By Coral Brown, on 1 August 2019
For your last weekend in London, you’ll want to fit as much in as physically (and financially) possible! Luckily, there’s a generous helping of cool things to do this weekend, whether you decide to stay in London, or venture further afield…
1. Brighton Pride!
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It's almost that time of the year again. #brightonpride2019 . . Media pass at the ready. This weekend I'll be swapping photographing weddings for Kylie on the main stage. Marquees for dance tents and an afternoon in the cabaret tent. . See you on the other side . . #dragqueens #cabaret #dancetent #mainstage @brightonprideofficial #pleasuregardens #pridevillage #pvp #marineparadebrighton #parade #brightonandhove
Widely acknowledged as the UK’s most popular Pride event, Brighton Pride cannot be missed! Brighton is known as “London by the sea”, and it’s about an hour’s train journey away. You can get to Brighton directly from London St Pancras (this is the cheapest train, but longest), from London Bridge or from Victoria (Gatwick Express is the quicket train, but most expensive). The parade is free to watch, but for the events at Preston Park you have to buy a ticket. We suggest going down to watch the parade, and then exploring Brighton’s famous Palace Pier, grabbing some chips and an ice cream and sitting on the pebble beach, and experiencing the colourful nightlife!
2. Chill at the Southbank
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Throwback to yesterday afternoon in the Southbank roof garden. What a difference a day makes! #watchingtheworldgoby #peoplewatching #peopleoflondon #londonpeople #urbanpeople #candidpeople #mylondon #mylondonstory #mylondonadventure #mylondonlife #southbank #southbankroofgarden #ic_cities_london #instalondon #justgoshoot #dr_brazier
There’s so much to do at the Southbank (next to the London Eye). Head to the rooftop bar at the Southbank Centre for a spot of sunlit drinking. See the street performers or unleash your inner child on the merry-go-round. Grab a bite to eat at one of the lovely restaurants at Gabriel’s Wharf. Or if you’re in the mood for dancing, head down to the South Bank and throw some shapes to some afrobeats at Session with dance crew Steppaz and collective Empire Sounds on the River Stage.
3. Go to the Chihuly Exhibition at Kew Gardens
Perfect for art and nature lovers! Visit London’s world-leading botanical gardens and the most biodivserse place on earth while also taking in the breathtaking work of renowned American glass sculptor Dale Chihuly. His exhibition is called ‘Reflections on nature’ and promises to be visually stunning and awe-inspiring.
4. Go to legendary London superclub Printworks for the ‘Jumpers for Goalposts Football Culture Festival’!
Across the two-day fest there will be screenings, panels, workshops, immersive experiences, exhibitions and live audience shows. The programme will touch on everything from football fashion, the future of football, rare and iconic vintage Admiral shirts, the legacy of the women’s game and lower-league clubs.
5. London Slime Festival
Hear me out on this one! If you’re looking to do something you’ve never done before (and will probably never do again!), go to the Slime Festival on Saturday and feel the weird and wonderful creations of the world’s best slime-creators. Because, why not?
6. Visit all of London’s top attractions
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Explore the most beautiful places in London ▶️ @best_london_photos . . . . . Photo by @shadz_ig #LondonNature #london #thisislondon #londonlife #beautiful #londonlover #ldn#prettycitylondon #communityfirst #visitlondon #uk #london4all #ig_london #igerslondon#londoncity #londontown #londonview #london_masters #prettylittlelondon #shutup_london#lovegreatbritain #unitedkingdom #britain #bigben #westminster #lovegreatbritain
As much as we want to recommend the lesser known events in London, if it’s your first time here, you’ll want to tick off all the classic London attractions (and grab a selfie posing with each, of course). Firstly, pay the Queen a visit at Buckingham Palace (get the Victoria line to Green Park and then walk 10 minutes south). Top tip: if the flag is up, she’s inside! Next, walk through St James’ Park to the Horse Guards Parade to see soldiers in big fluffy hats try not to laugh. Then go right on Whitehall until you get to Downing Street on your right (where the Prime Minister lives). Carry on down that road and turn left to see Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament (please note, these buildings are incredibly old and crumbly, so there may be scaffolding up right now!). Then, turn around and head back up Parliament Street/Whitehall until you get to Trafalgar Square. You’ve got to climb on a giant lion at the bottom of Nelson’s column – it’s a right of passage!
