For those of you looking to study abroad in a place filled with unparalleled history, topnotch fashion, sophisticated accents and William and Kate, well then London is your place.
Living in what’s considered the most posh borough of London, it’s safe to say you walk around each day feeling like you’ve become the star of Made in Chelsea-- and you may just see the cast.
Hyde Park is your backyard; an expansive park that has two lakes, boat rides, lavish afternoon tea spots and autumn beauty that cannot be beat. If that isn’t enough to make you drool over London’s superlative elegance, below are just a few ways London stands out amongst the abroad crowd.
A City of Sights
Land of the royal monarchy, London is home to Buckingham palace, Kensington palace, and Westminster Abbey. Though we haven’t yet seen the Queen herself, watching the changing of the guards in front of Buckingham is a morning routine not to be missed-- red suits, furry hats and all. Kensington Palace, home to Will and Kate, is located about 3 minutes away from where your apartment.
The good news is Will and Kate arrive back from their summer vacationing just as you move in, so you won’t be lying when you say they’re your neighbors! Westminster Abbey church is available to tour at any time during your stay in London; built thousands of years ago and having held 16 royal weddings, it is truly an architectural eighth wonder of the world.
And all of these sights are simply in addition to the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben and London Bridge (still hoping to see Fergie there). And if you think the double decker buses and bright red phone booths are just in the movies- think again.
The buses run 24 hours, which calls for shameless touring of the city just by riding the stops all day! Though the phone booths do not work, they still prove to be perfect London photo opportunities. Looking to capture all this beauty in one picture? See below for the famous spot where the cheesy phone booth pose can be taken with both Big Ben and parliament in the background (now that’s an Instagram).
Tourist Fun and Local Endeavors
For unprecedented views of the city and carnival-like fun, the London Eye will take you on a half-hour ferris wheel ride on what I promise you will be the largest ferris wheel you’ve ever experienced.
In central London is the Somerset house, home of London fashion week, which hosts tons of fashion and art shows, and a man-made ice rink built in the winter for people to go ice skating on when the holidays are near.
Borough market is one of London’s oldest food markets, and was voted the best outdoor market in Europe! If you’re a fan of anything from burgers and grilled cheese, to doughnuts and cookies the size of your face, this market has a variety of gourmet options made right in front of you with the best ingredients.
The market also happens to be located right next to the place where Diagon Alley was shot in Harry Potter. Do not be surprised by this-- as an avid Harry Potter fan I am thrilled to note you will see many, many Harry Potter scenes come to life wherever you are walking.
For a less touristy taste of London, try going to the Camden market. Camden is another borough with an artsy, local vibe and food that is just as delicious (see the mac and cheese below from the Mac Factory!). There’s also Brick Lane, a street filled with incredible street art that artists from all over the world travel to to make their mark on the walls. Brick Lane has tons of eccentric clothing stores, thrift shops, and restaurants to explore.
Speaking of clothing, London is a shopper’s cloud nine. Harrod’s, the most famous department store in the world, is a fifteen-minute walk from your apartment and home to the world’s most luxurious designer clothing and fashion displays-- including spontaneous fashion shows on the street outside of it. And while you’re there, take a short walk to where Lindsay Lohan played Annie James in The Parent Trap, their British townhouse from the movie will not disappoint.
Piccadilly Circus is the Times Square of London. It will offer you endless restaurants, theaters, pubs, and street performers to entertain you and your friends night and day. For a quieter feel, Covent Garden is a trendy spot decorated with boutique shops, coffee places, and smaller theaters to go to. London is twice the size of NYC; it has endless places to go and hundreds of things to see-- your time here will be well spent!
Though you could spend every weekend here in London, there is even more to see around the UK itself. Just a train ride away is Brighton, Oxford, Bathe and the Lake District. Brighton is London’s beach town, with a lengthy boardwalk filled with rides, fried food, and ocean vibes.
If you plan to go during the Rugby world cup, you can watch games on a giant projector set up on the beach, with fans that have so much heart it will both seriously concern you and get you in the spirit! Oxford is home to Oxford University, a college with a 5% acceptance rate (don’t try to transfer) and even more impressive architecture simulating both old English and Roman styles together.
Bathe and the Lake District are both places on the countryside of England; with a more historical and remote feel, and breathtaking landscapes-- think Kate Winslet in The Holiday.
Ireland, Scotland and Paris are also all within train’s reach. And while in Europe, traveling to Italy, Spain, Switzerland and many other countries are just a short plane ride away! However, simply exploring London itself will keep you plenty busy the entirety of your four months here, and will be an experience to never forget.
If you’re thinking of studying abroad in London, please feel free to email me! My email is email@example.com and I would be more than happy to answer questions or give guidance. Cheers!