Christmas in Kingston: Fun Events on a Budget

It’s almost that special time of the year! Christmas season is for magic, celebrations, gifts and festive events. Here’s a list of fun and affordable activities around Kingston University to get you in the Christmas spirit without breaking the bank.

  1. Christmas Lights Switch On and Christmas Market

Kingston’s Christmas Lights Switch On event is coming up this Thursday (15 November). The lights will be turning on at 6pm in Clarence Street, but you can enjoy live music and entertainment all around town throughout the day. The Christmas market will also open on the same day, so make sure to check that out–and don’t forget to visit Frangos to get a free portion of churros with any platter purchased.

  1. Frozen sing-along at Rose Theatre

Are you a Disney fan? Head to Rose Theatre on 17 December to watch Frozen in their main auditorium and sing along to all the songs! The event is only £8 and it’s probably aimed at kids, but aren’t students basically kids anyway?

The price of your ticket will help raise funds to support the Rose Theatre’s programme of drama, cultural and learning opportunities. This means you’ll get to sing along to a fun Disney film and do charity at the same time. It’s a win-win situation.

  1. University Christmas Carol Service

Looking for a more traditional event? A free Christian service will be happening at St. John the Evangelist Church on 5 December from 5:30pm. The service will include Bible readings, as well as music and free refreshments at the end of it, and will be open to everyone – Christian or not. This is actually a Kingston Uni event too, so you may spot some familiar faces there.

  1. Christmas at Kew

Although this event isn’t in Kingston, it’s easily accessible to students and definitely worth the short journey. Christmas at Kew will be happening at Kew Gardens from Thursday, 22 November to Saturday, 5 January 2019, and it’s bound to be a truly magical experience. For £16.50 (off-peak price) you can enjoy Christmas lights, 300 origami boats on a lake, and so much more!

Will you be attending any of these events, or are you going to any other fun Christmas events happening around Kingston? Let us know in the comments and share the festive fun!

 

Fix my Brain: A Guide to Mental Health Services at KU

University can be a stressful time for anyone, whether you’re a first year student or you’re getting your PhD. If you find yourself anxious, depressed or just plain stressed during your time at Kingston, know that you’re not alone—and there are plenty of support services to keep you on track.

Want to get help, but not sure where to turn? Here’s a comprehensive list of “what to do” when you find your mental health is suffering at university.

  • Contact Your GP

Your general practitioner is your first point-of-call when it comes to mental health services. Whether you’ve seen them your whole life, or you’re visiting them for the first time, they’ll be able to give the most inclusive advice about your specific mental state. They can also provide a prescription for medication that might help, as well as refer you to counselling services in the Kingston and Surbiton area. If you’re an on-campus student, it’s as simple as ringing the Penrhyn Road Fairhill Clinic and requesting an appointment.

  • Visit a Student Wellbeing Drop-In Clinic

If you can’t (or don’t want to) get an appointment with your GP, visiting the drop-in clinic is your next best option. These clinics run at both the Penrhyn Road campus (Health Centre) and Kingston Hill (Yorkon Building) throughout the week, and are roughly 15 minutes long—similar to a GP visit. These clinics are confidential and are a good choice if you’re not sure what type of support you need. The health adviser at the clinic will be able to offer advice about seeking medication, on-campus support or even counselling.

  • Call for a Stress Management Appointment

These unique appointments are offered at both the Penrhyn Road and Kingston Hill campuses and are arranged either by calling 0208 417 2172, or visiting a wellbeing drop-in clinic. Kingston University’s website claims these sessions help with “time management skills, assertiveness levels, new study techniques, anger management techniques and ways to relax.” This, partnered with visits to Kingston’s CASE program, are a great way to get a handle on your studies-related stresses.

  • Speak to Samaritans

Whether you’re in a crisis or just need someone to talk to, don’t be afraid to call the Samaritans at 116 123. This number is manned 24/7, and all calls are fully confidential. If you would prefer, you can also email them at jo@samaritans.org. It can be very therapeutic to tell someone else about what’s on your mind, and Samaritans is equipped to handle a range of mental health issues. Whether you’re depressed, dealing with a traumatic situation, or just terrified of your exam next week, Samaritans is there to listen.

