Now, our country is nowhere near the size of yours. This may have its downfalls, but it does mean that you can experience lots of different cities while you’re studying at LJMU. From Liverpool you could easily visit Manchester and London on a day trip, and Edinburgh for a weekend; all are easily accessible by train from Liverpool’s Lime Street Station.
Trains between Liverpool and Manchester run frequently due to their close distance, usually once an hour. They can be as cheap as £6 for return tickets if you book in advance, but even booking on the day shouldn’t be more than £8 each way. No-one fully understands the pricing systems of British train travel, but online booking is the most reliable way to get the cheapest tickets.
Depending on where you live in the city, most stations will go to either of Manchester’s main stations, Victoria or Piccadilly. For the town centre, I’d recommend using Victoria, as it’s only a two minute walk from the main shopping centre, as well as a range of restaurants and bars.
Like Liverpool, Manchester also has a huge football (soccer, but don’t you be calling it that round here) community focused upon two Premiership teams, Manchester United and Manchester City. Their derby is as fiercely competitive as the Liverpool derby, so keep that in mind if you’re planning your trip.
The train from Liverpool to London takes approximately 2 hours to London’s main Northern station, Euston. I recommend the 7.47am train (I know it seems crazy early but you’ll get the whole day in London). This would get you into London for 10am. You can access the London Underground in Euston, down the escalators in the far right corner (it’s very well sign posted, so you’ll definitely find it). Via the Tube, you can basically go anywhere in London. One of my favourite places is Covent Garden, it has something for everyone – shops, restaurants, street performers and the theatre district isn’t too far so you can get same-day tickets for a good price here if you want to take in a show.
Another great thing to do if you’re short on time in the capital, is to go up The Shard (unless you’re scared of heights!) While it’s not quite as tall as the Empire State Building, you can see the whole of London on a clear day (although avoid if the weather’s not great – the fog can completely cover the view, and they won’t let you out onto the top deck). Student tickets are £20.95 if you book in advance, or £25.95 on the day and you can spend as much time as you like up there. An alternative way of seeing the city is the London Eye, but the queue is longer and The Shard is higher, and so gives a better view.
For trips to London, the Trainline is a useful website if you’re not set on an exact date, as it can tell you the cheapest day and time to go and return, around your selected date. It’s well worth signing up, as they often do flash sales so you can get tickets as cheap as £20 for a Liverpool-London return. Booking with this website can also get you 2 for 1 deals on some London attractions or cheaper theatre tickets. This includes the London Eye, the London Dungeon and Madame Tussauds.
Trains from Liverpool to Edinburgh take about 4 hours, and flights take an hour. While the flights are much quicker, they’re usually pretty expensive. If you keep an eye on the flybe website, though, they sometimes have flights for as cheap as £50 return.
Edinburgh has some of the best Museums and its zoo has the UK’s only koalas, so definitely worth a visit. You know, if you like koalas….Edinburgh Castle is one of the other big sights, and could easily take up the best part of a day – there’s Holyrood Palace to think about too. If you’re staying overnight, getting a late train or researching British pubs, you might want to check out the Royal Mile.
While you’re in the UK, you should see as much of it as you can, so check your nearest train station for their top destinations. Why not visit a classic British seaside town like Brighton? Or head to Wales or the Lake District for spectacular countryside? Keep in mind that there are also buses to Liverpool’s surrounding areas such as Southport, New Brighton and Chester. Not many places are hard to reach, so your biggest problem might be fitting it all in.