Nine days out in London for Egham-weary students

Hands up if you don’t visit our capital city as much as you might like?

Nobody can blame you.  After traversing Egham Hill and a train journey of at least 45 minutes, it is perfectly normal (I think) to be silently seething at the PR department who, prior to your arrival at Royal Holloway, brainwashed you into believing that Egham really isn’t that far from London Waterloo.  After all, we are part of the University of London…

Here are nine ideas for days out in London which make the most of the cost of a travelcard.

1)    The Alternative London Tour, Brick Lane:

A 90 minute fast-paced tour of the street art on and around Brick Lane, in addition to a brief history of Shoreditch and a number of ‘urban myths’ that you may or may not find on Wikipedia.  Afterwards, if your legs aren’t too tired, grab yourself a vintage bargain at one of the markets and enjoy some cheap street food for dinner.

2)    South Kensington:

Described as an ‘architectural gem’ and the home of a number of free museums including the Natural History Museum, V&A and Science Museum.  Bonus points if you can convince yourself that you are doing extra-curricular research for your degree.

3)    Chinatown:

Take a day off from microwavable ramen and feast on an all you can eat Chinese buffet for £5.50 (quality not always assured).  Once you’ve eaten your fill, walk through Soho’s seedy streets and if you’re feeling particularly touristy, make a trip to M&M world in Leicester Square.

4)    National Gallery, Trafalgar Square:

There are dozens of free art museums in London, but the National Gallery is the biggest and best.  At the moment, Van Gogh’s Sunflowers are hanging side by side which is not something you get to see every day, but if you prefer lobster telephones and stuffed birds, make a trip to the Tate Modern at Southwark.

5)    Camden Town:

The home of cheap crepes and try hard hipsters. Make the compulsory trip into Cyberdog to cringe over the fluorescent clubbing wear and try to catch the eye of a cage dancer or three.  In the evening, head over to Angel Comedy for a free evening of stand-up.

6)    Southbank Centre:

A three minute walk from London Waterloo, the Southbank Centre offers a range of free events every week, such as an open ballroom dancing class at the Clore Ballroom on Sundays.  Alternatively, use your student status to your advantage and book cheap tickets to concerts or panel events. I saw Grayson Perry at the ‘Being a Man’ festival for a fiver.

7)    Sherlock walking tour:

This one is for the affectionately named ‘Cumberbitches’ and takes a bit of pre-planning. The official BBC website lists the places that were used in filming all three series of BBC Sherlock, so choose your favourite episodes and follow Benedict Cumberbatch’s footsteps around the city, making sure to stop off for a quick bite to eat in Speedy’s Café.

8)    A royal day out:

With the Queen’s imminent arrival at RoHo, celebrate our beloved monarch with a royal-themed day out.  Walk down the Pall Mall to Buckingham Palace to watch the changing of the guard and then (weather permitting) enjoy a picnic in St James’ Park.

9)    Geffyre Museum, Hoxton:

Of particular interest to interior design enthusiasts, this museum boasts a collection of rooms which show how homes and gardens have changed in style over the past 400 years.  Afterwards, explore Shoreditch’s huge selection of bars and cafes, such as Book Club on Leonard Street where you can play a game of ping pong and laugh pretentiously at the cocktail menu.