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Top 10 most photo-worthy spots in London

By UCL Faculty of Arts & Humanities, on 13 August 2021

London is full of fantastic sights no matter where you go. If a trip to London is in the cards for you this summer, you might be interested in a few ideas below.

1. Tower Bridge – This striking bridge is often confused with London Bridge. Hot tip, for best photos of Tower Bridge, stand on London Bridge!

2. British Library – The home of the Magna Carta, The British Library are sharing the most awe-inspiring items in their collection. Free to attend, but tickets must be booked beforehand.

3. Natural History Museum – Free to visit, but bookings must be made beforehand. Don’t forget to look up when you enter – a 25-metre blue whale skeleton is suspended in the air above!

4. Sky Garden – London’s highest public garden! Get the best free views of London from above. Free to enter, bookings must be made in advance.

5. Notting Hill – Did you visit London if you don’t have a photo of the pastel-coloured houses? Make sure you take a stroll down Portobello Road Market – Saturday is the busiest day.

6. St Pancras International – Located a stone’s throw from the British Library and UCL. You might recognise the train station as the exterior of King’s Cross Station in Harry Potter!

7. Grant Museum – Jar of Moles. Does that pique your interest? How about Quagga Skeleton, or Dodo Bones? The Grant Museum of Zoology has something for everyone to explore. Free to visit but tickets must be booked.

8. Greenwich Park – This beautiful park is the home to the Prime Meridian Line – separating east from west.

9. Olympic Park – Get into Olympic fever in East London and take a stroll around the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic venues.

10. Woburn Walk – Walk too quickly and you might just miss it! Woburn Walk is a quaint street that looks like it came right out of the Georgian era! This beautiful pocket has been used as a filming location for many films, most recently Cruella.

5 Ways to Make the Most of your Summer

By UCL Faculty of Arts & Humanities, on 27 July 2021

It’s been a challenging year for all of us, but now summer is here and the school year over! Why not take a break from Netflix and try a few new things this summer? Karen (our Acting Access Manager, and former teacher) has shared five ways to make the most of the warmer months, which will also help prepare you for your return to school in the autumn.

1. Keep reading

Now is the perfect time to read for pleasure and to lose yourself in a new, imaginary world. There is no better way to spend a lazy summer day than with a good book. Plus this will help get you ready for all the reading you have ahead of you, whether you’ll be studying for your GCSEs or moving up to sixth form next year. Of course, you can read whatever you like this summer; you might prefer to read magazines, newspapers or comics rather than books.

2. Keep writing

The best way to get better at writing is to keep writing. So, write anything! For example, you might want to write a journal, make notes on the books you read this summer (see above) or do some creative writing such as writing a story. You might even want to learn calligraphy (the fancy writing that you see on wedding invitations) or just improve your handwriting in general.

3. Start a creative project

This is the time to do all those things that you don’t normally have time to do. How about creating a family album with all those photos that you have on your computer or phone? Or you could draw your family tree. Why not create some art that you can put up in your home somewhere or learn to knit, sew or crochet? The possibilities are endless.

4. Cook something

Maybe you could make dinner for the family once a week, or make lunch every day. Maybe you could learn a new recipe or two to impress everyone. Or perhaps you could bake a cake or make some picnic food that you can enjoy outdoors with some friends. If you already have good skills in the kitchen, then maybe you can invent your own recipe – this could be as simple as thinking of a new sandwich filling that people may not have tried before.

5. Spend time outdoors

After so many months spent indoors, now is the time to get out and about! You can go out walking and cycling or you can play sports outdoors. Use your garden or any green space near you to race against your friends, or create an obstacle course or play football, handball etc. If you are able to travel, then maybe you can visit a beauty spot in your area so that you can spend some time outdoors in a new environment, but remember to keep socially distanced.

Whatever you decide to do, we hope that you will have fun this summer. You deserve it!

Black Lives Matter

By Lauren Sandhu, on 9 June 2020

UCL’s Access and Widening Participation Office believes Black Lives Matter. We stand in support and solidarity with our Black colleagues and young people that we work with.

Our team have been having a discussion about the resources that have been helpful to us. The following list is non-exhaustive and has been compiled by recommendations from the staff in our team. We would love to hear your recommendations too.

UCL’s Access and Widening Participation Office



  • Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire by Akala
  • Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin
  • Noughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman
  • Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
  • Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
  • Taking up Space: A Black Girl’s Manifesto for Change by Chelsea Kwakye and Ore Ogunbiyi
  • Your Silence Will Not Protect You by Audre Lorde
  • Black and British: A Forgotten History by David Olusoga
  • Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid
  • The Good Immigrant edited by Nikesh Shukla
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  • Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward


  • 13th – documentary on Netflix and also available for free on YouTube
  • Lots of subscription tv services have collated lists of documentaries for Black Lives Matter
  • Sitting In Limbo – BBC


Organisations, campaigns and other resources

A summer of science well spent

By Lauren Sandhu, on 3 October 2019

This summer a group of students at UCL ran a summer school for young migrants, refugees and asylum seeker students in the UK. The summer school ran over two weeks in July and August 2019 for 40 young people, aged 14-19. The project is student-led and involved student volunteers from the London Centre for Nanotechnology, UCL Physics & Astronomy, UCL Computer Science, UCL Engineering, and the Institute of Education (IoE). Today on the blog we hear from the organising team about their experience of running the summer school. 

