Preparing for the test can be fun!
Especially if it’s the Life in the Uk test.
I have lived in London for the past 6 years. In this time, without even trying, I have experienced a lot in terms of different cultures, religious practices and ways of life.
In 2019, it was finally my time to give the Life in the UK test, as I was applying for Settlement in the UK. As I started to study the official guide book, it started to dawn on me that a lot of it I already know.
Even though there was a lot to remember, there were a lot of things that I didn't need to.
If you like travelling and going to new places, you can learn a lot. Also watching British telly can turn out to be beneficial.
Here I have jotted together some ways with which you can learn a lot about the UK without studying.
For all remaining information download this amazing app that can help you remember and retain all the information. The great thing about this app is that it covers everything that is in the book.
Nothing beats learning by travel. You don't realize it at that time but while you travel, you make memories and these memories come rushing back at unexpected times.
So pack up your bags and wait till you are allowed to travel once lockdown is lifted. You can travel to hundreds of places, from historic cities to breathtaking countryside.
Below is the list of places that you must visit if you plan to make the UK your home
Stonehenge: Find out interesting stories about the stone age period. Have a look at the interesting sites that were once used for cult practices.
Lake District: beautiful countryside with loads of natural beauty in the North of England.
Snowdonia: a rival to Lake District in Wales.
Giant Causeway: a mystified rock formation definitely worth a visit.
Canterbury: A truly historic city. Visit Canterbury Cathedral and listen to the Canterbury Tales in the form of a show.
Edinburgh: a beautiful city where you can see Edinburgh Castle, Dolly the sheep and Holyrood place all very close to each other.
Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace: Yes you can actually visit the actual residing places of the royal family.
Oxford and Cambridge: Take a guided punting tour of River Cam in Cambridge city and know about famous scientists and historic buildings. Also, take a walking tour in the city of Oxford and walk the streets the famous scientists used to walk on.
Bath: Famous for the Roma Baths that dates back to the 14th Century. the architecture and the type of stone used in the buildings are a beautiful treat to the eyes. Also home for Royal Crescent.
Bristol: Very close to Bath is the vibrant city of Bristol. Here you can see the Clifton Suspension Bridge by the famous engineer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Not to mention the Great Western Railway that takes you in the shortest time from London to Bristol.
Dover: A Beautiful city, famous for its white cliffs. Stand on the edge and marvel upon the great number of ferries waiting to cross the English Channel. On a bright day, you can even see France. When I saw it, it made me think about Dunkirk. While climbing on the hills you may encounter underground bunkers used during World War 2.
Portsmouth: Visit the Naval historic dockyard. Here you can see standing the famous HMS Victory- The flagship of Lord Nelson. Visit the ship and the museum and know all about the heroic accomplishments.
Isle of Wight -Considered as UK’s sunniest beach, you can have a lovely summers weekend just sunbathing. Here you can also get a chance to ride on the only remaining commercial hovercraft. One week boat racing festival at Cowes is another attraction Isle of Wight is famous for.
London: If you live in London that you must have already visited these places but if you don't then why not spare a few days and visit these places of special significance.
Houses of Parliament, Big Ben and statue of Boudicca at Westminister
Westminster Abbey, resting place of many many famous people
Tower of London for Crown jewels and execution place of Anne Bolyn,
St.Paul’s Cathedral- redesigned by Sir Christopher Wren
The Monument- reminder of the Great Fire of London
Trafalgar Square- built-in memory of the battle of Trafalgar, it holds Nelson’s Column in all its glory.
Hyde Park -where the huge exhibition took place at Queen Victoria’s era in 1851.
Royal Albert Hall — famous for many important concerts and BBC Proms.
West End- London’s famous theatreland with oldest theatre performances like Mousetrap and Les Miserables and relatively new ones like Mamma Mia and Lion King.
The city of London- visit the old city close to London Bridge and know all about the Black Death, the life of Charles Dickens, Jack the Ripper etc
Visit Greenwich and visit Royal Observatory to witness The Greenwich Meridian that marks the starting point of every time zone in the World. Also, see the O2 stadium and walk under the river Thames in the tunnel designed by Brunnel.
From TV & Movies
Watching Outlander can give you a closer view of the Jacobite movement and how the Jacobites supported Bonnie Prince Charlie. It draws a very real picture of how the clans used to dwell in those times with specially mentions of the clan of McDonald. What a treat to the eyes by watching beautiful highland scenery and Jamie Fraser of Scotland, looking all handsome in his traditional tartan kilt (throughout the series I kept thinking how much he resembles Heath Ledger).
