My study abroad journey began over four months ago when I boarded the plane on January 4th, 2023, to fly to London. Before departure, I had a list of places I wanted to travel to outside the United Kingdom. Thankfully, I was able to make it to a lot of cool places like Barcelona, Lisbon, Amsterdam, and more. Of course, these trips cost a lot of money. However, near the end of the trip, we had a four-day weekend for the Easter holiday. My friends and I wanted to take advantage of the long weekend and travel, but we didn’t want to spend a lot of money. Therefore, we decided to do two day trips to the United Kingdom. We settled on going to Brighton on Friday and White Cliffs of Dover and Canterbury on Saturday. Traveling on both trips was different than any other trip I had been on since being here. Throughout the entire experience, I have been flying to all my weekend trips. However, my friends and I took the train for our Easter weekend travels. I have taken the national rail and the tube in London, but never the train for a trip. Thankfully, the commute was simple. It was easier than flying. Since they were day trips there was no packing or TSA.
Brighton was not what I expected but in a good way. We took an early morning train. When we arrived, I was worried. There weren’t many people on the street, and I didn’t see a lot to do. Our first stop was to get breakfast. I had amazing blueberry gluten-free pancakes. We ended up staying at the restaurant for a couple of hours. Then we headed to the beach. Once we got to the beach area, I felt a lot better. There were tons of people and the sun was shining. My friends and I stood by the water, soaked up the sun, and attempted to skip rocks in the ocean. I was unsuccessful. At one point, I stood and just listened. Since Brighton is a pebble beach, there was a relaxing sound when the tide would flow back and forth over the pebbles. Afterward, we headed to the pier we could see in the distance. To my surprise, there was an arcade. I hadn’t been to an arcade since I was a small child. Of course, my friends and I decided to play 20 pounds worth of games. I even won a stuffed animal in the claw machine game. When we ran out of coins, we walked around the rest of the pier, which resembled a carnival. There were rides, music, food, and drinks. Before coming to Brighton, my friends and I bought tickets to zipline over the beach. So, after walking around we headed to the Brighton Zip. We were given instructions, fitted with our gear, and sent up to go ziplining. It was a cool experience, and I received a video of myself doing it at the end of the ride. After ziplining, we spent the rest of the day walking around and eating food before heading home.
The next day we took a train to the White Cliffs of Dover. I wanted to go here before I got to London. I was very excited, but finding a taxi in Dover was very difficult. Dover is very different than London in that way. In London, taxis are driving past constantly. In Dover, they were a rare sight. After an hour of walking around, we finally were able to pre-book a taxi to the cliffs. The experience was well worth the wait. My friends and I turned on music and walked the path, took pictures, and took in the sites. We even walked down to the bottom of the cliffs. This involved walking down a narrow path and climbing down a rusted and old latter, but the view was great. After finishing at the cliffs, we took a taxi to Canterbury, where we spent the latter part of our day. Canterbury was a very chill visit. We simply walked around the streets, taking in the sites, and eating food. After a couple of hours, we headed home.
Overall, both trips were great and budget-friendly. It was nice to travel outside of London to other parts of the United Kingdom. Although sometimes uncomfortable, the train ride was simple. It was a pleasant break from the many trips to the airport and flights taken over the past four months. If you have the time, I highly recommend traveling to the White Cliffs of Dover and Brighton one weekend.
By: Chloe Franklin