Other places to visit include St Paul’s Cathedral, the London Eye, Covent Garden, Chinatown, Leicester Square (pronounced “Lester”), Piccadilly Circus (where all the giant TV screens are), Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, the Tate Modern Art Gallery, and many more.
7. Sculpture Exhibition at Regent’s Park
Now in its third year, Frieze’s Sculpture returns to the English Gardens of Regent’s Park. This exhibition brings together 23 new and significant sculptures by leading 20th-century and contemporary artists from around the world. Download the Art Fund’s free Frieze Sculpture Audio Tour app before you head to the park for a handy map and short audio on each piece by curator Clare Lilley. Top tip: this is where the “Rounders in the Park” event will be next Wednesday 7 August!
For more ideas…
If you want to look up other things to do this weekend, we wholeheartedly recommend checking out Time Out London, for a comprehensive guide on London’s top restaurants, bars, events, art galleries, music gigs and everything in between. For (usually) cheaper last-minute theatre tickets, check out the TKTS stand in Leicester Square. For more off-beat recommendations, look at Atlas Obscura.
From Coral, Rory, Kimberly and Rhod
By Coral Brown, on 25 July 2019
As you might have noticed, there’s a heatwave in London right now and it is sweltering! Don’t worry though – there are plenty of ways to keep cool. After you’ve taken a cool shower, closed the curtains and bought an electric fan, hopefully that’s your room taken care of. But if you want to explore the city this weekend without melting, check out our recommendations below…
Go to an outdoor swimming pool
Splash out in an outdoor swimming pool (called a ‘lido’) with your friends this weekend! Lidos became popular in the UK in the 1930’s, and they’re enjoying a resurgence in the past decade. We recommend London Fields Lido. Top tip: arrive early to get a good spot!
Get an ice cream or two!
There’s a wealth of ice cream parlours in London – the real problem is choosing which one! The nearest ice cream shop to campus that we’d recommend is Ruby Violet – it’s the place to go for handmade ice creams and sorbets. Or if you’re feeling brave enough to venture further, head to Covent Garden’s Yaki Yaki!
Stand in a fountain (seriously!)
Go to the Ice Bar
It’s exactly what it sounds like – an icy bar! You do have to book your session, but this is a surefire way of keeping chilled.
Find a spot in the shade in a park
Have a picnic at Hampstead Heath in North London and enjoy epic views of the London skyline.
Go on a Night Out!
Don’t spend your evenings cooped up indoors – get out on the town! And Solomon’s Yard Party in Camden on Friday night will be cool in more ways than one. See legendary hip hop DJ Grandmaster Flash, eat street food, and enjoy more live music, cocktails, craft beer. Tickets are only £6 if you book today!
Stay hydrated, folks!
From Coral, Rory, Kimberly and Rhod
By Kimberly Bentein, on 12 July 2019
As the second week draws to a close, you probably want to make the most of your time in London by experiencing as much of it as possible! Here are some ideas of what to do in between studying…
1. Day Trip to Oxford
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We highly recommend the day trip to Oxford this Saturday, which is also on our social programme. This trip includes a guided tour of the UK’s oldest university, established in 1167 when King Henry II banned English students from attending the University of Paris. Walk amongst the medieval architecture, and visit the Bodleian Library, the Radcliffe Camera, Sheldonian Theatre, Harry Potter film locations and university buildings.
2. Bob Dylan at Hyde Park
Go see Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Laura Marling play in Hyde Park tonight! If you see Rory, come and say hello!
