10 destinations you can’t miss whilst studying in the UK

Rhiannon·21 July 2022·9 min read
10 destinations you can’t miss whilst studying in the UK

It can be so exciting moving to university and getting to know your new city that it can be easy to miss other places which are also worth a visit. Especially if you’ve moved to the UK for University and you’re an international student, it is worth seeing what the UK has to offer. There’s so much to see in the UK, from countryside, to beaches, to big and small cities, so here’s a roundup of 10 places you can’t miss out.


The capital of Scotland is well worth all the hype it gets. It is truly beautiful and a firm favourite city. There’s heaps to do for all types of people and loads of history. It’s easily accessible using the Kings Cross to Edinburgh train line if your university is more eastern.

If you’re located extremely far south, it could be cheaper and faster to fly. It is worth spending a few days there if you’re far enough away.

The main attractions include walking up Arthur’s Seat, one of the dormant volcanos Edinburgh was built on. There’s also a park just next to Arthur’s Seat which would be great for a picnic. The Royal Mile in the Old Town is worth walking along and has loads of fun and quirky tourist shops. There are lots of bars, pubs, and restaurants, many with outdoor seating in the summer, but equally in the colder months there are lots of cosier places. If you visit over Christmas, the Christmas Markets are wonderful. There are ghost tours if you fancy exploring the darker aspects of the city’s history, many of them will take you into the mysterious vaults under the city. For the history fans, have a look at the palaces and the castle. If you’re interested in art, pay a visit to the National Gallery. Princes Street and its shopping centre have great shopping. Just outside the city centre there’s some other cool areas such as Dean’s Village and Leith Harbour.


If you fancy another beautiful but small city Bath is wonderful. Bath is very southern, so this is a better option for those located down south. It is quite small so is ideal as a day trip but if you’re travelling further it could be stretched into a few days.

Bath is arguably one of the prettiest cities in the UK and even just walking round and admiring the architecture is worthy of an activity. Again, there are lots of nice parks here, so a picnic with a beautiful view of the Royal Crescent (you may recognise it from Bridgerton) is worth doing. The Roman Baths are a unique sight, and just next to them you can explore the gorgeous Bath Abbey. And if you get sick of all the history there’s lots of great shopping. Bristol is also only a 10-minute train away and is a really fun city to also explore.


London is a location which would be daft not to include and would be rude not to pay a visit to. If you are paying our capital a visit, make sure you book trains and accommodation well in advance for the best prices.

London literally has something to do for everyone, you can do all the classic sightseeing, try any cuisine of food from the vast array of restaurants, explore the free museums and art galleries and get lost in any of the 32 boroughs. There’s too many things to do to even write about them here!


Of course, the cities home to their world-famous universities are a great place to visit. Both are very similar (although Oxford is slightly bigger) and easily accessible by train.

Both have several free museums such as the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. You can wander round the beautiful university buildings and colleges. Both are home to many parks which are ideal for a picnic, and both have their rivers where you can try your hand at punting. For the eager shoppers, there’s a huge variety of shops catering to the wealthy students and tourists.

Brighton for a Southern beach

If you’re based down south and fancy the beach, Brighton is on the must-visit list. It is best described as quirky, and extremely liberal whilst also being home to some of the best pride celebrations.

You’ll get your typical seaside experience, with the pier, arcade games, funfairs, the Seven Sisters cliffs, and fish & chips. But to add to that, you have the Lanes (full of vintage and quirky shops), a marina, lots of museums and art galleries to explore. For some culture, visit the Pavilion, a stunning palace reminiscent of the Taj Mahal. A trip up the i360 is also recommended to get a spectacular aerial view of the city.

North Yorkshire for a northern beach

If you’re looking for a beach or countryside visit up north, North Yorkshire may be up your street. It can be a bit more difficult to get to and to get around so access to a car is ideal.

North Yorkshire has many great beach towns like Scarborough and Whitby for your typical beach experiences. You’ve got Scarborough Castle and Whitby Abbey (Dracula’s house) in both, alongside your typical beach attractions such as arcades, fish & chips, and horse-riding. Scarborough also has an Open-Air Theatre which plays host to some of the best music acts. If surfing is more up your street, check out Cayton or Burniston Bay to catch some waves. There are also some idyllic fisherman’s villages like Robin Hood’s Bay and Staithes which are worth a trip. Once you’re sick of the beach towns, head into the moors for some scenic countryside walks and some great pub grub.


For white sands and blue water that will make you think you’re abroad, add Cornwall to your bucket list. If you have access to a car, make use of it so you can visit all the tiny villages and isolated coves.

There are many fun activities on offer, including all manners of water sports, surfing, walking and simply relaxing on the beaches. When you’re done enjoying the nature, treat yourself to a trip to some of the idyllic pubs and restaurants, many of which will be offering some of the freshest fish you can imagine.


Newcastle is a great northern city to visit. Expect amazing prices and brilliant nights out. Newcastle is best visited by train from most places, and you may get to see the Angel of the North as you come up, followed by a wonderful view over the quayside before you enter the station.

Once you get used to the exquisite Geordie accent, you’ll find there’s plenty to do. Many hail Newcastle as one of the UK’s best nights out so do not miss the brilliant pubs, cocktails bars and clubs on your visit, there will be something to suit literally everyone. There are also many lovely places to eat and fantastic shopping. It is one of the few cities in the UK with an underground system, so definitely take a ride on the Metro. If somehow you get sick of the city, Whitley Bay is not too far away for a trip to the beach.

Lake District

As the name suggests, this is a district full of lakes. The Lake District is a national park in Cumbria, most accessible by car. The Lakes are perfect for anyone looking for magnificent scenery, walks and a chance to switch off from the hustle and bustle of university life. A lot of the park doesn’t even have phone service so you truly can leave your responsibilities at home.

Make sure to take the opportunity to have a paddle in a lake (somewhere safe!), sunbathe on the lakeside beaches, jump on a boat around the lakes and visit the beautiful lakeside villages like Ambleside. If you’re fancying something more active, you can even rent bikes and boats to explore fully!


Some unofficially call Manchester the UK’s second city, and it is worthy of that claim because it makes a wonderful alternative to London. Manchester has heaps to do so it is do-able as a city break if you’re further afield.

The shopping is plentiful, with a huge selection of shops and multiple shopping centres such as the Arndale and the Trafford Centre. Vintage and second-hand shopping is also diverse and markets like Affleck’s market cater amazingly to this. There are drinking spots all day and all night for every drinker, from cafés to cocktail bars, pubs, clubs, restaurants, and indie bars. Alongside shopping and drinking, there are many different regions in Manchester to explore, including Media City, Northern Quarter and Ancoats. AFS’s head office is even based in Manchester so we are all clearly big fans!