As an island nation, the UK is famous for its beaches. And with over 7000 miles of coastline, visitors to Britain are spoilt for choice. If you’re looking to study in the UK and stay near the sea, there’s a British town for you. Here are five of the best.
This classic English seaside town has been a favourite beach resort since Victorian times, when the early railways brought Londoners within easy reach of the English channel. At less than an hour away on the train, it remains a favourite spot for London commuters and vacationers alike.
With two universities and a number of smaller schools, there is a healthy and diverse student population, and this has cultivated an extremely friendly and liberal environment in the town, with alternative lifestyles welcomed – there are substantial LGBT and ‘hippie’ communities. There’s also a teeming events calendar, with the Brighton Festival as the centrepiece of a yearlong arts and theatre timetable. And with a beach and pier, there are ample places to relax out-of-hours.
Penzance sits on the west coast of Cornwall, the ancient county on Britain’s southwest tip which has always retained a streak of independence and a grip on its rich and colourful history. There is plenty of history on offer in Penzance, with some beautiful and long-untouched areas – wander up Chapel Street and soak up some of the stunning Regency architecture, or take a dip in the outdoor Jubilee Pool, with its fantastically well-preserved art deco styling. Plus, with the North Atlantic current bringing in fine weather from South America throughout the year, you can also enjoy the incongruity of palm trees in an English town.
Nicknamed the ‘Gateway to the World’, Southampton’s position at the middle of the English Channel has bestowed it a role as an important shipping dock for centuries, and was one of the final ports for the most famous ship in the world, Titanic. (The history of that fateful ship is remembered in the SeaCity museum.) With a student population of over 40,000, there is an abundance of things to do and see, from bars and restaurants, to a multitude of live music venues – every music fan should visit the legendary Joiners pub.
Scotland’s third-biggest city, Aberdeen boasts several miles of sandy beaches, but as the perhaps unfortunate distinction of the UK’s coldest city, it is not perhaps the tropical paradise destination that more southerly rivals could boast. Still, that’s never stopped the Scots, who are rightly proud of a vibrant and modern community they call home. Roughly one in ten residents are students, including those of the ancient University of Aberdeen, present in the city for half a millennium, and this lends the town a youthful, fun-loving edge.
To most English people, Margate is a byword for traditional English seaside town, invoking sandy beaches, donkey rides and the classic ‘stick of rock’. Much of the town maintains the same family-friendly feel it has sustained for over 250 years, welcoming urbanites to its coast in a cosy setting. However, there have been noticeable moves towards modernisation, particularly in the recently opened multi-million pound Turner Contemporary Art Gallery. If you’re looking to study English in the UK, Margate is also home to a number of educational institutions for studying languages abroad, including the ESL school (esl-languages.com).