3. Whitecross Street Party
If you want to avoid the commercial tourist traps of London and you’re looking for something a bit unusual, check out the combination of street art, music and interactive experiences at Whitecross Street Party this weekend. Expect comedians, musicians and spoken-word artists dotted throughout this eccentric extravaganza. It’s also wallet-friendly with tickets priced at exactly £0!
4. Borough Market
To fill a hole in your stomach and schedule, head to London’s oldest food market that’s existed since 1014 AD! Renowned for its quality, Borough Market is teeming with wild and wonderful variety. You can buy a traditional London dish of pie and mash from Pieminister, have the ultimate British roast dinner at the aptly named Roast, or eat more cheese than is medically advisable beside Kappacasein’s raclette. Fun fact: one time at the salami stalls, I found ostrich salami (hopefully that’s as close as I ever get to an ostrich).
5. Go to Europe
Book a Eurostar ticket to Paris, Amsterdam or Brussels and spend two nights on the continent!
6. Opera in Glyndebourne
You can watch Glyndebourne’s production of Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia without needing an expensive ticket, a Glyndebourne worthy outfit and the long train journey to the English countryside: Catch the live stream on Sunday! Embracing the opera’s commedia dell’arte origins, Annabel Arden’s production is suffused with Spanish colour and warmth. The performance will be live streamed in cinemas on Sunday July 14th and will be available on demand for 7 days.
7. Olafur Eliasson at the Tate Modern
Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson is out to rouse each of your senses and everything in between in his kaleidoscopic interactive art exhibition at the Tate Modern. This interactive rainbow of an exhibition can be described seriously in terms of its thoughtful engagement with colour theory, interactivity and perception, or it can simply be enjoyed for its big colours and shiny shapes. Combine it with a leisurely stroll along the riverbank, a wobble on the Millennium Bridge, a glimpse of St Paul’s Cathedral and the Shakespeare’s Globe and you’ve got yourself a classic London afternoon.
8. Watch the cricket on Sunday
Find a good pub to watch the cricket world cup final in on Sunday. Will England beat the Kiwi’s?
9. Royal Academy Summer Exhibition
Famous as the world’s largest open submission show, The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition is a treasure trove of art in all mediums, with a remarkable mixture of emerging artists and household names. You can even take a piece of it home with you as most works are for sale, which is how the Royal Academy funds free, world-class postgraduate tuition in the RA Schools. Open late on Fridays and Saturdays, exploring the exhibition followed by a glass of pimms or two in the courtyard on a balmy summer’s evening is a staple in my summer schedule.
We hope you’re enjoying your time at the UCL Summer School so far. We’d love to hear where you’ve visited or what you recommend in the comments!
From Rhod, Kimberly, Rory, Coral and Ken
By Kimberly Bentein, on 5 July 2019
UCLSS Social Programme Events
Friday 5th July
Jazz in the Quad
Saturday 6th July
Day Trip: Bath & Stonehenge
Recommendations from UCLSS Staff
Things to do this weekend:
On Saturday 6 July, Joe Goddard from Hot Chip is DJing at XOYO, which is a nightclub near Old Street tube station. Old Street is very close to Shoreditch, which is one of the fashionable ‘hipster’ parts of London. Prepare to see men with beards, their hair tied in buns and socks pulled up high! XOYO’s been rated as one of the top 100 nightclubs in the world, so it’s well worth a visit. And if Hot Chip’s bright and bouncy synth-pop reputation is anything to go by, Joe Goddard is a man you can trust on the decks.
Get out of central London by taking a long Saturday morning walk along the canal from Camden to Victoria Park, East London (my favourite place in London!). Spend the day chilling in the park or explore nearby neighbourhoods along the way!
Half price dim sum at Leong’s Legend, Soho
The National Theatre River Stage opens this weekend with East London drag hothouse The Glory who stage a three-day Pride party with the best of London’s world-leading alternative drag and cabaret scene.
