24 Hours in London

There is almost too much to do in London, especially over summer when there are film festivals, free gigs and even more cultural events scattered around our country’s huge capital. London comes alive when the sun’s out. It can be a wonderful sight as long as you keep safe in busy areas and try not to get too stressed out by the hordes of people.

If you’re out and about in London this summer, be sure to check out some of these places;

Southbank

This strip of London is definitely well known, but deserves a mention nonetheless. There will always be a constant buzz by the river, especially with stalls selling tasty dishes from international cuisines, and the large array of second hand books attracting a huge host of people. For art lovers, head to The Tate Modern to see some interesting frequently-changing exhibitions, then to the skate park for urban art AKA graffiti, whichever way you’d like to label it. The BFI is another great arty spot on the River Thame’s bank where you can catch film previews, browse Reuben Library’s collection of books, journals and other media spanning the history of international cinema. Be sure to grab a drink with lovely riverside views.

Brick Lane                                                                                                 

Brick Lane is one of the city’s many gentrified areas, with some Londoners grateful for the new trendy vibe pushing more money into the area, and some upset and disappointed by this drastic change in their hometowns. Regardless, Brick Lane has a lot to offer, so it’s worth checking out for yourself. Head to Brick Lane Market fairly early to have a gander at fruit and veg, bric-a-brac, vintage jewellery and antiques. For music lovers, make your way to Rough Trade, an eclectic record store with music for every taste. Rough Trade is known for its famous in-store gigs, usually by artists who are promoting their new record. The intimate gigs are free with a wristband, acquired when you buy the album in store.

Little Venice

Not quite Venice, but a trip to London’s canals lets you drift away from the hustle and bustle of the metropolitan, traffic-ridden city. Wander down the picturesque canal scattered with narrow boats – some are in fact houseboats – and stop off at a restaurant or café with views of this small oasis. You can start off at Little Venice and walk towards Camden Lock, taking you through Regents Park, or hop on a canal boat for a little water tour which will cost you a few quid. With tree-lined streets, quaint pubs and Georgian and Victorian houses, Little Venice is quite the romantic city wander.

Hampstead Heath Ponds

London is known to be quite the urban jungle, but there are a handful of green spaces and pockets of natural beauty hidden between the offices and blocks of flats. In the north of London sits Hampstead Heath Ponds, a group of three freshwater swimming pools. Warm water and beaming sun isn’t guaranteed, but the ponds offer a break from the usual sightseeing around the city. Prepare a little picnic, put your cossies on, and enjoy a relaxing dip. 

Outdoor Cinemas

Summer is great for cineastes, as this is when a whole host of outdoor cinemas come to life. Film 4’s Summer Screen at Somerset House is probably the most well-known and popular outdoor cinema in the city. Bring pillows and blankets, or hire them from the venue, and watch a classic like 10 Things I Hate About You under the stars. The Luna Cinema also offers a large array of film screenings. They are scattered around the city potentially making it slightly easier to organise and get to, with locations such as Brockwell Lido and Alexandra Palace. 

Be sure to let us know if you’re from London or currently studying there. Do you agree with our list? What do you enjoy doing on a day-trip to London?

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English and Spanish undergrad, recent Year Abroader and aspiring vegan.

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