Conway Hall is located on South Bank: students are incredibly fortunate to be living in such a central location, surrounded by world-class galleries, theatres and concert halls.
The Southbank Centre – the largest single-run arts centre in the world. (Events calendar) The Southbank Centre is literally right next door! The Centre consists of several different buildings along the south bank of the Thames and is home to a diverse array of cultural performances, exhibitions and shows.
- Royal Festival Hall. Built for the 1951 Festival of Britain, this concert venue is celebrating its 60th birthday this year. It hosts concerts by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, and many others. The concert hall is also used for recitals, ballet, dance and talks.
- Hayward Gallery. This gallery has no permanent exhibitions but instead houses three or four major temporary exhibitions each year. It exhibits works of art from all periods. The Hayward Gallery Project space shows installations and small exhibitions of works by emerging artists and admission is free.
- Queen Elizabeth Hall boasts daily musical events encompassing classical, jazz, and avant-garde music and dance. It is linked to the smallest Southbank venue, the Purcell Room, which is used for musical and poetry recitals covering a range of genres.
- Saison Poetry Library – the most complete and accessible collection of twentieth-century poetry in Britain, focused on poetry from the UK and English-speaking countries. Membership is free and the library is open daily.
Elsewhere on the South Bank
- The National Theatre (Events calendar) Comprising three different theatres, the National hosts both plays and musical performances. Free concerts are put on most days in the foyer: Mon-Fri at 5.45pm, Saturdays at 1pm and 5.45pm and most Sundays at 1pm. In the summer, the free concerts are only on Mondays and Tuesdays. The National offers some great tickets for students: there are £10 student standby tickets available on the day of a performance, and there are also £5 tickets for space to stand.
- - British Film Institute (BFI) The BFI promotes understanding and appreciation of film and television. It boasts the richest and most significant film and television collection in the world, and its archive is preserving almost one million titles. The BFI on Southbank screens almost 1,000 films each year, as well as running the annual London Film Festival in the second half of October – watch this space for some of the best of world cinema on your doorstep!
- - The Globe No mention of South Bank would be complete without the Globe. Raised as an architecturally accurate re-creation of Shakespeare’s own Globe Theatre, the Globe offers wonderful Shakespearean adaptations between May and October. Tickets start at just £5 for standing space in the area immediately in front of the stage. Not to be missed!
- - Tate Modern Free to enter and a raging success when it opened in 2000 in the converted Bankside power station, Tate Modern has firmly cemented its place as the world’s favourite modern art gallery. Tate Modern is the premiere international modern art gallery of the Tate group, which also includes Tate Britain, Tate Liverpool, Tate St Ives and Tate Online. The collection is hung to focus on key moments in the history of modern art.
St. Thomas' Hospital Westminster Bridge Road – follow red signs to the Accident & Emergency Department (A&E).
Part of the fun of moving to a new city is exploring your local neighbourhood. In Waterloo you’ll find that Lower Marsh St. is a great place to begin, and covers most bases in terms of your general shopping. You’ll also find that a number of the stores listed here have branches on the Strand—particularly useful if you need to pick something up on your way home from the London Centre.
Click through for a local area shoping map.
- Sainsburys Local, 101 Waterloo Road. Small, but close and with a good selection of reasonably-priced food.
- Iceland, 112-113 Lower Marsh. The cheapest option. Think Walmart, but smaller.
- Greensmiths, 27 Lower Marsh. Gourmet grocery store. Great for treats.
- Boots Pharmacy, Waterloo Station. This small store just inside the station is the closest pharmacy. You’ll find bigger branches on Lower Marsh and the Strand (between Trafalgar Sq and Charing Cross Station).
- Ryman the Stationer, 4 Lower Marsh.
- Houseware Centre, 42 Lower Marsh. Utensils, water filters, food storage.
- Post Office, 125-131 Westminster Bridge Road. (There’s also a big post office on William IV St, which is the street just opposite the entrance to the National Portrait Gallery – right around the corner from the London Centre.)
