Despite only having lived in the United Kingdom for four months I still feel like it’s my second home, perhaps it was to do with the people I lived with who just made it feel like home, who knows. In 2014, all by myself, I took my first trip to the UK where I was to live and study for four months in Cardiff, Wales and I had the best time ever!
Landing into Heathrow Airport I got on a coach straight away to travel to Wales where I’d be staying for the next four months, so my first time in England wasn’t that memorable to be completely fair.
Never to fear, because I was back in London three weeks later to see Ed Sheeran in concert at O2 Arena which was amazing, both him and the arena. I had no idea that O2 was so huge! I also had my first Tube experience (yes, it’s similar to the Metro, but still). We only had two nights there so my friend showed me round and took me to as many places as we could fit in, such as Piccadilly Circus, Regent Street, Oxford Circus, The Big Ben, London Bridge, The London Eye and Buckingham Palace. We also went to the Shake Shack at Covent Garden and to Kings Cross Station to see Platform 9 3/4 and the Harry Potter Shop.
The next time I came back to England was just before Christmas when I went to see the Stonehenge, which I highly recommend if you grab the free audio guide as well, I learnt a lot! I also went to Bath and visited the Christmas markets as well as the Roman Baths which was also really cool and informative. While we weren’t too lucky weather-wise in Brighton, we still enjoyed the arcade on Brighton Pier as well as fish and chips and walks through the pretty lanes. A highlight of Brighton for me was going to Phở, a Vietnamese restaurant where I had Beef Phở (funnily enough).
It was off to London again for New Years where I watched the New Years Eve fireworks from the Tower of London. And then on New Years day we went to the Science Museum for a bit of fun and education.
Didn’t get a chance to see much of North England, or England at all to be honest, so I’m ready for a trip back sometime very soon!
Wales! What I now consider my wonderful second home. Wales, well Cardiff in particular, reminded my a lot of home actually. The landscape looked a lot like places in New Zealand (without the castles though, we don’t have many any of those), the sheep, the friendly people and also the fact that rugby is a huge deal.
Because I was studying, I didn’t really get the opportunity to do any travelling around Wales, and to be honest, I never felt like leaving the flat because everyone in my flat was so entertaining. What I did get a chance to see in Cardiff though, and what I highly recommend is Cardiff Castle and The Doctor Who Experience (if you’re a big DW fan, also if you’re not). Also see whether you can catch a live rugby match at Millennium Stadium or even at a pub, the Welsh are crazy when it comes to rugby, and it’s so much fun. If you’re a fan of television shows like DW, Sherlock or Torchwood, have a stroll around the Cardiff University campus and see if you can spot some of the famous filming spots. Another film spot is in The Cardiff National Museum, and the museum itself is fantastic! Cardiff Bay have some great restaurants right by the sea which is a great evening outing and apparently Barry Island is a good spot to explore. Cardiff is also known for being a great place to shop, so make sure you have some money saved for that!
There are lots places to eat in town and a thing I love about Cardiff is that there are no hills in town, so everywhere is very walkable. I found a really great post on Buzzfeed with places you must eat at while in Cardiff which is really helpful. I can confirm that Crumbs and Milgi’s are both fab! Also, if you’re in Wales, you should try a Welsh cake! They’re delish!