A student budget & holidays don’t usually go hand in hand, especially when ‘splashing out’ usually involves buying a second £2.75 pint. However, it’s this time in the semester when you’re starting to crave a trip that isn’t to Tesco’s on Northumberland street. I’ve come up with three weekend trips which might help.
Yes, okay it is even further North and if you’re a soft southerner like me, the thought of minus degrees centigrade is more than mildly terrifying, but it’s undeniable that Edinburgh is a Mecca for students/travellers looking for a culture and countryside combo.
"Edinburgh isn't short of countryside literally inside the city, so if you want to kid yourself that you're being adventurous and rural then walk up the crags to Arthur's sear, or walk to Port Edgar"
What to do: Book yourself a £20 Air BnB near the Arthur’s seat park, which is a lot cheaper than anything in main town. Alternatively, Castle Rock Hostel is at a pretty reasonable price and has a lively bar inside the hostel (although you may be swarmed by obnoxious Australians left right and centre). Edinburgh isn’t short of countryside literally inside the city, so if you want to kid yourself that you’re being adventurous and rural then walk up the crags to Arthur’s seat, or a walk to Port Edgar. Another fake rural activity is to take a 30-minute bus to the sweet village of Berwick which is the equivalent Durham to Edinburgh (pretty, but boring as shit).
Night life ideas: Boteca is a cheap cocktail bar featuring blaring salsa music and some Scottish teens attempting to salsa dance, which is always an experience to remember. The Dome is a bar in a huge old market building – there’s a damn good insta to be made from that ceiling.
A late November getaway to Bruges Christmas market might be everything you didn’t know you needed. Bruges really is that place you visit in your mind mid-summer when you’re bored of Britain’s pathetic efforts at summer, as you start visualising log fires, hot chocolate and the prettiest ice rink in the world. This medieval city has all the above plus bratwurst, horse and carts, and shit loads of beer: it really is heaven.
What to do: I mean, Christmas markets itself is pretty self-explanatory, but find a base away from the hub of the markets (Grote Markt) for cheaper options and then hobble on the cobbled streets into town where you’ll find all those things that aren’t acceptable before December in the UK, such as Bailey’s hot chocolate (don’t we all love it really?) and massive slabs of gingerbread.
"Eastern Europe, as every student is aware, is the place to go, due to ludicrously low prices, beautiful architecture and a mental night life - Krakow is no exception"
With flights cheaper than a train to Barnsley this is a surprisingly cheap trip, especially if you stay in travelling hostels. Eastern Europe, as every student is aware, is the place to go, due to ludicrously low prices, beautiful architecture and a mental night life – Krakow is no exception.
What to do: Walk down old town, which appears like an Eastern European fairy-tale complete with cobbled streets and castles at every other turn. A real bonus of Krakow is that there aren’t nearly as many tourists here than in Prague or Budapest, so you can enjoy the city without watching tourists take sickening selfies documenting every step on to Instagram. It’s super cheap here, and you can enjoy a swanky hotel room for £12 in the centre!