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June 8, 2018
by Bloomsbury International

Names of British Meal Times

The confusion of mealtime names

It is sometimes difficult for visitors to Britain to understand the names for the different mealtimes.  Although this may sound surprising, the names which are given to meal times can change depending on where you live in the country, your wealth or status and even your family traditions.

The good news is that everyone calls the morning meal breakfast.  This dates back to the 15th Century; it means ‘to break fast’.  In other words, to eat for the first time after a period of fasting (to fast = to not eat).

Names of British Meal Times, English breakfast

The bad news is that for the rest of the day, the names of meals can be different.  It is important to understand that London and the south-east of England follow a slightly different trend to the rest of the country.  Also, wealth may be the reason why the names given to meal times change.

People in London and the south-east call the midday meal lunch and the evening meal dinner.  This is a simple idea and what most people learning English as a foreign language would learn as the normal names for the meals.

Outside of London and the south-east of England, the midday meal is called dinner and the evening meal is called tea.  In wealthier families, the midday meal may be lunch or dinner and the evening meal supper.

Now, this is where it starts to become harder to understand.  Historically, working class families would have a meal at around 5 pm, when the man of the house returned from work.  Eating at this time may leave an adult hungry at around 9 pm, resulting in a smaller meal, also known as supper.

Coffee and Cake

Tea can also be used to mean a hot drink and a snack such as biscuits or cake.  This may be taken mid-morning or mid-afternoon.  Further problems may be added when you think about afternoon tea or high tea.

Afternoon tea was common among wealthy people in the 19th century.  This would be tea and sandwiches, sometimes cake as well.  This has become a luxury, often taken by tourists and visitors at expensive hotels such as The Ritz. This may also include alcoholic drinks such as wine or champagne. Tea and Scones

A Cream Tea is different again.  This is a scone, a heavy bun which usually contains dried fruit, served with jam and clotted cream (cream which is being made into butter – delicious if not very healthy).  Interestingly, there is often a lot of discussion about the order the cream and jam are added to the scone – cream then jam or jam then cream.  However you put it all together, it will be delicious and I highly recommend that you try one.

High tea started as the working class or northern version of dinner.  The name comes from the idea that this meal would be taken at a high table, whereas afternoon tea would be served whilst sitting on a sofa (also known as low tea).  However, the name was taken by expensive hotels and used to attract tourists for afternoon tea.  This would have included something hot, for example, Welsh Rarebit (fancy cheese on toast), pies, muffins or omelette. Gravy being Poured over a plate of Roast Chicken

To make this situation a bit more complicated, there are certain meals and even places which take no notice of wealth or geographical boundaries.  In Britain, it is common to have a large meal on Sunday, consisting of roasted meat, roast potatoes, vegetables and gravy.  Some people call this Sunday lunch, some call it Sunday dinner.  It may or may not be served at midday, mid-afternoon or in the evening and it is, of course, possible to eat this food on any day of the week.  The easiest thing to do is to call it a Sunday roast.  The main meal on Christmas day also has the same problem.

Schools add further to the problems.  Meals cooked by the school are usually called school dinners, but if a student brings their own food from home, this is called packed lunch.  Interestingly, there is a difference in the type of food which is being eaten; school dinners are cooked and served hot on a plate, whereas a packed lunch is usually sandwiches, crisps, fruit and something sweet, such as a chocolate bar.

Other meals cause more problems.  For example, the mid-morning snack may be called Elevenses, coffee break, tea time or if like me, you’ve seen The Lord of The Rings, second breakfast.  There is also brunch – a combination of breakfast and lunch, served mid-morning, often at the weekend (or any day if you’re a university student) and is big enough for you not to eat again until the evening.

One thing that is for certain is that the idea that the whole of the UK stops what they are doing at 5 pm to drink tea is a myth.

May 24, 2018
by Bloomsbury International

London Summer Festivals 2018

London Summer Festivals

Summer is here and London is brimming with anticipation as it prepares for its Festival Season! From May to September music will be booming from every field, park or arena in the city, from North to South, East to West! Thousands of people will be bopping away and enjoying the wide variety of music, film screenings, street food and drinks, comedy, arts and crafts, workshops, talks and so much more!  There is loads of fun to be had by all at summer festivals and they are a great place to soak up the sun!! You can buy one day, two day or three day passes, but get cracking as tickets are selling out fast! London Summer Festival 2018

All Points East 25-27 May 2018 Victoria Park, E3

All Points East is a brand new cultural festival set in East London’s beautiful and very cool Victoria Park with loads of events to keep you entertained.  Hurry, it’s this weekend!

