In this week's post, Katrina shares her top 10 ways to spend a weekend in London.
I’m lucky enough to have friends who had studied in London before me, and the feedback I’ve unanimously received is to really take advantage of time in the city. While travel is an exciting part of being in Europe for a semester, there are so many equally exciting and fun things to do within London. My advice is to fully embrace the opportunities in your own backyard; you (and your wallet) will be so glad you did.
Here's 10 of my favorite ways to spend weekends here:
1. TAKE A BOAT RIDE DOWN THE THAMES. Whether you take a boat tour (like the My Global Education event I went on) or take the river as a form of London transportation, floating down the Thames is something you must experience. Going on a river tour early on in your time at CAPA is a great way to feel oriented in the city and become familiar with recognizable landmarks.
2. EXPLORE GREENWICH. Combined with number 1, this is a great way to spend a Sunday. Explore the bustling Greenwich Market (come hungry!) and find goods of every kind. This is an affordable place to buy souvenirs for family and friends; there is something for everyone, and a cool story behind the gift. The area has really interesting history that dates back years and years, and the charming vibe makes you feel like you’ve traveled miles from the city and years back in time. Check out the Royal Naval College for some gorgeous photo ops.
3. GO TO A SPORTING EVENT. I’m so excited to attend a rugby game in November as one of my cultural attraction tickets (provided by CAPA). If you’re looking for something more familiar, check out a football (soccer) game or even an American Football game when the NFL is in London.
4. GO TO A SHOW. I recently saw Wicked and was blown away! Check out one of the shows at the city’s many theaters. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
5. TRY A NEW FOOD. No matter what you’re in the mood for, there is a great café, restaurant or market on every corner. Buy fresh produce at a market (like Shepherd’s Bush market, just outside my front door), or go a little exotic with a food from another culture (an added bonus of studying in a global city: authentic food from places far and wide). It’s also fun to explore European chain restaurants (because who doesn’t love Pret?).
6. EXPLORE A NEW AREA. It’s easy to get stuck in a routine, especially when days are filled with classes, an internship, and school work. I like to challenge myself to go to a new tube stop once a week, just to explore a new area of the city. A great perk of being a CAPA student is having a fully-loaded Oyster card for Zones 1 and 2 (which encompasses most of central London). It’s so easy to explore new places.
7. ENJOY LONDON NIGHTLIFE. There is something for everyone! Whether you’re a fan of nightclubs, pubs, quiet cafes or cocktail bars, there is always somewhere new to go on a weekend night. Some trendier areas (like Soho) can get really expensive, but are still fun to explore and get a feel for nightlife in such a big city.
8. BE A TOURIST FOR A DAY. There’s a reason tourist attractions are so popular! While some can be pricey (always ask about student discounts!), they’re so worth visiting while you’re in London. Before arriving, the London Eye was top of my list and it didn’t disappoint. The views of the city are breathtaking and the line is not as daunting as it looks. Heights aren’t your thing? Explore Westminster (home of Big Ben and Westminster Abbey), Buckingham Palace, and the Horse Guards Parade. You’ll be so glad you did.
9. EXPLORE CAMDEN. Another niche of London, Camden Town (where plenty of CAPA students are living this semester) is a really cool area to explore. The Camden Market is sprawling with all sorts of goodies, and there are always plenty of things to do and see.
10. PAY ATTENTION TO LOCAL EVENTS. There are always things to do in London. With special pop-ups like London Fashion Weekend or a one-day-only In n' Out (no, I’m not kidding), festivals (London Design Week, London Cocktail Week), concerts, speakers, and more, London always has something new to offer. Keep your eyes peeled for announcements from CAPA (and check their bulletin boards) for ideas if you’re stuck!
Katrina's journey continues every Wednesday so stay tuned.