The UK offers some truly beautiful landscapes to explore, quaint little villages to immerse yourself in, and welcoming people to meet at events or just down one of the many, many pubs. So, on the face of it, the UK makes for quite a nice destination for a gap year.
However, as with many aspects of coming to and leaving the UK, Brexit has brought about some speed bumps and additional considerations.
The tenants of planning your gap year are short-term employment, living costs, and activities. Before you plan your tickets to Blighty, it’s good to get a grasp on what each of these entails because, after all, getting a job in the UK comes with special requirements from the employer, and this part will directly impact your ability to endure the rising cost of living in the UK. Then, you can enjoy everything across the UK thanks to the nation’s quaint size.
Being tactical with your short-term employment
If you’re looking to work in the UK as an overseas worker, whether for a short or long term, you’ll need a work visa. If you are considering a gap year in the UK, Temporary Work Visa (previously known as the Tier 5 visa) could be a good option.
This route allows foreign workers to work in the UK for a shorter period, usually up to 12 months, and certain visas within this route even allow for stays of up to 24 months. Immigration lawyers at Reiss Edwards mention that there are various visa categories within the temporary work route, including the Charity Worker visa, Creative Worker visa, and Religious Worker visa, among others. It is important to note that the company interested in hiring you needs a worker licence called a sponsor licence.
This means not all businesses are eligible to hire overseas workers, even for a temporary job. Before you start sending out your CVs, it’s a good idea to check if the business has a sponsor licence or is planning to get one.
The cost of living in the UK
The cost of living crisis, rising energy and food costs, has been particularly acute in the UK. People were already subtly seeing the ill effects of Brexit, the pandemic hit shortly after, Brexit effects continued, and then the War in Ukraine commenced.
So, it’s not exactly cheap to live in the UK right now. Many people who want to live and work in the UK on a gap year will naturally flock to the capital city.
It’s huge, there are thousands of businesses, and the UK is small enough that it can be a hub for a weekend away to the more scenic parts of the country.
However, in London, the average rent is £2,500 – £1,310 more than the rest of the UK – meals range from £20 to £40, a pint will set you back at least £5 for a standard brand, and utilities tend to set you back £160 per month. Some cities will rival this, but most will be far cheaper as a base for your gap year.
Places to visit on your gap year in the UK
You can enjoy a full five days in London and get a huge amount done, but anyone who’s spent time in the capital will know that it takes several weeks to truly tick everything off and enjoy all of the hidden gems on offer.
However, as most gap years are about activities and adventures, even if based in London, you’ll likely be venturing to the coasts, hills, or mountains.
You could go sailing on the rural waterways, island hopping in Scotland, surfing off of the south coast, trek Hadrian’s Wall, wild camp around the mountains, or ferry over to Ireland.
Once you’ve set your plans for getting employment, established a budget for living day-to-day, and planned some epic excursions, you’ll be ready for an unforgettable gap year in the UK.
Further reading: Epic 5 Day London Itinerary for Your First Time in London – Hues of Delahaye