With the start of term looming, it is difficult to look past all the upcoming deadlines and exams to even think about the C word; yes, Christmas. Since there is now less than a week to go, why not take a break from studying and look into a short winter break that could even spur you on to actually get out from under the duvet in this freezing weather!
Of course, a student loan isn’t (entirely) for spending on whatever we want, so that’s why a trip within 2 hours from wherever you are is the ideal choice, and ensures you have enough money for beer/mulled wine/presents for family. Just because these cities are within reaching distance doesn’t mean they don’t require travel insurance; check out the FCO Travel Aware website to make sure you have the relevant cover!
1. PRAGUE, Czech Republic (typically 2-hour flight from London)
Known as one of the cheapest cities in Europe, and famous for an extensive history, Prague is most definitely worth a consideration when deciding where to visit this winter. Beer-tasting tours are a popular activity choice, but there are also tours of the Old Town and several museums, so a few days here would offer something for everyone.
2. PARIS, France (approximately 1.5-hour flight from Manchester, or just over 2 hours by Eurostar from London)
La Ville Lumière, or the City of Light, Paris literally glows at night, even more so with it being basically pitch black by 4pm, meaning you have so much more time to see the Eiffel Tower lit up. The Notre Dame, the Louvre, Sacré-Cœur are all lovely of course, but so is Disneyland which is only 40 minutes away by train! Check out the FCO website for information on one of the busiest cities at the busiest times of year.
3. AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands (between 1-2-hour flight from Edinburgh, Manchester and London)
A popular destination for students already, there is an almost endless list of things to enjoy in this beautiful city. Firstly, the Heineken experience is a sure favourite, with a rooftop bar and beers included in the ticket fee. Enrich your historical knowledge with visits to the Anne Frank House, the Van Gogh Museum and Dam Square. To be close to the centre of the city’s nightlife, look at staying around Leidseplein or Rembrandtsplein.
4. BERLIN, Germany (flight time under 2 hours from London and Manchester, just over 2 hours from Edinburgh)
When you think of Christmas markets, Germany jumps out as the obvious choice (with Cologne Christmas market arguably being the best one!), but Berlin offers so much more, making it a firm favourite for your winter break. The Weinerei Forum is a cosy wine bar, where you drink the wine and pay what you think it’s worth, so definitely worth a visit to get away from the notoriously cold weather. There are impressive buildings scattered across the city which would make for lovely Instagram posts; the Reichstag, Brandenburg Gate and Charlottenburg Palace.
5. LONDON, UK (Just over 2 hours by train from Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds, flights from Glasgow and Edinburgh are just over 1 hour)
Seems an obvious choice to spend a weekend away in the capital, and London at Christmas time is truly spectacular. With lights spread across the entire city, just a walk along Southbank will get you feeling Christmassy. Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park becomes more and more popular each year; with an ice rink, ice bar and fun fair you can easily spend a whole day here, and entry to the park itself is free! If you’ve put off your Christmas shopping to do uni work, you’ll find something for everyone at the Westfield shopping centres, Oxford Street and Covent Garden.
University: University of Liverpool
Course: French and Geography
Most Prized Possession: Macbook (sorry to be cliché)
Most irritating habit: Talks through all films and Tv shows (I just want to know what’s going on!)
Favourite life hack: Set all your clocks 5 mins ahead so you’re not late (maybe this just applies to me)
What’s next?: Year abroad in France, exploring the culture/ vineyards