London is a beautiful city, with so much to do. But the UK is a big place, so it was only a matter of time till I attempted to explore the rest of ‘the island’.

So, last weekend I teamed up with a few of my American Exchange friends, and hired a car to go road tripping around the south coast of England. No class on Friday or Monday means a 4 day weekend, right?

Besides the opportunity to take a break from study and get a new profile picture for your Facebook and Instagram accounts, here are 3 reasons why you should check out the south coast of England.

Brighton 5.JPG

  1. Amazing History

On the first day of the road trip, we stopped in Canterbury – about 2 hours east of London. The city is pretty old, with its iconic Canterbury Cathedral being built in 1070. That’s only 4 years after William the Conqueror won the Battle of Hastings.

It’s pretty amazing though, you walk into a building full of stained glass windows, painted murals and crypts of Saints, Archbishops and even King Henry III, that have been there for hundreds of years. We even attended a short morning mass while we were there, too.

Canterbury Cathedral.JPG

Speaking of the Battle of Hastings, we also saw the site where the battlefield was located – a hilly green field in a town called ‘Battle’, near the coastal town called ‘Hastings’ – go figure.

It didn’t seem real that an empty, green field was the place of one the most significant turning points of British history. Besides being a part of an awesome little coastal town, the site of the Battle of Hastings is now home to the Battle Abbey Prep School – one of the UK’s most elite boarding schools.

Hastings.JPG

  1. Stunning Coastlines

The White Cliffs of Dover are iconic, and serve as the closest point in the UK to France – it’s where most people leave from to swim the English Channel. The coastline owes its distinctive white cliff faces to the chalk limestone it’s made out of. I took a few rocks of it with me home, and yes, you can draw with it.

Dover 2

Once you get over the super strong winds, freezing ocean spray and the 20min walk, you’ll come across a stunning view – I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.

Dover 1

  1. Friendly People

London, like most mega cities, isn’t known for its friendly and warm people – something that’s taken me a little while to get used to now that I live there. People won’t just walk up to you and start a conversation, and it’s hard to approach a stranger and ask for help or directions.

But when you get out of the intensity of the cities and find yourself a cool country pub, café or restaurant, get chatting to your Airbnb host, or the person seated next to you at the Brighton Comedy Club, you realise that the UK is full of people as beautiful as the scenery.

The Brighton Komedia (Comedy Club) was one of the highlights of the trip. I got the total piss taken out of me and Australia by one of the stand up comedians. Lesson learnt – when you’re in a room full of Britons, your accent will stand out, even if you are sitting at the back of the room.

Canterbury Pub.JPG

One of the best things about exchange in the UK is that you are so close to so many iconic places throughout mainland Europe. But, it’s important to remember that there are equally as amazing things in the UK’s own backyard.

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