Lorna White

University City Breaks

Lorna White
University City Breaks

The new University term is just around the corner and many will be waving the grandchildren off, fresh-faced and ready to embark on their new adventure, but why not join them?

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The UK is full of hidden treasures desperate to be explored. University isn’t just for the youngsters, there’s often so much to see on campus, let alone what the rest of the city has to offer.


Nottingham is home to two universities but it holds the key to so much more.

People wanting to make a mini-break out of visiting the grandkids may be enticed by the history embedded within Nottingham.

Sherwood Forest, once a hunting ground for Robin Hood, is packed full of activities to suit everyone from the thought-provoking Holocaust Museum to the quaint café, perfect for a cup of tea and a bite to eat after a few hours exploring one of the many different walks on offer. You could even finish it with a round of golf at the Sherwood Forest Golf Club.

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If this is your style, you could also take a trip to Wollaton Hall, home to the city’s Natural History Museum, free to visit and boasting over 750.000 objects. The idyllic views accompanying the Elizabethan Country House provide the perfect photo opportunity.

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If you’re looking to stay nearer to the centre but still access some of the deep history surrounding Nottingham you can make your way to the upper level of the Broadmarsh shopping centre where you’ll find the City of Caves. Dating back to the dark ages the City of Caves is part of 500 sandstone caves hidden underground Nottingham.



Heading further up North and you’ll find the City of York, built by the Romans and later captured by the Vikings in 866AD. – Visit the Yorkshire Museum and Gardens to see what was left behind by the Romans and Vikings.

Or, a trip to The York Castle Museum gives an insight into the city’s more recent history over the last 400 years.

Should you be planning a trip to York, be sure not to miss Europe’s most visited street, The Shambles, packed full of history dating back to the Medieval times.

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Just a few miles from York’s main university and you can immerse yourself in the award-winning National Railway Museum, exploring all things trains from the last 300 years and even looking into the future, such as the opportunity to step onto the futuristic Japanese Bullet Train.

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One day is never enough to travel a city, especially York, so should you be looking to stay Hotel Indigo York is less than 2 miles away from the University and is flourished with excellent reviews from over 1,500 happy guests - much more luxurious than the university dorms.

Should you be looking for a hotel with a pool you could try The Principal York, a preserved Victorian architecture with elegant rooms and sweeping views across York.


London, the country’s capital with over 40 higher education institutions.

London is full of spectacular sights and unforgettable memories but there are secrets hidden all over London still waiting to be discovered.



Take a step back in time into The Strands’ newest bar and have a drink in an old Victorian train carriage. Just a short walk from Charing Cross is The Society of Exploration, which will throw you back into the Victorian age, the fully decorated carriage gives an authentic feel sure to bring out the adventurer in everyone.


If you get the chance, take a trip up West End to see a musical.  A Dolly Parton musical will be coming to the West End in January next year. Based on the 1980’s classic 9 to 5 film the musical will star Louise Redknapp as Violet Newstead and will bring a smile to anyone looking to reminisce on this popular story – that grandchildren may never have even heard of it.


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London is packed full of places to stay but the price can vary from £30 to hundreds and hundreds per night. Trying to find a balance can prove tricky and time consuming.

Premier Inn’s are all over London and considered to be a relatively safe option. There are plenty to choose from across the city, you tend to know what you’re getting from a Premier Inn and that’s usually a good clean, comfy night sleep. The prices are always very competitive and usually one of the cheapest options.



One of the oldest universities in the UK, founded in 1451 is Glasgow University, along with being Scotlands capital it’s also Scotland largest city, ensuring that there is always plenty to do.

Following the crowd isn’t always bad, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is hugely popular and has over 22 galleries free to explore everyday.

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Sometimes the hustle and bustle of a busy city is simply too much and for when this time comes Pollock Country Park will be waiting. It’s a 10 minute journey from the centre but ahead will be acres and acers of green land, patiently longing for a picnic basket and blanket to be laid on. Ideal to just relax for a few hours, but still no time for boredom due to the Burrell collection currently held here or the Clydesdale horses. 10 years ago Pollock County was name Britain’s best park, beating parks in Italy, France and Germany.

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 If you want to have the chance to learn lots and haven’t got all that much time, hop onto a sightseeing bus. They operate every 10 minutes and are packed full of information, you can hop-on or off as you like and there are 21 stops across the city where you can depart. The tour lasts an hour and twenty minutes and you can listen to guide through headphones which advise and teach you on Glasgow’s history and attractions.  





The UK’s third best student city, Manchester, holds some impressive awards across its many universities, including the University of Manchester being the second largest University in the country by enrolment.


Whilst visiting Manchester you could attempt to impress the grandchildren by creating your own bottle of gin.  The Three Rivers Gin Experience offers an interactive experience, learning about the history of gin and having a tour of the distillery before having a go at making the strong stuff yourself using their mini copper pot stills and botanicals. 

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Should you be going into the University of Manchester, make time for The John Rylands Library, part of the University. Whether you are into books or not, this magnificent library will inspire you to dive in and explore. It’s free to visit and there is plenty more to see than just books. Between September 2018 and March2019 the Library is holding an exhibition showcasing the women who shaped Manchester. Delving into the 19th and 20th centuries the exhibition showcases women and their fights for rights, their devotion and courage and the life of women during Manchester’s booming cotton industry.

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  • By Hayley Blow

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