01 November, 2016

Traveling within the British Isles

While studying abroad in London, traveling becomes an essential for everyone. Every weekend, a bunch of people pack up a small bag to venture out into Europe or go somewhere within the UK. Well, a couple of weeks ago, some friends and I decided to go on a small tour of the British Isles, and by British Isles, I just mean Liverpool, Manchester, and Belfast. And it was loads of fun, so keep reading.

We set out for Liverpool, our first stop, via bus for a 6-hour journey. Yes, it was very long and tiring! We got to Liverpool’s bus station around a little after midnight and then found a local bus to get us to our Airbnb – which to say the least, was not in the most prime location of Liverpool. Our host, a Mr. Jordy, was very hospitable but did manage to make us want to lock the door to the room. Just kidding. Or not.

The next morning, I set out to go on a tour of the beautiful Anfield stadium, home of the Liverpool Football Club. The tour guide was amazingly knowledgeable on the history of the club and gave an incredible tour to a very pleased crowd. And as a football fan, I just had to touch the actual turf and I will admit that I employed the oh-my-shoelace-is-untied-so-I-need-to-stand-right-next-to-the-little-barrier-and-tie-it-so-I-can-sneakily-grab-a-blade-or-two-or-three-of-the-turf gimmick. I stand by my decision. Following the tour, I joined my friends. The rest of the day was spent going to a few of the museums, including the Museum of Liverpool with its very interesting contemporary art and the Tate Liverpool where I got to see Tracy Emin’s “My Bed” (all the Art in London people should know what I’m talking about). We then spent some time at the beautiful Albert Dock followed by my three companions going off to the Beatles’ Story, which I did not go to because I’m not a fan (please don’t kill me). On an impulse, we decided to go on a ferris wheel ride, which gave us beautiful sights of the city and the Mersey River. At last we ended up in the city centre where we had dinner and spent some time walking around before making our way back to the Airbnb. Overall, I’d give Liverpool a 7.5/10.




The 45-minute train ride to Manchester went by incredibly quickly the following morning. We then got an Uber to get to our Airbnb which turned out to be in Bolton, about 40 minutes away from Manchester. However, our house was incredibly beautiful and in a great neighbourhood – a big jump from our last place. The city of Manchester was incredible. Our first stop was the John Rylands Library, a beautiful structure housing many rare books and artefacts. We then went to a cathedral (I can’t remember the name, sorry). We couldn’t visit it anyway as there was a grand wedding going on inside. But right in front of it, in the Albert Square, the Manchester Food and Drink Festival was happening where we got really delicious lunch. Our next stop was the Museum of Science and Industry which was very cool and interactive. We then went to the Manchester Central Library which was closing soon. Unfortunately, due to it being a weekend, most places closed early and we could not visit all the places we wanted to. Nonetheless, we enjoyed our time in Manchester a lot. The city has an incredible vibe and was lot of fun, and had some very good Pakistani food as well. We bid farewell to one of our companions here as he headed back to London. I’d give Manchester a 9/10. Can’t wait to go back!



The next morning we flew to Belfast, which to say the least, was stunningly beautiful even just getting to our Airbnb in an Uber. After a delayed flight (thanks, EasyJet), seeing such a beautiful place made it worth it. After settling in, we went for a walk around the area in search of food and found a not-so-decent Chinese place. After going to bed early, we set off the next day and walked to the city centre. We had lunch at an amazing, and very very cheap sandwich shop called Sandwich Station. After walking around a bit, we set out for the Titanic Belfast where we spent a good deal of time walking around enjoying the sights. On our return to the city centre, we decided to hike up to Cavehill Country Park and see an actual cave up there. It was a long and tiring hike but it was worth it once we saw the view from up at the (almost) top. We then had dinner at Lavery’s which was an amazing place with great food. It had a beer garden, a huge room with pool tables, outdoor seating on the roof, and the menu had a wide range of options. On top of all, it was very decently priced so I would definitely recommend it to anyone. After the long tiring day, we returned to our Airbnb. The following day, packed our bags and set out to the city centre to visit the City Hall. Tips for anyone going to Belfast, if you’re a Game of Thrones fan, please book the tour in advance. And definitely go to Giant’s Causeway which we missed because we did not have enough time. Overall, we had a great time in Belfast. I’d give the city and 8.5/10.



I then flew back to London as my other two friends made their way down to Dublin and Cork. I had an incredible time traveling within England and Northern Ireland. I got to see some amazing places and learned more about the culture of this country. While you’re in London, definitely go visit other cities here and not just in Europe. It will enhance your experience a lot and you will learn a lot more about the culture and history.      


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