Study Spots, Restaurants, and Everything in Between: 10 Recommendations for Your Semester in the UK

Nov 6, 2018 9:43:00 AM / by Maisie Haney

In this week's post, Maisie shares her recommendations for things to do, shows to see, and places to study, shop, or find tasty new food during a semester studying abroad in London. 

1. ACE Hotel - Shoreditch

I found on some reddit thread that a lot of people got their work done at Ace Hotel, in the lobby, which was also open 24 hours. For someone coming from Orlando, it was such a relief to know that such a place existed (we have many coffee shops that are open until 11 or 12, and one coffee shop is open all night and day long). Ace Hotel has this long table in the lobby with power outlets and enough space to work on one thing at a time. They serve coffee pretty late into the night, too, if you need a little pick-me-up. The absolute best part is the music they play, usually funk and soul records from the shop next door, which is the kind of high energy thing I need when writing papers.


This music venue was a delight! I love when venues have a place for you to go between sets (even if it is a sort of patio area for smoking). At Boston Music Hall, they had a smoking area, but also these benches lining the wall to the right of the stage. I also appreciate a good low stage, where you can intimately watch the bands play, where you can participate in the show if you so wish. I came here to see a band from Florida called Gouge Away, and the London crowd knew their old stuff so well the singer was giving the mic to them. It was like this huge brawl creating a push and pull with the singer, and it was so cool to watch it happen.


Haul from Camden Vintage MarketMy Findings from Camden Vintage Market

The funny thing is, this is probably the cheapest place in Camden Market. Some of the vintage clothing is expensive, which was not surprising, but most of the jeans and button down shirts seemed fairly priced. The entire store was separated by type of garment (a pile of bow ties, a rack of windbreakers, a section of cropped bad band tees), and the organization alone is reason enough to come here.


Eating Pide like the RoyalsEating Pide like the royals.

After seeing a one of the films at BFI, my friends and I went here for a bite to eat. One of my friends is Turkish, and she explained that the Turkish made their own version of pizza, called pide, referring to the flatbread that is topped with suzuk, peppers, or other toppings that I do not remember. They also had another pizza-like dish called lahmacun. She told me that to eat it, it’s usually rolled up rather than cut into slices. Grade A, everyone.


House of Horrors in Essex

The House of Horrors, over by now but should be up again next October, is an interactive haunted house experience in Essex. Our poor Uber was beyond confused driving us there, it was in the middle of the woods so I cannot blame him. There are twelve rooms, and an additional thirteenth room that seems to be the ultimate scare, and they don’t really tell you about it save for the fine print in a waiver they have you sign. I did not go into room thirteen, as I was very scared of being electrically shocked and that is all I will say.


Rides at the Brighton PierA ride at the Brighton Pier.

I really wanted to go to Brighton because I’ve been learning about the mod and rocker rumbles, although I didn’t even look for any Quadrophenia landmarks. Brighton had its own charm, which was lovely enough. We sat on the beach for a while (the sand that is literal rocks is more comfortable than you would think), chucking rocks at another rock we called our target, obviously with a large enough radius of no people around us. The pier was really neat, and we ate some pretty good bao.


For those of you who tell me I should go to the Tate Britain: no. The Tate Modern, frankly, is where it’s at. I find the layout quite fun; I have been so confused about that building I've already been in that I don’t think I’ve seen everything still. My first time visiting was after the Southbank tour on a whim, and I was surprised to see they had a Marina Abramovic performance set up. My favorite things in modern art museums are the videos shown on ancient looking TVs, with a large back to it. Now, in the installation space/ bottom floor hallway, there is a room filled with gas that immediately makes you cry. Thank you.

Image from Exhibit at TATE Modern MuseumMarina Abramovic performance at the Tate Modern.


Sometimes, I will strand myself in Shoreditch and my phone will be dead. When I get lost, I always end up at this fun street called Rivington, where there are many bars, some bookstores, and things that I really could not identify. Once I was passing through, trying to evaluate the many “late night study spots” on yelp. Nothing was panning out, and when I gave up hope I found this empty bar on Rivington. There was one guy dancing to some Michael Jackson bops, and I sat at a couch and wrote one of my midterm papers. It is now my secret weeknight getaway to do homework.


Shirt from London Thrift ShopA shirt from Vintage Market.

There are certain no-no’s when writing these blogs, but am I allowed to mention tattoos? CAPA may frown upon the encouragement of tattoo accumulation. My words are not CAPA’s words, and you can do the things that I do and you can also not do those things upon your free will. Whilst waiting for a tattoo artist to transfer a drawing I did to stencil, I wandered the surrounding Shoreditch area of Cheshire Street for about half an hour, and found the Vintage Basement. Downstairs everything they have is ten pounds or under. They had granny pants and shimmery shirts and UF jerseys, which was magnificent and shocking.


On reddit, this coffee shop is a prime open-late location for studying. Although I was brutally confronted with the false nature of this dream, I still enjoyed the cozy nooks downstairs, where I could do my work in almost silence (the customers were quiet but they were playing some hip hop, I believe Doug E. Fresh was playing at one point). Their water is so beautifully flavored with mint, the croque monsieurs are a wonder, and I would recommend to all.

On your journeys across the UK, listen to this gas:

Thanks, Maisie!

Maisie Haney


Maisie Haney is an official CAPA blogger for fall 2018, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. An Art History major at Rollins College, she is studying abroad in London this semester.

Maisie's journey continues every Tuesday so stay tuned.


Learn More about the CAPA London Program

Topics: London, England, Local Culture