While we might have them beat in terms of beaches and the weather, Ireland and the UK have a bunch of cities that have a certain quaintness about them that we all froth over. From vibrant nightlife scenes to breathtaking scenery, these places will have you booking your gap year quicker than you can scull a pint.
Edinburgh is a city that’s absolutely dripping with history, boasting numerous castles and old streets and alleyways (called closes in Scotland) as well as pubs that have been around for longer than your nan. If that’s not your thing, it also has a world-class arts scene with tonnes of festivals throughout the year, like Edinburgh Art Festival, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and Hogmanay over New Years. The best thing about these festivals is that they take over the entire city, meaning every corner is bustling with gigs and activities–a lot of them free–so you never have to worry about missing out on the fun.
Located on the South Coast of England, Brighton is probably best known for its pebbley beach, a building that looks weirdly like the Taj Mahal, and the pier that’s full of arcade games. But look beyond that and you’ll find a town that’s quirky as they come with heaps of chill cafes, fun pubs, vintage stores and market stalls. It’s also one of the best places in the UK for a night out, with all kinds of gigs happening on any night of the week. It’s also a popular student city and boasts the UK’s biggest LGBTQI+ scene, which makes it an ideal destination for young, open-minded travellers.
Bristol has a long history associated with its harbour-side docks but, like many industrial cities in the world, it has since enjoyed a cultural revival and is now known as one of the trendiest cities in England. It’s probably best known as the place Banksy first cut his teeth, with many of his early works found scattered around the city, as well as where trip-hop group Massive Attack was formed. However, look closer and you’ll find the underground scenes that gave these pop culture powerhouses their distinct flavour, from endless graffiti to the bass-heavy clubs.
It’s said that Galway is the best place to visit for young people who love music and want to experience real Irish culture and we’re prone to agree. It’s a university city on the west coast of Ireland with buskers everywhere and each pub filled with bands playing live music–and of course the punters enjoying them. The area also has the most Irish speakers in the country, so much so that if you head out to the farms you might meet people that won’t speak English back to you. Surrounding the city is classic Irish landscape, with heaps of stunning walks and national parks.
As the capital of Ireland, Dublin is best known for its massive St Patrick’s Day Festival. It’s a 3-day long weekend ordeal that sees over 100,000 people painting the city green and celebrating all things Irish. Of course, there’s the Festival Parade which is theoretically the main event of the weekend, but beyond this you’ll find heaps of other events on from live music, DJ acts, art shows, sports matches and of course, copious amounts of drinking.
The city packs out quickly during this time so it’s best to book accommodation ahead or join a tour that’ll sort all of that out for you. Our mates over at Let’z Travel are offering a sweet package that includes return flights from Sydney to London and an 8-day bus tour through Ireland ending up in Dublin for three huge nights celebrating the country’s biggest festival. You’ll enjoy accommodation at a great central location with your new travel mates and the team will be around to help you make the most out of your St Patrick’s Day.
Keen? Click here to find out more and register your interest.