Studying Abroad in London: Weekend Trips You Should Take
Studying abroad in London was a life-changing experience, but it also gave me the opportunity to see more than just London. It is really easy to take a day trip or weekend trip out of the city. Luckily, my program provider, Academic Programs International, included several weekend and day trips. There are still manyplaces I wished I would have had time to check out, but it was a great experience! Whether trips are planned for you or you need to plan them, I encourage you to take the opportunity to explore outside of London!
These are the trips I took during my time abroad. In the next few blog posts, I’ll go more in depth into each one, so make sure you check back!
A simple must-do trip. You park and are able to walk around Stonehenge. It’s essentially a rock formation, but it is one of those that you can say you saw it. I believe we were only here about an hour before continuing on to Bath.
Bath was a very cool place to visit. There were a lot of people there, so make sure you plan your schedule ahead of time. We took a tour of the Roman Baths, which was really neat. At the end, you can get a drink of the famous water. In the United States, I drink ice water and you are drinking hot water there, so it was a little hard to enjoy.
Cotswold & Oxford
We first visited Cotswold, which was a fun town to explore. We didn’t get too spend too much time there.
We then continued on to Oxford and it was apparently graduation weekend for the University of Oxford. They dress slightly different than what we are used to, so it was interesting to see. Another reason for our trip to Oxford was to see a few places where scenes from Harry Potter were filmed.
Greenwich was a fun and easy trip because it was just a ferry ride up the River Thames. We checked out the Old Royal Naval college, which had excellent information and then we visited the National Maritime Museum, which shared a great deal of history; I learned a lot about maritime I didn’t know.
Our stops included The Roman Amphitheatre, Cardiff Castle, St. Fagan's Open Air Museum, and the Big Pit.
The Roman Amphitheatre was beyond amazing to see because of the age. It was built around 90 AD, which is hard to grasp, coming from the United States where our history doesn’t go that far back.
We also toured Cardiff Castle, which was fascinating. Castles are my favorite, and we were actually able to wander around everywhere. They were setting up for a wedding while we were there. How cool would that be?!
We then visited St. Fagan’s open air museum. That was an interesting experience and it was nice because it wasn’t as crowded as most museums since you’re closer together. There were different houses and areas you were able to visit.
The Big Pit is a national mining museum of Wales. This was by far one of my favorite things we did. It was a little scary going underground into a mine, but it really helped me understand what it was and is like to be a miner. The mine we visited is actually the mine where coal for the Titanic came from. It is no longer an active mine, but it is kept up to code for tours.
York and North of England
We spent quite a bit of time in York, which was a neat experience. It was a small town, and we were able to walk around and enjoy it.
We also spent time at Fountains Abbey. It is the one of the most complete abbeys in the country. It was incredibly beautiful and very peaceful to walk around.
We finished our weekend up at the Brontë Parsonage museum, where we toured their house and learned more about the Brontë sisters and their history. Definitely worth visiting.
Places I wished I would have visited
Someone in our group missed out on one of our day trips in order to visit Edinburgh, and I ended up being a little jealous I didn’t make time to go. I absolutely love castles and he had the opportunity to check several out. This will be a must-visit for my next trip.
If I had more time, I would have visited Paris. A few in my group used a Friday to take a train to Paris to see the Eiffel Tower. The only downside is that is all you end up having time for. I would recommend spending a few days there, if possible.
I saw the Globe Theatre, but didn’t get a chance to visit Stratford-upon-Avon. Being able to experience what we learned about in history and literature was fun and really made me appreciate what I had learned.
That is a very brief look at some of the trips I took during my time abroad. Make sure to check back for my next couple blogs where I dive deeper into each trip to share more about the trip and why you should include it on your itinerary. Catch you next time!
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.
All photos courtesy and copyright Heather Robinette, except word photo: creative commons