Why Not Come Explore England!?
As much as I hate to admit it England is a pretty good country when it comes to exploring its so called green and pleasant lands.
The small island I still semi call home is an amazing mixing pot of cultures, lifestyles and traditions that make it a great place to explore – whether your British or from further afield.
For backpackers it presents a few unique opportunities – its pretty compact and therefore easy to explore, and it’s also a great base to bounce around the rest of Europe.
Many foreign backpackers end up stuck in the confines of the big smoke of London during there visit, I guess in much the same way British backpackers get stuck in Sydney; it’s the first city they land in and the sheet scale of it presents a good place to find work and meet heaps of new people.
London however isn’t really my domain, and the UK has a whole lot more to offer than a place where courtesy is limited and living costs are excessive!
Get into the countryside
From London you can anywhere in the UK within a few short hours (providing our transport system doesn’t delay you!) so it always puzzles me why I don’t meet more backpackers around the rest of the country.
There’s the usual tick list of places to visit – the ever liberal city of Brighton provides a laid back vibe by the beach whilst the historic towns of Oxford and Cambridge come with lashings of culture and history.
Further afield Cardiff with its metropolitan charm and varied nightlife offers a great starting point to explore the welsh valleys and Gower coastline. Or a short plane journey lands you in Ireland – where the emerald isle serves up pints of Guinness alongside a mixed and often troubled history.
And then there’s my end of the UK. Obviously there’s a lot of bias on my part but I still stand by the fact Devon and Cornwall are by far the nicest bits of the country – the fact a lot of people staycation down that end (with their bloody caravans in tow!) surely confirms this?!
With rolling moorland, rugged surf filled coastline and a good serving of cream tea and scones you can’t really go wrong when exploring the South West – and if you do get stuck you can always check out my Top 10 Things to Do In Devon and Cornwall!
The UK offer a great place to base yourself from a backpacker perspective – especially as a bouncing point to explore the rest of Europe. Low cost airlines run heaps of routes and you can find yourself in famous cities such as Rome, Amsterdam, Budapest or Madrid within no time at all and without a big dent in your wallet!
If you’re looking for somewhere a bit more exotic you can even hit up Morocco for as little as £40 return!
For those with a little more time to play with you could always Eurostar it across to Paris or even start a multi country trek with an inter rail pass.
And of course with London being one of the major hub airports of the world once you’ve ticked everything off your list you can jump on a plane pretty much anywhere in the world.
Work and Play
With all the advantages of being based in the UK many backpackers are coming to work and play in my homeland, and the more I chat to them the more I can see the appeal and how I’ve personally neglected to explore a lot of it myself!
There’s heaps of events throughout the year to keep everyone occupied – from the tennis at Wimbledon through to massive music festivals like Glastonbury and Reading. Naturally I’m also going to big up the surf side of things so events like Goldcoast Oceanfest or the Relentless Boardmasters should also make your hit list!
And if you like something a bit more random – how about the Ottery Tar Barrels (where locals run through the streets with flaming tar barrels on their backs!) or the Gloucestershire Cheese Rolling day?!
Yup – the UK is full of things to see and do!
My Kiwi buddies from my Inca Trail Trek are doing just that right now, having landed an in pub job in the art and music laced city of Bristol they’ll be saving their socks off, bouncing around the country as much as they can afford – and luckily they’ll be blogging it all via DnJGoSeek.com!
With the strength of currencies like the Aussie dollar and the recession weakening the pound you can certainly get more bang for your buck in the UK right now – whether it’s a quick holiday or a full blown working holiday.
Have any of you guys explored the UK? If so what are your top tips and places to visit?