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Arts and Culture for Expats in the United Kingdom

Submitted: September 2013

The four territories that make up the United Kingdom (England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland) each have their unique cultural and art scenes which feature distinct tastes in music, dance theatre and live production. Due to this, and centuries of inward migration of people from all over the world, the UK is truly a culturally diverse place. Whether you prefer admiring local museums displays, watching performing arts shows or enjoy the atmosphere at cultural festivals, there are many options available to you in the UK.


England’s unique culture has been essentially shaped largely by the landscape and architectural features themselves and features an abundance of creativity and innovation. This is especially true of epicentres such as London and Manchester which feature world-class museums and galleries such as the Tate, which has multiple locations. Homes of great art are not limited to museums and galleries in England, as there are a wide range of ancient to modern sculptures, and world- renowned art and music festivals such as Artsfest in Birmingham and Exeter’s Vibraphonic, which testify to the great creative genius of England. Theatre also plays a very important role in England culture, and remains one of the reasons people visit England, as many theatrical shows reflect the great Shakespearean productions that once graced England stages. If in London, do be sure to visit the Shakespeare’s Globe (nearest tube: Southwark) or my personal favourite, the Old Vic. Many other cultural and art scenes in England include visiting famous castles and English pubs. The English experience would not be complete without some fish and chips and a pint to wash it down with. For more information on arts and culture in England, click here.

Northern Ireland

It is not just the distinctive natural landscape of Northern Ireland that adds to its uniqueness, but also its vibrant cultural traditions, which makes it very appealing to many people. From literary greats to musical trendsetters, painters, actors and industrialists – Northern Ireland’s cultural and art scenes span many generations. If you are interested in visual art, Northern Ireland boasts numerous great museums and galleries, in addition to a full calendar of special exhibitions and festivals. Northern Ireland also has a global reputation in poetry, prose and theatre and exhibits work from many famous artists such as Seamus Heaney and CS Lewis to contemporary acting talents such as Kenneth Branagh. You may check out a traditional session in the local pub or at one of the bigger venues, visit the local orchestra or clubs which features some of the world’s best DJs. For more information on arts and culture in Northern Ireland, click here.


Scotland has a rich heritage of art and culture, with many genre and eras establishing their place in the fabric of the country. Scotland is home of the over seventy yearly professional art festivals including, one of the world’s largest and most famous, the Edinburgh International Festival, which showcases and celebrate a wide range of art forms. Scotland also boasts excellent art galleries and museums with paintings and artefacts by top artists, sculptors and artisans from all over the world. Scotland also has a very lively and diverse dance scene, ranging from traditional highland dance and the elegance of ballet to the growth of hip hop and other genres. Theatre and traditional art forms are flourishing in Scotland and are enjoying increased popularity, while they adapt to outside influences which enrich their culture. For more information on arts and culture in Scotland, click here.

If you are in the UK for the New Year, do visit Edinburgh. The street party and New Year celebrations are unforgettable.


Wales has an incredible culture, with all branches of the arts well represented in both languages – Welsh and English. The country is home to many museums and galleries which are free to visit. In addition to some of the world’s largest literary festivals, Wales showcases a number of excellent theatres, concert halls and libraries which host numerous cultural activities throughout the year. For more information on arts and culture in Wales, click here.

Additionally, for articles which feature many cultural aspects of Wales such as arts, film and literature, The Culture Trip website may prove useful.



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