After an amazing year in Australia, my boyfriend and I have returned to our beloved cold home country and have managed to convince his cousin and her girlfriend to come with us for a year or two – well, I say ‘convinced’ it surprisingly didn’t take that much convincing, they were eager to come explore with us.
But since they were so kind and giving to us while we were there, I thought it was only fair to offer them (and everyone else wanting to come to the UK), some tips on how to get the most out of our little country.
- Don’t just opt for London.
Probably the most vital piece of advice I can give to anyone who wants to come and experience the UK, you’re not going to find a truly authentic British feel in our capital. Obviously be sure to visit there, it definitely has a lot to offer from the Palace, endless museums and year round Broadway shows, but it’s not where I would go if I wanted some traditional home comforts.
I may be a little biased being a northern girl, but definitely come up here to experience true British friendliness, amazing views and delicious foods. You’ll never find a better pie or kinder folk than in Yorkshire, and that’s what Britain is all about; pie and friendliness.
Photo by George Alexander Ishida Newman
2. Actually, don’t even just opt for the UK.
We’re so so close to so many other places, you should really take advantage of that fact. If you’ve ever wanted to explore Europe, now is the time to do so and you’re never going to be able to do it as easily or as affordably. For example, a group of us are all going to Amsterdam in February for just £150 each – something that is baffling to my Aussie friends. To be honest with you, even us Brits don’t take advantage of this enough.
My advice -especially to those here for a year or so – would be to definitely use us as a base, explore as much of our islands as you can, but don’t forget to optimise your location. It’s so easy and cheap to go away for long weekends while you work and longer breaks for summer holidays. You definitely don’t need to break your bank account to see more of Europe while you’re here.
3. If possible, try to ease yourself into cold weather before heading over.
I know that this one can be a pretty tough request if you’re from somewhere like Brisbane who believe 20 degrees is cold, but if you can stop buy somewhere a bit chillier or aim to come over in your winter or our summer and you’ll probably avoid a large chunk of the weather shock. Sam and Emily came over at the end of October, just as we start getting really cold (but nowhere near as cold as January and February), and they are really struggling to adapt – no matter how many layers they wear.
photo credit: comedy central
4. Try to get an idea of what you want to do during your visit.
We might be a tiny place but we have so much to offer, it’s best to not leave it too late and panic because you don’t have time to fit it all in before you go. And definitely don’t try to nail things down to particular days seeing as our weather is about as predictable as a cat (I’m sorry, but you never know what those little things are thinking). Just have an idea of what you want to do and wake up with the intentions of ticking something off that list, but choose which one at the last minute whenever possible.
5. We like to eat and drink, a lot.
Pretty much everything you will do will involve food or drink in some way. Whether it’s celebrating Bonfire Night with us, you’ll need some toffee apples to really complete that tradition, or heading to York to some traditional tearooms, you won’t be able to avoid the cake and scones that will surround you.
photo credit: Connie Ma
6. Be sure to keep an eye on your favourite artists and bands.
Especially if they’re from here or the states. I know Aussies get one concert date per big city for most english and american artists, but that’s just so not the case here. Plus, if you can’t make it to one city for a concert, it’s about 45 minutes drive to the next one, so take advantage. Not only that but the prices are about a quarter to what you’re probably used to.
7. If you’re from somewhere that drives on the right, please note we also walk on the left-hand side.
Whether it’s walking down the street, on an escalator or down a supermarket aisle, we keep to the left. To be honest, I didn’t even notice that we did it so much until somebody pointed it out to me, it’s just second nature really. And if you don’t abide by these rules, be prepared to be ‘tutted’ at, very loudly.