The Glory Rive Stage Festival Weekend 5-7 July, full schedule: https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/shows/the-glory-river-stage-2019
Already got plans this weekend? Not to worry, the NT River Stage welcomes a free outdoor festival with a different take-over every weekend until August 2nd the south bank in front of the National Theatre. There’s live music, dancing, DJs, family workshops, club nights and theatre, all summer, all for free!
Full schedule: https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/shows/river-stage-2019
Things to book now or do spontaneously at any point over the summer!
If you find yourself at a loose end, why not head to Covent Garden to see a show by the street performers? Samuel Pepys wrote in his diary in 1662 about seeing the first ever street performance (a Punch and Judy puppet show) at Covent Garden. There’s even a pub called the Punch and Judy there to commemorate it! The tradition of street performance at Covent Garden has continued ever since, ranging from classical music performances in the Market, to unicycle-riding chainsaw jugglers, to super flexible acrobatics. Street performers ask for a small donation at the end of the show – I’d recommend giving them £2 if you can.
Watch the later stages of Wimbledon at one of London’s many large screens!
Take a boat down the river Thames to Greenwich. City Cruises run comfortable boats with entertaining and informative guides who explain the sights as you head down the river.
Once in Greenwich, visit the market, have some lunch and spend a lazy afternoon in the park. If you’re feeling energetic, you could climb the hill to the observatory and see the meridian line, where east meets west!
Scene & Heard’s Beyond The Teens – The Grown Up Plays is on from Thursday 11th July to Sunday 14th July at Theatro Technis which is just round the corner from St Pancras Way. Scene & Heard is a unique mentoring project that partners the inner-city children of Somers Town, London with volunteer theatre professionals. At the end of each term, the children each write a 10 minute play which are then performed by professional actors. Without question the funniest theatre I’ve ever seen!
Tickets are free, you do need to book in advance and bring a bit of spare change to drop into their donation buckets at the end.
By Popular Demand: Pride 2019
I love Pride! It’s always such a brilliant event that brings everyone together. I recommend simply buying a can of beer (or your tipple of choice), dousing yourself in glitter and rainbow flags and heading to Oxford Circus to catch the parade as it goes past! I mention Oxford Circus as it’s very central and easy to get to, and the parade organisers have recommended avoiding the busiest locations (usually Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus). Enjoy it!
If you’re out celebrating Pride you may wish to finish your celebrations by dancing into the early hours of Sunday morning at the Pride Dance Party in East London. DJs on the night include Honey Dijon, Horse Meat Disco and Luke Solomon – all serving up disco, house, electro and everything in between. Tickets need to be booked in advance.
Classic x Horse Meat Disco Pride Dance Party. Clubbing legends Horse Meat Disco and Honey Dijon headline this bumper Pride night party in a Wapping warehouse with a super-swish soundsystem.
A Note from the Editor: You’ll notice Rory and Rhod’s suggestion may sound a bit similar and we promised them we’d credit who sent it in first… Except they sent it in AT EXACTLY THE SAME TIME!
Why not head down to Greenwich where the National Maritime Museum will be gearing up to Pride in London by serving you full festival vibes and beach party realness at Pride on the Shore on 5th July as they explore queer histories and culture with a dash of summer sparkle!
By Rory M Herron, on 3 July 2019
Ken Downs from the USA is helping out in the UCL Summer School office this summer and so we’ve asked him to share some thoughts on his London experience, so far.
London has been a place that I’ve wanted to go to for most of my life. It was a dream of mine to go to the 2012 London Olympics (which I didn’t go to) and then in high school, I picked up watching British reality TV programmes (like Big Brother UK and Love Island). Now in university, I am finally here on an abroad program. I’ve been in London for three weeks and during my free time, I’ve had time to explore London, particularly avoiding the touristy things (except for Oxford Street Shopping and the places I stumble upon like Big Ben and the London Eye). I have found the hidden gems of London the most valuable and memorable.
