By the second week of June, London started to get hot and sunny. I had to ditch my sweaters for short-sleeved shirts and dresses. The temperature regularly started reaching the upper 60s and lower 70s. One day during class that week, we went to the Tate Britain which is a museum housing art from the 19th century to the modern day. It’s not to be confused with the Tate Modern which only has modern British art. This museum is a must-see, and combined with the National Gallery, gives a comprehensive art history since the Renaissance.
On Saturday, I took a trip down to Brighton with some friends. Brighton is the closest beach to London and is directly south of it. If taking a group trip, try to buy your train tickets all in one order as that makes them cheaper. My ticket was only 9 pounds round-trip, and it's only about an hour train ride each way. The beach is pebbly, and very windy, but fun, nonetheless. Brighton is very busy, so if you’re looking for a quieter shore it might not be the destination for you. There are great shops and restaurants by the beach as well as further into town. The pier is a smaller version of the one in Santa Monica, and is crowded with families. Brighton was far colder than London, even with the sun out.
Later the next week, our class took a trip to the Camden Market. It has tons of vibrant stands selling clothes, jewelry, and food. It’s also home to a pub called the Hawley Arms which is where Amy Winehouse was discovered. If you go, don’t make the mistake of buying from the first food stand that looks good. There are so many options that you’ll be disappointed you didn’t look at all of them before buying something.
After class the next day, I went to Covent Gardens with some friends. We drank Aperol Spritz in the square, which ended up being more bitter than I expected. After that, we walked through the open-air market and shopped at the surrounding stores. If you’re looking to shop you should definitely go to this area. It has individual vendors as well as familiar retail stores like Zara and Urban Outfitters.
That night some friends and I went back to Camden to a pub called the Camden Eye. It has two floors with a bar on the ground floor and a live music room above it. Camden is really fun at night, as there are tons of pubs and things to see.
That weekend, I took a train to northern England to stay with a friend who lives near Cambridge. In her town, I saw the remains of a Benedictine monastery that was built one thousand years ago. We went into Cambridge and experienced the city. It has great restaurants, gardens, and shops. It was nice to get away from the city for a while and see what it’s like to live in a quieter place in England. I returned to London on Sunday, ready to start the internship phase of my program.