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Category Archives: Kingston-upon-Thames

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Christmas ice rinks of London

Is there anything more Christmassy than a trip to an ice rink in winter? Wrapped up warm, sparkly lights and sweet treats.

Here are our favourite London Ice rinks of 2020

The Natural History Museum

The Natural history museum gardens are transformed for winter with twinkling fairy lights and a beautiful Christmas tree. This is one of our favourite places to visit this Christmas.  Treat yourself to some hot chocolate or mulled wine in the museum’s hugge cafe, while enjoying picturesque view of the skaters.

Hampton Court Palace

This the local ice rink to two of our student accommodations in Kingston, so swing by Hampton Court for a twirl on the ice or make a day of it with university friends after exploring the beautiful grounds and palace. The palace rink is set right in front of the palace’s stunning light up Tudor front.  After skating, warm up with a drink at the ice bar. This is open until the 5th Jan so plenty of time to get those skates on.

Roof Top Skating

Skate with some serious style with Sky Light London found on the top of an old warehouse at trendy Tobacco Dock. 360 views of London’s skyline will keep those Instagram stories going and to be honest, are the main reason to visit here. But you will also find heated bars serving cool cocktails, warm drinks and trendy street food, as well as some seriously cosy igloos making this the most perfect place festive celebration.

Camden Market

If you are a student in London you have to Check out Camden Market, it has now had its own festive make over complete with new ice rink, Santa’s grotto and more.  Camden is one of those places you could visit for years and still be surprised at what it has to offer, its weird, wonderful and full of festive fun. Celebrate the iconic market’s 45th anniversary by taking to the ice in a wacky atmospheric setting of fairy lights and brick walls – at 25 metres (82ft), it’s London’s longest outdoor ice-skating rink, too! Head over to the Cuban bar after to warm up your insides with some authentic Cuban cocktails.

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Why should I volunteer in Kingston?

We all have very busy lives, it can be hard to find time to even think about becoming a volunteer, it doesn’t seem possible that there is time in the day to dedicate to helping others before yourself, right? However, the benefits of volunteering can have a huge impact on you! Volunteering offers crucial help to people in need or worthwhile causes, and your local community, but even more so benefits can be great for you, the volunteer.

Finding the right place to volunteer can help you to make friends, connect to your local community, learn new skills that could advance your career. It reduces stress, helps depression, and can keep you mentally stimulated. Giving up some spare time provides you with a sense of purpose that you can only get from helping others.

Here are some local services always in need for an extra pair of hands

Shed X–The SHEDx project encompasses a range of activities to activate and engage the local community ofKingston, and surrounding areas, to take ownership of their unused and green spaces to help define and improve the future for their town. Utilising original and accessible ideas, The Community Brain are engaging and helping to energise the community; enabling them to shape the future plans for Kingston.  They have also recently set on a collaboration between students from Kingston University, and The Community Brain has resulted in a playground makeover at local primary school!

Oxfam– There are several Oxfam charity shops in Kingston that are always looking for help. Now you may think this is not for you, but the customer service experience alone is a great skill to learn and have on your CV. I recommend everyone works in retail at the starting point of your career, it’s a great insight into dealing with the general public.

Maritime Volunteer Service– If you are a fan of the river in Kingston then this one is for you. They are a dedicated team that patrol our stretch of the Thames to keep us all safe. Along with life experienced you can also get many qualifications with them.

Volunteeringkingston.org– This website will help you find all other community-based volunteer work available in Kingston Upon Thames.

While it’s true what they say. “The more you give the better you will feel”, that doesn’t mean volunteering has to involve a long-term commitment or take a huge amount of time out of your busy day.

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A guide to Kingston upon Thames

Kingston upon Thames is home to some of the best Universities in the UK. There is so much to see and do in Kingston and you can catch a train into Central London every 15 minutes!

Shop ‘til you drop

Kingston is one of the best places to shop! There is a huge range of high street and independent shops as well as The Bentall’s Department Store, full of designer and high street clothing brands, beauty products, homeware, book stores, stationers and more!

The centre also hosts regular events and pop ups – past events include a mini food and drinks market, gin sampling and an art pop up. I know some of our residents from Greencoat House, Kingston, enjoyed these earlier this year.