Camden Town (which is just a short 15 minutes from UCL) is full of great restaurants and shops. I ate at Made in Brasil and it was one of the best meals I’ve had in London so far. The vintage and thrifty shops there are so fun. The souvenir stores are very overrated but other stores such as Carpe Diem have got a lot to offer. Also at Camden Market, you can pay homage to soul singer Amy Winehouse. (Fun fact, she lived in Camden also!)
By Kimberly Bentein, on 26 June 2019
UCL is a welcoming, dynamic, global university based in one of the most exciting capital cities in the world and working here means becoming part of an incredible community made up of some of the greatest intellects in the world.
Meet the awesome team who design and run the UCL Summer School, enabling you to experience the very best UCL has to offer and discover how UCL can help you realise your potential!
Coral Brown – Programme Officer
I’ve studied, worked or lived in London for the past 8 years, so I’m slowly working my way through making memories at every station on the tube map! I’ve worked at UCL since March this year, so I’ve had a chance to familiarise myself with the Bloomsbury campus now (with the help of UCL Maps of course). I help with the paperwork and support the admissions process, and I’m the first person to talk to if you have any general questions, so we may have already met via email or on the phone already! What I’ve always loved about London is its diversity. It sometimes feels like this is a global hub for all cultures to come together, and I certainly feel privileged to be part of it. I currently live in Brighton, which is a seaside city on the south coast of England and just over an hour away by train. Another name for Brighton is ‘London-by-the-sea,’ so although I don’t live in London at the moment, it’s a pretty good substitute! But of course, you can’t beat London for comedy clubs, art galleries and food from all over the world. I’m very much looking forward to meeting you all in person very soon!
Kimberly Bentein – Programme Manager
From Belgium originally, I came to London nearly twelve years ago to do a postgraduate degree and never left. After my year at university, spending most of my time in the library and the student union bar with the amazing group of people from all over the world I’d met through my course, I decided it was time to explore London properly. Almost a decade later and I have still only just scratched the surface! There is a never-ending supply of things to see, do and experience from ancient history to the very latest trend. As a truly global city, it is also a great place to work, offering opportunities I would never have even dreamed of. For UCL Summer School programme, I manage the day to day operations, in short I make things happen. From little things like booking theatre tickets for the social programme to much bigger tasks such as organising the accommodation we offer, it is my job to look after all the operational details that make up our programme. The better I am at my job, the smoother the programme will run and in turn, I hope, the more students will enjoy it.
Rhod Fiorini – Head of Programme
As Head of Programme, I’m responsible for the academic direction of the summer school. I’m very fortunate to be working with a talented range of academics from across faculties, who help ensure that UCL is able to offer the most varied and exciting summer school curriculum in London. I come from a town called Bromley, which is in the suburbs of south east London. Bromley was in the news recently because it’s where the recently deceased musician David Bowie grew up. It was also once described in a national newspaper as ‘the most boring town in the UK’. Fortunately, it’s only a short train journey away from central London! I love working in London, particularly in Bloomsbury – for the squares and Georgian architecture – and I love going out in London after work. My ideal evening involves eating good food, drinking good wine and listening to good music, and all of these are available in abundance in London – it’s not all about afternoon tea and roast beef on a Sunday! The diverse nature of the capital means you can eat the food and listen to the music of pretty much every other part of the world. Essentially, you can travel the world without going anywhere. Or you could visit Bromley!
I would argue that I have the most exciting role in the team due to the fact it is multi-faceted and I get to work with lots of interesting and talented people. As I have responsibility for marketing and recruitment, I tend to be doing different things day-to-day. One week I might be talking to enthusiastic students at a Study Abroad fair overseas, while the next I could be working with a web designer or video producer discussing ideas for our website or social media channels. Each day brings new challenges and surprises and I’m fortunate to say that I really enjoy my job! Originally from Derry in Ireland, I’ve now lived in London for over 4 years (by way of Scotland, Vietnam and Japan) and joined the UCL Summer School team in the lead-up to our first ever programme in 2016! The best thing about living in London is the variety it offers. I especially love meeting friends for food or a concert after work and exploring the city’s many markets, parks and pubs and record stores at the weekends.
