First Summer Spent in London

As I finished up my last Design Project Exhibition through Microsoft Teams, the sun greeted me with its warm embrace as I finally let my laptop go to rest. This signifies the start of the summer break, and this is an especially exciting year for me because it will be the first summer break that I will be spending in London instead of in Malaysia! Even though I miss my family and my friends back home tremendously, I decided to not travel back home this summer after careful discussion with my family. Travelling back home this summer proved to be quite risky as Malaysia is still struggling with its fight against the pandemic. Going back home might be risky as there are high chances that I might accidentally pass the virus back to my parents. Besides that, plane ticket prices are soaring! This added with the fact that huge amounts of money are still required to book for COVID testing kits and quarantine accommodations solidified my decision to stay in London.

As lockdown restrictions are easing in London, people can be seen roaming around the streets and enjoying getting a sun tan in the middle of Hyde Park during a Sunday afternoon. During term time, I tend to get too caught up with all my work and forget that I am living in one of the most vibrant cities in the world, that I am immersed in a foreign culture that is so exciting for me. Therefore, I have decided to use the time I have before I embark on my UROP journey to explore different places in London and in England.

Planning My Trips

Even after being in London for more than two years, I am still constantly amazed by the new discoveries I am making every day. Although I started off searching for potential trip locations outside of London, I was surprised by how many amazing places in London I have yet to visit. This led to me planning several day trips in London throughout my first two weeks of summer break.

I have always been fearful of rides in amusement parks, yet thrilled when boarding the rides. This led to me always declining the invitation of friends to go visit Thorpe Park together as thinking about riding different roller coasters already makes me nauseous. However, if there’s one thing that I have learned during the lockdown, it is that life is too short to live with any regrets. I thus decided to conquer my fear and called a few friends for a day trip to Thorpe Park together.

For those of you who are unaware, Thorpe Park is an amusement park situated near Heathrow Airport, and is one of the largest amusement parks in the UK. It consists of many extreme roller-coaster rides, including the infamous Stealth – a roller-coaster which reaches a height of 62.5m in a span of a few seconds. Student tickets for Thorpe Park can be as cheap as £20 on certain weekdays, where queues are definitely shorter too.

Ultimately, I had no regrets stepping out of my comfort zone at all. My friends and I decided to embark on Stealth as our first ride, and after that, all the rides proceeded to give me only thrill and excitement instead of fear! I would definitely recommend Thorpe Park as a quick day trip out of London during any weekdays.

BBQ in the River? If I hadn’t experienced it myself, I wouldn’t have believed that this is possible at all as well. However, in the middle of Canary Wharf, skuna boats are available for rental. Up to 9 people can be seated in the boat, enjoying a self-made BBQ while enjoying the amazing views Canary Wharf has to offer. Occasionally, you might even see a few ducks swimming towards you, hoping to get a bite out of your lunch. The cover picture of this post shows one of my friends having a lovely feast together with the ducks nearby.

After booking our Skuna Boat, we were required to bring our own BBQ ingredients too. We were then allowed to take the boat out for 2 hours, while enjoying a lovely self-cooked lunch on the river. It really was an extraordinary experience as having lunch in the middle of the river was such an exquisite experience, as if we were the only diners in a high-class restaurant. We were also able to vibe to our own music while listening to the subtle sounds of mild waves splashing against our boat. There was also the option of renting a hot tub in the middle of the river as well, although that might not be the best option given that summer is here! Overall, it was a really enjoyable half day trip and I would highly recommend it too!

As I will be starting my UROP in two weeks time, I do hope to be able to use this opportunity now to explore more places around or out of London, and I will keep you all updated with the beautiful places that I have visited!

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