A trip to London is a popular excursion with our students, with the UK’s vibrant capital only a short train ride away. But how can you make the most of it to improve your English? Follow our top tips to enhance your listening, speaking, reading and writing skills!
Reading is one of the best ways you can expand your knowledge of the English language, and if you don’t fancy picking up a novel or non-fiction book, take a look at something shorter in a newspaper or magazine.
The British library is the most famous in London, which you can find near St Pancras station. However, there are lots of other public libraries you can join, including Kensington Central and the V&A National Art Library. You can also join the one in Woking (a little closer to home!), so you can easily invest more time in reading when you’re not in school.
As well as the British Library, the UK’s oldest bookshop, Hatchard’s, is always worth a visit. Established in 1797, it is one of the best bookshops in London, and can be found in Piccadilly. It organises frequent events that are great for meeting new people, socialising and practicing your English.
Watching movies is a perfect way to help you improve your English, especially your listening and speaking skills.
Films are made for native English speakers, so the language is exactly how you would hear it naturally in real life – it is spoken quickly, with native accents and pronunciation, and using many idioms and colloquial expressions.
London has many cinemas where you can watch films in English, so choosing something to watch won’t be a problem!
If you are closer to a beginner’s level of English, then children’s movies (such as those by Disney) might prove a better option to start with. For those with a higher level of English, you can try more challenging films.
Back home in Woking, you can try renting films to watch on TV, and turn on the English subtitles so you can read and listen at the same time. All of this will help with your pronunciation and vocabulary, and how to use English in everyday situations.
Tours are an exciting way to immerse yourself in the English language, while learning some interesting facts about London’s rich and extensive history.
London Walks offers weekly walking tours of the most well-known locations and are a fantastic way to practice your listening and speaking skills.
Time Out Guide also has a great list of some of the best walking tours currently available in the capital, including Changing of the Guard and Jack The Ripper/London Ghosts.
London boasts over 200 professional theatres, with productions across a range of genres, including drama, musical, comedy, tragedy and history, so you’ll be spoilt for choice when booking your ticket!
Seeing an English language production can help boost your vocabulary, by listening to the conversations between characters and understanding their relationship. This is a good way of gaining a new perspective on expressing yourself in English, although you may want to begin with short plays and work up to longer productions.
If you have a particular interest, such as Michael Jackson, you could see a show that is linked, i.e. Thriller, as you may already be familiar with the language used.
London is home to some of the largest, and most interesting museums. Browsing them for just a morning or afternoon can be a great way to exercise your language skills and find out more about topics that interest you.
Many of London’s museums offer both guided and audio tours, which are ideal for honing your listening skills. You can also practice your reading skills with the information boards about the exhibits.
So, whether you are looking for something traditional like the British Museum or something quirky like Pollock’s Toy Museum, you are sure to find what you love!