Hi – I’m Ken, an intern for the UCL Summer School team! I was born and raised in Kentucky but lived in Chicago to attend university at the University of Illinois at Chicago! I am going into my fourth year of university pursuing a BA in Communication and I am also minoring in International Studies and Sociology. I have always been interested in London and British culture from politics to music and reality tv. I got the opportunity to intern in London through IES Abroad. As part of the UCL Summer School Team, I am learning and practicing communication and marketing techniques such as content production, interviewing, writing e-communications, competitor analysis, and more. I do plan to write some of my own articles and pieces while I am here also. So far in London, I like the diversity of people and I feel that it is nearly impossible to see the same person twice anywhere you go in the city. I am looking forward to attending the Lovebox Festival in July and seeing some of my favourite music acts in person!
By Rory M Herron, on 14 March 2019
by Rachita Shah (UCL Summer School 2018)
If like me, you missed Veganuary 2019, you don’t need to wait till 2020… you can still get a taste of the Vegan Experience anytime… especially if you are in London!
Am a vegetarian who also eats eggs and yet happily chose to go vegan for the convenience of it while in London in the summer of 2018. Going vegan was easy mainly for me ‘cos of the clarity of the concept itself and the enormity of vegan options available in this cultural melting pot!
I was keen on experimenting with the vast delectable cuisines on offer in this cosmopolitan city and so I, as an Indian, consciously stayed away from Indian cuisine (which I must admit I absolutely love!). My 25 days (not enough!) of happily gorging on vegan delicacies from different cuisines had hits and misses and alongside these lip-smacking delicacies, I enjoyed delightful conversations with complete strangers who had either turned vegan or were just trying it out. Food got us together, conversations kept us connected, sharing cultural experiences and expressing ourselves just happened amidst all the laughter and curiosity!
Believe this marks an evolution of a new culture – it’s all embracing! My quest for fantastic vegan fare took me across different parts of London while I admired the city’s robust transport infrastructure, coupled with the very user-friendly Transport for Lonfon (TfL) app. The icings on the cake were that the sumptuous food and high-energy interactions which further fuelled my zest to learn and focus on my very exciting UCL Summer School module, ‘Business Psychology’. Furthermore, the unique, ‘out-of-class’ observations and interactions with entrepreneurs, restaurateurs, managers, staff, customers, fence-sitters et al – the “explorers” in this newfound Vegan world (!) – only served to reinforce the learnings from the classroom!
In no particular order, here are the culinary delights I relished most:
- Borough Market (mouth-watering Big ‘V’ burgers)
- Bloomsbury Farmers’ Market (pasta per favore!)
- Goodge Place Market (Paella – truly, a satiating meal)
- Hackney Downs All Vegan Market (finally some Fish & Chips and Vegan Beer! The Ramen bowl was a nice surprise)
- Andu Café and Engocha (both serve comforting Ethiopian platters that are similar yet different)
- Manna Restaurant (British Sunday Roast – yay!)
- The Sky Garden (healthy veggie wrap… very gourmet!)
- Café Van Gogh (heart-warming Burgers and more!)
- Itsu (Japanese became my soul food!)
- Pret-a-Manger (the chickpeas & mango chutney sandwich is yum especially when it’s part of your picnic basket at one of the lovely parks)
The warmth of all these memories and friendships of a lifetime have made this London trip a truly memorable one! I’d say ‘try vegan!’… Not just for the food but for the immensely fun and uniquely enriching experience!
