If you think that university life mainly revolves around attending lectures, rushing to complete the next assignment and spending sleepless nights in the library, you’re… actually absolutely spot-on. But that doesn’t mean you can’t afford to have a little fun along the way, right? Right? (It’s honestly in these moments of self-deception that I indulge excessively and consequently subject myself to last-minute revision.)
Well, I think that’s enough information on my procrastination habits. So what exactly can you do in London to have fun? The answer to that question would obviously vary according to what your idea of “fun” is, but for this article I’ll assume that all of you enjoy the dorky forms of entertainment that I revel in, which is essentially anything to do with music.
Drama geeks would absolutely rejoice in the fact that the West End, which houses the majority of London’s theatres, is literally just minutes away from the Strand campus. I don’t mean to brag (yes, I totally do), but I’m guilty of having watched most of the current productions, and there was literally not a single one that disappointed me. From the spine-tingling murder mystery of The Mousetrap to the soaring vocals that define Wicked, every production is bound to keep you thoroughly entertained. Just between you and me: most musicals have day-seat policies, which essentially mean there’s a chance of you getting a heavily-discounted ticket if you queue up dead early at the box office.
I’ve been in orchestras all my life, so you could imagine my excitement upon finding out that I was staying mere minutes away from the Royal Festival Hall, which frequently showcases concerts by world-renowned orchestras, among other performances. A handy app called Student Pulse offers discounted tickets to students and is definitely worth having in your device. If classical music doesn’t sound appealing to you, fret not as London is virtually on every major musician’s tour stop due to its wide array of concert venues such as the O2. My inner fangirl was unleashed in all its glory when I attended a Shawn Mendes concert this year, which I shamelessly prioritised over my finals which were held the following week (sorry, mum). It’s worth looking out for music festivals as well if you’re not a die-hard fan of any particular artist.
When I first stepped into the heart of London, it struck me that I was literally surrounded by history. As you walk along any of the bustling streets in the city, it’s hard to not envision the many historical events that transpired on the same street that you’re walking on, besides the many undiscovered secrets that it still holds. Heck, part of the Strand campus is actually Somerset House’s east wing, and the Maughan Library was originally the national Public Records Office. If you’re a true history buff, head over to the British Museum and be prepared to spend an eternity wandering through the imposing sculptures of Ancient Egypt and the glistening treasures of Medieval Europe. Fans of Jurassic Park should definitely make a bee-line to the Natural History Museum as it has an extensive collection of imposing dinosaur relics.
Something I’ve really enjoyed doing the past year was hanging out in the many parks that adorn the city. Amongst the towering skyscrapers and the throngs of pedestrians, lie expansive parks where you can take a break and gather your thoughts. Hyde Park and Regent’s Park are perhaps the most renowned ones in London, but there are plenty of other quaint parks that you’ll discover along the way. Other places of interest would be the art galleries here, and some of my cheekier friends take immense pleasure in captioning the unique – and sometimes undecipherable – artworks displayed at Tate Modern. To cap off a long day of adventuring, head over to the Sky Garden for a breathtaking bird’s-eye view of the city.
If anyone ever tells you that London gets boring quickly, they either have been imprisoned in an underground dungeon (that got dark very quickly) or more likely, they just haven’t read my awesome blog. Jokes aside, the possibilities are virtually endless in this vibrant city as long as you are eager to explore for them.