Whether it’s the glens and lochs in Scotland, the rolling hills in Yorkshire, or the gentle (and sometimes not-so-gentle) waves in Cornwall, the UK is filled with landscapes to take away the breaths of even the most difficult to please. Our scholars have been living in and exploring the UK for many months now but […]
Ten ways I spent my bank holiday weekend
During the spring, the UK typically has a number of bank holidays (national public holidays derived from statute and/or common law) that fall pretty close to one another – typically on Fridays and/or Mondays – and mean that banks, schools, and many places of business are closed for these designated days. In England and Wales, there are officially eight bank holidays each year whilst Scotland has nine and Ireland has ten.
As schools – including universities – will be closed on these days, our scholars have an opportunity to take a day (or two) off and unwind so of course, we wanted to find out how they spent their recent bank holiday weekends.
1. NEW BEGINNINGS IN SPRING
Ashton Court Estate is a mansion house in Bristol owned by the City of Bristol. Ashton Court dates back to before the eleventh century and was originally given to Geoffrey de Montbray by William the Conqueror. The estate is mentioned in the Domesday Book.
Nino Latsabidze, Georgia
‘For me, and perhaps for many people as well, the smell of the spring is always associated with the new opportunities and a fresh start. The bank holiday weekend was sunny and warm, and filled me with the smell of new beginnings. Due to the nice weather, I decided to enjoy the city in the sun.
Bristol is a city that offers various options to make your day truly exceptional and memorable. So, I went to Ashton Court Estate which is a mansion house surrounded by a huge historic park not far from the city center.
While lying on the field under the sun with a book, breathing fresh air, and enjoying the spectacular view around me, I thought that sometimes we are too focused on our next day, so we don’t notice how beautiful a single moment of our life can be. One year of our journey in the UK is not only about becoming a future leader, but also appreciating the everyday opportunities we’ve been given in life.’
2. SCARBORIAN FOR A DAY
Founded around 966 AD, Scarborough is a town on the coast of North Yorkshire in England. With a population of just over 61,000, it is the largest holiday resort on the Yorkshire coast and well worth visiting for those who enjoy history, culture, and a great beach.
Ahmed Marouf Saad, Egypt
‘During the bank holiday weekend, I was extremely busy working on assignments, but I couldn’t waste enjoying the sun in England’s North Sea coast. They say that Scarborough is one of the best places to get authentic British fish and chips, and this was still on my bucket list.
Locals were enjoying the weather on the beach and although I wasn’t prepared to hike the South Bay, I felt like I just needed to do it. From the top, I got to see Scarborough Castle and it looked glorious. On my way back, I got to explore the city and enjoy what I came for – fish and chips! After 6 months of being here, I tried this dish for the first time and it was awesome.’
Ranging in size from 1.5-35.5cm, seahorses are distinct sea creatures that have received their name due to their unique horse-like appearance in their head and neck. Seahorses are one of only a few fish species to swim vertically.
Natesha Alexander, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
‘I flew to Bristol from Edinburgh to spend the day with my cousin. I didn’t even realise it was a bank holiday until I asked my cousin why so many families and small groups were milling around the city.
We went to the Bristol Aquarium. I was familiar with most of the marine life because I like to snorkel at home and am an avid ‘fisherwoman’. However, I had never before seen seahorses! I absolutely had to take photos of them. They reminded me of little swimming unicorns (okay, I know unicorns don’t exist but I have some younger cousins so I was still more familiar with them than seahorses). They are now my favourite sea creatures – although I still love my playful stingrays.’
4. TESTING GRAVITY
Strathallan is the strath (a large valley, typically near a shallow river) of the Allan Water in Scotland near to Stirling. Strathallan encompasses the Bridge of Allan, Dunblane, and parts of Perth and Kinross.
Damian Ohienmhen, Nigeria
‘During the Easter bank holiday weekend, I went skydiving for the first time in Strathallan, Scotland. I jumped out of a plane from 3,500 feet with nothing but a parachute on… twice! The control tower could hear me screaming (in excitement) all the way down!’
5. EXPERIENCING MULTICULTURALISM
The UK is constantly said to be a very diverse place and with diversity also comes the ability to have new foods, take part in ‘national days’, and of course, to experience life with those who are not from where you are from.
Yousuf Alrawi, Iraq
‘I have always been interested in experiencing and attending events from all around the world and what better chance to do that than in the UK. The University of Leeds encourages international students to experience UK culture and network by organising trips to events in the city.
During the Easter bank holiday, the university organised a trip to attend a rugby match between Leeds and their neighbours Huddersfield in Leeds. I attended the match with my fellow Cheveners from Leeds and Huddersfield, and had the chance to see how the fans love their teams and experience the atmosphere of the match through rooting for Leeds Rhinos (they won of course! Yayyy).
