UK House Hunting 101, Lesson 2: Room by Room

Cultural expectations differ when it comes to housing, and this can sometimes cause confusion when you’re looking for a place to live. For Americans looking for a place to live in the UK, it might not necessarily cause confusion, but it can certainly lead to some unrealistic expectations. In this post, I will talk about each room in a British home and what may be different from the same room in an American home.

I have been having a hard time finding photos of the rooms I’m talking about below. But you can always try looking through some listings on an online housing website to see what I’m talking about. My favorites are rightmove.co.uk and zoopla.co.uk. Or, if you’re into upscale London properties, you might enjoy foxtons.co.uk.

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Visiting Durham Cathedral

I recently went to Durham, with the sole purpose of visiting the cathedral there. Durham Cathedral was originally founded by a group of Anglo-Saxon monks as the final resting-place for the remains of St Cuthbert, an important Anglo-Saxon bishop and, later, saint. After they established the cathedral in the crook of the River Wear, a town inevitably grew up around it. The cathedral still houses the remains of St Cuhtbert, as well as those of Bede and the head of St Oswald—all significant figures in Anglo-Saxon history and culture.

The original Anglo-Saxon cathedral was demolished after the Norman Conquest of 1066, and the Normans then rebuilt the church in the style they were used to from the Continent. Durham Cathedral is today one of the most magnificent examples of Norman architecture (called Romanesque architecture on the Continent) in the entire world, and it easily rivaled my visit to the Abbaye aux Hommes, commissioned by  William the Conqueror himself, in Caen a few years back.

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UK House Hunting 101, Lesson 1: Property Types

If you’ve ever tried to find a place to live in another country, you know how confusing it can all be. Real estate tends to have its own vocabulary, including lots of abbreviations, acronyms, and country-/government-specific terms. Even if you’re pretty good with the terminology in your own country, trying to decipher listings and understand pricing schemes in another place may take a lot of practice.

So today I present the first in a series of articles on house-hunting in the UK. Today’s lesson: types of properties.

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Alton Towers: The Big 6 Challenge

My university halls of residence had a special offer at the beginning of April: free tickets and transportation to Alton Towers theme park. It was limited (first 50 people), and since this was on my Level Up list and I’d missed out on some of these offers before, I signed up immediately.

Alton Towers is one of the most popular theme parks in the UK. It has several areas, from pirate-themed Mutiny Bay to kid-oriented CBeebiesLand and Cloud Cuckoo Land to thrill-focused X-Sector. They are preparing to launch a campaign for this summer (running from May to September) centered on their six most popular roller coasters, called the “Big 6 Challenge.” The idea is to download an app and then ride all 6 roller coasters in one day (presumably keeping track using the app). Since it hasn’t officially started yet, I couldn’t do the challenge officially, but I decided to scope out these “big 6” rides anyway.

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Good Friday at Winchester Cathedral

As a student of Anglo-Saxon literature, I’m always interested in getting a sense of the world those Anglo-Saxons inhabited—indeed, that’s one of the reasons I came to England to study. So in that pursuit, I wanted to visit Winchester, which was the headquarters of Alfred the Great and, about a century later, the center of monastic reform in England. It was at the cathedral in Winchester that Ælfric, later abbot of Eynsham, was educated as a young monk—and since I am studying a text a he wrote, this only heightened my interest.

A few days before my visit, I realized that I would arriving on Good Friday and therefore decided to attend the three-hour service at the cathedral. Continue reading Good Friday at Winchester Cathedral

tales of an Idaho transplant in the UK