A quick train ride from Southampton (1 hour and 20 minutes) and you’re in the capital of England and the capital of, well, pretty much anything you want.
From Camden to Oxford Street, there's literally something for everyone in London. Even London’s 17 national museums are worth a visit. All free, there’s a piece of artwork, or history, to suit everyone. For the more modern, and occasionally bizarre, pieces of work, there’s the Tate Modern. For dinosaurs, dolphins and generally amazing artefacts, there’s the Natural History Museum, and the mummy exhibition at the British Museum is a must.
Get all flamboyant and fancy and check out one of the hundreds of theatre shows. From West End spectacles to Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, there’s a theatrical creation for everyone. In the summer months Shakespeare's Globe Theatre offers standing tickets for a mere £5. West End shows can be a bit more expensive, but then again, where else can you see The Lion King, Wicked, Chicago and the Avenue Q musical puppet show in all their West End glory.
The arts of London are quite a lot to absorb in one day, so by now you’ll be in need of a drink to calm down from all the excitement. Bankside and Coventry pubs can be quite pricey and lacking like-minded students. If it’s hipster hot spots you’re seeking, pubs such as The Old Blue Last and Hoxton Square are bound to be full of messy-haired, oddly-dressed, arty folk.
Music, as you’d imagine, is plentiful in ole’ London town. From Lady Black Mambazo to Slayer’s come back tour, it’s pretty much a rule that everyone ever in the history of music plays shows in London. Oh, and there are the smaller indie bands, too, that play the toilet circuits of London. The Round House, Koko and Barfly all host up-and-coming bands in smaller, beer-drenched, moshing environments.
Of course, you can’t skip London without the shopping. Oh, the shopping! The obvious choice, Oxford Street, is worth a wander, especially the flagship Topshop store. In the basements of the UK’s hippest high street store you can get leopard print nails, a hair cut, or even threaded (boys, it’s like plucking but way more painful).
Let's not forget the precious one-off shops and vintage boutiques of Brick Lane, Camden and Covent Gardens. The long-lost skater dresses, band tees and silly sunglasses are best found in the capital. Brick Lane market on a Sunday is home to many a quaint stall and live music. Definitely worth a stroll around if you happen to be in London for the whole weekend.
Some would argue that London, like Paris, is an outside museum. With Banksy pieces and street performers, there’s always some form of entertainment within eyeshot. Your best bet is to stay a weekend to make the most of your city getaway. Hostels are always good on a student budget and a great way to meet other travelling students from all over the globe.
The train is certainly the quickest way to get to Central London, but Megabus and National Express both offer coach services to London and can be much cheaper. Booking even a day in advance and booking online will usually save you money.
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