simply driving along the winding country roads of Britain’s largest and most impressive National Park.