Welcome to ESCP Europe – and welcome to London!
London is a unique and exciting location, both professionally and socially; we know you're going to love living here. However, it can be daunting to move to such a huge place – most of the staff and faculty here at the London campus didn't grow up in the city, so we know how it feels! That's why we plan on posting little articles like this to help you find your feet and make the most of everything London has to offer you.
To begin, here are five things you have to make sure you do before you move on to your next campus...
1. Spend the day in and around St. James's Park
Like most of London's parks, this is a peaceful oasis in the centre of an always bustling city. It also happens to be one of the lesser-known spots (most tourists head to Hyde Park, or bypass the Park in favour of a stroll down The Mall), making it a must see. In amongst the trees and carefully tended flower beds is a lake reserved purely for the park's avian population. Make a point of looking out for the family of enormous pelicans! Pelicans were first introduced to the park in the 17th century, and have been a fixture ever since.
St. James's Park is bookended by two of London's most famous landmarks – Buckingham Palace (the Queen's residence) and Downing Street (where our Prime Minister lives). You will also find the Churchill War Rooms close by, and the Institute for Contemporary Arts.
How to get there: Westminster, Charing Cross or St. James's Park stations
2. Take a ride on the London Eye
Opened on Millennium Eve, the London Eye was intended as a temporary feature. Still going strong 12 years later, it's now a permanent fixture on the South Bank and visited by 3.5 million people every year. Taking a ride on the Eye is one of the best ways to really grasp how large a city London really is - on a clear day, you can see for around 25 miles!
Because of its popularity, the Eye can get very busy, especially on weekends. Booking ahead of your visit can help save a lot of time.
How to get there: Waterloo, Westminster or Embankment station
Cost: £17.01 per person
3. Climb to the top of Primrose Hill
This is a great activity for a sunny day, regardless of the season. Primrose Hill is a part of the larger Regents Park, and has vantage point considered so lovely that the view itself is protected in planning law. The climb to the top of this 63ft slope might leave you a little breathless, but it's more than worth the effort.
How to get there: St John's Wood or Chalk Farm stations
4. Go to a show
London is famed for its theatre – from big budget West End Musicals to hidden gems in underground former dance halls, there's nowhere quite like London (unless you happen to be in New York, of course!)
Ticket prices can get quite steep for some of the West End shows, so we recommend queuing at the TKTS booth on Leicester Square. There you can pick up tickets for shows taking place on the same day at a discounted rate – perfect if you're on a budget.
Be sure to check out the smaller theatres closer to ESCP Europe, too, like Kilburn's Tricycle or the Hampstead Theatre.
How to get there: TKTS – Leicester Square station; Tricycle – Kilburn or Brondesbury stations; Hampstead Theatre – Swiss Cottage station.
5. Visit Camden High Street on a Sunday
It's a crowded and noisy tourist trap, but Camden is never more buzzing than on a Sunday afternoon. The quirky businesses that run all the way from Camden Town to Chalk Farm tube stations have something for everyone; and when you're tired and need to refuel, you're guaranteed to find food from all four corners of the globe close by.
Our top tip is to arrive via Chalk Farm station – it's always far less busy. Turn left out of the station and head down Camden High Street (passing the Roundhouse on the way), before making a beeline for the Stables Market, an amazing souk-style labyrinth of shops, stalls and eateries.
How to get there: Chalk Farm, Camden Town or Mornington Crescent tube stations