Hop on a train from Edinburgh to London and join international student ambassador Lauren at the London Book Fair.
Studying MSc Publishing at Edinburgh Napier University has allowed me to get involved with lots of different things. Most recently, I was able to visit London Book Fair 2019! It was such an amazing event and a great learning experience that allowed me to spend almost a week in London and learn about another city in the UK. Read on to find out more about my time in London, and London Book Fair (which is free to all students and not boring despite common belief of reading).
My friends and I arrived in London on the Monday of Book Fair Week. We took the train and arrived at Kings Cross station, immediately thinking of Harry Potter. Unfortunately, we didn’t arrive from Platform 9 3/4. However, it was nice to see so much of the English countryside while we travelled down. From there we took a taxi to the Olympia, where London Book Fair was being held. The venue is MASSIVE, and kind of overwhelming. We attended a conference on rights, which was very interesting for the people on my course but probably not anyone else.
The fair officially opened the next day, and we immediately walked the entirety of it. There was so much to see, the picture below is just ONE ROOM. There were booths to see, deals happening, and talks to go to that appealed to everyone's interests. Eventually, I was familiar with the vast venue and could find my way around no problem, becoming a tour guide for my friends. I’m sure that we walked every inch of the Olympia at least three times.
On the Wednesday, my friends and I decided to spend a half day at the fair. For the other half we took advantage of the beautiful weather and decided to explore London. In the morning, we attended talks on Diversity and Women in Publishing before setting out on our adventure. I was the tour guide once again, despite only having been to London once before.
I was prepared, I had spent the previous night mapping out a route for us that would take us to all the major places to see in London: Olympia to Kensington Palace, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben (which was unfortunately covered), the Thames, Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus. We walked the entire route, but we did stop for food! We got some great gelato and donuts, and some vegan pub food near Piccadilly.
Our last day was back at the fair again which allowed us to attend a conference on Children’s Publishing, which was both informative and interesting. One of the presenters was from LEGO and won the crown over by handing out little LEGO kits to make ducks out of. I'm a child at heart, and the LEGO making was definitely one of my highlights of the week. After that, we explored the Indonesian Publishing booth as that was the theme of the fair this year. We got to learn some words in Indonesian and won throw pillows as prizes. One of the best parts of London Book Fair was the book proofs we got. We were given advanced copies of some upcoming books from Simon and Schuster, and for book lovers, there really isn’t anything more exciting! After that, we left the fair a bit early to go shopping and get frozen yogurt and dinner.
Unfortunately, we had to go home on Friday. By that point though I think my friends and I were all ready to be back in our own homes. We were catching a train in the early afternoon so we decided to go for some brunch at The Breakfast Club, which was fantastic. I had a smoothie and eggs benedict, which is my favourite breakfast. After that, we caught the train and relaxed until we got back to Edinburgh.
London Book Fair was an incredible experience, and I’m so thankful that I got to attend. It was a successful trip as my friends and I definitely left with more books than we came with. I would love to go back to London with more time to explore at some point, but for now, my trip was satisfying and an experience I will never forget. If you’re planning a trip to London, check out the locations I mentioned. Don't forget to let @enuinternational know about any other great things to see in London that you would recommend. Why not tag us in your Instagram stories for us to share? Happy travelling!