Christmas in London

By Fiorenza De Filippo

I don’t know about the other students, but it happened that I woke up a couple weeks ago and inexplicably it was November.

I couldn’t figure out where my time went, but I started feeling something weird in the air.

November is a hard month for students. Finals are waving at you from the horizon, deadlines are popping up from everywhere and you probably are a little exhausted of taking care of yourself and your new apartment.

However, if you are organised enough and know how to manage your schedule to get some free time (which is an easy thing to do and only requires a little effort), you will find out that something magical is going on in London, and it’s all about Christmas.

Many people like to spend Christmas at home, with relatives and loved ones, in a cozy and familiar atmosphere. Some of them get homesick when thinking about it, but London doesn’t let you down when it comes to Christmas vibes.

If you have some free time, or are stressed or tired and need some distractions, there are some places and activities that will make you feel as  happy as a little kid under the Christmas tree.

First of all, the Winter Wonderland. Open from mid-November, this giant Christmas village takes place in Hyde Park and it’s a feast of lights, colors, attractions and festive foods.

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A particular mention needed: the Magic Ice Kingdom. It is probably the coldest building on the Earth, but the ice sculptures are stunning and they even have an ice slide no one should feel too old to slide on. Everything is little, but it’s worth a trip and to spend some money on hot chocolate and waffles.

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Another good idea is to take a walk on Oxford Street or Regent Street, where the lights, the buses and the crowd create the atmosphere. Don’t miss the angelic lights on Regent Street, recently turned on.

If  looking for something more off the beaten path and feel adventurous (brace yourself,  this attraction requires you to step out of zone 2), the winter light trail at Kew Gardens is opening tomorrow (Nov 23rd)!

And finally, you will need a good old ugly sweater hanging in the closet to remind you that Christmas is close. It’s easy to find them almost everywhere, but if you are feeling a little fancy and have time to deal with the overground service, get to Shoreditch or Dalston and look around in the vintage shops for the best piece of retro embarrassing clothing.

So whatever you are looking for, there are plenty of nice and accessible attractions  which make London one of the best cities in the world to spend Christmas in, even with finals around the corner!

 

 

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Top Things to do in Brighton

By Gigi Wang

(English version first. Chinese version below)

Taking a train from central London, you can reach Brighton within one hour roughly. This fashionable seaside resort in East Sussex, England always be considered as a perfect day-trip or weekend-trip destination. No matter being with friends or being alone, no matter being keen on man made landscapes or natural scenery, you can always find what you want here.

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Me in Brighton

Brighton has also been called the UK’s “hippest city”, and “the happiest place to live in the UK”. And indeed, the weekend I spent there created maybe one of the happiest times of all my travel experiences.

There are some great tours that you can take in this surprising place:

Man made landscapes:
Royal Pavilion – architectural buildingshistoric Sites

The historic former seaside residence of King George IV, who went nuts with “Chinese culture”. With extremely exquisite and dramatic adornments and decorations, this place is absolutely worth a look. But on the other hand, as a Chinese person, I can say that some things here were too quirky to show real Chinese culture or beauty.

Brighton Pier – boardwalks & theme parks

There is plenty for all visitors to do, from the huge amusement arcades and the carousel at the end of the pier to traditional fish and chips, also, a great place for photographs.

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Brighton Pier

North Lane – shopping & cafes

An eclectic mix of fabulous shops and restaurants. The choices are wonderful and so it the ambiance and architecture. Independent shops here offer items that you will never find in London or other busy cities.

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Just one part of North Lane

Natural scenery:
Brighton Beach – clean waves & rocks, nice walk

This beach has a unique appearance with round rocks all over the beach and nice little cafes and shops along the shore. Loved sitting in a seaside bar with a beer and just listening to the waves and sound of seagulls.

