Výlet do Londýna

A very special, cherry-picked, alternative London trip

Klára Synková

For the second time, we ventured to organize an alternative trip to London where students (and us, teachers) would be actively engaged 24/7, participating in a wide range of activities, workshops, interacting with Londoners and thus getting a sample of the life in the very centre, one of the greatest cultural hubs of Europe.

Despite early morning flight on Sunday, April 30 and many of us not sleeping that night at all, the excitement overruled tiredness. Having passing through Jewish part of Golders Green, we arrived at Waterloo, where our hostel was – a cozy, unique base for travelers, offering the main attractions within walking distance and located in the quaint Lower March area with foodmarkets during the day and umpteen cafes in our street. Kew Gardens were a refreshment after the flight and the fresh green, treetop walk and Victorian marvels of architecture certainly poured energy into our veins. Later in the afternoon, we joined commented tour in the Tate Britain, looking closely at Turner, his mastery application of colors to capture light and reflection, his subtle touches to add his version of a meaning to the pictures.

From the highlights, we should certainly name Eltham Palace, a hidden jewel of Art Deco architecture, a seat of Tudor Kings and a politically and culturally significant centre since 12th century. What we admire today is a breathtaking design commissioned by a wealthy couple of Steve and Virginia Courtauld, elevating and embellishing the place to its splendor by master combination of the Medieval and Art Deco elements. Apart from art lovers, the place certainly thrills anyone with multiple timeless technological devices, like an in-built centralized vacuum system, heated floors, en-suite rooms for guests, etc.

The Courtauld Gallery on Strand, back in London, offered an artistic refuge: we participated in a 3-hour workshop combining a tour through this cozy eclectic gallery including the grounds usually inaccessible to public: the underground labyrinth, once serving as storage rooms and a scene for many prison movie scenes today. The workshop on “Materials and Processes” took us through painting techniques from gothic to impressionism: From grounded minerals meshed with a yolk to chalk drawings to oil paintings, with a hands-on experience for us all.

The Globe Theatre has almost become our home, it was the second time we have taken acting classes from the actors and widened perception of the play (this time, Romeo and Juliet). The actor this time gave us a lesson on physicality of words and phrases, from gestures to physical modification of place and angle at which the actors speak, given the peculiarity of The Globe: the actor needs to speak to three sides, unlike in a traditional frontal theatre. His energy was absolutely contagious and everybody needed to appreciate the lead actor’s performance on Wednesday evening, his spacial confidence and physically exhausting engagement.

Visiting the legendary design market of Camden Town proved a welcomed break from the artistic pieces of our schedule: the daytime wasn’t as crowded as the usual Sunday hustle and bustle and offered a pleasant stroll along design shops, jewelry shops galleries, antique bookshops and of course, the mouthwatering food stalls boasting with anything from fish and chips to exotic tastes, Indian, Ethiopian, Malaysian and other cuisines at a bargain price. Taking a back route alongside the Regent’s Canal in the direction to Little Venice gave us a chance to relax in a tranquil picturesque area, from where we crossed the Regent’s Park to return to our base.

It has been a uniquely enriching time, both culturally and personally. Days packed with experience from morning to night, with a group of smart reliable students, who got praised in all workshops for interactivity and ability to follow unmodified speech. We have all been mesmerized by Les Miserables, Romeo and Juliet, Eltham Palace, Hyde park, Regent’s Park and Canal, Camden Town, Kew Gardens, and many restaurants where we were trying to taste different cuisines: Mexican, Indian, Chinese, and street food. We all had the feeling we would love to stay there for at least a month, savoring the abundance of choices and opportunities.

What follows are students´ reflections:

Alex: Eltham Palace

When someone says London, I usually pictured classical tourist sightseeing, Buckingham palace and logically fish and chips. Until I’ve seen Eltham Palace, the absolutely unique palace and garden of combined Tudor architecture and art deco, in Mottingham. I’ve been absolutely mesmerized by the beautiful gardens, in combination with the beautiful interiors stylized in the Jazz era. I have never honestly seen anything more amazing than Eltham Palace. Eltham Palace is an absolutely magical place that hasn’t been totally discovered by the tourists yet, which makes it really special.

