UK study visits
KE study visits generally start with a university visit, and are then followed by an opportunity to see something of the local area, including some of the main sights.
Most study visits are full-day trips from your study centre; but some are part of a transfer between centres. If you’d like to see how they work in practice, please look at the timetable for your chosen programme.
Everyone will see the city centre and the colleges of the University as part of a photo tour which we arrange. There is also a presentation, not just on Cambridge, but on the very special status of the two universities, Cambridge and Oxford, collectively known as ‘Oxbridge’.
London (two visits!)
London (population: about 8.5 million)
London is one of the world’s greatest and most exciting capital cities, and really needs no introduction! Because it’s so popular with students, we arrange two full-day study visits from Cambridge. One of our London trips concentrates on the City of Westminster, the other on the City of London and Greenwich.
A note on universities in London
With around 400,000 students attending universities or colleges in London, the position is complicated! London has 22 universities offering a wide range of subjects, plus more than 60 universities or institutes of higher education offering a more limited range of subjects.
Some, but not all, of the universities and similar institutions are part of the University of London. This is a federal university, the largest in the UK, with 170,000 students. It’s divided into 19 colleges, located mainly in central London. The colleges are largely independent, and in fact are generally regarded as separate universities (though students will eventually receive a degree from the University of London). These colleges include UCL, King’s College and the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), some of which may be visited in the course of KE’s trips to London.
Other universities in London are completely independent of the University of London. Some, such as Imperial College, have an outstanding reputation, and are regarded as among the very best in the UK. (Imperial used to be part of the University of London, but became totally independent in 2007.) Other universities never have been part of the University of London. Do just be careful: not every university which has the name ‘London’ in it is among the best! One or two are among the lowest ranking in the UK.
If you want to study certain specialised subjects (maybe art, music, drama or tropical medicine or veterinary medicine), one of the other institutions in London may well be suitable for you – and could well be the best in the country for that particular subject.
If you’re interested in studying in London, the advantages of life there are obvious: the convenience and the excitement of being in one of the world’s greatest cities. The big disadvantage is the cost of living! London is the most expensive place in the UK, and you need to think carefully about where you would live and how much it would cost.
London 1 – the City of Westminster (included on all UK programmes)
The City of Westminster is to the west of the City of London on the River Thames. Many centuries ago, the kings of England left the City for the cleaner and healthier city of Westminster about 4km away. In the UK, the word ‘Westminster’ is still synonymous with government. Here you’ll find the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, with the majestic Westminster Abbey almost next door. The Queen’s London residence, Buckingham Palace, is just a short walk away. Other famous sights in Westminster include Trafalgar Square with the National Gallery, and Piccadilly Circus, heart of the West End and its celebrated theatres.
Also on the west side of London are some of its famous shopping areas, including the great department stores, such as Harrods. This area also has some large parks and a whole series of great museums.
– University visits: King’s College or LSE (you’ll visit one of these, depending on your subject interests)
King’s College – 25,000 students. Another of the UK’s top universities, King’s covers a broad range of courses, but is particularly famous for medicine and related subjects.
London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) – 9,000 students. Famous not just for its economics, but also for its social science, LSE has long been a training ground for politicians and economists. But it’s the most selective university in the country, so you have to be pretty good to get in!
London 2 – Boat trip to Greenwich, past the City of London (included on all UK programmes)
The City of London (or just ‘the City’) is the oldest part of London, but it’s quite small, covering just one square mile (about 3 square kilometres) on the northern bank of the River Thames. The City is the financial and business centre of London; the main law courts are also in the City. Among the really impressive tourist sights are the Tower of London and Tower Bridge, but some of the modern buildings are really striking, including the Shard, the tallest building in the European Union. You’ll go under Tower Bridge, but before that there’ll be glimpses of the magnificent St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Greenwich is situated directly on the River Thames, not far from central London. Here you will see a fascinating contrast between Canary Wharf, one of the most modern parts of London, and the elegant buildings of Greenwich; most of these date from around 1700, and some of them can be visited; others now house the University of Greenwich, which, with 27,000 students, is the largest in London. Greenwich was once the residence of the kings of England, and it has also long been associated with astronomy: here you can stand on the Greenwich Meridian, with one foot in the western hemisphere, the other in the eastern hemisphere.
