Written by Brittany - 15/06/2021
Previously, we were looking at different ways for students to get a taste of "Canadian cottage life” while studying in the UK.
Missed part one? Click here!
Getting into the wilderness is a shared love across Canada. When you first arrive in the UK, you might feel a longing to get outdoors and hear nature. I remember wanting nothing more than a good fall hike when I first arrived – not impossible in London, but definitely different. Never fear! There are many ways to get that “relaxing at the cottage” feeling while in the UK, even though they may not be as familiar.
What is your favourite way to unwind at the cottage?
Richmond Park (located in Richmond upon Thames) was originally created in the early 17th century by Charles I as “a royal hunting preserve”. At the time, Charles was escaping the plague of London. His decision to enclose the park was not originally a popular one among the local residents. Richmond Park remains a deer park to this day and is now a National Nature Reserve where “630 Red and Fallow deer [are still] roaming freely since 1637.”
This park is open to the public, and a great place to walk and take in the wildlife. Be sure to follow all safety precautions. These include always remaining 50 metres away from the deer. Additionally, specific times of year will impact different deer behaviour. For example, when young are particularly vulnerable (between May-July), do not get in between a mother and her babies. For more information, you can visit the Royal Park’s website here.
Note: Feeding the deer is prohibited.
One of the most unmistakable sounds in the Canadian wilderness is the call of the Common Loon. If you’re someone who enjoys listening to the sounds of different birds while you’re relaxing at the cottage, it’s worth exploring the different birds in the UK. You can even see and hear species that aren’t native to North America.
Did you know: the bird we know as a “Loon” is called a “Northern Diver” across the UK? This bird was eaten in Scotland until the 18th century!
If you’re located in a city centre, it might be tricky to differentiate between the sounds of traffic and birds, but many locations across the UK will have dedicated wetlands or nature preserves (sometimes located in the middle of the city) where you can escape the city and have a taste of the countryside.
Not sure which bird is singing?
Use the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB’s) bird song identifier to help understand the new sounds you’re hearing.
Visit https://www.wwt.org.uk/ to find a wetland near you!
If your idea of Canadian cottage life involves camping, you’ll find ample opportunity to do so across the UK! Rolling hills, breathtaking lakes, and open fields will bring a different feel to the experience, but there’s also no telling what history you’ll come across in the process.
Advisor Heather brought camping equipment in order to have an unbelievable experience camping in Wales.
Don’t plan to bring camping equipment with you? Consider renting or borrowing from a friend!
Several websites in the UK will loan out camping equipment (some will even deliver!) Prices and availability will of course vary depending on your location, but it could be an option for those still wanting to experience camping while in the UK!
Did you know: While Canadians are quite used to camping with a tent, the more popular pastime in the UK is “caravanning” - an activity that has remained popular for over a century!
While advisor Mackenzie was studying in London, her sister was working as an au pair in Bath. They went on a camping trip together in Wales (using borrowed camping gear and car from her sister’s host family) and got to experience several moments that were akin to Canadian cottaging!
With the UK being an island, you are never far from water. Mackenzie visited the Gower Peninsula and spent an afternoon at Rhossili Bay Beach. Her sister and her camped in various spots, with several being beside the water! Although there was a campfire ban in place at the time, they honoured the Canadian campfire tradition by lighting a few tealights.
On said camping trip, Mackenzie also got to see some wildlife in the form of ponies and cows! While this is not your typical Canadian bear sighting, it was much more agreeable.
No matter what type of Canadian cottage life experiences you’re used to, chances are there are activities to bring you right back to that cottage feeling while you’re in the UK.
Whether you’re missing classic desserts by the fire, being on the open water, or even camping under the stars... Just because you’re away from the cottage, doesn’t mean you can’t experience some of those same cottage feelings!
We hope you loved this blog post! Remeber to check out PART I if you missed it!
Feel free to contact one of our Advisors to learn more about studying in the UK!