By Rory M Herron, on 4 March 2019
Soumya Vats, India (Literary London, UCL Summer School 2018)
“In people’s eyes, in the swing, tramp, and trudge; in the bellow and the uproar;
the carriages, motor cars, omnibuses, vans, sandwich men shuffling and swinging;
brass bands; barrel organs; in the triumph and the jingle and the strange high
singing of some aeroplane overhead was what she loved; life; London; this moment of
June.” — Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway
My decision to study at the UCL Summer School was a well-informed one. I put a
month’s worth of research about faculty, curriculum and location in and made what was
perhaps my best academic decision so far. Months later, I can safely state that it is
an investment that never stopped giving.
The cosmopolitanism of London and the program itself didn’t hit me until I was in a
team with students from Chile, India, Hong Kong and Australia, competing in a quiz on
the British culture. As the young representatives of these great cultures huddled
together to figure out whether Fish n Chips or Kebabs was the preferred British junk
food, we sparked connections where we least expected them, and more importantly won
a colour-changing mug. It remains, to this day, a treasured souvenir.
There is an undeniable air of endless possibility that hangs above every new interaction in this city
of dreams. In a way, you want to decipher the story behind each person, identify what
led them to the same place and see if maybe there is a similarity in your journeys there.
London, for me, was defined by the people it so graciously introduced me to. For every
confusion-filled ride in the tube, there was a street musician making the journey more
melodious, each deadline was accompanied by support from the instructors and
midnight cravings for ice cream were shared with other ravenous souls from the dorm. A
quest to the grocery store would ensue in the latter. It’s in these little adventures that
nestled into our routine for three weeks that we tasted the true essence of studying
abroad. As a person who has only ever lived (and studied) in one part of the world, living
alone came with more independence than inconvenience. A usually socially anxious
creature, I expected to mould myself to fit in with the crowd. Fortunately, this summer
taught me to appreciate the individuals in the crowd, and become one I could openly
cherish as well.
I’d like to think of my trip as a memoir of a million micro trips. Months later, I
remember the steps from my accommodation to class, daily walks around Tavistock
Square with newly found friends and class trips where we traced the lines of literature
through architecture. Swift and Blake whispered the deep, dark secrets of London’s
streets in our ears as Keats and Hardy redefined its history and Doyle added a pinch of
mystery to this delightfully exotic dish. We experienced the city through the eyes of
some of the greatest literary minds and the more we read, the more we became
characters in one of the several tales the city holds safe.
For there is so much the city offers and not enough time to soak up its opportunities,
just when I had decidedly gotten a hold of how the Oyster card worked, it was time to go
home. In an attempt to organise my thoughts the only way I know how to, I scribbled
them as a Ghazal. This old form of poetry normally used as an ode to love and sorrow
may well encapsulate my short-lived (and yet unforgettable) relationship with the city.
October record stuck on a reminiscent classic
The European Summer, still neat in those memories
Bloomsbury, look fondly upon your foster child
She hides a map of every street in those memories
They called me caramel frosted beige
My colour was not just wheat in those memories
Open container laws and cheap beer wrote
An ode about dancing sore feet in those memories
When the tube dissolved into metro
Nostalgia found no option for ‘Repeat’ in those memories
Three weeks couldn’t stretch to three years
But London and I still meet in those memories.
I remember thinking about Virginia Woolf’s London every time I passed the Woolf &
Whistle (her former-home-turned-cafe)- how the city overwhelmed her and pushed her
comfort zone to the extremes, and yet became so much a part of her being that when
away, she always found her way back, if not physically then through her words. Now,
when I look back to my little time there, I can’t deny, I understand how.
For information on the 2019 UCL Summer School please visit our website.
For more information on the Literary London please visit the module page.
By Rory M Herron, on 24 September 2018
-by Kate Garner from the University of Sydney
I’ve been to London before—I’d shopped on Oxford Street, heard Big Ben boom, gawked at Buckingham Palace and turned a full revolution around the Eye—so for me, applying to the UCL Summer School was a chance to study a subject I loved in a city I loved and thought I knew pretty well already. But, as it turned out, the experience of being a student in London revealed the city to me in a completely different way.
