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6 Inexpensive Things to Do While You're Studying in the UK

Published by Afterschool.my on May 25, 2018, 11:05 am

It’s not every day that you get a chance to study in the United Kingdom. While education should (and rightfully so) be your top priority, you definitely need to explore your surroundings while you’re there. What’s the point of travelling halfway across the world if you’re not going to fully use your time there to venture out and see what’s around?

We at Afterschool.my have compiled a list—though by no means exhaustive—of things you can do while you’re studying in the UK. Most if not all of the things mentioned in the list are considerably cheaper or free for students. So, without further ado, let’s get down to it!

1. Visit a museum

Image via Victoria and Albert Museum

The UK is rich with history and culture, carefully preserved in the many museums across the region. A day at the museum is never enough—you may need several days to really take in everything in one museum. You’ll be glad to know that a lot of the museums in the UK, especially in London, are completely free! So you can just waltz in any day you like and begin your journey backwards in time.

Some of the most popular museums with free admission in London are the Victoria and Albert (V&A) Museum, Tate Modern, The National Gallery, Natural History Museum and the British Museum.


2. Go to the theatre

One of the roots of theatre or stage performance is in the UK. When we think of the greatest playwright in history, we often think of Shakespeare. There are tonnes of theatre shows happening in the West End of London every night, and theatre is such a big deal there that you’ll find pop-up booths everywhere you turn, selling tickets at prices as low as £10.

London is not the limit—outside of the city, you can experience more theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of Shakespeare himself. In the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, you can watch his plays performed live as well as other non-Shakespeare shows. Alternatively, in Scotland, there are a number of theatre bars where you can watch actors perform as you enjoy your drinks.


3. Have a picnic in the park

Image via The Royal Parks

Another absolutely free thing that you can do in the UK is go to a park! And no, we don’t mean a small, overly crowded park with a playground for kids. We’re talking about parks big enough for you to get lost in. The Royal Parks in London (Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, etc.) are just one example of the kind we’re talking about.

The UK takes great care of its greens, as seen in the sprawling fields of grass and the hills in the countryside. Depending on where you’ll be studying, there will surely be a nice bed of green for you and your friends to set up a picnic on.


4. Take a trip to the beach

Image via TripAdvisor

A lot of people like to complain about the gloomy English weather, but you’ll be surprised to discover that there are also plenty of beaches to enjoy in the UK. Brighton is a popular seaside spot, with amusement arcades to add to the entertainment. Portsmouth in England’s south coast has several fantastic beaches and cafés for you to explore.

The weather in the summer—not as hot as Malaysia’s near 40°C—can be warm enough for a perfect beach day. Between April and July (which is when you’ll have a break between your academic years), the climate is lovely for you and your friends to go swimming and enjoy the fresh sea breeze. You can also grab some good old British fish and chips at any of the cafés and restaurants adorned along the beach.


5. Explore a castle

Image via ‘Warwick Castle’ on Wikipedia

As mentioned above, the UK is rich in history and the region does its best to preserve old artefacts. One cool thing you can do while you’re in the UK is go castle-hunting—not to live in, of course, but to look at how people lived and went about their daily lives a few hundred years or so ago.

If you are a history buff, you’re going to love visiting all the medieval castles spread throughout the UK, particularly in England and Scotland where many of the buildings have become ruins of what were once great castles. Castle visits usually cost £20 or lower. However, there are usually special prices for groups, so you can get your friends together and spend an entire day lurking in the hallowed halls of kings past.

Some of the most popular castles in the UK are Dover Castle in Kent (the largest castle in England), Tintagel Castle in Cornwall (usually associated with the legend of King Arthur) and Edinburgh Castle in Scotland.


6. Visit iconic sites of pop culture

Image via The Beatles

If you’re into British pop culture icons like The Beatles or Harry Potter, then the UK is surely your oyster. There are lots of iconic sites all around the UK (sort of like ‘Easter eggs’) that you can explore, most if not all just a train ride away. Snap a photo to say, ‘I’ve been there!’

Abbey Road as in the image above is an iconic spot for tourists and locals alike. The wall of the Abbey Road Studios is graced with notes from The Beatles fans who have visited the spot. Besides that, another iconic site is Wollaton Hall in Nottinghamshire, after which the Wayne Manor in The Dark Knight Rises was modelled. Exterior shots of scenes of Batman’s house were shot there and, interestingly enough, Wollaton Hall is five miles north of Gotham through which the fictional Gotham City indirectly got its name.

If you’re a Sherlock fan, then good news—you can visit the Sherlock Holmes Museum on the (very real) No. 221B, Baker Street. For only £10, you can immerse yourself in the experience of being inside the home of Sherlock Holmes.

As mentioned, this is by no means an exhaustive list. You can find lots more fun things to do in the UK as you spend more time exploring your surroundings after your lectures and seminars. The best tip to live day to day as a UK student is to hang out with the locals there, so it’s a good idea to make friends with people from various backgrounds so you can all tour the region together.

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