Line-up includes: Björk, LCD Soundsystem, The xx, Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds, The National and Catfish And The Bottlemen, Beck, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Lorde, Flying Lotus, Sampha, Father John Misty, Glass Animals Richie Hawtin, Dixon George Fitzgerald.

Field Day  1-2 June 2018  Brockwell Park, Herne Hill London

A more alternative vibe with a villagey feel! Great music and loads of craft beers!

Line-up includes: Erykah Badu, Fever Ray, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Moses Sumney, Mount Kimbie, Nils Frahm, Thundercat, Princess Nokia, Loyle Carner, Daniel Avery.

Hampton Court Palace Festival 5 – 23 June 2018 Hampton Court Palace, London

Enjoy great bands in historical surroundings! It’s simply magical!

Line-up includes: Lionel Richie, Paloma Faith, Joe Bonnamassa, The Beach Boys, Gary Barlow, Tom Jones, Jools Holland.Dylan and Rives Music Concert

Wireless  6 – 8 July 2018  Finsbury Park, Brownswood Park

The ultimate summer festival in South London with excellent music and entertainment!

Line-up includes: Stormzy, J Cole, DJ Khaled And Friends, Wiley, Giggs, Wretch 32, Rick Ross, PartyNextDoor, J Hus, Cardi B, Rae Sremmurd, Mostack, Not3s, Hardy Caprio, French Montana, Fredo, GoldLink, Mabel, Donae’o, Kojo Funds.

Lovebox  13 – 14 July Gunnersbury Park, South Ealing Friday

Come and share the love of great music!

Line-up includes: Skepta, Childish Gambino, SZA, Anderson Paak, DAVE, Jacob Banks, Big Boi, Mura Masa, Jon Hopkins, Vince Staples, N*E*R*D.

Citadel Festival 15 July 2018 Gunnersbury Park South Ealing  Sunday

More of a chilled vibe but still boasts some top musical acts!

Line-up includes:  Tame Impala, Leon Bridges, The Horrors, Chvrches, Goat, Fat White Family.Festival event

Kaleidoscope Festival Saturday July 21 2018  Alexandra Palace, Muswell Hill

One of the most colourful and exciting festivals!

Line-up includes: The Flaming Lips, Ghostpoet, Mystery Jets, The Go! Team, Beth Orton, Dr John Cooper Clarke, Katherine Ryan, Mark Watson.

Bestival 2018 2-5 August 2018 East Lulworth, United Kingdom 

One of the most popular four-day music festivals in The UK. Pack your tent and head for the South of England! You won’t be disappointed!

Line-up includes: The Castle Stage, London Grammar, Silk City (Diplo & Mark Ronson), M.I.A., Grace Jones, Plan B, Chaka Khan, First Aid Kit, Rudimental (Dj Set), Bicep (Dj Set).

SW4: South West Four 2018 London, United Kingdom / 25-26 August 2018

A dance music festival for over 18s only! Get you fluorescent gear ready and have loads of fun!

Line-up includes: Marshmello / Dizzee Rascal / Chase & Status (Live) / Craig David Presents: TS5.

May 10, 2018
by Bloomsbury International

Summer Travel Tips 2018

Summer travel tips (from someone who has been to over 35 countries in the world!)

Just booked a Language course at Bloomsbury International? Want to make the most of your experience in the UK? So why not do a bit of travelling while you are here?

adult backpacker viewing sceneryNobody can deny that there are so many things to see and do in London. You can visit museums, historical sites and our parks, as well as stroll around markets, take a walk along the Regent’s canal, go to the theatre and gigs, and take advantage of our incredible nightlife!

But the summer is quickly approaching and there are so many wonderful places that are a stone’s throw away from the city.

