Apr 26, 2024

Summer Centre Spotlight: London Kingston

The picturesque River Thames

Evie Lucas

The Old Smoke. The Global Village. The City of Dreams. London wears many hats and wears them proudly. With over 19 million tourists each year and a truly global reputation, it should come as no surprise that London is one of the most visited places in the world. A city so alive with history that it has its own biography, no other place has captured the imagination of the world’s artists, writers, and thinkers quite the same, and our summer centre students are no exception.

Our centre in Kingston-Upon-Thames, a charming riverside town, offers the best of both worlds. With central London a stone’s throw away, London’s first ‘royal borough’ gives students the opportunity to experience all the capital, but like a local.

A stunning summer view of Kinston Bridge, located a short walk away from our London Kingston Summer School

On - and off - The Beaten Track

London is a kaleidoscope of history and culture. Walking the streets, you’ll find yourself following in the footsteps of some of the world’s most famous figures: meet Dickens along the Victorian alleyways of Fleet Street, listen to the raucous crowds of Shakespeare’s Globe, and feel the bygone Bohemia of Bloomsbury’s intellectuals. During our two-week programme, students will spend four full day and two half day excursions at the best of London’s world class attractions and monuments, including the trailblazing Tate Modern Gallery and the British Museum, a remarkable national museum showcasing everything from The Rosetta Stone to The Parthenon.

After exploring London’s finest, students will return to the leafy suburbs and refined calm of Kingston, a slice of London life without the crowds. Those wanting to catch a glimpse of London’s iconic red telephone boxes will see not one but twelve of them huddled together at the end of Kingston’s Old London Road. You won’t find a working telephone in any of these, though, since they’re an art installation by David Mach, fittingly named ‘Out of Order’. Kingston is also well known for its ancient market, dating all the way back to the early 1200s and graced with golden statues of past kings and queens. Once a hubbub of stalls selling goods transported via the Thames, the marketplace’s fruit and veg stalls now sit alongside street foods from all over the world, reflecting London’s multicultural landscape. Look out for the square’s wooden canopies – under the midday sun, light shines through holes in the market roofs, turning to starry skies at night.

The University of Kingston's campus, home to our London Kingston Summer Centre

The Birthplace of England

What better way to explore England than to start at the beginning? Kingston has been referenced by many famous faces over the years, from Jane Austen in her beloved novel, Emma, to Netflix’s viral show, Bridgerton, but no mention is more legendary than from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, which confirms that the first of England’s kings were crowned here in 925 CE. Alongside Hogsmill River you’ll find tangible evidence of Kingston’s royal heritage: the King’s Coronation stone. According to local folklore, this unassuming sarsen stone, the type used to build Stonehenge, belonged to St Mary’s church where ancient kings were believed to have been crowned. In 1927, Kingston’s rich royal heritage was formally recognised by King George V, who named it a ‘royal borough’. While Kingston was the first to receive this official status, it’s now one of four.

These aren’t the only royal landmarks you’ll find in Kingston, however. Nearby is one of London’s eight royal parks, Richmond Park. Here, you’ll find a sprawling site of flourishing wildlife, ancient woodland, and stunning views of St Paul’s Cathedral. After escaping from the plague, King Charles I transformed this area into a hunting ground in 1625, which is why deer still roam the park today.

Did you know?

  • Kingston is one of the safest boroughs in London!
  • In Medieval times, Shrove Tuesday would see Kingston’s windows boarded up as residents readied themselves for a chaotic match of ‘Shrovetide football’.
  • When he’s not out saving lives, you might spot Spiderman star, Tom Holland, who calls Kingston home.

Explore Beyond London

Students on our Kingston course will have the opportunity to round off their UK experience with visits to other iconic cities. Just a 50-minute train journey away is the breezy intellectual hub of Cambridge, home to mesmerising Medieval structures, cobblestone streets, and of course, one of the oldest and best universities in the world.

Students will also spend a day strolling along London’s closest coastline, Brighton. Known for its Pier, a brightly lit jumble of neon signs and unadulterated fun, Brighton is all about its eccentricity.

Interested in studying at our London Kingston centre? Click here for more information.

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