By: Darcey Drullinger
Quickly after the start of the new year, my three best friends and I decided to hop across the pond and start a new semester in London. We packed our bags and bought our books, ready to soak in all of what London College of Fashion had to offer.
During our first week of orientation, one of our tutors said, “Get lost in London because that is the best way to explore.” This quote has stayed in the back of my mind, especially during the midst of the hustle and bustle in one of the busiest cities in the world. If I want to explore, I must not only get lost in the British culture, or my neighborhood, but also in the mindset and creativity that lies within the people of this city.
I craved for this place to become a home away from home this semester, but I think if you want that to truly happen you must find those hidden treasures of a place that make you feel most like yourself.
Here is a list of our top five places to explore in London:
For the shopaholic… Covent Gardens.
Covent Gardens is blocks of unique and haute couture stores along cobblestone roads that give this area a modern twist. It has live street performers, and old theaters for musicals that make you feel like you are in a romantic movie. If you want a good bite to eat before a show, or you want to shop until you drop this is the place to go.
For the foodie… Fortnum and Masons.
Fortnum and Masons is one of the most well-known classic tea and sweet shops in London. It’s easy to get lost on their first floor picking out a box of custom truffles or buying a basket of tea and homemade jams, but it doesn’t stop there. The next four floors are filled with an ice cream parlor, high tea room, jewelry shop and grocery store. This past year, British Vogue voted Fortnum and Masons to have “Better tea than the Ritz Hotel.” If you want to treat yourself to an afternoon tea and scones, this is your place.
For the historian… The Tower of London and The Kenwood House.
If you are in the mood to get the past/present tea on the royals go to the Tower of London. You can join a free walking tour throughout the grounds in the tower’s walls, or see the Crown Jewels. The treasure and beauty of these artifacts is truly an unexplainable experience. After you are done, you can walk across the famous Tower Bridge and grab a bite to eat along the river market.
The Kenwood House is my personal favorite spot in London. It is an old manner built for a commander. The house sits on a massive property with running trails, a pond, and they even have their own dairy. The house itself is stunning and brings you back in time. The paintings are priceless that cover the walls, and the rooms make you feel like you are in a day-dream with their printed curtains, and bubble gum pink and baby blue walls. The best view of the London’s skyline is on these grounds.
For the dancing queen… Ballie Ballerson.
This dancing club is full of pink, neon lights and adult ball pits. If you packed your dancing shoes this place is a must. There is a live DJ each night and different ball pits that you and your friends can feel like a kid at an arcade all over again.
For the hostess… Columbia Road Flower Market.
To the girl who claims flowers are her love language, this street will make your heart skip a beat. On Sunday morning through the afternoon, this street is closed for flower venders to sell their unsold surplus bundles of flowers from the week. You can become your own florist and take home your own bouquet wrapped in brown paper. The Oak is a local pub next to the market that is the perfect place for the English classic, Sunday roast dinner.
London is a city that holds so much diversity, history, and culture. If you take away anything from this, explore where you are, and find the places and people that make you feel most at home away from home. As the British say, “Cheers.”