Making the Most of Freshers in London

Zombie cocktails

So you’re moving to London to start university, you’ve made a great choice! London is the best city to go to university in in the UK. Why? Because we have everything bigger and better than the rest of the country. Ok, I’m being a little biased and big headed. But going to university in London is a lot different to going anywhere else in the country. Not necessarily in a bad way, but there’s something about London that makes it really weird to go to university in.

First of all, unlike any other large sized town or city, the university isn’t the only thing going for it. Mostly because we have about 40 different universities in one city. Hardly any of them are campus based. Meaning your whole uni life can be spread across the city. And unlike places like Sheffield or Warwick, people don’t just go to London for uni. People travel to London from all over the world for tourism, to work, to live, and they don’t immediately think: “university”. Time and time again I have heard Northern family members say: “Why didn’t you go to Manchester to study? Manchester is a student city.” What does that mean, “student city”? Because to me that means there’s nothing else to do except study.

That’s why in my first year I didn’t feel like London offered the real student experience, whatever that is. Whenever I spoke to my friends from school in the holidays who went to other places in the country to study, they always asked: “What is London like?” But I really wondered what it was like to not study there. (They have this thing called “carnage”. What the hell is that?) To me, their uni experience sounded like living in a tiny village. Everyone you met was a student and when you went to the shops, everyone was a student. The only people you met in clubs were other students and when you met a local, they hated you because you were a student. And during uni holidays, the place was like a ghost town. You were stuck having to live on rubbish food from chain restaurants like Nandos and drinking bad filter coffee from the student union because no one had heard of a ‘skinny latte’, let alone been into a Starbucks. Yeah ok, point made. But that’s what I first worried about when I was a fresher in London. I worried I wasn’t getting the “real deal”. Maybe I didn’t, but I think I got better.

Here’s some of my tips on how to make the most out of freshers in London, so you don’t feel too left out…..

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Summer’s Outdoor Drinking at The Filling Station (KXFS)

The Filling Station, just off York Way

Regent’s Canal and the duck made out of plastic rubbish

I’m sure like many Londoners I’m more excited about the sudden return of summer, rather than the start of the Olympics at the end of this week.

I can already feel myself silently judging the increase of tourists on the tube and their strange ways. Never stranger than when they start asking for directions and talking to people they have never met before on the tube. People talking to each other on the tube? WHAT?!

But in a bid to avoid the newly mass crowds surrounding Oxford Circus, Leicester Square and pretty much anywhere Central… I have been sticking to hidden gems that only the in-the-know Londoners know about.

That’s why when my best friend told me about a secret, practically empty, pop-up bar and restaurant next to Regent’s Canal in an ex-petrol station, I insisted that we had to go that very night.

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Fast Food With a Difference: The Effortlessly Cool MEATmarket

Image from @MeatMarketUK

This weekend I was lucky enough to go to a secret preview of the soon to be opening MEATmarket in Covent Garden. From the owners of my favourite, the popular MEATliquor, the restaurant is set to open in May.

In what used to be a Chinese restaurant, the relatively small space overlooks the Covent Garden Jubilee Market Hall where baffled tourists loom below picking up their glass bottle ornaments and overpriced London souvenirs.

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