London Calling

Melissa St. John 10 November 2007

So Cambridge is good, but surprisingly enough there’s more to life than Cindies, supervisions and drinking societies. During term-time it seems hard to escape the bubble of uni and it’s all too easy to forget that the wonders of our fair capital city lie waiting for us just a hope, skip and a train ride away. We’re lucky to be near enough to London to go just for a short while and a day-trip is ridiculously easy plus, if you choose carefully, it can also be delightfully cheap.

London’s not our capital city for nothing…with the world’s first underground system (where you’re immediately thrust into a stranger’s armpit), over 6,000 restaurants (some good, some bad, some failing health and safety) and more shops than Victoria Beckham could visit in a lifetime, the city has something to offer everyone. There are parks, galleries, aquariums, wine tasting courses, dinosaur bones and the famous West End stage shows, all there to ensure that you can experience anything in the world right here in sunny old England. From the Sloane Rangers on the King’s Road, to Camden Market Goths and Islington’s Arty-Chic crowd, each area of London has its own individual styles which all combine to create a diverse and vibrant place to visit. Indeed, although the well-trodden tourist-route has a lot to offer, it can be expensive and full of noisy Americans so instead try exploring the areas of London which are slightly off the beaten track. For the shopaholics, try checking out the markets (at Portobello, Camden and Spitalfields) where up-and-coming designers sell their handmade garments for next to nothing and as they’re all completely unique you know there won’t be someone else wearing the same thing. For culture-vultures, a day of art galleries and museums is totally free, allowing you to relax in some of the museum cafes, all of which have spruced up their act and now offer surprisingly good food. If you feel the need to escape the bustle of the city for a while, take a stroll in one of London’s many parks…Battersea Park has a zoo, Greenwich Park offers spectacular views of capital and deer run free in Regent’s Park so whatever you fancy, you’ll be able to find it in London.

The train from Cambridge takes you straight into King’s Cross station, or alternatively Liverpool Street, where you can hop on a bus or tube to anywhere you wish to go in our sprawling metropolis of history, culture and entertainment. Taking the tube is reliable (in theory, anyway) but a bus journey allows you take in your surroundings….whether that means a beautiful building or public urination, it will definitely offer an alternative to King’s College Chapel. And that’s what’s so great about London: you could be a compulsive day-tripper and never get bored. The people are eclectic, the shops stock real designer brands and you’re once again reminded that the world won’t stop turning if your essay is a few hours late.

Melissa St. John