An International Students ULTIMATE Guide to Summer in the UK
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The great British summer. Summer in the UK is a strange one, especially for international students who are not yet used to the intricacies of UK life.
You can expect ‘heatwaves’ that other countries would not take their coats off for, but that British people have got their legs out and are straight to the beach within seconds.
You’ll experience fish and chips on the seafront, strawberries and cream in the park, torrential rain, sunburn, and much more.
There are plenty of different things to get used to for summer in the UK, here’s our guide to help international students make the most of their time off from university and see a bit of the country whilst they are living here.
The Great British Weather
Wherever you come from it is likely that you were not fully prepared for how wet and miserable the UK can be for most of the year! We love our country, but it doesn’t stop raining does it?!
Summer in the UK quite often only ends up being hot for a few weeks, and this could be anytime from the end of May until the end of September. Always be prepared to get out there when the weather is good, you don’t want to miss out!
Whatever it is you decide to do in the UK this summer, make sure you’re ready for any weather.
I’ve certainly been caught short in the past, taking only shorts with me on a summer break to West Wales, and having a week of rain, no jacket to repel the wet weather.
Always pack a light rain jacket of some sort if you’re going away and always be prepared to jump at short notice to make the most of the hot weather when it does appear!
The Festival season is one of the best parts of summer in the UK.
There are so many festivals to choose from, so be sure to look around at the different choices and find the best festival for the type of music you like, the best location for you, and at a budget, you can afford.
You’ll never get ‘cheap’ tickets for a music festival, but if there are loads of artists on the line-up that you love it could be a better way to see them all in one go, rather than paying the price of individual concerts throughout the year.
Five of the best festivals for students in the UK include:
- Parklife in Manchester – 11/12 June. £155 weekend ticket/£84.50 day ticket. Tyler, the Creator & 50 Cent headlining. No camping so a good chance to visit Manchester for a weekend and see other sites around the festival.
- Wireless in London – 1st-3rd July Crystal Palace, 8th-10th July Finsbury Park. £ 245-weekend ticket. Cardi B, SZA, J. Cole, and A$AP Rocky headlining. Wireless is the perfect music festival for hip-hop, rap, grime and R&B. Again, no camping so make the most of a weekend in London.
- Reading & Leeds – 26th-28th August. £259.20 weekend ticket/ £ 94-day ticket. Arctic Monkeys, Dave, Rage Against the Machine headlining. The same line-up is in both locations, this was once a rock/indie dominated affair but has plenty of hip-hop and dance music too.
- Creamfields in Cheshire and Chelmsford – 25th-28th August (North) & 2nd-4th June (South). £270 with 4-days camping (North)/£240 with 3-days camping (South). Calvin Harris, deadmau5, Armin van Buuren, Carl Cox, and David Guetta headlining. The biggest dance music festival around splits to two sites this year.
- TRNSMT in Glasgow – 8th-10th July. £193 weekend ticket/£142.35 two-day pass/£77.40 day ticket. The Strokes, Lewis Capaldi, and Paolo Nutini headlining. Originally a T in the Park replacement TRNSMT has grown and grown, in the perfect Glasgow city centre location.
Camping is a very popular thing to do during the summer in the UK.
With the right camping equipment, there are plenty of great areas of the country where you can go camping solo or with a group of friends.
Depending on where you decide to camp you could go walking along the coast, on a cycling route, enjoy the magnificent Lake District, or get lost in the magnificence of the Scottish Highlands or Snowdonia in Wales.
The beauty of camping is that it gives you a low-cost holiday option, for a wide variety of locations.
There are different types of camping to consider. Campsite camping is the most popular type of camping, where you pay for a pitch on a campsite around other people on holiday and where you’ll have access to on-site showers and other facilities.
Wild camping is for those who are a bit more adventurous, heading out into the wild and pitching a tent up in basic surroundings.
Always be sure to check where you are wild camping as it is only technically legal in Scotland and parts of Dartmoor National Park. Be sure to clean up after yourself in the morning when wild camping.
Glamping is often looked down upon by camping enthusiasts, but if you fancy a bit of luxury in a fancy tent or yurt, there are plenty of glamping sites around the UK. You’ll have a bit more comfort than a regular tent when glamping.
If you are looking to study in the UK after the summer but you want to get acclimatised, summer schools offer the perfect opportunity to prepare for your university experience
A summer course helps you to build up your knowledge on the subject you’ll be studying in university next year, but it also helps you get used to living in the UK without the immediate pressure that university brings with it.
Spending your summer in the UK studying usually takes place between one to five weeks in June, July and August, and includes accommodation, food, and sometimes activities and social trips to get to know fellow students. Summer school is the perfect place to experience the UK, visit famous landmarks and cities, improve your English, and sample the exciting times you’ve got ahead of you.
Fish and Chips at the Beach
One of the quintessential British things to do, especially when the summer comes around, is to have fish and chips at the beach.
Eating freshly battered fish and crispy potatoes next to the sea is something special and it dates to Victorian times as an important cultural past-time in the UK.
As an international student, summer in the UK should be about embracing British culture and there are some incredible beaches, waterfronts, and seaside towns where you can rock up for a weekend away and have some tasty fish and chips, with plenty of salt and vinegar, please.
Some of the best places for fish and chips during summer in the UK:
- Blackpool – the best example of the classic UK seaside resort, you’ve got Pleasure Beach and Blackpool Tower (which my dad once told me was the Eiffel Tower and that we were in Paris!) to marvel at too.
- Brighton – So many great chippy choices in this beautiful South coast city. It is a vibrant, interesting place and with a bag of chips in your hand and the pebbled beach beneath you it is the perfect place to spend a summer afternoon.
- Whitby – The home of so many locations associated with Dracula, Whitby is an incredible place to visit at any time of year. Using fresh fish caught the same day though, some of the chippies in Whitby are out of this world.
- Porthcawl – A famous holiday resort in South Wales with plenty of attractions including Coney Beach (modelled on Coney Island in New York), the Grand Pavilion, and a miniature railway, you’ll find a string of beautiful beaches and delicious fish and chips here.
- Anstruther – This small, picturesque fishing village in Fife has a stunning harbour, pleasant beaches nearby, and award-winning fish and chips too! It is a must-visit if you are in Scotland during your summer in the UK.
Summer in the UK is a lot of fun, even if the weather remains wet and windy most of the time! We hope we’ve given you some food for thought (especially with the fish and chips), and some good examples of what you can do this summer as an international student living in the UK in any of our student accommodations. From festivals to camping and summer school, have some fun.