This summer, I've had the opportunity to work and study abroad with The Media School's Summer in London program. Though my time here is coming to an end and I'm incredibly sad to leave, I've had one of the best summers. London is definitely a world capital, and there is a ton for tourists, students and locals to see and do. Here are five highlights from the trip that I recommend if you ever visit London.
When I told people I would be in London for the summer, the majority gave me the same piece of advice: go to afternoon tea. I ordered English breakfast tea, one of the most popular and common teas in London. The teapot arrived with a fancy contraption that I could not identify. The waiter had to explain to me that it was a tea strainer with a drip catcher; you place it on the side of your cup and pour the tea through the strainer so the loose tea leaves don’t get in the cup.
We ordered a full afternoon tea service, which consisted of scones, various baked goods and four varieties of finger sandwiches. The scones were served with strawberry jam and clotted cream. The texture of the clotted cream reminded me of butter, but the taste was much richer. Unlike butter, it didn’t melt when I spread it over the fresh, warm scone.
Everything was absolutely delicious; I ate so much that I wasn’t even hungry for dinner later in the day. Even though I inadvertently started my journey home during rush hour and had to wait 15 minutes for a Tube with enough room for me to squeeze on, the experience was definitely worth it.
Within walking distance of Tower Bridge, this marketplace is one of the largest of its kind. The marketplace is open nearly everyday, and even if you went every day, you would not be able to try everything. Like the Bloomington Farmer's Market, local growers have fresh fruits and vegetables on display. Additionally, freshly made meals are provided by various food vendors: from Turkish to Caribbean to Portuguese, the market has options for all tastes. Spend a few hours walking through and tasting the various foods.
Like New York, London is known for having an incredible theater district. Right in the heart of Piccadilly Circus, you can find tons of musicals, plays and other shows for whatever mood you're in. While I was here, I saw Les Miserable (musical), The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime (play) and The Play That Goes Wrong (comedy). Cheaper tickets can be found at TKTS in Leicester Square, which is about a 15 minute walk from most of the theaters.
The London Eye and Big Ben are tourist favorites during the day, but be sure to check both of them out at night. While the buildings aren't as clear as they would be in the daylight, the night view allows you to take in the city from a new perspective.
This should be a given, but it's definitely worth mentioning. Each place makes their fish and chips a bit differently, so try them at as many places as you can and find your favorite. Make sure to get the side of mushy peas, too.
London is, by far, the greatest city I've lived in, and I'm so happy I chose to study abroad there. Have any questions about life in the UK, studying abroad or more recommendations for things to do? Feel free to email me! Cheers!