Honestly, my biggest impression from London was Tuesday. We went to see the beautiful Tate Modern, Eltham Palace, ate in a delicious Indian restaurant and saw an amazing performance of Les Miserables.

Helen - Kew gardens

We got off at Kew gardens underground station, paid £3 and entered to the garden with unique landscapes, vistas and iconic architecture. One of the top attractions in Kew garden is treetop walkway, where you see the views right across London (and is designed by Marks Barfield – who created the London Eye). Also there are varied glasshouses (not recommend for asthmatics).

Viki - Kew gardens

Na jihozápadě Londýna jsme navštívili slavné královské zahrady Kew gardens. Oproti městu je to skutečná oáza klidu. Při procházkách jsme se svobodně odchylovali od vyznačených cestiček, abychom objevili tajemná zákoutí a stromy, na které se dá skvěle vyšplhat. Procházet se v zahradách, které zůstali nezměněny již od začátku 19.století. Skutečný ráj je to hlavně pro nadšené botaniky mezi námi. Ve starých sklenících jsme obdivovali kvetoucí lekníny, vysoké palmy, kaučukovníky a pestrobarevné květy všelijakých dalších stromů. Palmový skleník je obzvláště architektonickým skvostem, protože je postaven tak, abychom si mohli koruny tyčících se palem prohlédnout i z úplné střechy skleníku. Kouzlo Kew gardens spočívá právě v tom, že můžeme jednotlivé exempláře pozorovat ze všech úhlů.

Elias – Les Miserables

Tuesday evening, we went to see les Misérables (though we originally intended to go see it on Monday, but then we realised that our tickets are for Tuesday). Before the performance, we had a quick dinner in Soho and then we went to see it. It was a truly amazing experience, I've personally never seen this play before, so I was really excited and I wasn't disappointed. The vocals were really astounding, even the little boy playing Gavroche had a superb voice. From that day, I cannot get the melody of 'Do you hear the people sing' out of my head.

Elias – workshop on Romeo and Juliet

I really enjoyed the workshop on Romeo and Juliet because the guy was just so funny and entertaining adn also, I felt like he has some kind of this special ability to awake talent in people.

Elias – reflection:

When I was packing my stuff to London, I was really concerned for some reason. I was either afraid because of the classmates and what dynamics between each of us will there be. Or, maybe I was afraid because of the flight. I don’t know. But after the first day in London, I was completely sure that didn’t want to leave that place anytime soon. Unfortunately, the trip was really short. It was a really interesting experience and also a great way to get to knot our classmates, teachers and the other students better. And I would totally go there again, next time maybe for a longer time.


I have personally enjoyed the trip so much, because in only five days we have been to so many different places, attractions, and monuments.

And although it was sometimes really hard and stressful to get to the next point of programme in time, I am really glad I was part of this excursion.

I would personally divide London into three categories which the city is based on and which make it an awesome place to travel in (for me!).


London, and in fact Britain in general, may not have a great reputation for being full of friendly, welcoming people, but actually, the city is the wonder that it is because of the great diversity of fascinating people that live there.

Everywhere I look, I saw people doing incredible things and everyone has a story to tell.

So the local people are extremely inspirational and it´s one of the biggest differences against Prague.


Despite of the fact that I am not a big fun of shopping and buying clothes, food and all these kinds of stuff, in London it completely changed.

First thing I would like to mention is an ability and persuasion that almost every seller in London has and it´s absolutely fascinating to see with what 'passion' they are doing their job.

And the second point I I would like to mention is the quality, it’s clearly noticeable that food is better and tastier and clothes are just 'more in style'.


London is that type of city that has been here for centuries and that’s probably a reason why it has so much to offer, from legendary monuments to places for sightseeing and memorials.

It’s a great example of a big and modern city, which has lots of historical places.

So, the history and monuments influence so much and I can absolutely see no way that London would be so popular and developed without them.


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