As most of you know, this year I embarked upon my first year at university studying English Literature and it is safe to say that I am enjoying every second of it (minus the stress of assignments, my diet containing far too many noodles and not having enough sleep!). I have spent my whole life dreaming of both studying and working in London once I had left school and sometimes it does still feel surreal that I’m spending the next three years studying a subject I absolutely LOVE in the city of my dreams.
One of the main reasons why I wanted to both live and study in London is because I find the city so inspiring. No day can be a dull day simply because there is always something going on and something new to discover. It is a hub to such a diverse multitude of people and I have met so many different people here who ultimately, I would have never encountered at home and who have really changed me as a person.
My university is based in East London which I was rather unfamiliar with when moving in, but MY GOD its so great!! I have lived here for three months now and I’m nowhere near to uncovering it all quite yet, however, during my first semester I have done a bit of exploring and found a few fab spots that I wanted to share.
-OLD SPITALFIELDS MARKET-
Old Spitalfields Market is probably one of my favourite places in East London as it is a collection of small traders, craftsmen and artists all together under one roof, creating a bustling and buzzing environment to explore! There is SUCH a range of things to buy, try and have a look at- foods which range from the smelliest cheeses (lol) to the most banging Nutella doughnut, graphic tees, cute prints and skincare, they have EVERYTHING you need.
The Market is open seven days a week and constantly have events going on. For example, every 1st and 3rd Friday of each month, a vinyl/record sale is held which I have attended and it was GREAT. Everything there is really well priced and the atmosphere is amazing. It is a spot I know I’ll be visiting constantly throughout my time at university as every time I go, there is always something new to see!
-ST DUNSTAN CHURCH GARDEN-
On Friday afternoons I finish class at 1pm so I usually just head back to the flat and CRASH after a long week. However, one of my flatmates said she was going to go out and do a bit of exploring so I thought I’d be spontaneous and go along with her. My flatmate had heard about this old abandoned Church Garden (I hadn’t) so we headed to go find it and OH MY GOD. Amidst all the modern, huge London buildings was this stunning Church, overgrown with green and various plants weaving their way up the arches- it just didn’t feel REAL, as though I was in The Secret Garden or something?!
The Church had little walkways around it with benches to sit and chill where people were reading their books or eating their lunch. It was so crazy how PEACEFUL it was despite being bang in the middle of London and it was so beautiful on a sunny day (mind you, I bet it would look MAGICAL in the snow too!). It just seems like the perfect spot to clear your head and just relax without actually leaving the bustle of the city! Honestly, it is a little gem of a place and I really recommend taking a look around there!
Brick Lane is a place I’ve heard about SO MUCH, so I was so excited to find that it is only a few stops on the tube (or a solid 30 min walk!) away from my university! These photos are from my very first visit there with my flat, but I’ve been back countless times purely because there is SO MUCH to see. The streets are filled with funky shops, cool cafes, street art and vintage shops- it’s so easy to get lost just weaving your way through all the fab places!
I really enjoy going there primarily for two things- food and vintage shopping. There are so many places to grab something to eat of ANY cuisine that takes your fancy- I’ve tried a few spots there but have plans to try MANY more haha. Also, the vintage shops there are gorgeous and give me so much clothing inspo BUT, most of them are unfortunately very expensive!! However, my ultimate favourite thrift store there is Beyond Retro as the store is HUGE and actually quite affordable- they often have a big sale section where you can pick up branded bits for as low as £5 which is fab for the student bank account!! (and literally, the only thing that makes me feel better about spending money haha!).
SO, that was just three of my favourite spots here in East London that I’ve discovered recently. I know that I’m sure to come across a hell of a lot more over the next few years while studying here which I’m all for. Have any of you ever been to these places before? Or do you have any recommendations for me regarding London in general? I’d LOVE to know!