My latest Flisolo article has just gone live.
A bit strapped for cash, or bored of the typical week-in-the-sun summer holiday ideas? Check out these tips for great activities in our own bonny island.
It’s become almost cliché for students to go travelling to South America, Australia, or Asia over the summer and take part in some supposedly life-affirming activity, or sun-it-up down to the Mediteranean islands. However, one would expect that your average student – on a loan, and increasingly from a poorer background – simply cannot afford to spend up to £1,000 on philanthropy, or booze cruising in Ibiza. Furthermore, you can arguably have just as good a time without going nearly as far away from home.
With the range of budget airlines – easyjet, ryanair etc – has come an equally discounted selection of domestic travel options. National Express tickets can be bought from just £1, and if you don’t mind (potentially) slumming it, www.megabus.co.uk offer one way bus tickets that can be bought for a mere £10 on the day of travel, and their sister company www.megatrain.co.uk can get you from Manchester to Glasgow on a Virgin Train for just £3 – bargain! Combine this with an earlybird Travellodge booking, or a basic but clean backpackers or St Christophers Inn hostel, and you’ve just bagged yourself a week away for around £50! Not to mention the savings that come with biking, hiking, and car hiring.
http://www.visitbritain.com/th-en/destinations/ is a great resource for those of us who like it all-inclusive. A coach tour for students and backpackers usually costs about £50 per day in total (£20 for the tour, £15 for accommodation costs, and £15 for food / souvenirs / entrance fees). Why not try the 3-day tours in Wales and Scotland: each costing about £150 in total.
For those looking for something slightly more tailor-made, here’s a run-down of the cream of our local hot-spots
- Festivals! Ok, tickets may cost a lot*, but once you’ve overcome that initial hurdle, everything else is really cheap. You bring your own accomodation and food, and, if you choose the right festival, will spend a fantastic long weekend in the company of people who you know will share your music/cultural tastes. Festivals come with everything a summer holiday needs – good company, good entertainment, and some right rollocking good times! From T in the Park to the Mighty Boosh Festival, to Bestival – there’s got to be something out there that suits you!
- Edinburgh! Rated the best UK city in Kirsty and Phil’s latest property evaluation, this picturesque city has urban excitement and country tranquility just a stone’s throw within each other. In August, it is home to one of the most famous performing arts festivals in the world, though this can get quite expensive if you don’t do your research properly.
- Beaches! Britain is full of interesting seaside resorts, from the sandy beaches of Whitby bay, to the pleasure-fests of Blackpool and Brighton. Why not do a tour of the southern coastline? Rent a car and work your way round from Dover’s white cliffs to Newquay’s surf-ready sea. If you want a working holiday, these shores will be full of opportunity.
- London! Ok, it needn’t be as expensive as it’s made out to be. Cheap thai buffets, free outdoor events, excellent street markets, and dozens of free galleries (check out www.londonfreelist.com) make it an affordable place to visit, with a never-ending stream of things to do. And it’s possibly the most cosmopolitan city in the UK, so if you can’t afford to be a tourist, let tourism come to you!
- Liverpool! It is the capital of culture after all, and it’s come a long way since Brookside! New shopping centres, festivals, and revamped cultural institutions make it a place worth seeng in the near future.
- Belfast! The Northern Irish capital has had a tourist upsurge recently, with Germans and Americans now citing it among the new holiday destinations of choice. It’s cheap, has a lot of important and pertinent history to it, and will satisfy most of those who say it just isn’t a holiday unless you get on a plane! (And hey, if you find yourself with some extra money to spare, Eire is just over the border!)
- Cities! Leeds, Birmingham, and Bristol have all been hailed for their excellent nightlife, live music, culture, and variety to rival the big 3. If you’ve got mates at different Unis, maybe you can challenge yourself to have a weekend out at each place and only spend X amount. Live on each others’ sofas and make a game of it!
- Heart of England! Fancy a typically English holiday with tea and scones a-plenty? Then head towards Stratford-Upon-Avon and Warwickshire. Wedgewood, Shakespeare country, Anne Hathaway cottage, boating, and the castles are among the quaint English delights that can be found here.
- The Lake District! Inspirational to Wordsworth, Beatrix Potter, and John Ruskin, the Lakes’ serenity have the ability to take you to another world. Ideal for camping, a rustic cottage holiday, and nature-oriented activities, it is arguably the Best of British, and worth visiting for its beauty alone.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg. The UK is full of lots of interesting nooks that you probably haven’t heard of. A Witchcraft museum in Cornwall? A Film centre in Bradford? Get googling and surprise yourself!
*why not volunteer at a festival? In exchange for 4x 5 hour shifts, you get a free ticket to the show, and a weekend to remember!
Flisolo is now in print, and distributed as a free paper in universities across the country. My January article, Making Money: an Alternative Guide, is still the most read article on the site.