You can also get to know about a bit of Scots language (if you have your subtitles on) and Scottish food.
Also, the music from bagpipes is a treat to one’s ears.
Royal family, the whole life of Queen and her children including Princess Diana, Both Wars, the magnificent portal of Winston Churchill and politics, Margaret Thatcher and her time, many prominent personalities and Auld Lang Syne.
A glimpse inside the castles of Windsor, Buckingham and Balmoral Castle would help you remember the great architect who designed it.
All you ever wondered about the intriguing life of King Henry VIII and how he got away with marrying 6 times. Not only his married life you can also get to know a lot of politics in that era, Englan’s relations with other countries. Basically, a lot of historical section of Life in the UK test could be covered by just watching Tudors.
Another great way to learn all about religious or non-religious festivals and their origin.
Guy Fawkes Night or Bonfire Night, celebrated on 5th November every day to celebrate the failed attempt to blow up the houses of parliament in the 17th century. the skies light up on the night of 5th November with colourful whirling, dazzling and splattering firecrackers.
Halloween, celebrated on 31st October, is very popular among children as they get loads of candies after they dress up and knock on their neighbours asking for trick or treat. All the supermarkets and major shops make sure they have enough costumes and makeup for that night.
Easter, every Spring brings preparation for Easter. Hot cross buns are famous for Good Friday.
Christmas, Since November people start shopping for Christmas gifts so it's quite hard to miss. The shops display big SALE signs, schools have special programs and everyone seems to be in good spirits as Chrismas is drawn closer.
Eid, Celebrated by Muslims after the month of fasting, the cake and sweet shops can be seen flowing with people who are in a hurry to go for a get-together.
Diwali, the festival of lights is celebrated by Hindus and Sikhs, the sweetmeats and firecrackers are hard to miss during the days of Diwali.
New Year is celebrated by people throwing ad attending parties and counting down at midnight and they drink to the new year. Often New year is accompanied by fireworks.
Holidays like St Patrick’s Day, St George’s Day etc, Memorial Day etc are also celebrated in the UK.
Having Young kids in School
Free learning without going to school!
What more can you ask?
Here is the list of things that I learned from not mine, but my children’s school.
Battle of Hastings: They even had a play about it with William actually crossing the English Channel in a wobbly boat.
Isambard Kingdom Brunel: FRom his childhood endeavours to his famous tunnels and bridges, I know all about it. Thanks to BBC Bitesize.
Allotments: Whatever it is to know about it, I KNOW!
Famous Castles: Not just famous castles but castle types also. From Motte and bailey to the present ones.
Religious Education: Now I know all about Hannukah, Sabbath, Lent, Menorah, Diwali, Holi, Ramadhan, Eid, Halloween, Easter you name it)
Great Fire of London: Yes, how it started, who was Samuel Pepys, what sort of wig he used to wear and which side of River Thames was completely destroyed.
Special Days: Thanks to the teachers I get at least one Mothers’ Day, every year. National Book Day, Pancake Day we celebrate all days in our household.
Christmas: So many events take place during the Christmas season. The Nativity play, Christmas fair, Christmas Jumper Day, Christmas Cards and Christmas Lunch, all are heartily celebrated by everyone.
A hearty breakfast also called ‘fry up’ is quite popular all over England, Ireland, Scotland and Waleshas a plate full of eggs, bacon, sausages, baked beans, toast, grilled tomatoes, and sometimes black pudding.
Full Scottish is served with black pudding and ‘tattie scones.’
Fish and chips
A cheap and delicious combination available all over the UK but best found near beach towns. The breaded or battered fish (usually cod) is deep-fried and often served with chunky potato chips and mushy creamy peas.
A traditional Cornish pasty is filled with beef, sliced potato, turnip or swede and onion, and baked. Associated with Cornwall, this pasty is now available all over the UK.
Cornish Ice cream
Famous ice cream, famously delicious and made from clotted cream
A Sunday roast is a traditional British meal that is mostly served on Sunday. It has roasted meat, roasted potatoes and accompaniments such as Yorkshire pudding, stuffing, gravy and mint sauce.
There you go. You have a whole list of places you can go and experiences that you can have and none of these has to do anything with reading a book or downloading an app.
But then you will say not all people have much time in their hands and money in their pockets to travel and get to know things by experiencing each and everything
Of course, I know that!
That’s why I’m going to recommend a fantastic app that can not just help you prepare for your Life in the UK Test, it will do it the fastest way possible.
This app is developed by someone like me, who had a hard time focusing and reading Life in the UK official handbook. You can read all about how this app was developed here.
Good Luck for your test!