Here are some of my favourites:

Seven Sisters Country Park

summer travel tips 2018. seven sisters country park

Seven Sisters country park

This wonderful country park is named after the Seven Sisters chalk cliffs located close to Brighton, on the South coast of England. Covered in lush green rolling fields, speckled with sheep and cows, you can walk along the coastline, along the cliffs, all the way from Seaford to Eastbourne (20 Km) if you feel like it. If you don’t fancy such a hike, just travel to Seaford and walk around the area there. It’s truly worth it! A personal tip: try not to visit the park on a rainy day or when it’s too windy. It’s a long drop if you fall!

The Cotswolds 

Experience quintessential British country and rural living. The Cotswolds covers a large area to the  north-west of London, running over 5 counties. It is scattered with beautiful villages, each with their own identity, and all built in the golden Cotswold stone.

Cities worth visiting close to London

Everyone wants to visit Cambridge, Oxford and Brighton, and rightly so, as they are truly beautiful! But there are so many other wonderful cities a short journey away from London that are worth visiting.

Lewes: nestled amongst the rolling hills of the South Downs, one hour from London, this small parish town is steeped in history. The castle and Anne of Cleves House are worth a visit.

St Albans: a cathedral city dating back to Roman times. Loads of ruins and historical buildings to visit and, a fun fact, St Albans has the most number of pubs per square mile! (20 minutes from Kings Cross Station).


St Albans Cathedral

Royal Tunbridge Wells: (50 mins from Charing Cross or London Bridge) a market town that has a thriving shopping district called the Lanes (a series cobbled winding roads, lined with shops and art galleries).    The city was granted its official “Royal” title by King Edward VII to acknowledge its popularity over the centuries among members of the royal family.

Cheap ways to get round the UK

British rail discount cards: you can save up to 1/3 off rail journeys, using one of the many railcards available.

Mega Bus: Purchase tickets to Birmingham, Manchester, York, Liverpool and many, many other destinations for only £1.

National Express Coach Services: cheaper than the train but more expensive than Mega Bus.

Travelling around Europe 

Ever thought how wonderful it would be to come over to London to learn English and then travel around Europe to practice it? There are many options available. Here are some of my best suggestions:

Inter Rail: fancy visiting Rome, Florence and Milan? Or Berlin, Frankfurt and Munich? Well you can buy a One Country 8 day pass for as little as £50 pounds to travel around one of the 37 countries listed on the website.  If, on the other hand you have more time on your hands, you can purchase a Global pass, where you can travel to up to 30 counties in Europe by train. There are different options up to a month’s worth of travel. A wonderful way to travel and meet people from all over the world!

For both types of passes you will get a discount if you are 27-years-old or under. So get travelling!

Eurostar: good prices to France, Holland and Belgium if you book early. Sign up for email notifications to find out when cheap tickets are released.Ryanair airplane in sky

Budget airlines: find cheap flights and accommodation for most destinations around Europe:,,,,, and (to name but a few).

Cheap international travel

How about travelling further afield? How does 2 weeks in Thailand, or 10 days in Cuba sound? Remember London has 5 airports you can take full advantage of!

STA Travel: excellent prices, student discounts for travel all over the world. One of the cheapest places to get a ticket!

The Flight Centre: another good place to find deals on flights and accommodation.

Trail Finders:  a UK based travel agency – lots of deals to be found here.

Gendai Travel:  excellent deals for holidays and flights all over the world, but if Japan or The Philippines is what you are really interested in, then this is the best company for you!

Osaka castle, Osaka, Japan

Japan Travel Centre: The quintessential Japanese Experience. Cheap flights, accommodation and tours available, and this is the place to go to buy your Japan Rail Pass

Last but not least

Many young British people take 6 months or a year out to backpack around the world doing a Round the World Trip. The travel agencies listed above provide cheap round the world tickets. For instance, you can get 12 stops (London > Toronto > Buenos Aires – make your own way to – Bogota > Fort Lauderdale > Los Angeles – make your own way to – Las Vegas > Vancouver > Tokyo > Manila > Hong Kong > Bangkok > Dubai > London) for just £1,699.  What a bargain!

So whatever you decide, take fadult backpacker planning trip in their bedroomull advantage of your experience studying in London and, if possible, do some travelling!

**** Please remember to check your visa restrictions when travelling to a foreign country.