Let’s talk about London.
Why now? Well, first and foremostly, the new year is renowned for getting us feeling all reflective and what-not and, what with this being the last time I’ll enter the new year as a university student, you could say I’m feeling a bit nostalgic. And secondly, as I write this article now, I’m right in what is generally referred to as ‘the thick of it.’ I’ve got deadlines raining down on top of me, my dissertation looming and a 600 plus page novel to finish by Tuesday. By my logic, if I can sit here and write about how brilliant London is with all this going on, it’s got to be pretty bloody brilliant, right?
Of course, there are downsides to being a student in one of the most expensive cities in the world. My flat isn’t all that great, and don’t even talk to me about letting agents and holding fees and deposits, or I really might just scream. I’ve been in my overdraft more times than I’d like to admit and once I willingly paid £8 for a jagerbomb while out in Central. Eight. Pounds. I’ve been woken up at 5am to a mouse climbing up the wall about 30 centimetres from my head and last year I paid an extortionate amount of rent for what was essentially a double bed in a cupboard.
But, despite the drawbacks, there is nowhere else I’d rather have gone to uni (and let’s face it, the whole mouse escapade is going to be hilarious in a few years’ time… probably).
Undoubtedly of the best things about London is that you can get literally anywhere – as long as ‘anywhere’ is within the confines of Zones 1 to 9 (and does anyone ever really need to go all the way out to Amersham anyway?!) at any time of day. Having to go home and attempt to use a rural bus service after experiencing the wonders of TFL is, let me tell you, torturous. Seriously, I’ll take an occasional tube strike over two buses a day, any day.
And once you’re out and about, there is so much to do and see that I’m pretty sure you’d need never venture to the same place twice during your whole degree. In the next few months alone, London is hosting Chinese New Year, London Fashion Week, the first all-female exhibition at the Saatchi, an Alice in Wonderland exhibition at the British Library, an Alternative London tour around the East End and a creepy-but-cool exhibit at the Hunterian Museum that allows you to touch anatomical models that are normally off-limits to public hands. And what’s more, all this is free. FREE. London might well be extortionate at times, but when it comes to free events, the city really goes all out.
Taking time out from deadlines and dissertations is always important, and what better way to de-stress than jumping on the tube and going to feel up some internal organs in your spare time, right?! And if museums and exhibitions aren’t your thing, there’s an unlimited amount of music, comedy and film constantly available, from Angel Comedy in Camden, to cheap tickets at many of London’s independent cinemas.
Not to mention the fact that there’s so much to see just by wandering around London for a day. Go down and watch the sunset at Waterloo Bridge (hey, we’re all guilty of Instagramming this at least once), walk along the Embankment, or, come sunnier weather, go and sit in one of the many Royal parks with a beer and a book.
For me, nothing sums up my love of London more than Samuel Johnson’s wonderfully clichéd and brilliantly accurate words: ‘when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.’