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UK: Culture, Shopping, Recreation

After taking care of the practical aspects of moving to the UK, you deserve a break. Fortunately, the UK offers countless opportunities to relax – not only on public holidays. This section of our guide presents some favorite options, e.g. British pubs and food culture, famous arts festivals and museums, popular stage companies and sports. Enjoy!

The best way to your heart is through your stomach, as the saying goes. So, to enjoy settling in your new life in the UK, you might take the chance to taste some culinary specialties from British cuisine. Just like the weather in UK, local food is far superior to its (clichéd) international reputation. We’ll introduce you to gastropub variations of traditional fare, to the delights of a fancy afternoon tea or an award-winning curry, and the new British food culture. If you had rather try your hands at cooking for yourself, our brief guide to shopping in the UK tells you all about the major supermarket chains and resources for people with dietary restrictions.

Museums and Theater

Obviously, there are far more cultural activities to savor in the UK than just local food and pub culture. After moving to the UK, you should definitely visit some of the nation’s most popular museums. In addition to the British Museum – arguably the most famous one – exhibitions are as diverse as, for example, the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, or the National Railway Museum in York. If you are lucky, your visit might even be free of charge: Over 50 national museums in the UK have done without entrance fees since 2001. If the UK’s countless museums and art galleries are not enough culture for you, you can also go to the theater for a change. The center of the UK’s stage and entertainment industry is obviously London, but there are now many fine theater companies all over the country. No matter whether you prefer to attend an opera performance in Leeds, a Shakespeare classic in Stratford, or a rip-roaring musical in the West End, there should be something to suit everyone’s taste. Moreover, theater and the performing arts form an essential part of several cultural festivals across the UK, especially in Brighton and Edinburgh.

Sports and Public Holidays

Admiring the sculptures at the Henry Moore Institute or watching an avant-garde interpretation of Hamlet isn’t really your cup of tea? You’d rather work off some excess energy at the gym or cheer on ManU at the pub? Don’t worry! Sports fans – both of the active and the passive variety – have plenty of leisure activities to choose from. While football (or soccer, for our US American readers) is undeniably the most popular sport in the UK, you can get active in other ways as well: learn how to putt a golf ball on the green, try to figure out the intricate cricket rules, or just join the UK Fitness Network for access to diverse classes and sports clubs nationwide. Regardless of whether your favorite hobby is sporty or cultural, the various public holidays in the UK make sure that you’ll have time to enjoy it. We explain what exactly a bank holiday is, how these might differ from region to region, and which other holidays have made their way into the UK’s festival calendar.

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