Find out about your local area when new to the UK

There are lots of ways to find information about your local area when you’re new in the UK, so there’s no need to be afraid when it comes to exploring.

Even if your English is not strong enough to ask strangers for directions or advice, there are plenty of other places to get information on your local area, or of course you can explore for yourself.

Here are just a few ideas of where you might find more information about things to do, as well as practical advice like local services for people new to the UK.

Tourist information centres

If you want to find out some local things to do for fun, look out for your nearest tourist information centre. These are often found near the town hall or local council offices, or you might find similar information in the reception areas of museums and art galleries.

They are designed to help tourists find interesting things to do in the area, so they are also a great way to find activities when you first arrive in the UK.

Best of all, because they are made to help tourists from all over the world, any members of staff you speak to should be able to help overcome the language barrier – they may even speak your home language.

Clubs and societies

If you’re here to study, try to find out more about the clubs and societies that are available at your university, including any sports or pastimes you are interested in, and any groups aimed specifically at international students or even for people of your nationality in particular.

These are a great way to meet other people in the same situation as you, as well as other students who share your interests.

Most universities hold a ‘Freshers Fair’ at the start of the year, which is a good way to learn more about what’s available from your university. Even if you are not in your first year, these events can still be worth attending if you want to find something new to do.

Ask an expert

You don’t have to approach strangers in the street to ask for advice – you can start by asking the local experts who you happen to meet day by day.

That could be anyone from your employer or lecturers, to the bartender of your local pub. People who live and work in your chosen city are often more than happy to talk about what it has to offer newcomers.

Be polite – don’t interrupt someone while they are busy – but if you are obviously interested in what they have to say, you can find out a lot more ‘real’ information from other people than you can from tourist guides.

Go explore

Why not go explore your new town or city on foot? You could go alone – maybe there is a route in a tourist guide that you could follow – or go with friends if you want to feel safer in an unfamiliar part of town.

There might even be a guided bus tour of your city if it’s popular with tourists, and this could help you to learn some of the history and see some of the present-day sights too.

Getting around

Public transport can get you around your local area faster and there should be bus routes to any local tourist attractions, out-of-town shopping malls and so on.

You should make sure you have plenty of cash with you when travelling by public transport – including coins in case you have to pay the exact amount – so make an ATM withdrawal if you need to in the morning.

Alternatively, you might be able to book a day ticket or a week-long travel pass with your local bus operator online, so if this is an option, have a debit card at the ready and book your bus ticket online in advance.

Cash and cards with an Arro Personal Account

The Arro Personal Account gives you access to cash from ATMs, debit card payments and online transfers too, with a MasterCard® debit card in your name.

You can apply in just three minutes when you fill in our simple signup form online, and you don’t need lots of UK address history – you just need to have moved here to live, work or study.

We send your debit card details via SMS as soon as your account is approved, giving you a virtual card you can use online for everything from grocery shopping to buying bus passes and tickets to events and attractions – giving you the financial freedom to explore your new home from home.