Extra-Curricular Activities in London
Libraries in London
London offers a wide variety of choices for study locations and access to resources. You can choose between your university library or a public library in your neighbourhood or a fancy Harry Potter’s Hogwarts style national library at Central London.
If your college is a part of University of London you have access to the libraries of the other colleges of University of London. You will have to show your library card or university ID at the entrance. A list of University of London colleges and institutes can be found on University of London’s website: http://www.london.ac.uk/colleges_institutes.html
University of London online library also offers access to a wide range of online resources such as journals and databases.
Another alternative to University of London libraries are free access public libraries that are scattered all around London. There vary from impressive libraries (both architecture and collection wise) to modest local libraries.
British Library, the National Library of United Kingdom, is located in Central London on Euston Road, nearby King’s Cross St Pancras Station. Either for study purposes or not, It is worth visiting the 150 year old National Art Library residing at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Local libraries are generally named after the name of the neighbourhood as Notting Hill Gate Library, Whitechapel Library etc. Access to libraries is free to members of the public. Libraries have study desks, computers, a modest collection of books (mostly novels) and movies, and offer free wifi. The collections are adjusted to local tastes. You are more likely to find more Bollywood movies than Hollywood movies in East London libraries such as in Bethnal Green Library. You will have to become a member to borrow the collections and to have access to the internet. Membership is free of charge. You might have to show a proof of your residence in the neighbourhood.
The host city of the last summer Olympics is also host to many different sports activities, for most of which you will have to pay a fairly high price. Most activities are urban-style indoor activities. You can find private fitness centres all across London. You might as well check if your school has a gym. The membership fees of university gyms are most likely to be much lower than private gyms. The prices may vary widely depending on the location, brand and activities offered. The range of activities could include swimming, boxing, dancing, yoga, Pilates. LA Fitness, Virgin Active, Fitness First are some of the most popular fitness clubs of London.
Green spaces of London also offer great chances for high quality urban running. Hyde Park, Regent’s Park, Richmond Park, Victoria Park are some of the most popular destination of joggers. Pedestrian path along both sides of the river Thames, named as the ‘Thames Path’ is a good alternative for scenery jogging.
Cycling is another activity that is becoming popular among Londoners, both as a mean of commuting and as a sports activity. You can hire a city bike (Boris bike) at one of the docking stations located all around Central London. You can pay with credit card and if you register at Tfl (www.tfl.gov.uk) for a membership key. Do not expect a high quality cycling with those heavy bikes. If you do so, you might want to check cycling shops for better quality bikes. Also bare in mind that London still lacks a proper cycling infrastructure which makes cycling more uneasy and dangerous. Although there has been improvements and extension of cycle tracks, the city’s roads still remain highly dominated by motor vehicles.