After five years living (or surviving) in London, I guess I got an idea of how the United Kingdom and the British are like. I must say, when I moved to the UK, I was a young Spaniard running away from the recession in Spain and looking for adventures in the British islands. Now that I am back in Spain, a bit more mature, I had to reflect and look backwards to see the long way that has brought me here. This great experience had given me the chance of writing this article about this country, the first of much more coming!
Cities vs. countryside
The UK in my opinion is not that big, but has many village
s and cities. Most of the population is concentrated in urban areas probably due to work but there are many people who like living in the countryside. I have lived in both, and definitely I am not a countryside girl, at least in the UK.
I used to live in Ludlow, a very small village close to the
border with Wales. Beautiful village, even better than Shake
speare´s home village ( Straford-upon-avon) from my point of view. The village keeps the same look as centuries ago, there is even a castle very well preserved which can be visited. I recommend Ludlow as one of the best spots to visit in the UK, unfortunately is not a place for living for me. It is small and the social life is quite restricted, shops close very early and you can find yourself alone on the streets at 4 pm any day in winter. Also people from Ludlow would need to be more open minded in my opinion, I did have nasty situations while living over there.
Cities and towns
Other bigger towns can be different, I have not lived anywhere else in the countryside but I have visited many places. I loved Bath, where you can find the only roman terms in the UK and even have a bath! The cathedral is also
amazing as well as going for a walk around the city. Exeter is also a nice place to v
isit, small but lovely with its old buildings along the river. Edinburg and Glasgow in Scotland are medium size towns, here I really noticed a difference with its people, I found them very friendly and talkative. It may be just my point of view, but I am writing under the influence of my experience, so please do not judge me. I can say from these towns that I really enjoyed them as they offer many cultural activities and have plenty to do. Actually, the social life is quite good, the city plans festivals every year and keep the town moving on. If you are interested, you can find the sheep Dolly in Edinburg .
in North Ireland is not a great choice for tourism, but is close to the Giant causeway which is a must see in the UK, it is an amazing landscape on the coast involved in many giants tales. What I will suggest, please do not visit the Titanic museum, a high price for the most boring museum ever.
It is one of my favorites, small, simple and very British with its houses and landscapes. A university city that vibes with the youth. Also Bristol is a university city, much bigger where you can enjoy from its views from the Bristol Bridge as well as the night life and much more.
The town where Shakespeare was born. Seriously, if you doubt is preferably going to Ludlow, this city is a money making from Shakespeare´s ashes.
Brighton and the coast towns
these are super nice in summer to enjoy a bbq by the sea and are also nice to walk around and going out.
And finally, London, the big city where I spend most of my time in the UK, no because I loved it but it was the most appropriate to develop my career, or that was I though. If I could choo
se now, I guess I would go to Bristol or Brighton.
I think London is a great city to visit; it has plenty to do (if you have money). Yes, London is expensive, going out can be depressing when you check your wallet the day after partying. However, there is a wide range of activities and places to discover. I loved going to Prim Rose Hill and sit down to observe the city from above, going to museums where you will never have the time to visit all, walking around Camden Town, going to a pub to listen to live music, going for a meal to a restaurant from somewhere else on the world…
I thing British know they are not very well known by their food, apart from their fish and chips, Shepherd’s pie and cakes, I cannot think of anything else. It is curious when you come from a country where food is an important part of the culture as it is Spain, and you find a country where you ask what the traditional meal is and no one has an answer. However, thanks to that you can eat any traditional meal from around the world as there are plenty of places where you can feel as eating in the country. Spanish restaurants are quite popular so I did not really miss my traditional food. I also used to cook for myself what sometimes can be surprising from people around. Did you cook that yourself? How do you manage to cook, how do you find time? I do not like cooking, but I like eating, so I cook. Another thing I found very interesting is that in spite of some people do not care much about what they eat, others have very healthy habits, for example, there are markets with so much organic and natural stuff, and veganism life style is raising so much in the country.
Another thing I have to mention is the tea culture. British love tea, any time and any moment you can see someone holding a cup of tea. It is not just a drink but a way of socialism. They meet for a cup of tea and biscuits, but also I observed that if someone is upset and you offer a tea, a smile appears immediately on the face, it works! I am not sure if they would keep drinking tea with 40 degrees in the Spanish summer.
At the end…
To end up with this article I would like to say that I enjoyed my time in the UK. There were many things brought to my attention, some good some not that good, but at the end I was out of my comfort area so everything was different. I could describe British as friendly, polite and familiar, but what I miss on them is the aptitude of socialize a bit more.
The UK will always be in my heart as it has been part of my life. I would recommend it to anyone and see by yourself if you can love it or hate it.