The next day, the weather couldn’t be any better for going out and exploring the city. I went to the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds which has one of the largest collections of arms and armour dating all the way back to the Middle Ages. I attended the jousting tournament between the UK team and other teams from the US, Poland, and Canada, and watched the knights fight in their full armour against each other.’
6. A WELL TRAVELLED WEEKEND
With many diaspora communities residing in the UK, there are celebrations and festivities for all to enjoy during most of the year. Enock attended one such celebration and enjoyed the festivities that came along with the event.
Enock Musungwini, Zimbabwe
‘On Saturday, 20 April 2019, I travelled from London with a colleague, Marshal Gore, to Northampton where we met Timothy Zhakata, a Zimbabwean friend. Later, we drove to Leicester to attend Zimbabwean musician Jah Prayzah’s live performance. We danced the night away and were able to connect, and reconnect, with fellow Zimbabweans in the UK.
On Sunday, 21 April 2019, I attended and participated in the Zimbabwe Independence Sports Tournament and social entertainment in Coventry where I had a lot of fun playing football, supporting other teams, listening to music, and enjoying a barbecue. I had my friends Marshal, Timothy, and Kaycie playing traditional Zimbabwean music. This was a special holiday as it coincided with the Zimbabwe Independence celebrations.’
7. ANFIELD: THE HOME OF EVERTON FC
The city of Liverpool sits in the north east of England and is home to an estimated 491,500 people. It is a popular tourist city with many places of interest to visit. Home to the Beatles, Liverpool FC, Everton FC, the Grand National annual horse race, and many national museums and galleries (second only to London), Liverpool has been designated the “World Capital City of Pop” by Guinness World Records.
Azim Kassim, Brunei
‘I spent my bank holiday weekend discussing our next collaboration with the Beatles. We discussed whether to translate “Hey Jude” or “Eleanor Rigby” into Malay (which is the native language back where I’m from) as well as about the coffee at the Beatles Cafe at the Liverpool Docks.
Prior to that, I also went on the Everton Football Club’s stadium tour, so I could take pictures of Everton’s stadium, Goodison Park and send it to my friends who support Liverpool and tell them I visited “Anfield”. Funnily enough, the tour guide assumed all of the visitors were Evertonians but I just stayed silent (secretly I’m a Geordie). Whilst Liverpool has always been more popular globally, I was stunned by the rich history Everton FC had.
A number of interesting facts include: Anfield (Liverpool’s stadium) used to be the home of Everton FC from 1884 to 1892 before Everton moved to Goodison Park; and according to our tour guide, Everton was also the first team to wear numbered jerseys from 1 to 11; and they had a legendary player named Dixie Dean who scored a staggering 60 goals in 39 games!
I also visited Anfield since it was just a 10-15 minute walk away. Overall, Liverpool is a wonderful place for those who truly appreciate the incredible history of British football (regardless of which football club one supports) and music, and has got to be one of the cities to visit in England.’
8. HISTORY IN SCOTLAND
Historic Environment Scotland is the lead public body established to investigate, care for, and promote Scotland’s historic environment. Members are able to enjoy 5,000 years of Scottish history with entry passes to popular locations such as Edinburgh Castle and Stirling Castle, and events like Rock of Ages.
Haonan Shen, China
‘These are the stamps I collected from some of the historic heritage sites cared for by Historic Scotland. When spring came, I travelled to see a whole host of castles, abbeys, and cathedrals. It was great fun.’
9. JUMP FOR JOY IN NOTTINGHAM
With an estimated population of 329,200, Nottingham aka “the Queen of the Midlands” is a popular tourist destination for those exploring The Midlands. Whether you have heard of Nottingham or not, we can bet you’ve heard of its most famous resident; Robin Hood.
Cephas Asare, Ghana
‘My jump in front of the University of Nottingham sign sums up my joy of the bank holiday weekend.
With the second semester over, it was time to give myself a pat on the back; a reward for all the many assessments completed. I did that the best way I could think of – spending it with family and friends in Nottingham away from my usual Aberdeen.
The weather was great with sunshine which created the perfect atmosphere to see what the city famous for its Robin Hood legend had to offer. So, my tour of the city began of course with the University of Nottingham which is one of the many universities shaping the Chevening Scholars of change.
I loved my time out there.’
10. HOSTUK KILT LENT-AL
A kilt is a type of knee-length skirt with pleats at the back that is traditionally made from wool and worn by boys and men in the Scottish Highlands. They are typically worn on formal occasions and at some sporting events. A distinctive feature of kilts is the tartan pattern they exhibit and in more modern times, each Scottish clan has their own “clan tartan” pattern/colours.
Qays Sbaih, Palestine
‘During the bank holiday weekend, I travelled to Inverness in the Scottish Highlands to meet with a Scottish family as part of my HostUK experience. I wanted to try something a bit different this time in Inverness during the holiday, so my host family lent me one of their kilts to take pictures with. It truly felt like a real Scottish experience.’
Thank you to our scholars who submitted pictures and stories to this theme.
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