When I first stepped foot in London a year ago, I was pleasantly surprised not only by the range of amenities that it offered, but also the proximity of these services to residential areas. Of course, I had the good fortune of staying at Stamford Street Apartments (SSA) where literally anything is within reach, but I think I speak for everyone when I say that a Londoner rarely has to venture beyond their neighbourhood to run their daily errands. From grocery shopping to grabbing a meal (and subsequently burning those calories in the gym), you’ll find that completing your daily routine has never been this hassle-free. Considering how enormous the entire London is, I’ll just roughly highlight the facilities that are in the vicinity of King’s College and its residences.
If you’re anything like me – that is, you receive an exponential boost in productivity when revising in libraries – you can heave a sigh of nerdy relief as each of our campuses is equipped with them. It’s not exactly my proudest achievement, but as I was edging precariously closer to my final exams I had spent almost entire days in the Franklin-Wilkins library dashing through my notes. Part of the reason why I could essentially camp there was due to its extended opening hours during the exam season, when it was open 24/7. There are also several study zones within the library which are distinguished based on the noise level that they permit. One of my favourite features of the library is its self-checkout and return system, as you can technically return a book at midnight if you wished to. The Maughan library is as cavernous as libraries go, and you would be forgiven for thinking that it was taken right out of a scene from Harry Potter. Enclosed by modern glass windows that overlook the lawn below it, the New Hunt’s House library offers a rather tranquil setting for performing your revision.
True story: when someone first told me that they were heading to Iceland for some grocery shopping, I genuinely thought they were either pulling my leg or just had several private planes at their disposal. Anyway, it turned out to be an actual grocery store chain and I was somewhat let down by my friends’ lack of private jets. It sells common household items at comparatively low prices and it’s currently my preferred place to shop for fresh meat. But perhaps what sets it apart from its competitors is its wide-ranging selection of frozen food. From frozen broccoli to frozen chicken and frozen ice-cream (oh wait…), it’s the frozen food paradise you never thought you needed in your life. The Co-operative Food also receives my stamp of approval, as it offers a 10% discount on all items if you present your NUS card at the till. Since there are branches of these stores near the campuses, it’s actually quite feasible to do some grocery shopping on your way back home.
Now comes the part you either dread or can’t live without – maintaining your fitness. There are numerous jogging trails scattered around London where you can burn some calories whilst admiring the magnificent view of the London streets (if you can manage to catch your breath, that is). Avid swimmers would probably have heard of the London Aquatics Centre, which hosted the main aquatics events of the 2012 Olympics and is just a stone’s throw away from the Stratford student accommodations. Trust me, once you’ve swum in these glorious indoor pools, you will not settle for anything less in the future. There’s also a gym run by the student union strategically located in the same building as SSA, so residents there have virtually no excuse to skip their gym sessions. (Nevertheless, being a proud couch potato, I still managed to fight the pressure to stay fit.) The gym usually has a promotion for new students in September, so make sure you keep your eyes peeled for that.
Well, there you go! I had barely scratched the surface of the wealth of amenities available here, but I trust that you’ll discover more of them throughout your studies. Just remember that when anyone mentions “Iceland” here, they’re probably not referring to the country.