– University visit: University College London (UCL) or Imperial College London (you’ll visit one of these, depending on your subject interests)
UCL – 25,000 students. Housed in grand buildings near the British Museum, UCL is one of the world’s leading universities, with a strong record across the subject range.
Imperial College – 13,000 students. Outstanding in science and technology, Imperial stands at the very top of national and international league tables.
Leeds and York (full-day visit)
Leeds (population: 750,000)
Leeds is one of Britain’s most important cities, and the largest in the region known as Yorkshire. It used to be a centre for manufacturing woollen garments, but this sector is not so important now. Today, it’s a centre for a wide range of manufacturing industries, and also for financial and legal services, also call centres.
The city centre has quite a modern look, with a lot of high-rise buildings. Many of these are to be found along the banks of the River Aire, which is a popular area for a walk on a nice day. The grandest building in Leeds is probably the Town Hall, built as a symbol of pride in what was perhaps once the greatest centre for woollen manufacturing in the world. The city is also great for shopping, and has the largest covered market in Europe.
With five universities, Leeds is a major educational centre, and is generally seen as a vibrant place for young people to live in.
– University visit: the University of Leeds
The University of Leeds dates from 1904, and is a member of the Russell Group of leading universities. It is one of the biggest universities in the UK, and the campus is located in the heart of a vibrant, affordable and multicultural city. Campus facilities and student support services at Leeds are excellent. With a student population of over 30,000 students, Leeds offers a very wide range of subjects as degree courses across nine faculties, including Medicine, Engineering, Business, Social Sciences and Arts. Leeds has a very strong international reputation for the high quality of its academic teaching and research output. Leeds graduates are highly sought after by employers across the globe. The buildings on the campus are very diverse, but the ones most photographed are the Great Hall, used for University graduation ceremonies and large events, and the art deco Parkinson Building, with its tall, white tower. Leeds is a very popular university, and the entry requirements are on the website: www.leeds.ac.uk.
York (population: 150,000)
York is one of the most ancient of English cities, and it’s probably the number one destination in the North of England for foreign visitors. York was one of the great cities of Roman Britain, when it was known as Eboracum. It was later the capital of the kingdoms of Northumbria and, under the Viking invaders from Scandinavia, of Jorvik. By far the most famous building in York is its magnificent cathedral, York Minster, one of the largest and most impressive buildings in the Gothic style. However, it also has many ancient and beautiful buildings dating from many different periods, and some of the houses are hundreds of years old. There is still a city wall around the central part of York, and it’s possible to walk along this in many places. You can also see another side of York from the wide River Ouse, which flows through the city.
York has been important in more modern times as a railway centre – it has a splendid railway station – and as a place where confectionery (sweets and chocolates) is made. In recent years, tourism has become more important for York. York has two famous museums, one about the railways, another about the Vikings.
– University visit: the University of York
The University of York is a modern campus university on the edge of the city. It is one of the UK’s most respected universities, and a member of the Russell Group of leading universities; it has around 15,000 students. In the university rankings, it frequently features in the top 10, and is often ranked among the top 100 in the world. It’s often regarded as the best of the British universities founded in the last 50 years. York owes its reputation to the quality of its research, teaching and facilities, and it’s seen as particularly strong in sciences, law, management and public administration.
Durham (local study visit)
– University visit: University of Durham
The University is introduced under ‘Study Centres – UK’.
Newcastle-upon-Tyne (half-day study visit)
Newcastle-upon-Tyne (population: about 1 million – urban area)
Newcastle is one of the great English cities, and has a very impressive location on the River Tyne, crossed in just a short distance by a series of bridges in different styles. Newcastle used to be a great centre for shipbuilding, but today it has more modern, lighter industries. The lively city centre has a lot of elegant buildings dating from the early 19th century, and it also contains a large shopping area; the University is just on the edge of this.
