Sightseeing in London As A Student? Check Out These 8 Unique Spots You Need To See
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There is no shortage of things to do in London, especially as a student! We know how boring it can be sitting in your student accommodation all day, so why not take a trip outside?
You could go to Charing Cross and the National Portrait Gallery, down Shaftesbury Avenue to watch a show, go clubbing in Dalston or Hoxton, get cultural in Trafalgar Square or historical in Kensington at the Science Museum, Natural History Museum or V&A. But you already knew that.
Here is a list of different things to do and see in London that you might not have heard of. Oh, and a few historical landmarks you have to see, naturally!
1. London’s Gothic Cemeteries
In a city as old as London, you are bound to have some expansive, gothic cemeteries.
The Magnificent 7 comprises Kensal Green, Highgate, West Norwood, Abney Park, Nunhead, Brompton, and Tower Hamlets cemeteries. They were created in Victorian England in the early 1800s.
Prepare for a bit of a dark history (or keep scrolling, if it’s not your cup of tea):
With too many deaths, ill-health and overcrowding, the Victorians needed to shift their corpses out of the city centre. The result: a beautiful, albeit grim, insight into the perils of Victorian England.
With catacombs, ramshackle mausoleums and winding eerie paths, you’ll find many historical figures including Karl Marx’s Tomb.
If that isn’t enough death for you, check out the Victorian pet cemetery in Hyde Park. These aren’t just your average cemeteries, these are vast historical garden parks full of history and hauntings – a must-see for any London trip.
Here’s to a cheery day out!
Kensal Green Cemetery: Kensal Green, Overground and Bakerloo Line
Tower Hamlets Cemetery: Mile End, Central Line
Highgate Cemetery: Archway, Northern Line
Nunhead Cemetery: Brockley, Overground or Nunhead, Thameslink
Hyde Park Pet Cemetery: Lancaster Gate, Central Line
Brompton Cemetery: Brompton, Overground
West Norwood Cemetery: West Norwood, Southern Railway
Abney Park: Stoke Newington, Overground
2. Tower of London and Tower Bridge
Lying on the banks of the River Thames is the Tower of London.
Founded by William the Conqueror in 1066, this historical landmark is home to the crown jewels and is also a prison where many people were executed including Henry VIII’s second wife, Anne Boleyn.
If you are lucky, you might see black ravens that are the palace’s guardians as well as the legendary Yeoman Warders, more commonly known as Beefeaters.
A five-minute walk away is Tower Bridge, London’s truly definitive landmark.
Don’t get this confused with London Bridge, Tower Bridge is the bridge you want to see.
Built in the late 19th century, the Victorian suspension bridge is open to the public and you can see London life through its glass floor as well as experience breathtaking panoramic views.
Make sure not to hurry back to your student accommodation as you need to check out the Church of St Dunstable in the East, which is only a 7-minute walk away from the Tower of London. Over 900 years old, it survived the Blitz and the Great Fire of London in 1666.
Tower of London and Tower Bridge: Tower Hill, Central and District Lines
The church of St Dunstable in the East: Monument, Central and District Lines
3. God’s Own Junkyard
In the unremarkable London area of Walthamstow lies God’s Own Junkyard – a dazzlingly trippy warehouse brimming with handmade neon signs.
Nestled amongst the hipsters and creatives, God’s Own Junkyard is a free art gallery and Insta-dream.
Curated by neon artist Marcu Bracey, this is a great alternative to London’s big tourist attractions so it is a must-see.
With plenty of bars and cafes around, God’s Own Junkyard makes for a perfect day out with your uni friends!
Walthamstow, Victoria Line
4. Tate Modern
Like many of the galleries and museums in the capital, the Tate Modern is free.
Housed in a former power station on the southern bank of the Thames, the Tate Modern has a treasure trove of modern and contemporary artwork ready to be discovered.
From Cezanne and Picasso to food pop-ups, performances, exhibitions, and workshops, this is an art gallery and more. If you are walking in the area, pop into the Flat Iron Square for a swift one.
Blackfriars, Circle and District Line
Southwark, Jubilee Line
5. The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, Fine Art & Natural History
Describing itself as having no purpose, wanting to steal the visitors’ time, and having an aversion to categorising and knowledge sharing, this museum is just a ton of weird stuff in a Hackney basement.
Prisoner doodles, dodo bones, entrails in jars, and retro McDonald’s toys, The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, Fine Art & Natural History is a worthy stop.
Find it in The Last Tuesday Society in Hackney, where the bar does a curious cocktail or two.
Cambridge Heath, Overground
6. Kyoto Garden – Holland Park
London is not short of parks, big or small, but here is a real gem.
Located in the already sublime Holland Park is a Japanese oasis: Kyoto Garden. In the heart of London, you’ll find a real slice of Japan just oozing in tranquility. And we aren’t talking a Boots ‘sushi meal deal’ style of Japanese authenticity, this is the real thing.
Opened in 1991 as a commemoration of the long-standing friendship between the people of Kyoto and England, the park has tiers of waterfalls, koi carp, Japanese maple trees and stone lanterns – the hallmarks of Japanese horticultural landscapes.
Holland Park, Central Line
7. East End Street Art
East London is a street art mecca. Here you’ll be able to gawp at art by Banksy, Eline, Sweet Toof, Stik, and many more creatives.
These aren’t just tags, we mean insanely intricate murals, political messages, humorous quips, and magnificent animals. Start in Shoreditch and amongst the concrete, you’ll find overwhelming artistic beauty.
Shoreditch High Street, Overground
8. Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster (Houses of Parliament)
You can’t go to London and not visit Westminster!
Home to the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, and Westminster Abbey, these are the icons of London and the UK’s political history.
As well as free walking tours, you can visit the public gallery in the House of Commons to watch debates, if you are so politically inclined.
Want to get even more political? Have your chance to sit in on the Prime Minister’s questions, which is also free of charge but reserve your seat online.
Westminster, Jubilee, Circle and District Tube Lines
We’re not sure about you but these 8 unique spots are definitely on our list to visit next time we’re sightseeing in London! Obviously, the best way to travel to see these sights is on the Tube however this can be quite confusing if you’ve never used it before. If so, make sure to check out our complete guide on how to use the London Underground!