Life in the UK

Students walking down the street in Durham

What is it like living in the UK?

The UK is a friendly and welcoming place to live and has an exciting history and culture to explore. A multicultural society, the UK is open to different traditions and cultures. Here’s our guide to what life is like in the UK.

Living in the North East

Durham and Stockton-on-Tees are located in North East England, in County Durham. The area offers a lower cost of living compared to other cities in the south, particularly London, while still offering exciting opportunities. 

The area has a strong economy and UK government is investing in skills, innovation, transport and culture through the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ project. Outside the cities you can explore the vast countryside, from walking and cycling on the moors to admiring stunning lakes and rolling landscapes.

Daily life in the UK

Food in the UK

Shops and supermarkets in the UK sell international food, so you will be able to find food you recognise from your home country. Restaurants serve food from around the world as well as traditional British cuisine. Food festivals and farmers’ markets are a great opportunity to find local and seasonal produce.

Regional food and drinks include:

  • Stottie cake – a type of thick, flat bread, often eaten with a filling.
  • Pease Pudding – split pea paste that can be eaten with ham and stottie cake.

England sightseeing and attractions

England is known for rolling countryside, historic architecture and world-famous cultural attractions. Durham is located in North East England where you can find famous castles and beautiful National Parks as well as vibrant cities like Newcastle.

Places to explore in England include:

  • Newcastle’s nightlife and shopping
  • Hadrian’s Wall
  • Durham Cathedral
  • Bamburgh Castle
  • Angel of the North – Anthony Gormley’s iconic angel statue
  • Yorkshire Dales and the Peak District

Durham City is just three hours’ train journey from London, where attractions include:

  • Tower of London
  • Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
  • Buckingham Palace – the Queen’s official residence
  • World-class museums, including the Natural History Museum and Victoria and Albert Museum.

Travel the UK and beyond

The UK has excellent transport links making it easy to explore the coast, cities and countryside. 


Durham City is served by a Park and Ride and there is also a local bus network. For longer journeys you can use the National Express coach service which is available from Durham. 


Durham train station is the city’s mainline rail station. The main train companies in County Durham are:

    • East Coast - to Scotland and London Kings Cross
    • Cross Country - to the Midlands and South West
    • Transpennine Express - to Manchester Airport and Liverpool
    • Northern - Leeds, Manchester and York 


Durham Tees Valley airport offers worldwide connections to European destinations including Amsterdam, Paris and Rome, plus onward flights to China, Thailand and the USA.

Other airports near Durham include:

  • Newcastle Airport (NCL) 
  • Leeds Bradford (LBA)
  • Manchester (MAN)

Diversity in the UK 

History and culture

Exploring British history and culture will help to enrich your student life. Living in the UK you can enjoy art galleries, museums, theatres and a thriving music scene. In the North of England will also find a distinct ‘northern’ culture and historic landmarks, such as Durham Cathedral, York Minster, Hylton Castle and Hadrian’s Wall. Other exciting cities in Northern England include Newcastle and Leeds.

Accents and colloquialisms

People in the North East of England have a distinctive accent, known as Geordie (pronounced jordy). As well as a regional dialect, Geordie is also the nickname for someone from the Newcastle and Tyneside area.

Popular Geordie sayings and colloquialisms include:

  • Whey aye, man – yes
  • Nee – no
  • Doon – down
  • Propa – very, really
  • Toon – town