Date of Publication: 30 September 2016
Written by Rachel Evans and Bramwell Blower, Student Helpers at Somerville College
24 students and 3 pastoral staff arrived promptly at the break of dawn at Oxford train station, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and eager to set off on our adventure to London. The journey was swift and smooth – the international contingent of our group greatly appreciated the opportunity to admire the beautiful British countryside that is the London commuter belt. After a short tube journey from Paddington station to Tottenham Court Road, everyone relished the leisurely stroll to the architecturally inspiring British Museum where, raring to go with an intellectual scavenger hunt to improve their cultural experience, the students ran off eager to educate themselves on the history of art and civilisation, taking a particular interest in the design of the 21st century café.
Thoroughly enlightened, we headed off in an orderly procession to Covent Garden for food and some casual lunchtime shopping on Oxford Street. The sun was shining and the street performers were out in force – some students were content to relax and enjoy the buskers’ refined musical skill, whilst a lucky few were incorporated into a musician’s show.
The next stop on our whistle-stop tour of the capital was Trafalgar Square. Some of the students ventured further afield to take some truly artistic photographs of London’s main attractions. Many of the students enjoyed exploring the National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery and took inventive selfies to submit in our London ‘selfie contest’. Again, the students found themselves mesmerised by London’s varied selection of street performers, including the floating Frodo who photobombed our group photo.
We next headed down Whitehall, passing significant political landmarks such as Downing Street and Westminster. There was time for more photo opportunities as we stopped on Westminster Bridge to take in the iconic views.
Our final destination was St James’ Park, where the students had a much needed rest next to the beautiful lake. Some of the more energetic students burned off some steam playing football. A summery picnic soon arrived at the park, and the students happily dug into fresh fruit, a deli selection and cookies. The trip was not complete without a solid attempt to create a human pyramid. The formation managed to last just long enough for a few quick snaps before everyone collapsed onto the floor. The journey back to Paddington on the tube was a breeze for now experienced Londoners. We arrived at the station in good time for our 8:22pm train back to Oxford. Despite nearly twelve hours of educating and adventuring, the students still managed to initiate an ad hoc karaoke session on the train, which the tired London commuters greatly appreciated.
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