One of the best things about studying abroad in Birmingham, England was that I was close to so many other places within the UK. While I definitely took advantage of Ryanair flights to visit other countries, some of the best places I visited were only an hour or two away from campus by train. With such amazing access to public transportation, it was easy to take weekend or day trips to other cities, and my friends and I ended up visiting lots of new places during our time abroad. Below are the top five cities that I traveled to while studying abroad in the UK!
As the birthplace of Shakespeare, Stratford was high on my list of places I wanted to visit. Luckily, train tickets were under $8 and my friends and I were able to score tickets to the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of The Tempest for only $10 (being a student definitely has its perks). In an attempt to keep the budget low, we skipped a visit to Shakespeare’s family home, although we did walk by the outside and explore the church where he was buried. Overall, Stratford is perfect for a day trip and has plenty of museums, restaurants, and entertainment to keep you occupied!
Sidmouth is a small town located near Exeter in the southwest part of England. It also happens to be the hometown of my friend Meredith, who studied abroad at Alabama last year. I visited Sidmouth several times while I was abroad, and I always enjoyed its peaceful seaside atmosphere (and getting to spend time with Meredith!). I’m grateful to have had a friend from the country I studied abroad in - otherwise I probably never would have had the chance to visit Sidmouth!
Brighton is also located on the southern coast of England. It’s well-known for its beach and pier, which I visited with one of my flatmates during our last week abroad. The pier has plenty of arcade games, fair rides, and other attractions that easily could have kept us occupied for a whole day, and even though the beach is rocky, the weather was beautiful and we enjoyed sitting in the sun (especially after experiencing a cold English winter). Brighton is also famous for The Lanes, an area with narrow streets and lots of shops, which we spent hours exploring. We only visited Brighton for a day, but it was such a fun experience and I found myself wishing we could stay longer!
Cambridge was the first place outside of Birmingham that I visited, and again, I probably wouldn’t have had the experience I did if it wasn’t for Meredith. Her brother studied at the University of Cambridge, and he served as our personal tour guide for the weekend. We visited several of the university’s many colleges, visited its art museum, and even went punting on the river. The campus was gorgeous, and it was amazing to see a familiar face when I was so far from home!
We all saw this one coming! I visited London several times during my semester abroad, and each time I found something new to enjoy. From museums to concerts to bookstores to tourist spots, London has something for everyone and I thoroughly enjoyed all of the days and weekends that I spent there. Train and bus tickets to London were always inexpensive, and it only took an hour or two to get there from Birmingham. All of this added up to make it my favorite place in the UK that I visited while studying abroad!