Joyce Leung is an official CAPA blogger for summer 2016, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A dietetics major at D'Youville College in Buffalo, New York, she is studying abroad in London this term.
In this week's post, Joyce shares some of the fun ways to spend your free time within walking distance from CAPA London.
CAPA is in such a convenient location with so many cool London spots nearby! With academic work starting to add up, I try to make the most out my spare time. I have a three hour break in between classes one day a week. I make the most fun out of that small window of time by walking 20-minutes to Kensington Gardens.
Inside this park is Kensington Palace, which happens to be one of the historic royal palaces. Eating lunch on a park bench by the pond on a weekday in front a palace has been an enjoyable experience so far. Ice cream is available for purchase at the palace café on the warmer days. I am also able to lay in the grass and catch up on any readings for class.
For £18, or £13 if you bring your student ID and ask for a student discount, you can access the palace and exhibitions. Exhibitions currently include “Victoria Revealed” and “Fashion Rules Restyled.”
The “Victoria Revealed” exhibition explores Queen Victoria’s long and extraordinary life in her own words. This display is inspired by the Queen’s journals and features displays of her personal objects in the rooms where she once lived. Princess Victoria’s interests, how she was brought up and her life as a mother and wife can also be seen. Her thoughts on Albert, their marriage and her family can be found in this exhibition too.
Note: photographs are allowed but no flash photography at the Kensington Palace.
Here are some things that belonged to Queen Victoria:
The “Fashion Rules Restyled” exhibition explores how royal women navigated the fashion rules as a royal in their own unique style and set their own rules. It looks back at recent decades of dresses through the wardrobes of Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Margaret, and Diana Princess of Wales.
Here is a peak at some of the gowns:
And my favorite:
I particularly loved the designer sketches on the walls in this exhibition. Sketches of models and gowns were on the walls throughout this exhibition. Here is an example of one:
There is still plenty of other things to do around the park. The Serpentine Galleries is filled with contemporary art and architecture that follows the seasons of the year. Other things in this park includes the Albert Memorial, the Peter Pan statue, and the Italian Gardens. Even a jog or bike ride in the park would be nice some afternoon. I have yet to do that but I plan on that one of these weeks. Let’s just hope the weather cooperates!
Just one station away from CAPA (or a 10 minute walk) are plenty of museums that I think are quite worth dropping by on a weekday to avoid the crowds.
The Natural History Museum is a world-class attraction as well as a leading science research centre. Their purpose is to challenge the way people think about the world in the past, present, and future. I was particularly drawn to the sustainable futures theme. Many of its displays are quite engaging with science, what visitors need to know and the decisions visitors need to make about the future in order to be more environmentally-friendly. I found it very educational. Even if you are not interested in these themes, if I remember correctly, this location might have something to do with the movie “Night at the Museum.”
The Science Museum is also close by. This place has everything to do with science. As a science major, I was beyond excited to see what was here. My favorite section in this museum was the journeys through medicine, where displays of old medical equipment were shown. Many of these displays have interactive educational components as well.
The entrance to the Victoria and Albert Museum can also be found in the South Kensington tube tunnel. I can appreciate being in London to study abroad close by such incredible places because I definitely need more than a day at this museum alone. I’ve only had a chance to visit the fashion section due to timing. They open until 10pm on Fridays so I will definitely be back. Right now, a special exhibition “Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear” displays the fascinating story of underwear and lingerie design from the 18th century to the present day. As a fashion enthusiast, it was interesting to see the relationship between underwear and fashion, as well as its role into molding the body to an ideal throughout different times. No photography is allowed in paid exhibition areas so I am not able to share those.
What I love about these museums is that they are all free of charge for admission. However, when I saw how amazing some of these places were, I ended up donating some money on my way out. I would imagine maintenance to keep places like this running can be expensive. I thought it was very well worth donating to support them.
Here was how I fit in excursions on school days!
Joyce's journey continues every Wednesday so stay tuned.