London and studying abroad can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. Studying abroad at University of Roehampton in the heart of London has allowed me to explore the city and all it has to offer from well-loved attractions to things to do off the beaten path. This isn’t every free or inexpensive thing to do in London, but these are my favorites and I hope you have the opportunity to see these places!
1. Primrose Hill
Primrose Hill is a free park that is unsurprisingly, on a hill. On a clear day, you can stand at the top and look out on the skyline of London and see a panorama of everything London is famous for, like The Shard, The Gherkin, and the London Eye. It is also a great spot to picnic and hang out with your newfound study abroad friends.
2. Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens is a botanical garden, unlike anything I have seen. With a student ID and getting your ticket online, it only costs £8. But be prepared to spend some time! There is so much to see from a waterlily room, to a palm room, and so much more! If plants aren’t your thing, that’s fine because the architecture of the greenhouses is amazing with original Victorian ironwork. The whole place feels like a breath of fresh air among enchanting nature, away from the hustle-bustle of the city.
3. Shows on the West End
The West End always has so many amazing shows from the classics like The Phantom of the Opera to newer fringe shows. Whatever you fancy, there is always something on. The West End can be quite pricey, but not if you know where to look. Newer shows sometimes have “Roulette Tickets” where you pay a small fee, and you are promised a seat somewhere in the theatre. It is quite fun to see where you end up. My cheapest ticket was £12, and I got a front-row seats. Important: do not discount the nosebleed seats, they might be high up, but I have never been disappointed with the view or the quality of the show. I saw an opera at the Royal Opera House for only £39 in the nosebleeds while the average ticket is £150-300. There is usually a way to get cheap to reasonably priced tickets by either looking online or showing up on the day also.
4. Notting Hill
Famous for the 1999 film of the same name and the setting for Paddington the Bear, Notting Hill is a unique area. It has bright houses everyone comes to see and the quirky charity shops that have everything you could think of. The trick is to keep walking past where you think the houses stop on the main road, because if you keep going the real Notting Hill emerges. There you can find more colorful houses and charity shops. Even if you are just window shopping, you will still have a fantastic time seeing this neighborhood. I have been here twice and bring everyone who comes to visit because it is genuinely one of my favorite places.
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