While you’re studying abroad in England, whether in London or at one of our many Host Universities outside of the capital, you should get to know the country you’re in. You picked England for a reason, and there is so much to see besides Big Ben and Tower Bridge. Travelling throughout England can be just as fun and interesting as travelling throughout Europe, and much less time consuming so you’ll still have time to study! Here are some of my favourite cities in England that aren’t London, although most of them make easy day trips.
Brighton is home to the University of Sussex, and for that reason, it is close to my heart; you can’t spend ten months living somewhere and not get attached to it. But regardless of my bias, Brighton is one of the most beloved cities in England, and since it’s only an hour away from London, it makes a great weekend excursion. Brighton is on the southern coast and so it has a beautiful, although rocky, seafront, complete with a pier full of rides, games and fried food. Leave the beach and make your way up to the lanes, tiny winding streets made up of quirky shops, vintage stores and vegetarian cafes. And if those attractions don’t appeal to you, check out the Royal Pavilion, a unique palace that seems more Asian than English.
Home to another one of our Host Universities, the University of Kent, this city may be best known for Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. If you are a fan of the stories, or even if you’re not and you’re just looking for some entertainment, be sure to stop by The Canterbury Tales Museum, where you can watch robots act out the pilgrimage Chaucer describes. Canterbury is also famous for its Cathedral, which is definitely worth a visit for its old age and incredible architecture. And no trip to Canterbury is complete without a gondola ride through the town. It may not be Venice, but this tour allows you to see a different view of Canterbury and get a feel for why the city is so quintessentially English.
This city is a bit further from London, so depending on where you are in England, you may want to consider spending the night here; if you’re at the University of Leeds, however, this is an easy visit. Although, you may want to wait for spring time and better weather before making the trip up north. York is a walled city, and by taking a walk on its walls, not only do you get the best views of the lovely city, but you also get the sense that you are somewhere truly historic. York Minster and the York Castle Museum are just a couple of the many attractions the town has to offer, a stroll through the shambles is a must, and be sure to stop by Betty’s Cafe and Tea Rooms for afternoon tea.