Ever wondered how to extract DNA from fruit? Build your own microscope? Program a robot?

This summer a group of young refugees, migrants and asylum seekers attended a summer school at UCL and got to experience the joy of scientific discovery.

PhD students and postdocs from the London Centre for Nanotechnology (LCN) and teachers from the Institute of Education (IoE) ran a two week summer school at UCL. The course, now in its second year, aimed to help the students to improve their science, computing and English language knowledge, helping them build vital skills and inspiring them for the future.

The team led by Safe Khan, Maeve McLaughlin, Jonathan Fouchard, Ana Lisica, Massimiliano Ramsay and Alex Pakpour-Tabrizi built on the success of the pilot event in 2018, possible thanks to essential funding from The Ogden Trust and UCL’s Access and Widening Participation Office. In 2019 the programme was expanded to a two week course (teaching 10am – 4pm) for 40 students.

The English team, led by Michael Beaney and Jumana Al-Waeli (IoE) with support from professional teacher volunteers held classes each morning. Students were introduced to the science and IT language of the specific topics, providing them with the tools and helping them prepare for the afternoon activities whilst practicing more general English skills.

The IT sessions, led by Muslihah Albakri, involved teaching students basic computing skills useful for their school work and future employment, including setting up email addresses, using Microsoft Office and writing CVs. The students were introduced to this new format to present themselves and wrote down any relevant experiences for their dream jobs.

To introduce the students to the basics of computing and robotics, we teamed up with George Walker who supplied us with some OhBots!­, the robot used by Microsoft Stores in their Tech Spark summer program to teach coding. With the help of Alex, George taught the students how to use the block coding language to control the movements and speech of the robots. This was the first time that the majority of the students had been introduced to the concept of coding and for many it was a real highlight of the summer school!

During the experimental physics lesson, led by Massimiliano, the students assembled DIY microscopes and got creative with their phone cameras to successfully obtain images with 20x magnification. The students were fascinated by the detail they could resolve with the microscopes and excitedly showed off their work in a best image competition. Top images included macro shots of leaves, porous shells and fingerprints.

“I liked meeting many PhD students from physics, which was very inspiring. I really liked the friendly environment in the class.”, stated one student. All tasks were run in very small groups, allowing everyone involved to take a front seat. This was a great way to involve and engage all the students, giving them plenty of opportunity to practice experiments and ask questions.

For the biology focused lesson, led by Jonathan and Ana, the students extracted DNA from strawberries and bananas. They did this with simple household items: salt, washing up liquid, hot water and a little isopropyl alcohol (IPA). This tricky task tested their patience and determination, with many of the experiments requiring multiple attempts. However all groups managed to extract the DNA before the end of the lesson.

One student who had been looking forward to the biology lesson said: “My favourite part of the summer school was when we extracted DNA!” A short presentation by Jonathan and Ana highlighted the importance of DNA in defining our individual characteristics and its similarity to a computer code, comparing and contrasting to the coding used with the OhBots!

During the two weeks, students gained confidence speaking and writing English. They were highly engaged in every lesson and were particularly inspired by the experimental science and programming classes, and also had the opportunity to make new friends.

Finally, the summer school hosted an end of class celebration with posters prepared by all the students presenting their favourite topics from the science classes. PhD students, teachers, funders and even some of the students’ parents attended. The students were all extremely enthusiastic presenting their posters and the celebration proceeded with pizza, snacks and a certificate ceremony. It was truly a great ending to a fantastic fortnight of science and English activities!

After the end of the summer school, we received the email below, full of encouragement for us to continue with this program!

“Dear UCL Summer School team, I would like to say a big thank you for every person in the Summer School team who have supported, taught, helped and encouraged us through these two weeks, I appreciate every single person and their effort in the team, I love the way you support the students and help them. I wish a very bright future for everyone. I will not have this opportunity again and it will always remain in my heart as a beautiful memory with you all.”

Further information about the LCN Summer School for Young Migrants, Refugees and Asylum Seekers is available on The Ogden Trust’s website.

A word from the writers:

“The organising team believe that the summer school was a great success. Many of the students were excited to continue working in this area when they return back to their schools and colleages in September. By organising the summer school as a group this year and with greater structure than we have for the pilot scheme (2018) we hope that we have now set up a sustainable scheme to teach English Language, science and computer skills to refugees, young migrants and asylum seeking students. We are confident that the summer school will be led by future PhD students at the LCN and IoE for many years to come!”