Written by Heiloi (Louie) Yip, MSc Bioinformatics and Theoretical Systems Biology 2022-2023
Did you know that Imperial College has up to nine campuses scattered around London? You may have already heard of the bustling South Kensington campus, or the futuristic still-under-construction White City campus, but what about the campus that is located in Ascot, Berkshire? That campus would be Silwood Park. Host to Imperial College’s researchers specialising in ecology and related fields. Unless you were or are going to study a course in the ecology stream, chances are you’ll never get to know what this campus is like, which I feel is a shame given what Silwood Park can offer to students. So, in this blog, I’ll be sharing my impressions of this elusive campus while completing my undergraduate research project there.
Getting to Silwood Park
As someone living in London at the time, travelling to a campus that’s just outside of London can be a longer commute. Getting to Silwood Park requires a ride on the South Western Railway train to Sunningdale. So the journey for me is split into three parts: 30 minutes by tube to the train station, 30 minutes by train, and 30 minutes of walking to the campus.
The vibe of Silwood Park
The first thing that struck me upon my initial visit to Silwood Park was its quiet and calming vibe, a stark contrast to the hustle and bustle I was used to back in South Kensington! The campus itself is built right within a nature reserve, which not only provides the perfect environment for ecologists to conduct research on but is also a nice countryside scene to walk around and enjoy. Students and staff alike were all nice and super chill with me during my research project, no doubt a result of living in such a tranquil campus! Although the campus has only one canteen, it provides a cosy place to chat with students and staff during lunch hours. For me it was especially convenient for catching up with other undergraduates who were also doing their research projects at Silwood Park. Oh, and did I mention Silwood Park has its own campus cat? His name is Mr Tinkles, in case you were curious.
Would I return there again?
The short answer is yes! Even with the long commute everyday, the overall experience of being in Silwood Park is worth it to me. A countryside environment is a rare sight when living in Central London, so the change in scenery can be super refreshing. Luckily for Master’s students considering an ecology course at Silwood Park, accommodation is provided on campus, so you can enjoy all the perks of Silwood Park without having to commute there regularly. If you’re looking to or are about to start a course at Silwood Park, the most important part of your student life is to enjoy the nature that surrounds you during your campus life.