Just around the corner from Greencoat House is Old London Road, you’ll find a mixture of quirky vintage, antiques and charity shops, as well as an old record store. That Vintage Shop is super cute, inside and out, and the prices are very good compared with other vintage stores.

Don’t forget to take a snap at the Iconic fallen telephone boxes!

It’s also worth noting that the Jo Malone store, just off the main square, has to be one of the most Instagrammable ones I’ve ever seen!

The Rose Theatre

The Rose Theatre is also in the town centre. It’s a modern theatre that opened in 2008. The theatre is quite relaxed and tickets are reasonably priced – there’s even the option of bringing your own cushion and watching the shows from the floor at the front of the stage hoe cool is that! I have enjoyed every production I have seen there and always keep an eye on what is showing next!

Restaurants in Kingston

Kingston has all my go-to restaurants such as Busaba Eathai, GBK and Bill’s. But if you’re looking for something more unique, the riverside features some gorgeous pubs and restaurants – all with outdoor seating, perfect for a sunny day!

Don’t worry guys there is two McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Pizza Express! 😉

Nightlife in Kingston

There are many Bars, Pub’s and Clubs in Kingston. My favourites are the ones on the river, just a short walk from both Greencoat House and Bright House. There is also the Rotunda which is opposite Greencoat House, here there is an Odeon Cinema, David Lloyd Gym, bowling and a few restaurant’s. The bowling is half price on a Tuesday!

Fun-filled walks

For those interested in discovering a little bit more about the history of Kingston, for a few pounds, there are guided walks every Sunday where you can learn all about Saxon Kings, local heroes and villains, and much more. The tours start from the doors to the Market House in the Ancient Market Place.

Richmond Park is also a 10-minute walk away:

Escape to the great outdoors in Richmond Park with its wide open spaces, grasslands and deer herds.

The park is a top UK site for ancient trees and supports a range of rare species including fungi, birds, beetles, bats, grasses and wildflowers.

Discover the Isabella Plantation woodland gardens, refuel at Pembroke Lodge tea rooms and enjoy distant views of St Paul’s Cathedral from King Henry’s Mound.

Try your hand at power kiting, horse riding or golf, or hire a bike for some off-road cycling along the Tamsin Trail.

Richmond Park is a great space to clear your head of any of life’s stresses, take time for you and recharge.

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Discover what student life is like in Winchester

Lucky you choosing to live and study in Winchester!  

Once the ancient capital of England and former seat of King Alfred the Great, Winchester is the quintessential English city with a rich heritage and vibrant contemporary culture.

Crowned by The Sunday Timesas ‘The Best Place to Live 2016’ and topping the 2019 Royal Mail Happiness Index, this friendly and highly walkable city of about 50,000 people has an easy-going vibe, fabulous local food, a lively music scene and a wonderful street performance festival – The Hat Fair.

From classical architecture in the form of the Cathedral to the pockets of rolling hills; where else would you choose to live and study?!

From former Kings of England to famed novelists; you will more recently find some filming taking place in the city centre; with Winchester the backdrop for scenes in films such as The Da Vinci Code and Les Misérables.

For shopping:

Winchester offers an array of unique, independent shops and boutiques as well as traditional and well-known national stores.

The High Street is a bustling, traffic-free shopping environment with street performers and regular markets.

With West Quay in Southampton or Festival Place in Basingstoke being the choice for those who wish to shop til they drop!

For Riverside Way residents Tesco’s is your closest supermarket, it is just a quick 5 minute walk away and they are open 24 hours a day with a pharmacy and opticians available too*

For Cathedral Point residents there is a Tesco Express and a Co-Op right on your doorstep.

Don’t forget to have a look at all the local pubs, restaurants and coffee shops that are on our doorstep in Winchester.

For going out:

Winchester has an eclectic mix of independent cafes’, restaurants and bars mixed with high street favourites. In celebration of the setting and local produce and drink, make sure you try and sample these at one of the many festivals held during the year. Such as Winchester Cheese & Chilli Festival, or how about going a bit further afield and trying the Romsey Round Table Beer & Cider Festival.

