Our colleges are located across Europe’s most musically rich cities. As a BIMM student, you’ll immerse yourself in the same city as musical legends and the industry’s future game-changers. With inspiration all around, you’ll work with like-minded people to create tomorrow’s music industry. Here, BIMM Institute London student Hazel Smith takes you on a tour of her musical city.
Best Things to See in London
If you are one of the lucky freshers moving to London at the end of summer, here is a list of the best places you must see when you move in. These are what keep the city alive and well.
London is of course known for its beautiful parks. The one you’ll get to know the most is Eel Brook Common, mainly because it’s the one just outside of campus, where students like to have a snack or take in some quick dose of vitamin D in between lectures. If you fancy a walk by the river, then Bishop’s Park between Fulham and Putney is just what you need. And of course, if you want something more central and touristy, head straight to Hyde Park!
Once you’re done checking out typical touristic places in the city – we’re talking Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, London Eye, Tower Bridge, Trafalgar Square, etc. – you will want to go check out the following spots as a musician or music lover:
- Obviously, take a detour by the Abbey Road crosswalks and pose like a Beatle
- If you’re a fan of Bowie, as I am, there are not one but TWO landmarks I have for you. Of course, there’s the Aladdin Sane mural just outside of Brixton station, but there’s also the lesser-known commemorative plaque on Heddon Street where the cover of Ziggy Stardust was shot
- Finally, if you’re into music history, you can walk in the footsteps of the Rolling Stones or Black Sabbath and visit Regent Sounds Studios on Denmark Street.
The staff at Regent Sounds Studios are always happy to share the shop’s brilliant history, and you can also pick up some guitar gear, which leads me to my next point.
Where to Shop
Shopping! Still on Denmark Street, and known as the Tin Pan Alley of London, you’ll find half a dozen music shops selling an incredible range of high end or refurbished instruments and gear and production equipment. Whether you’re a singer, producer or play an instrument, you’re guaranteed to find the best services there.
In terms of shopping for music, head all the way East to my favourite record store-slash-bookshop-slash-label-slash-cafe-slash-music-venue: I am of course talking about Rough Trade in Brick Lane. Make sure you keep an eye on deals for Record Store Da, and on their programmes as they often host showcase events to promote artists on their labels. These events are small in attendance so it’s the perfect occasion to get up close and personal with your favourite artists and have a chat with them!
Now, if you’re a performer and like to play dress-up on stage, your next stop is the Stables Market in Camden. Wander down the alleys and explore everything from unique designer pop-ups to thrift shops, checking out gothic steampunk glam-rock attires. Bonus points if you find the Amy Winehouse statue!
Camden Market is also great with food. Near the river, you’ll find the food stalls and can taste different food from around the world. If street food is your jam, also check out the food market in Spitalfields; a bit more hipster in vibe. Also, if you’re not scared off by the infamous rumour that claims British food isn’t tasty, do definitely go to your nearest gastropub and try a Shepherd’s pie, or a veggie roast on a Sunday for you vegan peeps!
Ah, and before I forget. If you’re over 18, one place you’ll be at more than your own home during the year aside from college: Spoons! Not from the UK? I’ll let you discover that on your own. It’s more fun that way!