As the city sweltered through an unexpectedly warm July, I began daily classes on UCL’s Gower Street Campus. My chosen module – Literary London – was packed with field trips to local literary sights and landmarks that complemented texts we were reading in class. Anchored in the centre of Bloomsbury, a neighbourhood with a long and vibrant literary culture, we walked to the British Museum to view the very artefacts that inspired scores of English poets, to the eclectic Sir John Soane Museum, and through Garden Squares that popped up in countless English novels. Having these resources at our disposal (even the British Library was just around the corner) was incredible, and these sites proved key coordinates in the personal map of London that unfolded before me over the next three weeks.
When I wasn’t in class or on a class trip I continued to explore the city as much as I could, finding tucked-away bars in Covent Garden, eating my way through London’s burger scene, traipsing through nearly every art gallery in the capital and even managing to see a performance of Hamilton. Because I was already on the other side of the world, I snuck across to the continent to visit Amsterdam and Copenhagen before hopping on a plane back to Sydney. My accommodation was so centrally located all I had to do was stroll down to St. Pancras and hop on the Eurostar.
My university halls were also short walk to the UCL Campus. When it came time to buckle down and finish my assignments I loved working in the Main Library – its wall-to-wall books and striking (read: Instagram-able) architecture more than lived up to expectations – and I also had access to all of UCL’s academic resources. Literary London was a goldie-locks experience: just enough reading, rigour, essay-writing and field trips squeezed into three weeks to make it challenging but even more fun.
Experiencing a different academic culture was a bit of a learning curve, but now I feel well-equipped to pursue higher education in the UK should I choose to and I’ve also caught a glimpse of tertiary education around the world thanks to my cosmopolitan classmates. Forging an international network and becoming part of UCL’s global alumni has been an unexpected perk, shaping my vision of London as a truly global city and leaving me with a foot firmly wedged in the door to return when I graduate and enter the job market.
I came to UCL to study how London is imagined in literature but left having read the city both inside and outside of the classroom – and it was a book I recommend to everyone.
Click here for information on the 2019 UCL Summer School
Click here for information on the Literary London module
By Kimberly Bentein, on 3 August 2018
UCLSS Social Programme Events
Friday 3rd August
Jazz in the Quad
Saturday 4th August
Day Trip: Oxford
Recommendations from UCLSS Staff
Things to do this weekend:
Mercato Metropolitano in Elephant and Castle is a great place to spend the day eating and drinking. This Saturday they will also host the Crafty Fox Market which could come in handy if you’re looking for gifts for friends and family back home!
Cocktails in the city at in Bedford Square Gardens brings together 25 of the city’s best bars, speakeasies and clubs together to serve you the makings of their mixology skills.
Free outdoor festival every weekend this summer on the south bank in front of the National Theatre. There’s live music, dancing, DJs, family workshops, club nights and theatre, all summer, all for free! This weekend’s take over is by nonclassical, this East London record label and club will be bringing the best in new classical, electronic and experimental music to the river front
Things to do this session:
What can beat the boat party?
It’s got to be the UCL Summer School End of Summer Boat Party!
UCL Summer School Social Programme extra event: picnic and games in Regent’s Park on Tuesday evening. Details to follow….
UCL Summer School 2019 ? Not quite yet, applications for next summer will open on November 30th so why not book for the Boat Party instead…
By Popular Demand:
London, like most big cities, has a reputation for being expensive however there are a million and one things to do and see in London that are absolutely free. Most museums have free entry for their permanent collections and these are our top tips:
Kenwood House in Hampstead Heath – where films like Belle and Notting Hill were filmed, and also near the Heath’s swimmable lakes to cool off.
The Getty Images Gallery in Fitzrovia (walking distance to campus) is hosting theBeat Positive exhibition showcasing photographs from New York hip-hop’s early days.
Walk along the south bank of the Thames and visit Greenwich Park
V&A’s Chance and Control: Art in the Age of Computers and the rest of the V&A to be honest.