Today there may be fewer Australians taking up the two-year VISA option and settling in for an extended stay in the UK, but there are more and more heading over for shorter stays, setting up camp in the capital and looking to cram as much fun as possible into a two or three month sabbatical.
With a little planning there's scope for the visitor to take in some of the best summer festivals and events the UK has to offer and to finance the whole shebang with a little income from a temporary summer job.
For many, a summer UK itinerary will be built around a visit to Glastonbury—provided that is, that they can score tickets. Its reputation as one of the world's premier summer festivals is alive and well down under.
Over four days late each June, come rain, hail or shine—and it's often the former—175,000 festival-goers are treated to 700 performances of world-class music, dance, comedy, theatre, circus and cabaret. Although it's easy to get hypnotised by the procession of huge headliners taking to the main stages, it's worth taking time out and exploring Glastonbury's many nooks and crannies. And at 1,200 acres, there's a lot of Glastonbury ground to cover! At every turn you'll find something educational, inspirational or downright bizarre. Chances are you'll form memories at Glastonbury that will last a lifetime.
For your average sports-mad Aussie, a summer in the UK will inevitably involve a trip or two out to SW19 for the tennis at Wimbledon. As exciting as the finals during the second week of the Championships are, tickets can be expensive and hard to come by. For the pragmatist, you'll get much punch for your pound visiting the Championships during week one. If you're lucky you'll find some big names on the outside courts where you can get up close to the action. Get your fill of Strawberries and Cream and perhaps partake in a little Pimms and Lemonade before heading for the party on Murray Mound (formerly Henman Hill) where the big screen will be covering the matches of the day from the show courts. Finish your day up on celebrity watch with a pint of the good stuff at the Dog and Fox in Wimbledon Village.
The August Bank Holiday weekend in London is all about Notting Hill Carnival. It's a slice of Caribbean in the capital and one of Europe's biggest parties. Gather up a group of mates and join the masses as they stream toward the trendy West London suburb. The best plan is to leave your inhibitions at the tube station and have no plan. Go with the flow and follow your ears. At every turn you'll be met with thumping beats, smiling people and the smell of incredible food. There's no shortage of food from all over the world on offer but opt for a Caribbean staple. I mean, when in Rome! From jerk chicken and Jamaican pasties to barbecued goat and blackened corn on the cob, you won't be disappointed.
As well as impromptu street performers and a hundred house parties, there's a number of larger commercial stages and dozens of smaller stages featuring bands and DJs so you can dance ’til you drop.
Monday's festival parade is the weekend's biggest draw. Huge floats, thumping tunes a million multi-coloured feathers and plenty of flesh.