I am always shocked when people act really surprised about the fact I travel so often around the UK. I mean, to me, this country is so small, and there are so many deals that I feel it’s really obvious that it’s a simple way to see more places without even needing a passport. However, it’s not always such a given for other people – I really wonder why that is – but maybe with a slight nudge they might venture on out more…
I think I’ve always been programmed to believe that the distances between cities here is pretty small. As a child, I’d spend my summers in Glasgow with my mum’s family, and despite the long car journeys with me, a travel sick child, it showed me that things weren’t that difficult.
By the time I was old enough to go places alone, I was going to gigs in Manchester, which is where I met my first proper boyfriend. I was 15, he was 16. I lived in Cheshire, and he lived in Preston – Manchester was our middle ground for meeting. And so I’d journey up to Manchester or Preston every weekend for over two years. I have dated or went out with other guys all around the country since, and nothing about that is weird to me. People always look at me funny when I tell them about the commute, but armed with a railcard, it’s nothing.
I’m a traveller, and having seen other countries, I realise how lucky we are to have access to other places so readily. I did an 18 hour coach journey from NYC to my family in Michigan; which basically showed me that a 2 hour train to Leeds or something is a walk in the park. Now, I’m not saying I enjoy my five hour commute to London for work recently (seriously, it sucks…), but it’s plausible enough for me that with the help of some great friends, I don’t even need to think twice. Yet some of my northern friends have never even been to London, and the idea of Manchester – where I’ve been working and playing on and off for over a decade now – is still an adventure to them.
Not selling it? Here’s why you should travel more in the UK:
We Have Incredible Transport Links
Thanks to our relatively small size, getting around without a car is super simple, unless you live in a really rural area. In other places, this is almost unheard of! I can take trains, buses, underground systems and coaches virtually anywhere, and a lot of cities even allow you to get around at night (although I think in a lot of places, this still needs bringing into 2016, especially on weekends!).
There Are So Many Travel Deals
If you’re a ‘young person’ or a student, you can pick up railcards and coachcards galore. There are also all kinds of offers you can find just by using websites for advance train purchases, even if you are (heaven forbid) over 25. Why not get a ‘Two Together’ railcard with your partner, for example? You’re also best looking across travel providers (for example, London Midland is cheaper than Virgin on many routes), in addition to travelling at off-peak or even super off-peak times where you can. Play around with this tool by Money Supermarket as well – it splits the journey any way you want in the cheapest way possible, without you having to change trains.
It stresses me out when people I’ve visited loads over the years act like coming to visit me is too pricey. Mate, I’ve sacrificed my time tons over the years to get better offers, so if I can sit on a coach to get a £5 ticket to spend time with you, so can you!
We’re A Party Nation!
There are so many fun clubs to go to, and to be honest, if you stay in your drama-filled town every weekend, you’re missing out. Step out of your comfort zone once or twice, and you’ll soon meet new social groups to party with.
Each place has its own unique identity, whether you want live music and dive bars, or something swanky and a bit pricer down south. We even have alt-nights, a total luxury compared to other places… for me, anyway!
Last night got messy #GirlsNight #London #Selfie #Girls A photo posted by Claire Louise (@xo_clairelouise) on
Now, I’m not getting married anytime soon, and nor are my friends it seems (seriously never been to a Hen Party or a Bachelorette one at that…), but from the looks of our city centres every weekend, there are sooo many fun places. Companies even offer packages – yes, you can go abroad, but more of your mates will be able to make it if you stay local-ish. Hen and Stag Weekend* are a good bet for packages to fun cities such as London or Brighton!
We Have So Much History & Culture
I once went to a castle in Canada, and it was stunning, but I couldn’t help but feel weird about the fact that the tour guide seemed to think it was this super-old building, when it didn’t seem that old to me at all. Then I remembered that I was travelling there with a bunch of people whose countries might not have as much history as the UK. We’re lucky in that respect.
Clearly, London has a wealth of really touristy things to do, and I recommend so many (even to myself, my American friends have even seen more cultural stuff than I have…), but if you really want to travel more in the UK, you’ll venture outside the capital. Why not see Edinburgh Castle, or venture to see the Beatle’s hometown, Liverpool?
There are so many things to suit all tastes, and you’re bound to learn something.
A photo posted by Claire Louise (@xo_clairelouise) on
There Are So Many Activities & Landscapes In One Place
No matter what you’re into, you’ll find something to do within a really short radius distance wise. Perhaps your friends loves gourmet cuisine, and you want to go to a gig or the theatre – British cities have all of that, often all in the same place so that you don’t have to go far. We have festivals, skyscrapers, gorgeous views… literally whatever you feel like.
A photo posted by Claire Louise (@xo_clairelouise) on
In other countries, going from a city to somewhere pretty like farm land isn’t possible without going on a massive road trip, but you can go from a beach to a city to countryside in just minutes, here. We don’t know how lucky we are, so we should make the most of it!
If you’re from the UK, it’s time you started seeing more places. If you’re from elsewhere; I beg you to please see more than London on your next trip. Where’s your fave place in the UK?
*I was kindly sponsored to write this post, but all words and opinions are as always my own!