There are people who want and are ready to help, so don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for support. No matter what you’re going through, you’re not alone.

 

3 Best Places to get a Sunday Roast near Kingston University

As an American, I had never heard of Sunday Roasts until moving to the UK over a year ago. In my first weeks here, my group of English friends asked if I wanted to “grab a roast” and I had no idea what that meant.

However, after my first roast experience, it was love at first bite—and now I can’t get enough. As an amateur Sunday Roast connoisseur, I have curated the three best places to grab a roast in the Kingston University area.

(For those of you who don’t know: a Sunday Roast is called such, as it is traditionally eaten on Sundays. It is a quintessential British meal that consists of a roasted meat, roast potato, Yorkshire pudding, stuffing, vegetables, and gravy.) Now, let’s dig in!

1. The Black Lion: Surbiton

This was the very first place my group and I had gotten a roast, and we definitely chose well. The Black Lion is a quintessential UK pub, from its pint-drinking locals (who have been coming here for so long that they’re almost permanent fixtures of the pub) to the rugby that plays in the background.

Their food options can be found on a piece of paper attached to a wooden clipboard, placed on each table. The menu isn’t fancy—but does the menu presentation matter when the food is so damn good?

The Black Lion’s choices for a roast include the standard beef, pork, lamb, or chicken, and their sides include everything you’d expect with a classic roast: parsnips, carrots, roast potatoes, mashed potatoes, gravy, and my all time favourite: Yorkshire pudding. (For those of you who don’t know: Yorkshire pudding is a baked batter made of eggs, flour, and milk or water, which tastes like heaven when drenched in gravy).

The roasts also come with a free side of broccoli and cauliflower cheese casserole, which I could quite literally eat all day long. In terms of prices, you can get yourself a roast from here for about £11-£13—which is slightly on the higher side, but this roast is definitely worth the money.

Our rating: 5/5 Yorkshire Puddings

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2. Druids Head: Kingston

I’ll start off by saying that this particular pub allows dogs, so you can find me here on most days.

Druids Head—or Druids, as my friends colloquially call it—is a chain within the UK, and it feels like it. Some of the personal, cozy touches that The Black Lion has just don’t exist at Druids.

It doesn’t have the same kinds of locals and things are a bit more refined here. The menu has been completely revamped in the last few months, with newer food options being reminiscent of a Frankie & Benny’s in its culinary variety.

That being said, Druids knows how to do classic British food well. How do I know this? Well, the first time we ate here, my English boyfriend unironically exclaimed, “Well, this is some bloody good gravy!” while taking his first bite of the roast. And he was right—it was bloody good.

In terms of roast options, you can also find the standard choices, including beef, chicken, pork, or lamb. Notably, Druids also has a vegetarian roast that consists of seasonal veg, roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, mash & gravy. Their roasts are each £10.99, which is an absolute bargain for the amount of food you get.

Our rating: 4/5 Yorkshire Puddings

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3. The Railway Bell: Hampton

Known locally as “The Dip”, this pub has the most incredibly inviting outside appearance—it quite literally looks like a cottage, with its vine-clad walls and thatched roofs.

My friends and I came here for the first time last December on a particularly snowy (and hungover) morning, and I really can’t express just how healing gravy is for the hungover soul. Things weren’t particularly refined here—the doorways needed a bit of TLC, the floors were slanted, and it was a bit cramped and small. But, those qualities made The Dip quite cozy and memorable.

For £11.95, you have the choice of beef, half-chicken, or pork, along with the traditional sides that accompany a roast. If you’re in need of a home-cooked style meal, The Dip is the place for you—the food looked and tasted like my mom had just made it.

Although it’s a little longer of a trek from Kingston, a bus ride can get you here in about 20 minutes, and it’s worth it to find a freshly cooked roast with your name on it.

3.5/5 Yorkshire Puddings

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What’s your favourite part of a Sunday roast? Let us know in the comments, and keep an eye on our website for a vegan-friendly roast guide coming soon!