Most ACCENT academic programs include cultural activities within London and excursions outside of London, arranged and selected by each university based on academic need. Excursions include guided visits to important museums and monuments, as well as some free time to explore on your own. Excursions and activities will vary by program.
Cultural and Evening Activities
Cultural learning is a vital part of a successful study abroad program. Most semester long ACCENT programs include a series of evening and weekend activities which help students discover both traditional and contemporary British lifestyles. The ACCENT cultural activity series is designed to bring London to the students and to open their minds to cultural awareness. ACCENT students also have the opportunity to attend additional optional cultural activities offered by the London Study Center. Some popular free or low-cost activities organized by ACCENT are: Street Art walks, tours of picturesque Greenwich, visits to Kew Gardens and UK Christmas Markets, and walks and visits to the great markets of London including Borough Market, Camden and Spitalfields. All of these activities are chosen with a view to broadening students’ cultural awareness and giving them the opportunity to benefit fully from a positive and exciting study abroad experience.
Bath, formerly known as “Aquae Sulis,” dates back to Roman times and is a city of great historical significance in England. Students will be able to visit the world famous Roman Baths surrounding the hot springs at the heart of the city. The Great Roman Temple and bathing complex built almost 2000 years ago is one of the country’s finest ancient monuments, still flowing with natural steaming hot water, but strictly off limits to bathers. The town is known for its splendid Georgian architecture. Students will find that Bath is a comfortably-sized city, filled with places to visit, including the Grand Pump Room, the Jane Austen Museum, the Bath Assembly Rooms, the Royal Crescent and Bath Abbey.
Often referred to as London-by-the-sea, Brighton is an exciting, cosmopolitan and lively city that has its own distinctive personality. Set against the backdrop of Sussex’s South Downs, this is a popular seaside town. The excursion to Brighton features Regency architecture, specialist shops, pavement cafes, a lively arts scene and vibrant nightlife. Students will tour graceful Georgian and Victorian homes, as well as the extravagant Royal Pavilion and Brighton Palace Pier. In between stunning historical sites students can take a walk along the promenade or a stroll along the seafront. Students who like trains can visit the Volk’s Electric Railway, England’s oldest of its kind.
Edinburgh, Scotland, is one of Great Britain’s capitals of art and culture. Students will explore the heritage of Scotland with guided visits to St. Giles Cathedral, Holyrood Palace and Edinburgh Castle. The castle grounds have been inhabited since 800 BC and the great castle has become a symbol of Scotland’s nationhood. Inside, the group may visit the “Honours of the Kingdom” exhibition featuring the Scottish Crown Jewels, The Stone of Destiny, and Mons Meg cannon. The guided tour will cover both the Old and New Towns but also allows for the students to explore Edinburgh independently (and try a bit of haggis if they desire)!
Hampton Court Palace
Hampton Court Palace has over 500 years of history for students to enjoy and explore. The first buildings at Hampton Court belonged to the Knights Hospitallers of St John of Jerusalem, a religious order founded in the early 12th century to protect the Holy Land from the Turks. The knights built a large manor house that Henry VIII’s fabulously rich Chief Minister, Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, leased and transformed into a magnificent palace. This palace was again partially rebuilt and greatly extended by William III, transforming it into one of the most modern and sophisticated palaces in Europe. Students can visit the Tudor kitchens, Queen Anne’s apartments, the King’s apartments, the Wolsey rooms and Henry VIII’s state apartments. The gardens of Hampton Court were laid out originally to rival those at Versailles, and their magnificence today attracts many visitors. Features include the Privy Garden built for King William III, the Great Vine, the Royal Tennis Courts built in the 1620s and the famous Tudor Gardens of Henry VIII.
Oxford, The City of Dreaming Spires, is famous the world over for its university and history. For over 800 years it has been the home of royalty and scholars. The city lies at the meeting of the Rivers Cherwell and Thames, or “Isis”, as it is locally known, providing the opportunity for boating, punting and many pleasant riverside walks. Nowadays the city is a bustling cosmopolitan town. This famous university town is also home to a growing hi-tech community. Students will be able to visit several architectural gems, including Carfax Tower, Christ Church Cathedral, the Saxon Tower of St Michael and the University Church of St Mary the Virgin.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Stonehenge is surrounded by the remains of ceremonial and domestic structures, some older than the monument itself. Altogether, the site covers some 2,600 hectares and comprises over 400 listed monuments. It was erected between 3,000 BC and 1,600 BC, by no less than three different cultures, but scientists and historians are still debating on the exact purpose and meaning of these giant stones. Some have speculated that it was a temple made for the worship of ancient earth deities and others believe it is an astronomical observatory for marking significant events on the prehistoric calendar, while still others maintain that it was a great healing center.
Not to be confused with the area of London where the 2012 Olympics were held, Stratford-Upon-Avon is set in the beautiful rural Warwickshire countryside on the banks of the river Avon and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the UK. As the celebrated birthplace of William Shakespeare, this old market town has a number of well-preserved “half-timbered” style buildings. Depending on the program, students may be guided through Anne Hathaway and Mary Arden’s farm cottages, the birthplace of Shakespeare, or the Holy Trinity Church where the Bard was finally laid to rest. Stratford is also home to the world-famous Royal Shakespeare Company and Swan Theatre. The atmosphere of the town and surrounding countryside in the Heart of England makes Stratford-upon-Avon an unforgettable excursion.
Windsor Castle is one of three official residences of Queen Elizabeth II and has been home to England’s Sovereign for over 900 years. The castle is the largest inhabited castle in the world and the oldest in continuous occupation. The imposing towers and battlements of the castle loom large from every approach to the town. No other royal residence has played such an important role in the nation’s history. The outer walls of today’s structure are in the same position as those of the original castle, built by William the Conqueror in the 11th century. Students can visit Saint George’s Chapel, the resting place of ten British monarchs, including Henry VIII, and Charles I, and they can also explore the magnificent State Apartments, the semi-state apartments created for George IV and Queen Mary’s intricate Dolls’ House.