All cities I visited in the UK so far are very distinctly different from one another. Glasgow relates to football and work, Edinburgh is the more classical and stylish city, while Newcastle is a typical regional capital with a high number of working class inhabitants. I am curious which cities or regions the Britons themselves like the most, and which ones do not appeal to them at all. Here`s an overview:
Most people mention London as a place worth visiting, simply because there`s lots of activity, tourist attractions and international gigs. For the really pretty places, the locals advise you to visit York, Cambridge, Brighton and Chester. The most frequently cited reason to discover these places: beautiful, old and classical buildings.
`Chester, York and Brighton are amongst the UK`s most pretty cities`
Jennifer (24, photo) explains that town names ending in ?ester make it likely that the initial settlements date back to the Romans. Chester is a nice example, as it has an ancient amphitheatre, an old wall surrounding the city and many buildings in Tudor style. Like York, it is relatively small town: with a village-like ambiance to it, and with a young and highly educated population. This profile also fits Cambridge, which is known for it tradition of preparing the country`s elite for the nicer jobs.
Brighton, on the south, coast is well known for its beaches and its pier. Jennifer warns me that housing in Brighton is much more expensive than in other towns of the same size. The same applies to Edinburgh, which has recently been voted `best UK city to live in` thanks to its many parks, beautiful buildings and natural surroundings.
The favourite cities all suffer from high costs of living. London is in pole position, with not only housing but also food being much more expensive than anywhere in the United Kingdom. Northern English industrial towns like Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds and Nottingham are suitable for people with lower budgets, but they do risk working for a lower salary there than what they could have earned in London. Even if it`s the same job.
Dull and grey
Due to their industrial nature, North English towns do not feature on people`s list of favourites. Vicky (19) further disrecommends Bangor. `It`s quite a large city but in spite of that only has a hospital and hardly anything else. The streets are grey, the fa?ades and the streets look dirty and they are full of chewing gum.` she says. But that is nothing compared to Manchester, which in her opinion is about as horrible as it gets. She calls the people very unfriendly and the accent very unpleasant to the ear. Vicky further explains: `The city has a lot of segregation problems. I especially worry about the people from Pakistan and Bangladesh, who always seem to want to jump on you and grab you.` The roughest area in Manchester seems to be the Moss Side, known for its gang culture.
Charlie (24) thinks Manchester is actually one of the more interesting places in the UK. His unfavourites include Middlesbrough and Hull, because `nothing ever happens there`. In Manchester, he particularly likes the cultural mixture along Chorlton Road. Within a 400-yards-distance, it assembles many of the different nationalities and social layers living in Manchester. Other international venues that seem to be widely appreciated are Chinatowns. Emma (22) likes the one in London best, especially for the Chinese food.
More unpleasant cities, according to Kevin (22), include some smaller cities in Northern Wales. He mentions Mold, Wrexham and Rhyl. `Add Liverpool to that as well`, he says. He finds the city dirty and thinks there is not much to see.
Outside the city
Emma goes on telling about her passion for hiking, which makes Wales and the English Lake District perfect leisure locations for her. The British love for the countryside is widely shared. Many cheer at the idea of rolling green hills, sheep and winding country roads, even if they like to joke about the Welsh, the Scots and the Irish for being farmers. And for the countryside being some backward part of the country. When it`s about holiday, they elegantly call it `like going back in time`.
Beaches are another favourite destination, but the weather doesn`t always allow for swimming and sunbathing. Those who do take the risk stay either close to the home or go to Cornwall, at the very South West end of the country. The Cornwall region hosts a lot of surfing competitions in summer, and has the best chances of good weather. To British standards that is.
photo | Link
to this article