Journeying from the lovely city of Birmingham, home to Cadbury Chocolate and the setting of your weeknight Netflix binge Peaky Blinders, to London left a little void in me. London is starkly different from the second biggest city in England. Yet, after spending a few days in London I realised most of my preconceived notions were misguided. And no I don’t mean fashionably “on point” like the women’s online fashion retailer Missguided that stocks the “freshest threads”. I mean misguided as in fallacious.
1. Bad weather?
For starters, the weather has been far from glum. It’s been surprisingly balmy, with the odd day or two of light showers. My umbrella is working great as a paperweight, at least for now. I would still recommend carrying one with you, just in case, Mother Nature decides to be petty. If it does start to pour, I would recommend popping into Poundland for an umbrella that does not break the bank. It isn’t the best quality but it certainly does the job.
2. The tube is far superior to the humble bus
Buses get a bad reputation, but really there is so much to love about them. They are a cost-effective way of touring the city with a £4.50 daily cap on unlimited bus fares and are a great backup plan when the Piccadilly/Central Line is having another Tube strike.
I also realised I did not need an Oyster card to travel. I could simply swipe my contactless card for pay-as-you-go fares with a daily and weekly cap on prices. If you’re an international student waiting to set up your bank account, you are going to need an Oyster card before you get hold of your contactless card but you don’t have to get it from a Tube station. They are available throughout the city; you could get one from an ‘Oyster Ticket Shop’ to avoid the swarm of tourists trying to work the automated machines at Tube stations. Alternatively, you could just help the tourists out, take pride in your good deed and be that much closer to your Oyster card.
3. Reusable coffee cups are for hipsters
And finally, reusable coffee cups are back in season. Besides the 50p discount at Pret that everyone has been raving about, LSE catering also does a 25p discount when you use a reusable cup. It’s cool to care about the environment and you get rewarded whilst at it! You can grab a subsidised and personalised LSE Keepcup at any one of the campus cafés for a mere five quid. Be sure to snag one early as they do sell out pretty quickly. Can you really say no to a mid-afternoon latte in a trendy-looking personalised LSE Keepcup? I definitely can’t.
These first few weeks in London have been absolutely amazing. Don’t let the “bad weather” scare you off. London is a great city, and LSE is right at the heart of it.