Work in the UK
Small is beautiful. From the snow-dusted peaks of Scotland to the cider-filled countryside of England and wild surf beaches of Wales – the UK is diverse, compact and pretty-as-a-picture.
When it comes to scenery, the UK knocks it out of the park. (In fact, there are 15 national parks and over 100 protected areas of natural beauty). Geologically, it rocks – with patchworked green valleys, dramatic glacial lakes, and thousands of miles of coastline dotted with beaches.
But it’s the historic towns and multicultural cities that really bring the UK to life. Home to almost 150 universities, UK’s cities are progressive, creative and full of opportunities. In fact, you could stick a pin in a map anywhere between Aberdeen to Brighton and be amazed by the architecture, heritage and culture. The good news for UK working holidaymakers is that the UK is small, easy to get around, and you have two years to find your home from home.
Confusing accents, quirky humour and strange local delicacies. Whether you settle straight into city life or head into the country for pastures new, here’s the rundown of the UK’s main hubs.
Most travellers tend to start in London. A few even leave. (Although London’s lazy weekend markets, rooftop pop-ups and basement clubs make it hard to say goodbye). A city where ancient architecture meets cutting-edge creativity, London is fast-paced and free-thinking – where you can be anyone and do anything. When it comes to finding work, London is a powerhouse – with every sector from finance to fashion attracting the most exciting talent from across the globe. Rent in London is some of the highest in the world, but the payoff of living in the most dynamic city in the world is worth it.
Britain’s Industrial Revolution started in Manchester, and it’s fair to say the city has been rebelling ever since. A city built on rock and roll, Manchester’s music scene is legendary. From sell-out stadiums to bare-brick dive bars, every band worth their salt has played here. As well as being loud, it’s also proud, with Canal Street being home to the largest LGBTQ+ community outside London. When it comes to work, Manchester’s converted warehouses are a Northern hub and second home for some UK and international businesses – think London without the glamour or the price tag.
Edinburgh is magical. It has a castle for a start. A tale of two cities, the world-class university, handsome neoclassical buildings and stately Royal Mile speak to its past moniker as the ‘Athens of the North’; while the jumble of Old Town pubs, comedy clubs and raucous nights out are pure ‘Auld Reekie’ (meaning Old Smoky). Built on extinct volcanoes, Edinburgh’s mix of gothic glamour and cobbled streets are balanced by green spaces, city hikes and quick access to the beach. Like all big British cities, Edinburgh has everything going on – with job opportunities across most sectors.
Northern Ireland’s capital is fun, friendly and fast-talking. A city with a troubled past, today Belfast is perhaps best known for its nightlife, food and arts scene – centred around the Cathedral Quarter. With not enough nights or mealtimes in the week to explore the city’s atmospheric Victorian pubs, live music venues and field-to-fork restaurants, what you get from any encounter in Belfast is its genuine nature. You’ll also need to save some weekends to explore Northern Ireland’s Game of Thrones’ scenery – home to giant-carved coastlines, windswept clifftops and ancient fortresses.
The Welsh capital might not have the classical beauty of Edinburgh or the creative diversity of London, but it’s on the watchlist. As well as being a wild night out and the home of Welsh sport; a regenerated waterfront and city-centre has seen the baristas, craft brewers and restauranteurs move in – making the most of Wales’ incredible fresh produce. Living in Cardiff also offers easy access to the rugged mountains, white sand beaches and rolling green valleys of the Welsh countryside and coast – an adventure playground for hikers, surfers, climbers and country pub drinkers.
Awash with miles of empty golden beaches, coloured fishing villages and fun-loving surf towns, Cornwall is home to the UK’s most stunning coastal scenery. A picture-perfect county in the south-west of England, on a summer’s day it can seem more like Bondi than Britain. Lacking a big city, career related roles can often be hard to come by. However, if you’re looking for seasonal hospitality and tourism work – from surf instructing to working in beach cafés, restaurants and hotels – then you’ll find it in Cornwall’s innovative culinary scene and barefoot surf scene.