Enjoy London on the Cheap (COVID-19 Special)

Books

The Southbank Centre has a daily book market offering a wide selection of both paperback and hardback books of all genres. Located underneath Waterloo Bridge and open until 7.00pm, it’s the perfect place for a mid-walk peruse along the river. 

If you’re on a budget, Book and Comic Exchange in Notting Hill is a quaint bookshop with a large section of literary treasures available for 50p or less. Additionally, the middle aisle is dedicated to vintage comics and magazines. Afterwards, wander around leafy Notting Hill – and try and find the (admittedly disappointing) travel bookshop famously run by Hugh Grant in the movie of the same name!

Judd Books has a huge stock of used and bargain academic books across two floors offering an extra 10% discount available for those with Student ID.

A Bloomsbury treasure trove of second hand books since 1978, Skoob Books has suspended trading in its original basement store (boasting 100,000 books of a 1,000,000 plus collection). They are however running a pop-up in the nearby Brunswick Centre, an absolute must for students across the generations! Enjoy a rummage and maybe pick up a poster to prove your literary credentials in halls.

Don’t fall into the trap of being chained to the confines of WC1 in first year, make sure to explore the East which is far superior for food, bars, and – hear me out – bookshops. Within walking distance of Brick Lane and Spitalfields Market is Libreria, a bespoke store with comfy seats nestled between thematically arranged titles along rolling bookshelves. A five minute walk up the road will find you at Brick Lane Bookshop, which boasts a large array of fiction, non-fiction, and books about London. Opening in the 1970s as part of the Tower Hamlets Art Project, it was the first bookshop to open in Tower Hamlets and has been dutifully serving the East End ever since.

Make sure to then head up to Broadway Market to visit – amongst a range of other great small businesses – Donlon Books, Artwords, and The Broadway Bookshop. The wider London Fields area is great to explore and always buzzing.

Cinema

With a second lockdown on the horizon, your time is valuable. You can’t be spending it on some overpriced, underwhelming cinema ticket. If you need any advice on the cinemas to go to during this period of Covid-19, look no further. Here are three cinemas that are sure to give you a good time.

Are you one of those cool cats that like to watch old-timey films with 80 year olds? Well, this is the place for you! BFI Southbank is a four screen cinema with a seemingly constant stream of events, productions, and speakers. If the selection isn’t to your taste this month, take a look at the next! BFI might not get their selection right every time, but once in a while they really hit the mark. £3 for 16-25 year olds if you register on their website. Film Recommendation: La Haine.

Impress your significant other with your exceptional taste by bringing them to Curzon Soho. Known for its neon red Curzon sign (I’m a sucker for good lighting), this cinema definitely has a diner-esque atmosphere that remains relatively unique in cinemas. Coupled with a lovely bar, this cinema has the perfect one-two drinks-film combo that your dates have been lacking. This three screen cinema does have very limited seating, so make sure to book your tickets in advance. Film Recommendation: Memories of Murder.

While admittedly on the more expensive side of London cinemas, ticket prices are an accurate amount for the service provided. With the option of having full meals and drinks (in your actual seats, if you’re nasty), Everyman Hampstead is fancy as hell. If you’ve been saving up for a special outing, you could do a lot worse than this cinema. The perfect location to impress someone with, but make sure you arrive much earlier than the starting time in order to get the full experience. Film Recommendation: David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet.

Music

LSE’s Pulse Radio is a regularly-broadcasting student-helmed radio station. Tune in to hear a variety of music and chat, or get involved with your own show and learn to mix. Pulse is holding a socially-distant and Covid-secure event on the 7th of October at Costa Del Tottenham, featuring the best DJs from LSE playing from 2.00pm to 10.00pm. Find tickets on Pulse’s socials.

Exhibitions

The exhibition spaces at The Barbican Centre have partially reopened with a free timed ticket entry which must be booked in advance. The Curve art gallery is currently hosting the first UK exhibition of Nigerian-American artist Toyin Ojih Odutola entitled A Countervailing Theory which examines imagined ancient myth. Entry to the exhibition is available for £5 with Young Barbican membership and the adjoining conservatory is offering free, timed slots.

The Tate Modern and Tate Britain have reopened including an Andy Warhol exhibition featuring iconic works from the Warhol collection. For free you can join the Tate Collective for £5 tickets to all exhibitions. 

Virtual Museum Tours are available to have a look around historical artifacts curated from all over the world while the museums are closed.

Just down the road from the Barbican, is The Museum of London which is free to visit with a pre-booked slot online and their permanent galleries offer an almost-complete history of London from 450,000 BC to the present day: the most interesting galleries are from the 1950s to now. The Museum has been at the forefront of the conversation in the cultural world about the role of statues and monuments in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests this year and also offers explorations of LGBTQ Roman London and an extensive program for Black History Month.

Comedy

The Top Secret Comedy Club has free tickets to Monday Night Stand Up, concessions for students in many other events, and is only a 10 minute walk away from campus.

Backyard Comedy Club in Bethnal Green has previously hosted Harry Hill, Dara O’Brien, and many other celebrated comedians. They offer £3 tickets to students for certain events.

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