London Lantern

Putting the Spotlight on London

Four Months In London: A Student’s First Impressions Of The City - Part 2

17/04/2005, By Andrea Meuleners

Reader Rating: 2.9 from 22849 votes

Black Widow Pub

I think the main difference that I noticed my first week in London was how relaxed and laid back the social scene was compared to America, as people walk around the streets drinking and socializing. It is much more open than in America. The closing hour for the pubs is 11 pm, which may seem early to most people; however, this early closing time seems to make the pubs more of a nightly social gathering place for the community rather than a once a week, late-night party location. A lot of pubs and bars feature live blues or jazz music.

The Ainít Nothing but the Blues Bar located on Kingly Street just off of Regent Street quickly became a favourite with our group, live blues music was played at this bar every night, but on Monday nights they combined different musicians, some who have never played together previously, and gave each group 30 minutes to play improvisational blues music. There was always a different sound with every group. We also frequented the River Bar and Brasserie located just on the south side of the Tower Bridge. On Thursday nights they had live jazz music performed in a more sophisticated atmosphere compared to the traditional pub scene.

Ain't Nothing But The Blues Bar

The Black Widow Pub on Gloucester Road is also a favourite for the student-aged crowd, they mix up different drinks; each one named after one of the seven deadly sins and then they serve them to you in an atmosphere that resembles a haunted house and a mad scientistís laboratory. It feels like Halloween in there every night, and if you happen to be visiting London at the end of October it is the pub to be at for a week of Halloween specials and crazy costumes.

The remainder of our first weekend in London was pure chaos. Our energy levels were high even though we were all still adjusting to the time change. Everyone wanted to see everything in London during that first week, even though after four months we still left the city with many sites unseen, it is impossible to experience all that London has to offer no matter how long you are there.

Tower Bridge

On that first Sunday in September, my friends and I purchased our first all-day tube pass and took the circle line down to the south bank, near Tower Bridge. We walked up and down the River Thames and across all of the bridges - Tower, Millennium, and Jubilee, we also walked past the Tower of London which was crowded with tourists since it was still the 'holiday' season.

The entire area of London by the Thames is full of so much history since it is where the Romans first founded the city one thousand years ago, and eEverything seems to have expanded right around the river. Shakespeareís Globe theatre, Egyptian obelisks, award winning architectural buildings, and even some museums have situated themselves on the banks of the Thames.

Millennium Bridge

Near the Embankment tube stop my friends and I stumbled across a small park with a cafe in it, we stopped in for a minute to purchase a milkshake. Then we ran through the sprinklers in the park to cool off on that hot afternoon, the people sitting in the park found this amusing and laughed at us. But what else are the sprinklers there for, surely they arenít there to water the grass because they already get enough rain to fulfill that purpose?

We found this park (which we named our 'secret park' since no one else on our trip had discovered it yet) to be a great place to people watch. As a matter of fact, any place in London is a great place to people watch. In a city of 8 million people you are never far from adventure.

Read the column again next month to find out more about my first month in London.

Andrea Meuleners

Editor: In fact London receives only 24 inches of rain a year on average, and, apart from needing to irrigate the parkland, there can actually be water shortages at times.

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