Arts

Illustration: Orims Yomi.

Taking a vacation from your vacation

A large part of the study abroad experience, especially if you choose to go to the U.K., is travelling. This section of Europe is so diverse and rich in its history that you might even forget about the rest of the continent’s scenic travel spots. In this spirit, here’s a quick checklist of a few places to visit that don’t even require crossing the English Channel.

Oxford

You don’t have to study at Oxford to plan a quick trip here on the weekends. It’s a quaint little city located 100 km southeast of London, and almost every building seems to be affiliated  with the university. But that shouldn’t be surprising when you consider that teaching has been going on there since at least 1096, making it the oldest university in the English-speaking world.

If you luck out with some good weather there are some nice parks and canals to see. The Museum of the History of Science is also pretty interesting, granted a bit dry in parts. However, visiting this museum was all worth it in the end to see a chalkboard that was used by Albert Einstein.

Cardiff

Wales is kind of the forgotten part of the U.K., at least to me. Cardiff is the capital of Wales and its largest city, although that’s not really an impressive feat.

Cardiff is definitely an interesting city for history buffs, since it is populated with a castle and battlements that are the remains of a Roman fortification.

There’s also a lot of shopping, specifically in these cool little covered malls called arcades that have entrances and exits that connect a bunch of different streets and some shops in between.

Bristol

Bristol is another large city in the south of England. At one time it was a large port city, but now there’s a really nice waterfront area that is lined with museums and restaurants.

Bristol is also the birthplace of graffiti artist Banksy, and there’s several pieces of his work displayed throughout the city, with the most famous probably being the “Well-Hung Lover.”

If stunning natural beauty is more your thing then you can go see the Bristol suspension bridge, which crosses the Avon Gorge. With the River Avon running through the middle of steep cliffs it makes for some amazing views, and there are several trails and parks on each side where you can climb or just hang out.

Glasgow

While the cities mentioned above are good for a quick day visit, you might want to budget more of your time for Glasgow.

There’s lots to see and do in this Scottish city, but I’ll try to keep the list of must-see locations short.

To start with, there’s the Glasgow Necropolis. Even though a Victorian cemetery might be a little morbid for a travel destination, it has some nice views of the city and acts as a gateway to Glasgow’s rich history.

Then there’s the People’s Palace, which tells the story of major events in Glasgow history through the eyes of the average person. The Palace also has beautiful indoor gardens attached at the back.

Finally, because it’s me writing this, I also suggest checking out Drygate Brewery, a craft brewery that offers a variety of super tasty beverages on tap.