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Last updated: 09 Aug 2021 9:33am

Start your academic term with a bang with our curated list of the best spots to visit in London!

Published Thursday, 2nd September, 2021 in University news

This is not your basic “How to London” type of article, it is not a walking tour of all of London’s landmarks, nor is it a boring guide to museums and the other numerous tourist attractions. We have curated here for you, all the best spots and activities you can find within a maximum 30 minute walk from our main campus in Northampton Square, many of which even locals and residents of many years would be buzzing to hear of. That said, you haven’t heard the best of it yet, everything covered in this article is either free to go to or incredibly well priced – we got you!

1. Visit Sky Garden

Sky Garden is a lush and luxurious garden on the 43rd floor of 20 Fenchurch Street, otherwise commonly known and referred to by Londoners as the Walkie Talkie due to its peculiar shape. This is around a 30-minute walk from Northampton Square, and it provides 360 panoramic views of central London from the perfect location so that you can see the other skyscrapers in the City right next to you, the Shard right across the river, Tower Bridge, St. Paul’s and more. They also have an observation deck so you can really get the full experience of being on the top floor of a skyscraper.

With this in mind, breath-taking views of central London and a stunning botanical garden are not everything the attraction has to offer, there are also live music and DJ nights, morning yoga sessions and even a fancy restaurant where you can meet up with friends for brunch.

The best feature of the spot - it has FREE entry. You do have to book a ticket, and they usually go live three weeks in advance, but they are nonetheless free. Finally, the best time of day to visit, is at sunset, but you can also take some insta worthy pictures around sunrise too.

To learn more about this and for reservations you can visit their website here.

2. Strawberry Tours

Strawberry Tours is a company offering walking tours in London based on specific themes and places which can range quite a lot. The ones that caught our eye for example are the Jack the Ripper and the Harry Potter tours which will take you on an immersive journey through the highlights of the story, the places where it happened and how it happened.

The best thing about it is that most tours start and end in central London, just a stone through away from our beloved Northampton Square. This is the ideal means to meet new people and explore unchartered parts of the city and view it through the lens of the historic events which became milestones in London’s rich cultural diversity.

More so, these are not simply walking tours, the guides will immerse you in the story through role play, descriptive storytelling, pictures, anecdotes, and fun facts. Did we mention they are FREE? If you want to contribute at the end of the tour based on your budget and how much you enjoyed it, you can, but you don’t need to.

To learn more about this and for reservations you can visit their website here.

3. Whitecross Market

Is there really a better place to go to next to Northampton Square other than Whitecross Market? We think not, let us tell you why. Whitecross Market is a charming little food market on Whitecross Street, crunched in between Old Street and Barbican. It is only around a 10-minute walk from campus which will take you on a relaxing stroll through a park and through some narrow old streets characteristic of charming ol’ London. It is an amazing alternative to canteen food in between lectures or seminars, or just the perfect short trip from campus for lunch. They have a great array of food choices, and cuisines from all over the world so whatever your tastes buds prefer, you are almost guaranteed to find something you like. The market is open every weekday from 10am to 5pm, so definitely give it a try and it will surely become your go-to spot in no time.

4. The Barbican Conservatory

The Barbican Conservatory is a truly hidden gem of London you probably would never know of just by walking past it. The luxuriant  garden is a glass-bound rainforest in the heart of the City. It is the second largest conservatory in London, an insta-worthy location and a lush representation of life surrounded by concrete. The garden hosts everything from palm trees to banana plants, koi carp, fishponds, a cactus house, beehives and so much more. It is the ideal welcome to London moment and a perfect escape from the stress of lectures and exams, so grab a few friends and go on an adventure.

The conservatory is open on selected days every week and entry is FREE, but you will have to book a ticket in advance, however, there are plenty up for grabs. Light shows, a guided audio tour and a gallery are only a few of the sneak peaks you get on here, but if you want to learn more and book a timeslot for your visit, you can head over to their official website.

5. Swingers City

Swingers City is a posh spot in the City, right next to the Gherkin housing two crazy golf courses, three street food vendors and five cocktail bars. It is the perfect spot to go to for a change of scenery and for some fun and competitive socialising with the apparently simple yet challenging courses. The place is stunningly decorated with lots of plants and wood finishes giving it a relaxing vibe and making it the perfect escape from the gloomy outside whenever that is the case. Whilst it is not free, it is incredibly well-priced - one off-peak round of crazy golf will only set you back £10 and food and drinks are on par with any other restaurant. It is around a 30-minute walk from Northampton Square and you do need to make a reservation in advance.

To learn more about this and to book a time, you can head over to their official website here.