One week left of the program! It doesn’t seem possible that my time here is already up. Unfortunately, most of what I’ve been doing recently is writing final papers and studying for my final exams this week. Oh yeah, school! That IS what I’m here for, not just traveling and exploring the city. ; )
But as my time is dwindling here in London, I thought I would do somewhat of a different sort of blog post and provide a list of my favorite places in the city, things I think are worthwhile, inexpensive, and fun, for the benefit of any potential IES students reading this blog. There are a million-and-one things to do and see on any given day in London, but it helps to find the practical and fun places that you’ll go every day while living here. Here are all my go-to’s:
Spitalfields: Literally right around the corner from Nido, one of the oldest markets chock full of adorable clothes, antiques, and handmade stuff, surrounded by great restaurants and independent shops. Consider this market my home!
Camden: Indescribably awesome maze of stalls running down the kooky Camden High Street and into the old Stables area. Can find anything and everything.
Borough: Best. Food. Ever.
The Big Chill: Our fallback bar in the funky and close-by Shoreditch. Always free entry and a bit of a reggae vibe.
O’Neill’s: Super fun Irish pub in Piccadilly with three floors and different live bands and music playing throughout the night.
Roadhouse: Retro American bar in Covent Garden with live music and DJs.
Barfly: Best live music venue in Camden.
Primark: Yeah, I’m going to say it, I’m totally obsessed with this four-story clothing store on Oxford Street. The best fashion for insanely low prices (even after conversion to USD). Plus home décor.
Tesco: Seems obvious and boring, but you gotta get groceries, and this is the place for it. Tesco brand items are the cheapest you’ll find, and actually quality food. Step up from Sainsbury’s if you ask me!
Boots: Essential beauty/pharmacy items.
Nando’s: Every student’s go-to restaurant. Afro Portuguese food, home of the legendary Peri-peri chicken.
Polo Bar: There just needs to be that place where you can go get breakfast food and £1 chips (fries) at 2am. Polo Bar is it, right on Bishopsgate.
Pret A Manger: My favorite of the coffee shop trifecta that includes Costa and Café Nero (well, and Starbucks). Pret is the cheapest and fastest, with good coffee and surprisingly tasty and fresh food. Literally located everywhere.
Patisserie Valerie: Pastries. That is all.
British Museum: The obvious. Just the building itself is beautiful.
Tate Modern: Some pretty sweet contemporary art in an unusual old power plant building in Southbank.
Natural History Museum: So much fun, you’ll feel like a kid again. Dinosaurs!! Ditto the building itself as a work of art too.
That’s obviously just a tiny cross-section of the best of London, but they’re my tried-and-true places! I hope it can be of some help to anyone thinking to live in London. It’s so bizarre to think soon I have to leave them all behind!
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<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Ariana is a junior at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, majoring in Creative Writing and minoring in Gender and Women's Studies. On campus, she is busy with bellydance and yoga, and as an executive member of the student health club. She has ridden elephants in Thailand and gone whitewater rafting in New Zealand, but her time studying abroad in London will be her first experience of Europe, which she hopes to make the very most of. Writing is how she makes sense of the world, and she hopes to share this blog with you while she explores jolly old England!</span></p>