– University visit: Newcastle University
Newcastle is a well-established university, and a member of the Russell Group of leading British universities. It’s quite large, with around 20,000 students, and is a very prominent research university. It occupies an impressive campus close to the city centre, although it also has a branch in Singapore. Particular strengths at Newcastle include medicine and sciences.
UK1 and UK2
On these programmes, you will stop off in Nottingham en route between Cambridge and Durham.
Nottingham (population: 300,000)
For many people, Nottingham is synonymous with the legendary Robin Hood, who is supposed to have lived in the nearby forest; you can see his statue in the city. But Nottingham is really important for its science-based industries and as the headquarters of a number of important companies. It has also become a tourist centre, as people enjoy seeing its attractive Old Market Square, its castle and what is often claimed to be the oldest pub in England. Below ground is the rather bizarre City of Caves, where people once used to live.
Nottingham has two main campuses on the outskirts of the city, but also, as one of the UK’s most international universities, it has campuses in Malaysia and China. With 45,000 students, it’s one of the UK’s largest universities.
The original Nottingham campus, University Park, is one of the most imposing in the UK, with elegant buildings, and great gardens in front. Its newer, Jubilee, campus is within walking distance, and is very different: strikingly contemporary. (We encourage all our students visiting the city of Nottingham to spend a little time admiring the campus.)
Nottingham is a high-ranking university offering a very broad range of subjects across five faculties. Its graduates do very well in finding good jobs, and many have gone on to hold prestigious positions or receive honours (including three Nobel winners).
For this programme, there will be a full-day visit to Oxford, and another to Warwick University with Stratford-upon-Avon.
Oxford (population: 150,000)
Oxford is obviously the other half of ‘Oxbridge’ – in fact, the original half, as the University there was founded about 100 years before Cambridge! The city centre is dominated by the 38 colleges which make up the University, dotted around the city, much as they are in Cambridge.
Oxford is situated on the River Thames, quite a long way upstream from London, but just an hour away on the train. It boasts magnificent architecture from many periods, most of it associated with the University. Although Oxford evolved around its University, its focus has diversified over the years, and for the past 100 years it’s been home to a large car manufacturing industry. It’s now
a very popular, if rather expensive, place in which to live.
The University of Oxford
One of the oldest universities in the world, Oxford is also one of the world’s most prestigious, invariably ranking in the top 10 worldwide. With around 100 academic departments, the University offers its 12,000 undergraduate students a huge range of options, although, with an acceptance rate below 20%, competition is tough.
Coventry (population: 350,000); Warwick (population: 35,000); Stratford-upon-Avon (population: 30,000)
The focus of this study visit is Warwick University, but in fact the University is just outside the city of Coventry; the much smaller town of Warwick is further away. However, the visit does include a quick look at both Coventry and Warwick, while just a little further away is the popular attraction of Stratford-upon-Avon.
Coventry is an industrial city which has long been a centre for the manufacture of cars and bicycles. But in earlier times, it was an important cultural centre, and its famous cathedral, built after the original one was destroyed in the Second World War, is a major attraction.
Warwick (pronounced ‘Worrick’) is a very attractive town, famous for its majestic castle. It has a fine church, and a number of other buildings of historical interest.
Stratford is famous as the home town of William Shakespeare. His birthplace is in the main street, and it’s possible to see the school building where he is believed to have studied and his tomb in the local church.
Founded in 1965, Warwick has risen rapidly in the rankings to overtake many of the older-established universities in the UK; it’s now consistently included in the top ten overall. It offers a very comprehensive range of courses across three faculties: Arts; Science, Engineering and Medicine; and Social Sciences. There are around 25,000 students.
Warwick has an excellent record for the employability of its graduates, and many employers actively seek out talent from Warwick.