Going to a local parish church or cathedral is a great way to burst out of the Notre Dame bubble, meet friendly people and experience more of the everyday life of where you are living.
Catholicism is not a dominant religion in London and the vast majority of the churches in the city are Anglican. Owing to the strong English cathedral tradition that retained ‘high’ worship, it can be hard to tell the difference between Anglican and Catholic churches. If a church advertises ‘Evensong’ (as opposed to nothing or ‘Vespers’) then it is probably Anglican.
Click through for a map showing local churches.
Some Catholic churches in London:
St Patrick’s, Cornwall Road, Waterloo – the nearest church to Conway Hall, right around the corner away from the river. Sunday Masses at 5.30pm (vigil), 9am and 11am. Run by Franciscans, this is the smallest church in the Archdiocese of Southwark and known for its friendly cultural diversity. Go and experience global Catholicism in London and a real parish of local people.
St George’s RC Cathedral, Southwark – where we will have our opening Mass of the semester. This is right by the grand Imperial War Museum, the other side of Waterloo Station. Not to be confused with the Anglican Cathedral in Southwark, which is right by London Bridge Station.
Westminster Cathedral – NOT Westminster Abbey by the Houses of Parliament, but instead further up Victoria St on the left hand side behind a ‘piazza’ or square. It is instantly identifiable by its distinctive Byzantine style and red-and-white stripes. It is home to a wonderful organ and world-class choir that offer arguably the best Catholic music in England. If you want to hear the full choir, aim for the 10.30am Sunday Mass or Vespers at 3.30pm on Sunday (which is followed by a free organ recital). During the week Vespers is sung at 5pm (without the boy choristers on Wed), with Mass at 5.30pm. The choristers will be on holiday until early September.
Newman House Catholic Chaplaincy, Gower St – Sunday Mass 10.30am and 7.30pm for college students. There are tea and cookies after morning Mass, and a bar after the evening Mass. A great way to meet British and international students living in London.
Corpus Christi, Maiden Lane – unassuming from the outside, this beautiful church is right by Covent Garden. Sunday Masses: 6pm (vigil), 9.30am and 11.30am. Latin Mass, 6.30pm Mondays; weekday Masses 1.05pm.
St Etheldreda’s, Ely Place – the oldest Catholic Church in England.
St Patrick’s, Soho – recently re-opened after a major refurbishment project, this is a popular church for young Catholics in the city. They have daily Mass at 12.45pm and their music at the weekend is renowned for being particularly fine. Sunday Mass
The Brompton Oratory – traditional liturgy in upmarket South Kensington, perfect for a Sunday of museum-visiting down Exhibition Road, which is home to the Natural History Museum, Science Museum, and the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Some Protestant churches in London:
St John the Evangelist – Conway Hall is right next to St John’s.
Westminster Abbey – used for the coronations of monarchs and home to the tombs of kings, queens and notable national figures. There is an admission fee for tourists, but entry for services is free. There is always a major celebration at the Abbey on 13 October in commemoration of the translation of Edward the Confessor’s body to the shrine in the Abbey (the church that he had built as king).
Christ Church & Upton Chapel (Oasis church) – United Reformed Church (akin to DOC).
St Paul’s Cathedral – across the Millennium Bridge from Tate Modern, this is the famous church built on a grand scale after the Great Fire of London in 1665.
St Martin’s in the Fields, Trafalgar Square – famous for its homeless outreach project (The Connection), the cafe in its crypt, and its wonderful lunchtime and evening concerts. It has an active Chinese-speaking congregation.
LUP students are eligible for membership of the King's College gym just across the road from Conway Hall on Stamford St. The full name of the gym is KCLSU Kinetic, its at 127 Stamford St. (on the corner of Cornwall Road), and all ND Students will be eligible for a special rate for membership covering the duration of their program in London.
For more information about their facilities, classes and hours, please see the KCLSU Kinetic website. For information about the special ND membership rate, please speak to one of the rectors.