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If I Could Be Anywhere But Binghamton…

“If you could be anywhere but Binghamton at this moment, where would you be?”. Thanks to an amazing semester abroad, my answer to that question is London.

Last semester I had the opportunity to study abroad at the University of Westminster in London. Naturally, I fell in love with the city and am already dying to go back. Living in London is much more than hanging around by Big Ben and eating pub food. The city is full of history, museums, theater, markets, parks, and shopping.

London is rich with history. After a semester in London, I had barely scratched the surface of historical attractions. Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace, and the Tower of London are just a few of the must-see attractions the city has to offer. Beyond the basic tourist attractions, there are art walks, Jack the Ripper tours, Harry Potter tours, etc. Whatever your hobbies are, London definitely has an attraction/tour that you will find interesting.

West End theater is incredible. Being a native of Long Island, NY and a former theater kid, I’m no stranger to professional theater productions on Broadway. However, London’s theater scene is much more accessible with its affordable ticket prices. I took a course titled “Theater in London” and we saw a show every week for a total of less than £200, equivalent to approximately $247. That’s only $20 for each show. London also boasts Fringe theater. These small theaters, often located above pubs with seating for 50-100 audience members, put on experimental productions and provide a setting for newcomers to enter the theater scene.​

Museums are free! Unlike everything else in London, there are a ton of free museums/galleries. The V&A, British Museum, Museum of London, Science Museum, National History Museum, National Gallery, National Maritime Museum, and Tate Modern all have something in common and that is they are completely free to visit. How can you ever be bored when you can just hit up the V&A’s fashion exhibit for the 20th time?

Markets, markets, and more markets. London’s markets have everything from antiques at Old Spitalfields Market to fresh produce at Borough Market to crafts at Camden Lock Market to food trucks at Southbank Centre Market. While Wegman’s is great, nothing beats spending a Sunday food shopping at Borough Market.

 

London’s parks are beautiful. Many of London’s parks once belonged to royals and have since been converted to public spaces. At the top of Primrose Hill, you’ll find people picnicking with a breathtaking view of London. If you’re looking to get away from the city, you can explore London’s most historic park in the charming borough of Greenwich. Greenwich Park has been around since 1433 and hosts the Prime Meridian Line and Royal Observatory. Or if you’re hoping to find Will and Kate, which I unfortunately never did, Kensington Gardens is your best bet.

I could probably go on for a year with why London is amazing but in reality, the best part of the city is that there is something different for everyone. If you have the opportunity to travel to London, go and find out for yourself!

Samantha is a senior at Binghamton University majoring in Integrated Marketing Communications and minoring in Global Studies. She is a proud member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon Pi and Vice President of the Binghamton University Marketing Association (BUMA). She just got back from an amazing semester abroad at the University of Westminster in London. You can find her loudly singing along to the Hamilton soundtrack. Follow her on Instagram / Twitter.
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