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Mid February: Christmas is long gone. Getting sand EVERYWHERE is still a distant ambition reserved for July. And Easter? Pretty much four weeks of stuffing hot cross buns into your mouth over those physics papers. Fun.
To break up your term a bit, why not take a quick trip out of Lancaster to see more of the world? It doesn’t have to break the bank: with a little bit of planning, it’s a nice little pick-me-up to look forwards to amongst the blues of intensifying uni work. You may have more deadlines, but you’ll also have more to look forwards to.
If you have…
One day: York!
Put that friendly Roses animosity on the backburner for the day and head across to York. The Museum Gardens, Clifford’s Tower, York Minster, Jorvik Viking Centre, York Dungeon, York Ghost Walks… treat the city like a checklist and see how many of these you can get done in a day. It’s just shy of three hours on the train, which may seem like a bit of legwork, but the payoff is definitely there – time it right and you’ll still have the majority of the day to explore one of the most historical cities of the North. Have lunch at Bettys – but go to “Little Bettys”, I’m told by a Yorkist, as “there’s never a queue but it’s just as good”, or Coffee Culture on Goodramgate for a delicious Panini. Don’t forget to check out the numerous vintage shops across the centre either. In light of the recent flooding across the city, it’s the perfect time to help out by being a tourist, leaving you with a great day out and making local businesses a little happier. Win-win!
Two days: Brighton!
Why not head to the south coast in attempt to get a little sun? About four and a half hours’ train journey away, Brighton is vibrant, friendly, and an entirely different part of England to get to know from the North. Its Royal Pavilion is an absolute must, whilst the quaint streets known as The Lanes fill its centre. Of course, don’t forget Brighton Pier, full of arcades and amusement rides to ensure the quintessential English seaside town experience is secured. Grab some fish and chips to have a stroll along the promenade, and for the ultimate evening out head over to the Theatre Royal and see what’s on. Of course, there are also art galleries, museums, and an aquarium, but don’t forget the beach – it might be a bit too early in the year to have a swim, but it’s definitely worth a walk by the shoreline. And as for staying the night, there are plenty of hotels along the front and further into town that are reasonably priced – you’ll be spoilt for choice. It is the other end of the country, but this just means you’ll have had a proper getaway from uni life. Get going!
Two nights: Dublin!
Dublin is a city that is both relatively close-by whilst still being assuredly abroad and truly lively. Fly over from Manchester Airport for a weekend away, or take the ferry from Liverpool: why not try a website like AirBnB to find unique accommodation? Of course, there’s an abundance of hostels and hotels too. Wait until the end of term for this trip and you can time it for St Patrick’s Day on March 17th – though be aware of hiked up prices everywhere and a super-busy city centre. Dublin has so much to do and see as the capital of Ireland, with popular places including Kilmainham Gaol, the National Botanic Gardens and Dublin Zoo, as well as reflecting on Ireland’s historical significance through the National Museum of Ireland and the Jeanie Johnston Tall Ship and Famine Museum. For shopping, visit lively Grafton Street, and there’s the Irish Whiskey Museum and the Guinness Storehouse to complete your trip. This year is historically significant for Dublin, being 100 years since the 1916 Easter Rising, so it’s the perfect time to engage with what Dublin has to offer and both commemorate and celebrate the city. Plus, Dublin is known for its excellent nightlife, so be sure to spend a night visiting its pubs and bars before you head home back to dreary Lancaster!
Of course, Lancaster isn’t that bad. If you can’t leave this corner of the country, then don’t worry – just make sure you try and visit somewhere new nearby in order to feel like you’ve had a break from the monotony of work. Keep travel in your sights though: it’s one of the best things you can do to give your mind a break, whilst still learning about where we live.