With summer fast approaching, the majority of us are eagerly anticipating the end of the semester, and it can be easy to forget that we actually have a degree to be working towards! Many of us have exams that require a lot of focus and energy, which can sometimes become quite overwhelming, especially when all we want to do is relax and enjoy our free time with all of our friends. However stressful exam preparation may be, it’s vital that you take some time for yourself to regroup and clear your mind when things get a bit too much to handle, and there are so many ways to do so instead of scrolling through social media for hours on end. And so, below we have compiled a list of the best places to go and relax in London, whether that be to get some fresh air and admire the world around you, or even take your studies elsewhere apart from your bedroom, so let’s take a look.
Now, rooftops don’t only have to be for bars (unless sipping on cocktails is the best way for you to study, in which case I completely recommend), but they can also be a great oasis to escape from the continuous mounting of exam work. As we head into summer, rooftop gardens are a great place to visit when the sun rays are beaming down on us, where we can be surrounded by plenty of greenery and, of course, a fantastic view of the skyline, because staring at a screen every day can become quite a laborious task. There are many places in the capital that offer a sense of relaxation from the stress of our exams, and let us think about the incredible city we actually live in for a while, such as Sky Garden, Garden at 120 and Crossrail Place Gardens just to name a few, all of which include free access to the public – if the views weren’t convincing enough already!
Having lived in the same four walls for the last year and a half, sometimes we just need a break from being trapped inside and have the freedom to study elsewhere. With outdoor seating having been opened for a while now, and with many places offering little huts and heating to keep up comfortable in the unpredictable British weather, cafés are a great place to head on over to when you need a great change of scenery. Whether it be to meet with some friends to discuss readings over a latte, plug your earphones and work on an essay, or simply sit by the window with a tea watching the world go by, cafés are a great place to take a more relaxing approach to studying before your summer of freedom.
Some of you may actually be a bit surprised at the amount of greenery there is in London, and it definitely took me a while to discover these spots because a lot of us associate the capital with high-rise buildings and skyscrapers. However, planning a picnic in the park is another way you can relax from the stress of exams with your friends, or even perhaps bring an outdoor element to your studies. Parks such as Primrose Hill, St James Park and Kensington Gardens not only have insanely beautiful surroundings, but by being able to focus on the sounds of nature instead of sirens and traffic, these are just a few elements that can uplift a stressful time and ease the pressures of deadlines. They may seem small, but they truly make the biggest difference.
Sometimes finding the motivation to study is half the battle when it comes to being a university student, and if the outdoors are seeming very bleak, then the last thing we want to do is be trapped in the wind and rain. Libraries are a great relaxing place to focus on your studies because everyone surrounding you will pretty much have the same intention as you: getting stuff done! However great living with your friends can be at university, the truth of the matter is that it can actually be very distracting, and so being able to focus in your own study space at your own pace is pretty beneficial to achieving your goals. If you fancy a change from your university library, then there are many others you can check out such as: Canada Water Library, National Art Library and, of course, The British Library.
Now nature reserves are the ultimate escape from reality, especially if you want to disconnect from the real world for a little bit. Essays, readings, and exams can all become so overwhelming, and so taking a few hours to step outside of your home and truly take in the nature around you that will help clear your mind and give you a new headspace to focus on. Take a walk through Crane Park Island, Walthamstow Wetlands, or even Sydenham Hill Wood and Cox’s Walk just to name a few nature reserves, whether that be with your earphones in listening to podcasts, blasting music with your friends, or even switching everything off to enjoy the serenity of the outdoors; it’s super important that you not only make time for those study breaks, but also for your mental health, and these nature reserves are perfect for doing so.
With all that being said, of course, it’s important for you to focus on your exams because after all the whole point of going to university is to get a degree, no matter how often we forget that; it’s also important that you change it up a little bit every now and then. This stress isn’t going to last forever, so remember to focus for now, take time for yourselves, and of course, celebrate once everything’s over!