If you’ve already followed along on my little tour of favourite spots on Strand, you’ll know that I really do love the King’s campus itself. But what’s more is the fact that when we exit the doors of the Strand building or Bush house, we step out into the glorious, eternal buzz of central London. This city, in all its wonder and opportunity, becomes the backdrop of our studies; and for many of us, this means we have the ability to see what we study come to life in the heart of the city.
If you study at Strand, you’re likely very well acquainted with Holborn, the fast-paced borough along the river where I spend most of my time. Steps away from the Thames and filled to the brim with places to work and play, I love that Holborn never really shuts off; although a bit intimidating at first, it’s amazing how quickly you become attuned to, and a part of, its incessant hum. Sometimes in my bustle between lectures and the library, I lose consciousness of the fact that I’ve become a working part of this city; but then, when the off-white buildings along the Kingsway are reflecting the sunlight just right, or when the rain has made the cobblestones of the courtyard glisten, or when I look up from my laptop whilst sat in a Fleet Street coffee shop and catch a glimpse of the stunning Royal Courts, I’m reminded of where I am, and I can’t help but feel so lucky to now live in the city I fell in love with five years ago.
The Holborn Grind
This gem is number one on this list for its sheer versatility — while it’s more than sufficient to supply a good weekday espresso, the daytime coffee house vibe amazingly morphs into a bar by night. It’s a particularly sweet spot for my close friend and I, as the setting of our Tuesday ritual: espresso martinis after our four o’clock lecture. What’s more is you can treat yourself to the most perfect cocktail in the world for free if you’ve got the Drinki app!
For a significantly better quality coffee than your usual Pret, The Press has you covered. Conveniently located just outside the Maughan, this is my ideal meeting spot for a caffeine break post-study session. Sip slowly — it’s probably my favourite coffee in the city.
The flower vendor and fruit stands outside Holborn Station
I guarantee that all of my change is spent at either of these street vendors, on either a pint of strawberries or a bouquet of tulips too pretty to turn down. But the best thing about visiting both of these on a regular basis is being reminded of the fact that this city really is my home. Picking up fruit or flowers may be the simplest acts, but this is definitely an uplifting habit for when you need some cheering up.
Although the KCL building on Drury Lane is no Bush House, walking up Drury Lane to class can be the best part of my day. I love watching the shop owners open their doors for the day and peeking in the windows of vintage clothing stores; my favourite is the old fashioned ‘American Dry Cleaners’ that looks straight out of a 50s film.
Victoria Embankment Gardens
Just outside of Embankment Station and along the Thames is one of my favourite parks in London, Victoria Embankment Gardens. It was introduced to me by a friend only recently but I love coming here for some peace and quiet, and to see a little bit of green. I will definitely be spending more time here come spring…
In spite of being one of the world’s mega-cities, London has the remarkable ability to feel as though it can fit in the palm of your hand, once you grow accustomed to the pockets of it you frequent. After only a few months, I already consider Holborn my personal niche; hopefully these little tricks will have you feeling as though Holborn is your own, too.