Studying Abroad in London: 10 Places Not to Miss Like I Did, Part 1

by Heather Robinette / Feb 13, 2018 /
Heather Robinette's picture

Thanks for reading the next article in my series on traveling outside of London during your time abroad. If you didn’t get a chance to start at the beginning, make sure you read my first post here. Then you can check out my next seven trips to Stonehenge, Bath, York, Oxford, the Cotswolds, North of England, and Greenwich, and Wales before checking out 10 places I plan to go next time! 

Part 1 will focus on 10 places a little further from London. These would typically be a 4-7 day trip to be the most effective use of your time and money. Part 2 will focus on 5 places closer to London that would make for a great weekend trip. Let’s get started.

Studying Abroad in London: 10 Places Not to Miss Like I Did, Part 1

Glasgow/Edinburgh 

Glasgow and Edinburgh are both cities in Scotland. Edinburgh is the capital; Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and the third largest in the United Kingdom. The cities are only about an hour apart, which is why I would recommend planning your trip around visiting both cities. 

During one of our weekend trips, a classmate of mine skipped the trip and went to Edinburgh for the weekend. He said it was completely worth it. He loved Edinburgh Castle because he was able to explore it and the city itself. While it is only a 4-hour ride by train, he said he wished he would have been able to stay longer. So instead of including it in the weekend trips, I combined the two cities for efficiency and would recommend 3-4 days to explore both cities. Of course, the longer you stay the more you can see and do. If you are driving, be sure to stop and see the Falkirk Wheel

Personally, my top priority would be seeing Edinburgh Castle. After getting to see the castle in Wales, they are extremely fascinating to me. Between the history of what happened there, as well as how it was built, is always interesting to learn about for me. 

Edinburgh Castle. From Studying Abroad in London: 10 Places Not to Miss Like I Did, Part 1

Glasgow also has a lot of great historical sites. I’m most excited to visit the museums. The top one of my list is the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. It is a great museum for the whole family - and the best part? It is free! 

Kelvingrove Museum, Glasgow. From Studying Abroad in London: 10 Places Not to Miss Like I Did, Part 1

Here’s a list of other free things to see and do in Glasgow.

Top Ten Things to do in Edinburgh

Dublin/Belfast

Dublin and Belfast are both capital cities and the largest in their respective country. Belfast is in Northern Ireland, while Dublin is in Ireland. If you haven’t looked into their history, I would encourage you to check it out before traveling there. Northern Ireland is still a part of the United Kingdom, while Ireland became independent in the early 1900s. Here is a video that covers some additional information, but this is where I learned the differences. 

I combined Dublin and Belfast because it is a short trip in between them. The cost itself to get to Ireland is fairly cheap - $28-38 for a train and ferry. There are also inexpensive flights, but it depends whether you’re looking for speed or the chance to see the landscape in between. Personally, I’m looking forward to seeing the landscape in between. 

Both cities have a lot of great historical sites such as cathedrals and castles. One place I really want to visit in Dublin is the Guinness Storehouse Factory. You are able to go through the 7 floors of the building and learn about the family and brewing history. You also get to see a breathtaking view of the city’s skyline. 

Guinness Factory. From Studying Abroad in London: 10 Places Not to Miss Like I Did, Part 1

In Belfast, the Titanic Belfast Museum is on the top of my list. The museum is built on the former shipyard where the Titanic was originally built, and the museum shares the history of the Titanic. If you remember from my blog on Wales, I was able to visit the coal mine that provided the coal for the Titanic. 

Titanic Belfast Museum. From Studying Abroad in London: 10 Places Not to Miss Like I Did, Part 1

Read more: 
The Best of Visiting Belfast: Parts One and Two 

Literary Landmarks to Explore in Dublin

Spots the Tourists Miss in Ireland

Paris

On top of everyone’s list is usually the Eiffel Tower, so make sure you plan ahead. A few of my classmates made a day trip to see the Eiffel Tower. While it is possible, it can take 2-3 hours, so they weren’t able to do anything else in Paris. This is why I would recommend a few days, so you have time to actually explore. 

Paris. From Studying Abroad in London: 10 Places Not to Miss Like I Did, Part 1

While seeing the Eiffel Tower is always on the list, don’t miss the chance to check out some of the other great things about the city. In addition to seeing the Eiffel Tower, I’m most looking forward to seeing the Paris Catacombs. Getting to experience lesser known sites is always a personal favorite. 

Read more: Discovering Authentic Paris

Berlin

Berlin is the capital of Germany and the largest city. While it is a little further away, you can take a train for about $85 or flight for a similar price. There are many cities in Germany worth visiting and I hope to visit several of them. 

Berlin. From Studying Abroad in London: 10 Places Not to Miss Like I Did, Part 1

Berlin has some great historical sites and museums. Depending on when you were born, you are probably familiar with the Berlin Wall. You can check out the Berlin Wall memorial and Checkpoint Charlie. The Berlin Wall came down in November 1989. This is a well-known event in US history as well. I also have a personal connection, which is part of the reason for my choice. My husband was born on the US military base there in 1989, right after the wall came down.

Ideally, I also hope to travel in Berlin (and Germany) around Christmas time to be able to see the Christmas markets. Between the pictures and what I’ve read, this is on the top of my list for things to do in Germany.

Click here to read about the German Christmas Market Experience

Click here to read a Crazy Tourist’s article about 75 Best Things to Do in Berlin.

Zürich

Zürich is the largest city in Switzerland but is not the capital, which is a common misconception. There are a couple ways to get there from London, but I would recommend flying. Luckily, once you get to Europe, traveling around is fairly inexpensive. 

Zurich. From Studying Abroad in London: 10 Places Not to Miss Like I Did, Part 1

Once you get there, your trip is really up to you on what you want to do. There are many different types of things to see and do in Zurich that there is something for everyone. Personally, my top priority would be a Swiss Alps tour. While getting to see the Alps is breathtaking, I am excited to see all of the towns nearby as well. Many people prefer to visit in the summer or shoulder season, to avoid winter temperatures and travel conditions – although the skiing is, of course, incredible.

Read more: Top 10 Attractions in Switzerland

Things to Think About

Depending on how long your trip is, keep in mind there are only so many hours in a day. Make sure to efficiently plan your adventures prior to your trip so you get the most out of it. The internet gives you the opportunity to find anything you need to know – anything from what to do to what the area looks like and how to get around it. 

Best of luck on your adventures! I hope you get to see and do everything on your list. Come back next time for the 5 places closer to London to check out for the weekend. 

 

Heather Robinette is the London Study Abroad Editor for Wandering Educators. She notes, "During the summer of 2011, I studied abroad for six weeks in London at the University of Westminster with Academics Programs International. I graduated from Kansas State University in Manhattan, KS in December 2012 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. I currently work as a marketing analyst for a small company in central Texas. I currently work as a marketing coordinator for a real estate firm in Las Vegas, NV. I am also pursuing my MBA. While I was abroad in London, I was able to create many unforgettable memories that I will never forget! My study abroad experience helped me gain various skills, but above all else, it helped me to learn more about myself and the world around me." You can find her online at http://www.heatherrobinette.com/

Click here to read more of Heather's articles about studying abroad in London.

 

 

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