Your universities (University of Winchester and University of Southampton) will each have their own student unions holding a variety of nights.

Proud to hold national Purple Flag status Winchester has been recognised as a city that is safe and enjoyable for a night out.

*times are different to store opening hours

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Tips for your new life at Uni

So, you are about to leave your home and become a student at university, the idea of that can be a daunting prospect. You’re walking away from the support of close friends and family into the unknown, on your own, forced to make new friends and adjust to a new lifestyle which is usually far away. How can you successfully navigate through this crazy journey you are about to embark? Here are a few little tips to get you ready.

  • Get Out of Your Room! It takes time to make new friends, they will evolve with time, so don’t worry if it hasn’t happened yet, but sitting in your room will not help you, take a leap of confidence. Go to that common room and meet the people you live with. Making friends in your accommodation is vital, these are your new family for a whole year! Freshers week is also packed with events organised by your uni, so don’t hesitate to attend some of those.  Don’t wait for friends to come to you!

 

  • Turn That Room into Home. Coming back to a boring room with no personality is going to make you homesick. Fill your room with photos and personal items to make it feel more like your place. If this is your first flat, then spread those creative wings and make it yours.

 

  • Stay in Touch with Everyone at Home – Uni can be lonely, don’t forget your friends back home are still your friends, you can still call them at any time. Sometimes going home for the weekend is just what you need to fill refreshed again.

 

  • Manage Your Time. The single best thing you can do is buy a calendar. Soon, your head is going to be full of exams, dissertations and friends. Write it all down, pop it on the wall and before you know it you will be ready for everything life throughs at you, from friends to tackling the reading, assignments, and test prep. It’s all easy business when you know it’s coming!

 

  • Look After You. It’s easy to forget about looking after yourself when at uni. Don’t eat another pizza, cook yourself something healthy. Your body will thank you, and so will your mind. Speaking of your mind, don’t forget to take some time to unplug yourself from everything, take at least 20 minutes to sit quietly and reflect on all things you have to be thankful for. Clear and declutter your mind. Not adjusting to uni life well? You are not alone; this is something everyone feels. However, make you speak up and get some help. From uni or your accommodation, there are plenty of staff around you who are ready to help.

 

  • Budget– For a lot of students this is the first time you will be looking after your own budget.There is rent, food, travel and let’s not even get started on the amount you will spend with friends, learn to live within your means, ditch the takeaways and cook yourself something great and cheap! Remember to write down all the dates your bills are due, being on top of these will take away a lot of stress.

 

  • Make the Most of ItThree years seems like a long time now, but it will be over in a flash, these are some of the best times of your life. Don’t let it pass you by without doing all the things you wanted to do.  You can do itand you can make it happen Tipbut most importantly, enjoy it.
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Top 5 places for Night Outs around Winchester

Soon enough you will be going away from home to your second-to-be home – Cathedral Point or Riverside Way and most likely you already though about Night Outs and Social Life around Winchester. Here are top 5 places for best student-friendly night outs you can possibly have during your first year.

  1. Vodka

Vodkais the most popular night club in Winchester, where you probably going to end up on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday. For the most student-friendly party we are recommend to go on Tuesday ‘2’sDAYS’. Can’t go wrong with £2 entry and £2 drinks, but don’t forget to sign up to a guest list!

https://www.vodkanightclub.co.uk

  1. Oceana Southampton

Who hasn’t heard about ‘Cheeky Tuesdays’ in Oceana yet? Free entry with banana and three different rooms with music, whether you prefer club or disco music – it’s all there! Plus it is close to train station with only 15min away from Winchester.

https://www.oceanaclubs.com/southampton

  1. Switch

Again, Switch is based in Southampton, however it is one of the most popular nightclubs in the whole South Coast. Big name music artists can be seen there, such as Pendulum or Stormzy, with great music all night and amazing atmosphere. It is worth to check what’s on page on their website in order to get your ticket first.

https://www.switchsoton.co.uk

  1. The Edge & The Box Ba

The Edge is one of the greatest LGBT Nightclubs in the whole Hampshire. Friendly atmosphere, great music and £1.50 drinks on Wednesday. It will be worth in the end waiting in a long queue. You can also take a break from dancing and play pool or sink in karaoke room. Worth a visit.

https://www.theedgesouthampton.com/the-edge

  1. Bar and Pubs around Winchester

There are plenty bars and pubs to go in Winchester town centre, Slug & Lettuce, The Royal Oak and etc. Get together with your new friends and go explore it for yourself! You would be surprised by what this city has to offer.

