Days out with your homestay guest – East London
London is an incredible city, unlike any other, and is a source of inspiration for everyone who visits it. International students staying in London for a study or work placement often get caught up in their work, but here at HFS London we firmly believe in encouraging guests to really ‘live’ in the city rather than just staying here.
It’s not uncommon for overseas students to have some tourist-y type trips built into their stay itinerary by their study centres, but hosts often choose to take their student guests out to show them British life to enhance their travel experience and really make them included with their host family. There’s no obligation to arrange trips out and about, but HFS London definitely encourage it: and here’s our top picks for free or cheap things to do in East London!
HFS London’s Suggestions
Browse Columbia Road Flower Market
Unless your student guest is from Amsterdam, it’s unlikely they’ll ever have seen a flower market as bright and vibrant as the one at Columbia Road. Every Sunday from 8am-3pm, the road overflows with buckets and stalls of flowers of every type you can imagine. It gets very busy around lunchtime but is a stunning sight to visit; and if you’re buying, don’t be afraid to barter!
Take A Walk Around Victoria Park
Known as ‘the people’s park’, Victoria Park is probably London’s favourite outdoor space with locals; so ideal to take a walk and show off some beautiful greenery to your student guest/s! There’s two big lakes, a boating lake and lots of play areas for children, but you can just take a leisurely stroll or even pack a picnic to enjoy some fresh air.
Pet The Animals At Spitalfields City Farm
London isn’t best known for its cute animal content, but city farms make a great way to take some time out and enjoy some furry comforts. Spitalfields boasts a fantastic range of animals (plenty of whom like a cuddle) as well as a varied farm shop and café. It’s suitable for all ages and often plays home to special events so you may be able to experience more of the animals than you’d usually expect to.
Get Weird At The Viktor Wynd Museum Of Curiousities
A weird and wonderful ‘curiousity shop’, the Viktor Wynd Museum isn’t actually a museum, but is a fantastically quirky off-the-beaten-track destination to visit. Only really well known amongst arty circles, you’ve probably never heard of the shop before but should definitely head on down – and be prepared to lose yourself amongst a world of oddities that you simply won’t be able to explain to your student guests!
Chill Out At Dalston’s Eastern Curve Garden
A hidden gem behind the busy Junction, the Eastern Curve Garden is a social enterprise set up on a now derelict railway line that was introduced as a way to bring some more green space to the city. Now a beautiful garden to visit nestled alongside fresh produce stalls and a wholesome local café, the Eastern Curve Garden is a touch of quiet amongst an otherwise bustling and busy part of London.
A family of hosts
If you have suggestions for great places to visit with student guests in East London, do let the HFS London team know in the comments below, and we can pass on the recommendations to other host families. In such a great city there’s no shortage of things to do, see, eat and drink… and we love sharing them with overseas visitors to build unity in the community. Viva la London!