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Pebbles of Brighton Beach

Seven Sisters Country Park – spectacular white cliff, ups and downs, sheep & swans

Miles and miles of breathtaking coastline cliff walks were worth taking for the more breathtaking view of this park. Living in London we usually only watch such places on the web but definitely such scenic beauty should be on must-see list for everyone. By the way, one of the main scenes of the movie “Atonement” was filmed here,  as well as Jay Chou’s music video “What’s Going On.”

 

布莱顿周末行的必去之地

Gigi Wang

如果从伦敦市中心出发的话,乘一个小时的火车就能到布莱顿了。这个坐落在东苏塞克斯郡的海边小城被公认为进行一日行或周末行的极佳之地。无论是自行还是和结伴出行,无论是偏爱人文景观还是自然风光,你总会在这里找到你想要的。

布莱顿也被称作“全英最幸福的城市”“全英最宜居的地方”。实际上也的确如此,就我个人众多的旅游体验而言,我在布莱顿度过的那个周末算是极为上佳的经历了。

接下来我将介绍一些在这个充满惊喜的城市,我建议的必去的地方:

人文景观:

Royal Pavilion – 建筑,历史古迹

这个宫殿曾是King George IV的海边行宫,而这位国王一向迷恋中国文化,这也促就了此行宫中极其精致和夸张的装潢,就此而言,是绝对值得一看的。但是在另一方面,精巧、荒诞、哗众取宠绝对不是中国文化的代表,所以这个宫殿对于中国人来说,有着另一层思考意义。

Brighton Pier – 夹板&主题公园, 水乐园&电玩城

从巨大的电玩城和码头末端的旋转木马,到传统的炸鱼薯条,这个地方为游客们提供着十分丰富的选择。同时,这也是一个拍照地的不二之选。

North Laine – 购物&小憩

这里是购物店和饭店的集中一条街。众多的选择还有理想的环境、建筑让这里也成为布莱顿一大亮点。一些特别的货品你只能在这里的独立店里找到,却很难在伦敦和其他大城市找到。

自然风光:

Brighton Beach – 干净的海浪和岩石滩,徒步观光

因为布满整片海滩的岩石的景观和周边理想的咖啡厅、小商店的存在,这个沙滩变得尤为特别。何尝不坐在吧台来杯啤酒,听听海风和海鸥的声音呢?这里游客数量不多,也因此你的休息和拍照将不会被打扰。

Seven Sisters Country Park – 壮观的白色悬崖,攀登,绵羊&天鹅

沿着就在海岸线之上的坡地,你或许不得不气喘吁吁地走上个几公里,但是当你看到更令人窒息的崖上美景时,这一切都是无比值得的。生活在伦敦,我们的确也可以在网上找到这样的美景,但是如此一般的自然风光绝对属于有生之年系列了,所以有机会一定要亲身体验。补充一点,这里也是电影《赎罪(Atonement)》和周杰伦音乐录影带《怎么了》的重要取景地。

 

A 68-Day Change

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Why did you choose the Bachelor? A question I often asked and was asked in the past two months. For me, it was pretty easy to answer: I fell in love with the program. All of it. It was probably what people call unconditional love. And I’m not exaggerating the least bit.

After I’d been accepted in the Bachelor , it became my source of motivation. As I dragged myself to the finish line of high school with the final exams’ burden heavy on my shoulders. My light at the end of the tunnel was the Bachelor.

6 months after the acceptance letter, here I am in London having the time of my life.

Before starting school, or probably even before deciding to actually come to ESCP I had a hard time understanding the true meaning of the word “management”. For me it was a very vague concept, even with all the dictionary definitions and the Almighty Wikipedia. Now that I think of it, it was probably because I’ve never truly had to seriously manage a project. Being a 17-year-old who has never really lived on her own is probably another reason.

Still, when I entered the airport in Marrakesh to fly to London, something did change in me. I realised that at that moment I was in charge of everything. And let me tell you, that’s a pretty nice feeling.

What I’m enjoying the most currently is managing the collective project. Through it I’m contributing to the fight for gender equality and learning how to manage a team of culturally diverse people.

