Summer is the time to start planning your study abroad experience. I know the amount of options can be overwhelming—after all, there are so many countries to explore! If you’re still having trouble deciding where you want to study, take my recommendation: go to England. I just spent four and a half months in London, and if I could choose to stay longer, I would. Here are six reasons to persuade you to study abroad in London:
1. The Food
I know, London isn’t particularly known for their cuisine. So why is “food” the first on this list? Here’s my answer: because of all the outdoor markets. London has a wide selection of markets to go, most of which selling gourmet eats and drinks. I frequented a LOT during my time in London, such as Borough Market, Spitalfields, Camden Market, Boxpark, and the Victoria Park market on Sundays. Out of all the markets I went to, Camden had to be my favorite. They seemed to have the largest variety of food, not to mention their incredible location on Regent’s Canal. My favorite stall at Camden was Roti House, which specializes in curry-naan wraps (the paneer one is amazing!). I also loved Humble Crumble—a popular booth serving fruit crumbles and custard—from Borough and Spitalfields markets (see the picture above). And of course, tea houses are a lot of fun, too.
2. The Green Spaces
Even though it’s a massive city, London has an impressive range of parks. There’s Hyde Park near Notting Hill, where you might run into the Kensington Palace and Gardens. Hyde Park is HUGE, so it’s filled with sights to see and areas to sit and picnic. Kew Gardens is another beautiful spot in London. There are greenhouses, ponds, exotic plant life, pagodas, and even a peacock in Kew. Though Regent’s Park doesn’t have any peacocks (at least, as far as I’m concerned), it was my favorite park in London. Regent’s Park had such a luscious display of flowers, from roses to giant tulips. My friends and I recently visited the outdoor theater at Regent’s Park, where we saw a musical production of Legally Blonde. We loved it, and the fact that the show was outside made it even more enjoyable!
Who doesn’t love a good shopping spree? The Londoners certainly do. My favorite places to shop in London were at the numerous vintage stores, all scattered throughout the city. Brick Lane, a trendy area in Shoreditch, is known for its vintage shops. The street stretches on for miles and miles, and there are cute stores at every inch of it. Rokit, Beyond Retro, and the Brick Lane Bookshop are must-visits, in my personal opinion. You really can’t go wrong with the shops here, and the prices are usually decent. Best of all, Brick Lane is only minutes away from Boxpark, Spitalfields, and Leadenhall Market. If you’re hungry from all your shopping, you’re in luck! You have multiple food markets to choose from. There’s also a matcha store right outside of Spitalfields that I definitely recommend. After a long day of trying on clothes, matcha is in order. You can find a lot of small businesses around the city, too. Columbia Road has a ton of locally-run boutiques and coffee shops…I definitely recommend going there, especially on Sundays for the flower market!
Nightlife in London is bustling, as are the Underground stations. It seems like the entire city goes out either to pubs or clubs every night. Brace yourself for a packed tube ride. What I love about London’s nightlife is how unique the bars and clubs are. You have Ballie Ballerson, a neon-lit bar with glow-in-the-dark drinks, a giant wheel of prizes, and a room that’s been converted into a ball pit. I’m not kidding. The floor is brimming with plastic balls, and the ceiling and walls are covered in mirrors. Jungle Rumble was another fun place at night. Don’t be discouraged by the name: Jungle Rumble is a mini golf bar, featuring ocean and jungle themed courses and a selection of (strong) cocktails. It’s a bit of a hike to get to, but it’s worth it. If not, Wetherspoons is always an option, too.
5. Museums Galore
Call me a nerd, but the museums in London are fantastic. I’m more interested in art museums than history museums, so most of my recommendations are in the realm of art. I loved the Tate Britain, which showcases art from the early 1500’s to the present. Its modern art counterpart, Tate Modern, was not my personal favorite. But if you’re a fan of modern art, I would suggest checking Tate Modern out. It was a little too zany for me. There are smaller galleries hidden around the city, too. Try searching around Brick Lane for some (Brick Lane is known for its street art)! One history museum that I visited was The British Museum. A popular site in London, The British Museum has countless artifacts on display, from mummies to statues of Greek gods. Just be prepared to climb a lot of stairs there.
This might seem like a lame reason to study in London, but trust me, transportation is a huge part of the experience. The Underground system is simple to navigate, and much cheaper than taking an Uber from place-to-place. When I was there, a one-way Underground ticket ran at around $2.50-2.75. Hopefully that price will remain constant, as it was pretty inexpensive. London has trains that will take you to other areas of the country, like Oxford and Bath. It’s also a super walkable city, if you want to be a little healthier (and more environmentally conscious).
Hopefully, my recommendations will help narrow your search for study abroad options. I could write about so many different aspects of London that I loved, but for the sake of your engagement, I’ll stop here. Just remember, study abroad is what you make of it. Don’t let your fears hold you back—explore the world!
Know someone who’s applying for study abroad? Share this article with them for some tips!
Feature image source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/701294973233824916/
Hi everyone! My name is Jill, and I'm a senior at Trinity College in Hartford, CT. There, I'm studying creative writing and sociology, with plans to work in publishing. Aside from reading and writing, I enjoy traveling and practicing self-care. If you want to connect, follow my Instagram @jillschuck!