 

While getting ready for your best night outs possible, don’t forget to stay safe:

  • Never walk alone at night. Try get together as a group of friends for the safest journey to clubs/bars or pubs and back.
  • If you know it is minimum 20min walk to your accommodation use taxi. Wintax are the best around Winchester; it is cheaper when you go as a group of friends too.
  • If you are travelling to Southampton, best way to get back to Winchester at night would be UBER, it is cheap when you split it between all of you or arrange a hotel stay, for instance Holiday Innor Premier Inn.
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How to Help Your Child Pack for University Student Accommodation

Parents View of Moving into Cathedral Point or Riverside Way in Winchester!

It must be hard seeing your child moving away and flying the nest to university. It’s a very difficult and worrying time for any parent. You want to make sure they are safe and happy with all the home comforts they have at home.

It is hard to know what to pack and buy for your child when they are moving into halls with us in Winchester so we have put together a check list to help you…

Bedroom

  • Duvet, cover and pillows
  • Laundry Basket
  • Coat Hangers
  • Extension Plug (if needed)
  • Laptop / PC
  • Stationary
  • Anything else to make the room feel homely some pictures and bedroom décor

 

Bathroom

  • Towels
  • Hand Towel
  • Bath Mat
  • Toilet Rolls
  • Cleaning Supplies
  • Toiletries
  • A Bath Robe

 

Kitchen

  • A few plates and bowls
  • Cutlery
  • 1 saucepan
  • Wooden spoon
  • A frying pan
  • Tea Towels
  • Mugs & Glasses

 

Top Tip –Most of these things you will already have at home to bring to university student accommodation. However sometimes it’s nice to buy your child some new things for their new home. So why not hop in the car for a parent/child university ikea trip!

 

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Keep hydrated this summer!

You may have noticed it already but… today is UK hottest day on record!! With temperatures of up to 39C (102.2F) forecast in southern and eastern England.

The current record was 38.5C (101.3F) from August 2003.

Many of our students are on their summer breaks from various Universities and Colleges in and around Kingston. These include Kingston University, St Marys University, Kingston College, Birkbeck University, University of Roehampton and University of Arts London.

 However, for those students still staying with us, we have a few tips for coping in hot weather whilst in our Student Accommodation in Kingston:

  • Shut windows and pull-down blinds. You should open the windows for ventilation when it is cooler
  • Stay out of the sun and do not go out between 11am – 3pm (the hottest part of the day)
  • Keep rooms cool by using shades or reflective material outside of the windows.
  • Have cool showers or baths and splash yourself with cool water
  • Drink plenty of fluids water is the best but lower fat milks and tea and coffee are also good alternatives. Avoid sugary drinks!
  • Wear loose, cool clothing and a hat and sunglasses if you go outdoors.

 

Please if you have concerns about an uncomfortably hot house that’s affecting your health or someone else’s, let the team in the halls of residence know and they will they will do everything they can to help you.

 

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Green Living in Winchester!

Being and living more sustainably is such a big trend now; if we all can make a few changes to the way we live to help reduce our carbon footprint. Here are our handy student friendly tips:

  • Buy a reusable mug and water bottles

This is a trick to not only save the planet but yourself some money too! It may be tempting to order a Costa or Starbucks and treat yourself but think of the waste that all of those cups make! Buy yourself a reusable mug and make your own hot drink.

Your water bottle will save on thousands of plastic bottles; there are several water re-filling points in Winchester. Download the app: Re-fill for all your local refilling points.

  • Recycle Recycle Recycle!

Here at both Riverside Way and Cathedral Point we have two bins; one for general waste and one for dry mixed recycling. By ensuring you place the right items in the right bins will help to dramatically reduce your waste; think about washing out your food containers so they can be recycled too!

