Leisure and Lifestyle for Expats in London & the wider UK
Great Britain: Four individual nations steeped in culture & history, home to the Royal Family, and host to many of the most iconic sporting and social events the UK has to offer. So how do Brits spend their precious free time and what top tips can expats learn from the locals?
Enjoy yourself, whatever the weather
With inclement weather an inescapable feature of life in the UK for at least some of the year and Real Estate footprints smaller on average than US houses, Brits make use of a wealth of multi-facetted leisure options, whatever the weather. From full Social & Sports Clubs such as the David Lloyd franchise, offering a multitude of sports, clubs and social gatherings for all the family, to the unmistakeably British ‘Golf & Country Club’ scene, structured leisure time for Brits often revolves around memberships of some description. Dry slope skiing, martial arts, rock climbing or horse riding– you name it, there will be a club for it close by in British Cities. For those in the countryside, National Parks, open farmland and thousands of miles of public footpaths and coastal paths offer an invaluable chance to sample ‘England’s Green and Pleasant Land’ – boredom is not an option.
Bite off a chunk of British History
UK organisations such as the National Trust and English Heritage have, through donations, bequests and purchases become guardians and restorers for many of the country’s historical parks, palaces, castles and landmarks. The Wellington-Boot Wearers of London and other major cities flash their Membership cards with pride and enjoy access to a wealth of historical gems which please all ages. Historical re-enactments, nature trails and seasonal themed activities coinciding with school holidays offer families endless adventure opportunities and access to the best the British Countryside has to offer.
Keep abreast of THE Social Calendar
‘Henley’, ‘Wimbledon’, ‘Goodwood’ are now events so synonymous with the highest echelons of British Society that they no longer require their full descriptions (Royal Regatta, Lawn Tennis Championships and Festival of Speed/Revival in case you were wondering!). Social Butterflies in-the-know spend their weekends escaping the choking heat of city summers, for the fresher, Coco Chanel-scented air of one of these iconic social events with ex-pats and Brits mingling and sipping Pimms & Lemonade. The Cartier Polo, Tennis at Queens, Royal Ascot, The Chelsea Flower Show; the list is extensive, and no ex-pat secondment to the UK is complete without a flavour of these ever-so-British institutions.
Get some Festival Spirit
Music festivals have come a long way since Woodstock, and the UK’s thriving alternative and Family Friendly festival scene is a unique and varied way to get that little bit more out of time spent in the country. Latitude (Suffolk), Cornbury (Oxfordshire) and Bestival (Isle of Wight) are all within two hours of Central London and offer festival flavour for all tastes and budgets.
Culture Vultures and Theatre Luvvies
Given the ubiquitous adverts across the Capital, London’s West End theatre scene needs no further explanation. But it is the cultural path-less-trodden which interests Londoners; the Sadlers Wells Theatre, Shakespeare’s Globe, one-off installations at the marvellous Tate Modern, Barbican and the National Portrait Gallery or unique gigs at Camden’s RoundHouse. London is alive with pop up exhibitions, cultural festivals and a continual celebration of the many and varied influences that have shaped the Capital today. Publications such as Time Out offer Londoners access to all that the ticket touts in Leicester Square fail to mention , and free entry to attractions such as the Natural History Museum, Science Museum and Imperial War Museum mean there is no excuse for staying at home. It’s not just London though: many UK cities now boast theatre and arts scenes to rival the Capital, and unique cultural events such as the Edinburgh Fringe Festival offer visitors something extra special.
London is so much more than Big Ben, Beefeaters and Paddington Bear. And the UK is more than London. From a spring stroll in the daffodils in Hyde Park or surfing in Cornwall, to Hogmanay on Princes Street in Edinburgh or hiking in the natural beauty of the Lake District: Endless leisure and cultural activities await visitors who take the time to embrace this peculiar bundle of nations and their many faces.
Article provided by Mel Ingle at Essential Concierge Lifestyle Management
Ascot Image: American Women's Club at Ascot, July 2015