Work and Travel in United Kingdom

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The United Kingdom (UK) is known for being one of the most expensive destinations in Europe. For those who want to travel in the UK, a volunteer role is one of the best ways to see the country without paying a lot for it. There are plenty of volunteer and paid work opportunities in the United Kingdom for travellers.

The UK may not be part of the Schengen zone, but the majority of Western travellers will easily be able to take advantage of visas. Whilst you explore the four countries that make up the union, work in the UK and you’ll be left with memories that will last forever.

Departing from the traditional travel guides for the United Kingdom, here are some of the volunteering opportunities in the UK you should look into.

1. Explore Archaeological Wonders in England and Wales

The UK has a long, rich history which we’ve barely scratched the surface of. Sites around the UK are searching for archaeology students and trained professionals to give them a helping hand. Volunteer in the UK and you could be exploring old Roman sites in York or Bath.

Experience levels will vary depending on the project, as will any opportunities for compensation.

2. Live in Self-Sufficient Communities

A growing trend in the UK is self-sufficient communities. Communities of people from all backgrounds live together, grow their own food, and manage all repairs and household duties without outside help. They may also be in the form of housing cooperatives.

Volunteer in the UK and you could join up with one of these communities. It’s an excellent chance to learn new skills and make new friends. You don’t need any experience to work and travel in the UK if you volunteer in a community like this.

3. Secure the Legacy of the UK with National Park Conservation

Travel in the United Kingdom and you’ll see that much of the country is covered by national parks. National parks often run chiefly from volunteers. Volunteers from around the world are able to take part in national park conservation projects in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

No matter what skills you have as you travel in the UK, you’re surely going to find a position to suit you.


The United Kingdom is notorious for having one of the strictest borders in the world. Thankfully, Western visitors should have few problems volunteering in the UK. If you’re from the European Union (EU) and want to travel in the UK, you can enter without a visa. You can also do volunteering and paid work in the country without a visa until the country leaves the EU, which at the earliest will be March 2019.

But what if you’re outside the UK?

Travellers from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, Hong Kong, and Korea can apply for the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme if they’re between the ages of 18 and 30. They also have to meet eligibility requirements. This allows them to take paid and unpaid work in the UK for up to two years.

Many foreigners prefer to live and work in the UK long-term if they can secure this visa. It’s relatively easy to get due to reciprocal agreements the UK has with the countries involved. Furthermore, there are large communities of people on these visas in London and Manchester, so you won’t feel alone if you decide to stay here for a while.

For travellers from countries like Russia, the US, and South Africa they will have to apply for a Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Charity Worker) visa. To work and travel in the UK you must have a position with a registered organisation and have full sponsorship from them.

Take note that the UK usually takes at least a month or two to process visa applications.



Thistle Camps is the conservation project for Scotland that manages older buildings. Volunteers in the UK are needed especially in spring to manage new plant growth and many of the repairs that result from harsh winters. There are also equivalents in the other countries of the UK.


Summer is festival season in the UK and volunteers from around the world are able to act as stewards at festivals like the Leeds Festival, Reading Festival, and the iconic Glastonbury.

Volunteer in the UK throughout summer and you can also join up with summer camps. Helping the kids out and maintaining a fun atmosphere is your only task.


Autumn is the time when many disabled centres and residential care homes conduct their residential holidays for their clients. Work and travel in the United Kingdom and you will be able to manage these themed holidays setup by charities. These getaways tend to be conducted throughout autumn in order to keep costs down.


Winter in the UK is not a time of great activity. In terms of volunteering in the UK, you’ll find projects that focus on social giving. Many homeless projects are desperately searching for volunteers at this time of year, even if it’s something as simple as handing out soup in kitchens.

Believe it or not, these opportunities are not just confined to locals.


Working in the United Kingdom is one of the safest places you can work and travel in. The UK is an extremely diverse country with high levels of immigration. Don’t allow the media fear-mongering to deter you. The vast majority of people in this country regularly work with foreigners and someone from abroad volunteering is seen as nothing out of the ordinary.

This is the same regardless of whether you decide to work in a rural area or an urban area. You’re sure to be welcomed with open arms when you enter the UK.

Do you have any prior experiences you would like to share from working in the United Kingdom?

Recent Contributors

  • Edited on Nov 25 2022 by
  • Edited on Jan 15 2018 by Yara

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