After 6 amazing months in London as an intern at Bloomsbury International… this is the end. This is my last article for the blog! On Saturday morning I’m going back to France.
I think that I can now say that living abroad is so enriching… More than improved my English, I discovered the British Culture, and met a lot of people during my trip there.
What I preferred
Well, I think that I can start this article by saying that I really enjoyed during these 6 months! Take notes, I hope that I will teach you something.
First, you need to know that I live in the east suburb of Paris and I take the train every day. The first thing I compared was the transport in Paris and London. Clean, fast, on time, there is a real difference! No way… Trains in London are so much better than Paris! I was surprised at the beginning and I now realize why people are always aggressive in my country… May be that’s why I think that the atmosphere in the city is also better in London!
About London atmosphere, I enjoyed so much some places in London. For shopping, I think that 6 months are not enough to do Oxford Street, Regent Street or Camden Market! Clothes shops are amazing; I didn’t know River Island or Cos for example! But definitely, if you want to do some shopping or have a drink, my favourite place is Covent Garden. The architecture is so nice; the area is quiet but very dynamic during nights or weekends thanks to restaurants and pubs. For sure, it is the best area to go with friends!
When I arrived I didn’t know that 90% of the museums were free. What luck! I spent so much time there! The British Museum, Natural History Museum, Victoria & Albert’s, Science Museum and the National Gallery were my favourite ones (certainly the most famous of the city). I think that I preferred the British Museum because of the Antiquity gallery.
This weekend I wanted to discover some new things before I go. So I went to the London Eye and I had an afternoon tea on a boat. I think that it was one of the most “touristy weekend” of my life! You know, I did exactly what people think that you will do in this city as a tourist (Changing the Guards / London Eye / Big Ben / River Cruise etc.). I was not very interested about this idea but I finally did it and what a surprise! I really liked it. London Eye was crazy… What a view! Same thing about the River Cruise, I enjoyed the afternoon tea so much and the boat route! You can discover the city differently!
To finish, just one word about food markets. I don’t know if English people realise the chance they have with their food markets, it’s unbelievable: you can do your food shopping until midnight! O M G! You can’t imagine how many impulsive purchases I made during my trip at 11pm: candies, ice-cream, sodas, etc.
What I disliked
However, I disliked some things in London.
First of all… the weather. It’s not a myth; it’s reality, it rains a lot in the UK! In 6 months I realised how hard and cold the weather is. First thing I bought before I arrived was an umbrella but I thought “it will be just in case of”. However, I think that you need to keep it with you every day! But anyway, this is a part of the British culture. J
When I arrived here I remembered that everybody told me “you absolutely need to try the famous Fish and Chip”. I didn’t know at beginning what was it but apparently it was a famous meal. So why not, I went one time to a good pub to try it. But what a surprise! There is nothing special in this meal: just a fish and some chips! I thought that it was something better, with a sauce, onions, herbs, salad, a better presentation, but NO! Only a fish stick and chips (It’s all in the name finally haha)!
I was a little bit disappointed when I did the “Changing the Guard” in front of Buckingham Palace. So many people… It’s impossible to do anything (to move, to take good pictures, etc). If you want to see something you need to come an hour before…
I was also disappointed about opening hours of pubs. They open earlier than in France but after 11pm it’s more difficult to find something still opening. Also, when you want to go there at midnight you can’t take a seat, beacause pubs change and become clubs (to be honest, I recognise that I enjoyed it sometimes haha). It was not always easy to find an area quiet just to chat to friends.
To finish, I went to Brighton during a weekend, the first weekend of September if I remember. Brighton is a famous seaside town and normally at the beginning of September it’s still the summer. So I took my sea stuff (swimming trunk, towel, etc.) and I was so excited to go there! But 2 surprises: NO ONE IN THE SEA and STONES BEACH!!! O M G!!! Unbelievable, indescribable … I didn’t go to the sea because of the cold weather (I remind: 1st weekend of September, normally it’s still the summer). I didn’t want to be the only one in the sea… Imagine the shame. L
What I recommend
I think that now I can recommend you some things:
– London Eye: if you have time and if you want to spend no more than £20 and enjoy the most beautiful view of London just do it. At the beginning I was hesitant but now I can recommend you this attraction. You can be sure that you will enjoy it. One more thing: buy tickets on the internet, it’s cheaper and you will save time when you go to the booking office to print your tickets.
– Afternoon tea: not so expensive and you can spend a very good time with family or friends. Personally I did it with River Cruise; it was 2 hours of tea time with a very good itinerary on boat. I think that you can check again on the internet to find the best offers.
– Brunch: I said that I was disappointed with the food, but a Saturday or Sunday Brunch on Wardour Street just between Oxford Circus and Tottenham Court Road is a really good activity!
– Neal’s Yard: I think that it was my favourite place in London. Nobody knows this area but it’s one of the nicest and most colourful places in London. I recommend you to go there one day just to have a drink and enjoy the buildings.
– Museums: they are FREE! When you go to London you absolutely need to (“try a fish and chips”) go to the museums!
– Famous places: I think that when you go to London you have to visit places like Buckingham Palace, Westminster Area, the houses of Parliament, “Big Ben” but also Soho, Covent Garden, Piccadilly, Oxford Street, Camden Town (“Cyberdog” is the best shop of the market), Baker Street, Tower Hill, etc.
– Covent Garden better than Piccadilly Circus: you want to find a stylish area on Friday and Saturday evening? Go to Covent Garden and Leicester Square and leave Piccadilly Circus for the tourists! You can find what you want: pubs, clubs and best restaurants of the city!
– Parks: to be honest I haven’t been to a city with so many parks like London. I recommend you to go to Regents Park, Hyde Park and St James in particularly and try to do a picnic (if the weather is clement of course).
– St Pauls Cathedral: again, if you have the money to spend for some visits St Paul’s Cathedral could be very interesting. I appreciated so much the dome. If you climb it, you will have a wonderful view…
– Changing The Guard: Come one hour before (10am) if you want to see something interesting in front of the Palace. But if you are clever and want to have a closer look of the Guards, you can go to St George Palace and see them start their walk.
– Lost in London weekends trips: I think that it’s one of my regrets, I didn’t do any activities with Lost in London during the weekend but I wanted to try it. I wanted to go to Stonehenge or Bath for example but I didn’t take the time to book tickets. Tickets are very cheap… So I think that it could be very fun to organise an afternoon with groups and visit some famous places in UK as Stonehenge.
An amazing experience
I think this experience was so enriching and I want to thank everybody at Bloomsbury International for their warm welcome and precious advice! I will miss my colleagues and London a lot… But, who knows, maybe I will come back here in the future!
Wish you the best,