  • Switch off

It can be tempting to have your heating on as it is included in your rent; and you won’t have that luxury when you move into a house! But a simple act a day such as turning your heating off when it is hot (believe me we have seen it) to turning off light switches or appliances that aren’t use will all add up to make a difference to the planet.

The NUS are running a campaign to encourage students to be more sustainable and switch off. Check out how your university rates and sign up on: http://studentswitchoff.org

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Our Top 10 secret places in Kingston Upon Thames

Kingston is one of the best towns in London to spend the summer. The river and antient market give the town a relaxed cool European vibe, with all the benefits of a busy city.

There is every type of shop you could want, from designer to budget friendly. You can catch a train, bus or boat here all the way from central London. And when you need a break from all that spending? Cool down by the river with an icy drink and a live band to keep things entertaining. Here is our top ten places in Kingston you probably didn’t know about.

  1. Poor Boys

This friendly little restaurant sells a selection of food to take your taste buds all the way to New Orleans. Fresh sea food, hot dogs and a great selection of American drinks. It’s little, but packs a whole load of punch. Be careful, if you’re not looking for it you are likely to miss it! You can find Poor Boys in the Griffen Centre close to the river.

  1. Woodys

Woodys is a trendy bar and restaurant on the river, it has half pipe seating booths, skate boards as seats and live bands and unique events such as quizzes, art classes and cooking demos every night and the best selection of food all freshly made in house. What more could you want?

8 Clas Ohlsen

Now every student should know this shop! If your student accommodation is crying out for some personal touches, then this store has all those things you didn’t know you needed. From practical lights, binders, pens and paper to cushion covers and quirky lamps that are just so pretty.

  1. Las Iguanas

You may know this restaurant for its authentic Latin American food, but did you know in the evening they turn the restaurant into a dance floor with a DJ and 2 4 1 cocktails? The drinks are fresh, original and made in front of your with so much flare its’s a show of it own.

6 The Kingston Museum

The Kingston Museum is full of relics from Kingston’s past, if you are going to be living in this town then you need to give this place a visit. It will fill you with local knowledge and trivia. Spend 10 minutes in here chatting to the staff and you will know Kingston just like a local. Kingston Museum is close to the cattle market, there is also a great little market here on Monday mornings, a tradition that has been going for 100’s of years.

5 Clattern Bridge

Clattern Bridge is the oldest bridge still in function in the UK, built in 1175 and its still going strong today! You are likely to walk over this bridge every day without even knowing! Keep an eye out for the signs near Wagamama for a little read up on this relic of Kingston. Across the road you will find the Kings stone,  the Coronation Stone is an ancient sarsen stone block which is believed to have been the site of the coronation of seven Anglo-Saxon kings.

  1. Go Boat London

If you want an adventure and to see Kingston from a different view then this is the best option for you! Grab your friends and a pick nick and head down to see one of the friendly people at Go Boat.  You can rent your own boat and become your own skipper for the day! This really is the best way to see Kingston!

3 Turk Launches

Either side of Kingston there is a pier, if you stand at on one of these piers soon enough a vintage paddle steamer will come and pick you up and sail you away to picturesque Hampton Court or Richmond. Along the way you will see Kingston in a completely different way, from its community of house boaters tending to their gardens, small islands with their hidden BBQ areas to swans and wildlife bobbing down the river.  Turks boats come with comfy seating and a bar on board, sit back with a Pimms and take in the beautiful views.

2 All Saints Church

This church has been in Kingston for 100’s of years and has adapted with every change since then to keep welcoming everyone. With beautiful 360 garden it’s the perfect place to escape the noise and have a quick lunch on the grass, or head inside for a friendly and peaceful experience in the church café. Keep an eye out, they even have live music some evenings!

1 .Canbury Secret

My personal favourite, and Kingston’s best kept secret! Stroll down the river into Canbury gardens, and just when you think your lost… You will see a little café with the best selection of ice cream and cakes you have ever witnessed. Take a seat on a sunny day and watch the quirky boats of Kingston sail down the river or join in the outdoor Yoga class for and leave feeling refreshed and calm. There is also tennis, running clubs and if that’s all too health for you there is also a lovely pub!  There is a great sense of community and relaxation in Canbury Gardens, a real gem of Kingston.

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