By Yasmin Frischemeier
Although I certainly can’t promote heading to crowded cultural attractions in the midst of a global pandemic, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the city during your free time! Once you’ve gotten a handle on your work for the week, it’s so important to take a break and explore to reset yourself. With a proper night out seeming a long ways away, here are some of my favourite ways to spend a low-key weekend in London:
Explore London’s parks before it becomes unbearably chilly
An invitation to wander around one of London’s iconic Royal Parks was my go-to move for meeting up with other IR students during Welcome Week. Regents Park is a personal favourite – it’s never too crowded or busy and entering the park always feels like stepping into a portal to another world. Existing in a green space with no visible signs of the city is comforting for a suburbanite like myself, and I always leave feeling recharged. If I haven’t sold you yet, Primrose Hill (just north of Regent’s Park) is the perfect place to take in some spectacular views of the city over a sunset picnic.
Visit a board game cafe
Who doesn’t love board games? For a fun and unique group hang, I can’t recommend board game cafes enough. At a board game cafe, you can pay a flat fee to sit down with your friends for a couple of hours and try out as many different games as you want! Draughts, with locations in Waterloo and Hackney, has an insane collection of over 800 games – there’s always something new to try.
Catch a movie at the Barbican Centre
You can only rewatch Friends on a tiny phone screen so many times. If you’re to switch up your media consumption habits, go see a movie at the Barbican Centre! While normally trips to the cinema can be quite expensive, you can join the Young Barbican programme for steeply discounted tickets! Bonus points awarded for the Barbican Centre’s classy atmosphere…
Cook with friends
For a cosy, more relaxed weekend activity, it’s always a blast to make a meal with your friends from halls. When I felt homesick during my first year, I found it really comforting to visit a well-stocked supermarket and make a familiar recipe. Plus, if you’re looking to make new friends, I have yet to have someone to turn down some warm home-cooked food after a greasy Saturday brunch in halls. Just please don’t set the fire alarm off at 2am. Please.
Check out the museums
As Londoners, we are so lucky to have some of the world’s best museums at our doorstep. For some low cost (and often free!) entertainment, it always feels unique and enriching to soak in that London atmosphere by visiting a museum. Consider picking up a Student Art Pass for £5, which I’ve used for some awesome discounts at museums and exhibitions across the UK. In fact, with a Student Art Pass, you can visit my personal favourite cultural spot in London – the Churchill War Rooms – for 50% off! Although Churchill’s legacy is the subject of national debate, I found it tremendously enchanting to step into such a well-preserved piece of history. I’ve also found that the sale section of museum stores can be an excellent place to pick up holiday gifts for family members!
Keep up with what’s going on!
London is a dynamic city, and there’s always something new happening. I love reading Time Out London to find out what’s on.