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    Another side to London

    By Sarah Sampaio

    In this latest lifestyle blog, Sarah Sampio – a current MDX research student from Brazil, delves into those not so obvious places and sides to London.

    London’s reputation as a mass of tower blocks, congestion and noise and very busy-looking rude people, does the capital a disservice. For the London I have come to know and love is full of places of wonder, knowledge and most of all – humanity.

    Whether you’re a new or returning student, here are some hidden gems that you should look out for over the upcoming year:

    1. Keats House, Hampstead

    A friend was visiting from the US and I took her to Keats house, as like me, she loves books and literature. For those of you who don’t know, John Keats was an English Romantic poet.

    The house where the poet lived is now a museum with a shop, gardens and a library.  As we meandered our way through his house, we met an amazing volunteer who took time out of her busy day to tell us stories about the poet and giving us Keats-inspired anthologies for free.

    My friend and I spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing and reading in leafy Hampstead, surrounded by history and poetry. Good times.

    2. 'Tate Lates'

    Created by Uniqlo, Tate Lates never cease to impress. I enjoy the space and the views, relaxing to music, enjoying delicious food and drinks – all after hours. You can meet new people, celebrate knowledge and art in one cool, interesting building in the South of London.

    3. Kenwood House

    On a sunny Sunday, my brother and I were having a picnic at Kenwood’s gardens and afterwards, while on a tour of the house, we were surprised by classical music being played in the drawing room by the classic music trio, ANERN.

    It was moving and inspiring, to listen to beautiful music in such an incredible place and share it with family – Kenwood is definitely the place to make memories.

    4. Hampstead Theatre

    Whenever I catch a play at the Hampstead Theatre, I can’t help but being impressed with its’ vibrant ambiance, leafy and relaxing outside area (also, the staff are lovely – as are the cakes and drinks!). It’s pretty cool that the theatre invests a lot of time and support into up-and coming talent too. It truly is one of London’s treasures.

    5. Kyoto Gardens, Holland Park, Kensington

    I go to Kyoto Gardens to find inner peace or to just stroll in the sweet sunshine and, more than once, I have spotted lovely pre-wedding shoots taking place there. Whatever your purpose for going there, it’s impossible not to be inspired by this little oasis in the hub of London.

    6. Daunt books, Marylebone

    It’s easy to get lost in the beauty of its’ oak galleries and thousands upon thousands of inspiring titles and authors in this Edwardian book shop. Literary festivals take place all year round in Daunt books so make sure to check them out. Every visit reminds me of something my favourite writer, David Foster Wallace, once said, "that books and fiction exist to make us feel nourished, and less alone."

    7. London Irish Centre

    While waiting for me to finish a class at the LIC, my brother was welcomed warmly by the Centre’s staff who wrote down the best places for him to visit during his stay in London, gave us free tickets to see an Irish music festival taking place there and free drinks. Now that’s what I call Irish hospitality!

    8. London's humanity

    And now I come to my final and most important London gem –PEOPLE. None of the above special places would be the same without kind, welcoming people that create the ultimate ‘London Experience’.

    Acts of kindness and bravery can be seen everywhere, all the time, but especially in trying times. For me, London’s humanity is its' most precious gem.

    Welcome to London! We look forward to having you at Middlesex University in the new academic year.

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