Today I hit Southbank. There is so much going on here I think I’m going to have to do it in stages. The Tate Modern is only a 10 minute walk from my flat and it’s a pretty straight forward route so I used this as a starting point and made my way along to Southbank centre. This stretch alongside the murky Thames (AKA the seafront, but Maddie gets full credit for that nickname) is home to some of the most famous sights and Landmarks in London. Although you have great views of the Houses of Parliament, St Pauls Cathedral and Somerset House here are some of my top suggestions for the south side.
- Southbank Centre
– Home to the Hayward Gallery and Foyles bookshop there’s always vibrant colours and displays to be found. Also a very nice food market found behind on Fridays-Mondays.
- Spotting Buskers
– You’re never far from beautiful music, buskers or moving statues on this walk. Look out for the victorian looking guy playing a saw, he’s a personal fav… and I try to live by the rule that if they make me stop or smile they deserve your money, so keep some change handy.
- Tate Modern
-This is where I stopped today and with plenty of free art and exhibitions to enjoy it’s always a good one for those on a budget. Works from Warhol, Picasso and Hamilton are all free to view in the permanent galleries. I could also spend a lot of time in their bookshop.
Other places of interest which I’m sure I’ll return to include Shakespeares globe, the many stalls that pop up selling anything from Mexican food to second hand books and Southbanks heavily graffitied skatepark.
Budget –> £0 – I managed not to spend anything on this trip but very easily could have.
Weather –> Dry – A clear day preferably so you can look down the river but this is Britain so I’ll settle for dry.
Must-do –> Tate’s Bookshop – There’s a whole lot of research and inspiration to find if you’re subtle enough.
Destination –> Brick Lane Markets
Weather –> hope for sun but most is indoors
Best with –> a group of friends to explore with
Maybe not the best one for someone with a headache but a good day all the same. Started by walking to East Aldgate from Southwark, about 40 minutes but a simple enough route, to meet the foundationers from last year who have also made it to London. From here we made out way down Brick Lane. I’m no stranger to one of the most colourful area’s in Shoreditch but i’ve never been when it’s been quite so busy.
Every street was alive through the bright graffiti that covers every wall to the faces of excited tourists and chilled locals. I’m not sure which category to class myself in yet but I definitely got way too excited about the food stalls. There was something for everyone, Thai curry, falafel and halloumi wraps, dumplings, paella… honestly my mouth is still drooling! I settled for a smoothie as I had eaten lunch before I had left and the walk had made me thirsty (Melon, banana and pineapple is a good combination by the way)
Having found a comfy piece of pavement to eat lunch (don’t worry, everyone else had the same idea so you wont look odd) we visited the record sale. Located in a downstairs basement this market is a treasure trove for vintage lovers. With a reasonably sized record collection ranging from 80s Soul to Ska/Two Tone to a box named ‘The weird and Wonderful’, the best option for a student has to be the £1 sale box. I managed to find some self control through the music and clothes stalls but I picked up a lot of inspiration for patterns and styles so still a worthwhile journey.
Unfortunately after a quick look round Teapot Market my head decided it had had enough for one day and I found a bus home.
* Top 3 *
- The smells coming from the food market
- The playlist in the record store – last night a dj saved my life –
- The random items found in Teapot’s Market (I’m talking dismembered baby heads to old suitcases full of photographs)
* Budget * — £5 —
- £3.50 – Smootie
- £1.50 – Bus fare
I’ve always seen myself as an independent individual, working 1 if not 2 jobs alongside college since 2013, including 60 hour weeks over this summer to save for University. Even so, i’ve lived a sheltered enough life that moving out and away is…well… scaring the shit out of me. I’m now having to do things like budget, remember to buy toilet roll and not give myself food poisoning. I do not feel prepared.
It hasn’t helped that I’ve spent my first week hiding from the world with crippling headaches. BUT armed with sunglasses, paracetamol and a willingness to walk I’m tackling London on a student budget, one adventure at a time.