How? Why? I’m learning the how. But the why is probably thanks to the way the Bachelor was designed. We get to learn useful theory and apply it through projects. And the biggest one is the Annual Collective Project. The beauty of it is that we get to chose what it’s about, with whom we work and how much we want to achieve.

Now, I probably am a very different Ghita than the one who stepped in Marrakech’s airport 67 days ago.

Like a very wise friend of mine once said: College is culture shock. You mature. And you grow up. And the best of all that is that you realise it.

I now realise it.

But it doesn’t stop here. The journey has yet to begin 🙂

Hidden London Tips!

By Theresa Seitz.

From restaurants, to hidden bars to art exhibitions and much more…Any better place to study than London? I don’t think so 😉

Hi! My name is Theresa Seitz and I am German. Before starting at ESCP I moved a lot between my hometown Frankfurt and London, but actually living in London made me admire the city to the fullest.

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Living in West-Hampstead, a little away from the typical turbulent and fast-paced London, has indeed its advantages, especially to us students. However it is nice to get out sometimes and explore the city life.

Finding places that are different to others is one of my little obsessions and I would like to share a few restaurants and other spots that I think are worth a visit or even multiple ones!

“NAC”, short for North-Audly-Cantine, is a small restaurant with a French touch in Mayfair. It is not the usual upscale Mayfair setting though and rather a place that combines great comfort food with a charming atmosphere at reasonable prices. Besides they have a bar downstairs, “Mr Chow”, with superb cocktails.

One of my favourite spots for Italian cuisine is “Chichetti” near Piccadilly Circus. I am usually not a fan of restaurants near tourist attractions but I can certainly say that this one is indeed not a tourist trap. Going there with a group of friends is fun because you share all the dishes. The plates are small and are brought to the table as soon as they are ready, so there is no order. Exceptional quality of ingredients and you can taste a bit of Italy (hope my Italian friends can agree on that).

Once I randomly found a small street parallel to the busy Regents Street with a few restaurants, including “Momo”. It’s a Moroccan restaurant and definitely one of a kind. At the entrance you have a terrace where you can sit outside next to palm trees and it feels like a cozy garden; inside you have cool Marrakech-style interiors. Only after visiting it for a few times I found out that they have a hidden club/bar downstairs. If you fancy lunch, dinner, just a cup of Moroccan mint tea or drinks late at night- Momo promises a unique experience any time of the day.

It would a crime not to mention Camden Market! It literally offers everything your heart desires and this is nearly all I need to say to it. Just make sure you go there hungry, so you have the chance to taste multiple foods from all around the globe.

Another memorable restaurant experience was “Bodega Negra” in Soho. From the outside it is very well hidden and it looks anything but a restaurant, however once you are inside you’ll be invited to descend the staircase at the back of the shop and you find yourself in a groovy-looking Mexican restaurant. I really liked it but make sure to do bookings in advance to avoid disappointment.

“Sketch” is practically on top of my list because you will not find anything close as cool anywhere else. It consists of two bars, one restaurant (which is all pink), and a club-like oval shaped room on the weekends. I love that place for its Afternoon Tea in the famous Pink Room and its extraordinary cocktails at night.

For any art lover, London is the place to be.

Last month I had the pleasure to see the Frieze exhibition, which happens only once a year and definitely worth getting tickets for. Last weekend I visited the Royal Academy of Art that is currently showing Abstract Expressionism including some of my favourites, Pollock and Rothko.

Every month there are new galleries and exhibitions to be discovered and we can indeed call ourselves lucky to live in such metropolitan city. The website “Time-Out” keeps you updated about the most recent galleries and artists that are in town at the moment.

I also had the pleasure to see Placido Domingo playing in Nambucco at the Royal Opera house, which was breathtaking. If you are keen on seeing events in the Royal Opera House you should keep your eyes open because tickets sell out quickly – but also sometimes students are able to get tickets at a far cheaper price close to the day of the event.

Enjoy London!