Best ways to Work, Stay and Play in the UK

By James Cook

If you are British, Canadian or American (or pretty much any other Western country in the Northern Hemisphere) you will go for a year long working holiday to New Zealand and then follow up with a year working in Australia. You will then return to your home country (after a few weeks in Thailand)  and become an estate agent or something. If however, you are from New Zealand or Australia, looking to do the same trip you will invariably go to the UK (or Canada) for the simple fact that there are no language restrictions.


If you are going to come to the UK for work you will need a Working holiday visa (unless you are in the EU in which case you can just rock up and start working!). To be eligible for one of these you need to be aged between 18 and 30, be from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, or Monaco and finally have £1600 available. Once you have been accepted for your Working holiday you will then need to find a job. The best way to go about this is to register with a recruitment agency in your field. A list of these can be found here.


There are many hostels in the UK. Many of these are geared towards the long term stay. Whilst these places are good for the first few weeks. You may soon find yourself in want of a more secure place to live, where you don’t have to share with roommates that have a tendency to let you know as soon as they fall asleep with their freakishly loud snoring. If this is the case for you, you will want to search on Gumtree (the UK version of Craigslist) and Craigslist for a place to live.

Of course you will also need to make sure you have good connectivity during your stay as well, especially in this day and age. There are loads of different phone providers in the UK. You might want to check out which also has good rates for when you travel abroad as well. (Which is easy to do when based in the UK)


The most important thing to remember about a working holiday visa is the fact it has the word holiday in its title. No one is expecting you to go to the UK for a year and spend the whole of that time sat behind a desk trying to get a kickstart on your career. Instead you should be taking full advantage of the fact that you are in a whole other country and YOU are in charge. The best way to play in the UK for me is the outdoors. We have incredible national parks and pretty much the whole of the Scottish Highlands is a hikers wet dream! The other great thing about the UK (and well all of Europe) is how easy it is to skip town. If you want to get away for the weekend you can catch a train, plane, or ferry across the channel. This makes Britain your perfect springboard into the rest of Europe.

Britain is also famed for its vibrant nightlife, and whether you’re into the club scene or prefer something a bit more mellow you will be sure to find it in London. If music is your thing you can go to one of the many festivals held over the summer months. The most famous of these is Glastonbury, but good luck getting tickets to it as last year they sold out within 2 hours!



    • OurOyster says

      Some countries will allow you to apply for a working holiday up to the age of 35. But each country is different, and their agreements may differ between other countries as well. Where are you from? Check out the foreign affairs website for your country, and also the immigration website for the countries you are interested in. There are also different types of work visas that are open to all ages that you may be able to apply for – for example – silver fern in New Zealand.

    • OurOyster says

      If you are interested in New Zealand, then check out the silver fern visa. I work with a man from the US who is 36 as well, and that is the visa he got.


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