Summer Holidays as a Student.
With the holiday season in full swing, AFS is coming with some fantastic tips and recommendations for your summer holidays. As we’re already well into summer, I’ll give you some fantastic options for this year’s summer, as well as some top tips for planning your next student holiday!
If you’re a first-year student, going to work over summer may be very tempting—there is a lot of pressure on students to secure internships as quickly as possible or to improve their CVs; the truth is, however, it is much better to focus on discovering what the UK has to offer during your first student holidays (or perhaps your first ever holidays in the UK!).
While short stay holiday lets may be rather overbooked at this time of year, there are plenty of fantastic daytrips you can take on a limited, student budget. Bus companies will be your best friend if you’re strapped for cash, but if you prefer trains and have some money to spend, I highly recommend investing in the 16-25 Railcard—it gives you a huge discount on all trains in the UK, making sure you can travel for cheaper.
UK is—as you well know—an island nation, with the sea or ocean close by almost anywhere you are. Britain’s seaside resorts dotted around the coast offer a more urban take on day trip to the sea, with plenty of opportunities to get the drinks in and go clubbing, as well as visiting the huge piers, promenading the vintage markets, or getting your feet wet at the beautiful, wide beaches. Benefits: good transport links, numerous restaurant options, touristy vibes. Cons: often crowded, touristy vibes, may require a higher budget.
Carrying on with the maritime theme, if you’re not a fan of crowds and prefer a more rustic setting, the fishing and seaside villages offer a quieter, simpler day away, perfect for long walks along narrow cobbled streets, cream teas in dainty local parlours, or good, honest fish & chips from a local chippy. Should you be in the South, East Sussex or Kent will likely offer a more upmarket experience, with plenty of high-end restaurants or hippy, modern cafes (I’m looking at you, Ramsgate, and Margate). You will find similar opportunities Up North, but it may be easier to find a more traditional seaside village there, should you be so inclined. Benefits: Less crowded, cute, dainty towns with fantastic local food, more budget-friendly than big resorts. Cons: worse transport links, less to do in terms of touristy attractions (but often plenty local museums or places to simply walk about)
Incidentally, if you are Up North, the Lake District is a holiday staple, its beautiful, natural allure never fails to amaze and inspire a sense of wonder. Being there, one really understands why Shakespeare called this little island a ‘Garden of Eden.’ If lakes and mountains aren’t your thing (but you are Up North), the Yorkshire Dales offer gentler, rolling hills with breath-taking views of the English countryside. AllTrails App has thousands of great walking/hiking routes in that area and others, so make sure to utilise it! Benefits: Nature, plenty of land to walk about, can get crowded if you go on the most popular trails in Lake District, can cost next to nothing if you pack a lunch or end the day with a hearty meal at the local pub. Cons: nature, certain parts of the Dales can be tricky to get to on public transport, some trails unsuitable for novice hikers.
If you’re staying in your uni town, fear not—there’s plenty to do as well. The academic year can be very hectic with the amount of work you have to do, so you might have missed a couple of galleries, museums, or restaurants you wanted to visit; perhaps there’s a part of town you’ve not been to yet. Take the opportunity to visit them now when you have plenty of free time! Those longing for a bit of nature will find English towns positively bespeckled with lovely parks with fresh, green grass, and huge old trees casting cool, pleasant shadows—perfect for a picnic with friends or bit of alone time with your favourite book. While we are on the topic of books—join your local library! Summer is the perfect season to get back into reading for pleasure, and your library will likely have a very decent selection of English & World classics, as well as some more modern options for you to choose from.
Some of us may need a bit of cash over the summer—many pubs and cafes are looking for additional staff over the summer to manage the increase in clientele. The pay is often not great but speaking from experience—you meet a lot of interesting people and gain lots of valuable transferable skills!