My London Happy Places

Helena Haynes
May 16, 2022

When you’re living somewhere for an extended period of time, you start to take certain places for granted. Since the end of my program, I’ve found myself missing some of the places that made London feel like home to me. If you haven’t been to London before, you may not know how big of a city it actually is. There’s so many different areas that have completely different vibes, so it feels like there's unlimited places to discover and appreciate. I think that the diverse areas of the city are what make me love it so much, since you can find whatever you’re looking for at any given time. 

Throughout the semester, there were a select few places I would go depending on my mood to bring me comfort and happiness during times that I was feeling stressed, uneasy, or in need of something fun. I’ve been missing these places so much since leaving London, and I’m counting down the days until I can go back. In the meantime, I wanted to share these happy places with you, if you ever do get the chance to visit them yourself. 

Primrose Hill

Primrose Hill became such a special place to me by the end of the semester. Located just a short bus ride away from where we were living on Caledonian Road, it was an easy place to frequent, especially when the weather was nicer. The hill provides what I believe to be the best view of London. You can see the Shard, the Gherkin, the London Eye, and even Westminster. My friends and I would always go for the sunsets. Being able to enjoy time with people I loved, looking out on my favorite city in the world, was such a magical experience. No matter how many times I had been before, each time I would watch the sunset here, it felt just as special as the first time. I spent one of my last nights in London at the hill, and it is a memory I will remember for the rest of my life. 

Columbia Road Flower Market

My parents lived in London for a long time before I was born, and one of my mother’s biggest recommendations when I moved to the city was to check out the Columbia Road Flower Market on Saturdays. I absolutely love having fresh flowers in my room. I would say that it’s probably my favorite way to cheer myself up and add some joy to my life. When I’m back home in Pennsylvania, I usually just go to the farmers market or Trader Joe’s, so you can imagine how ecstatic I was to find out that there is an entire market in London dedicated to flowers. When you get to the market, the entire street is lined with various flower vendors. There’s pretty much every single flower you could ever want, as well as a beautiful selection of plants. Even if you’re not going to buy any, it’s such a lovely place to walk around on a beautiful day. It’s the kind of place that really makes you appreciate the life you’re living, and find joy in the present moment.

The Tate Modern 

I’ve definitely mentioned the Tate Modern in one of my previous posts, because it is 100% one of my favorite places in London. I would go to the Tate Modern with my friends to look at the various exhibitions, and I would also use it as a place to do homework and collect my thoughts. There was something so calming about the space, particularly when looking out on the view of St. Paul’s and the Millennium Bridge. As someone who is also very interested in architecture, I found the building to be spectacular, especially since it used to be the Bankside Power Station. The way the building was repurposed as an art gallery is incredibly impressive and creative. The Tate Modern also occasionally hosts parties on certain Fridays of the month, which is a super fun activity to check out. 

Brick Lane Vintage Market 

The Brick Lane/Shoreditch area quickly became one of my favorite places in London. The area has the best selection of vintage stores I’ve ever seen in my life. The Brick Lane Vintage Market can be found in the basement of one of the bigger buildings on the street, and it is the home of dozens of incredible vendors. From amazing vintage designer pieces, to second-hand pieces that have been revamped, you can really find anything you’re looking for. On the weekends they also have a food market directly upstairs from the vintage market, which makes it the perfect place to spend an afternoon. I’m a huge lover of clothes and vintage shopping, so I found myself visiting this spot pretty frequently. 

I could probably keep going with my London happy places, especially when it comes to all of the incredible markets, but I do have to say that these were the most special. It’s funny how London immediately felt like home to me, so much so that I feel more homesick for London now than I did about my hometown in Pennsylvania when I was abroad. I guess that just means I picked the right place to study. It’s sad that I can’t just hop on the double decker bus and head to Primrose Hill, or spend my Saturday buying flowers at the Columbia Road Flower Market, but I know that one day I’ll be able to do these things once again, and this time I definitely won't take them for granted. I hope that if you get to visit these wonderful places, you’ll feel the same happiness I did when I was there.

Helena Haynes

<p>Hi there! My name is Helena Haynes and I’m a third year student at Penn State University majoring in Advertising with minors in Information Sciences &amp; Technology and Digital Media Trends &amp; Analytics. I love being involved on campus with things I’m passionate about, and I’ve had the opportunity to serve as President of the Advertising/Public Relations Club, Research/Strategy Co-Lead for our advertising competition team, and as a Print Writer for VALLEY Magazine, a life and style magazine here at Penn State. In my free time you can find me cooking, watching Sex and the City, or spending way too much time on LinkedIn. I’m so excited to be studying abroad in London this semester and I can’t wait to explore the city and learn more about the culture. I hope you follow along on my journey with me!</p>

Destination:
Term:
2022 Spring
Home university:
Penn State University
Major:
Advertising
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