In my year abroad, I went to London quite often. Before classes even began, I had to navigate the tube during rush hour and confusing National Rail services after hours coming home from a gig. Shortly after moving into my university halls, my friend Tom gave me a tour of (his) highlights of London, South Bank, Camden, Hyde Park and the London Eye. Throughout my first term, I went to London about half a dozen times, mixing in concerts with site-seeing. In my second term, I went once at the beginning of the term and one at the end of the term for site-seeing and a few other times just for concerts.
It’s easy to forget that I’m so close one of the most charismatic, fruitful cities in the world. Since visiting Brighton in June and moving here in September, I’ve been to London three and a half times: one for a short private tour of the Natural History Museum, two concerts (Rise Against and Enter Shikari) and passed through London coming back from Egypt. I have yet to take another site-seeing tour and hit the seemingly endless list of tourist attractions.
With no university, a part time job with fleeting hours and Diego gone, I decided to make the most of my down time and spend a day in London hitting some sites.
Natural History Museum: As I mentioned, my course got a behind-the-scenes tour of fossil collections at the museum, but I’ve never properly toured it! The day we got the tour, I had been up since 3:30AM and was too tired and stressed to enjoy myself properly. I promised myself I would come back and tour properly sometime soon, seeing how much I loved the natural history museums in Washington, D.C. and New York… which leads us to now!
At the museum, I particularly enjoyed the human evolution, bird and images of nature (photographs, drawings and other interpretations of nature through time). However, I did much prefer the American museums I went to. The Natural History Museum feels really out-of-date, meaning, the taxidermy looked botched and faded, the posters gave off a real 80’s vibe and the overall feel of the displays were an awkward medium between modern and classic, making it lack identity. But, I still enjoyed my time there and hey, it was free.
Borough market: After having lunch at Honest Burger, I headed to Borough Market. I love Camden Locke market, the “alternative Borough market,” so I thought I’d check out the original.
Borough market is almost exclusively food; an amazing collection of foreign and domestic vendors bringing you food from exotic spices to camel meat (yum). Since I have no burning need for raw cow milk or ostrich eggs, I just took in the crowd and interesting range of traders. I did, however, buy vegan rocky road bars (it was 2 for £3, I couldn’t lose money on this deal).
After getting lost in the array of stalls, I made my way back to the tube station to catch a train back to Brighton.
I always love hitting the tourist sites, especially free ones, and I hope to have more days out like this again!