For the past two weeks, I’ve been based in Northwick Park campus. It’s a medical campus in Northwick Park (duh) in North London, near Wembley. The important bit, however, is the fact that I have now visited every single one of Imperial campuses – and there are 8 of them. I’m quite sure many people have achieved this, so here’s my ranking of the campuses.
1. South Kensington
Of course it’s SK. Beautiful location, next to Hyde Park, plenty of places to eat, Union Bar, FiveSixEight, Eastside, Ethos – no introduction needed. This is the place to be. Even though I have no lectures or practicals in South Kensington, I’m here every day – this shows how much I like this place.
2. Silwood Park
This might come as a surprise, but Silwood Park is a truly beautiul place to be. True, it is in the middle of nowhere, and getting there is a pain – but once you get there, and you see thousands of bunny rabbits hopping around you – you’ll immediately fall in love with this place. In many ways, it is like a posh boarding school – far away from any civilisation, with pretty sights, wild animals etc. The only difference is that the stuff normally banned in a secondary school are all legal here!
I truly recommend going for a sunrise walk around the campus grounds – a breathtaking experience. Sightings of deer and other wild fauna very likely. You just have to forget that there’s a nuclear reactor there…
3. St. Mary’s
In many ways, just an average medical campus. Think again – it’s located in Paddington. Within 2 minutes, you can be in KFC, Subway, McDonald’s and Burger King (what I call “the triangle of death”). Lecture rooms are very nice and comfy, and it’s a pleasant walk through Hyde Park to South Kensington. There’s also a swimming pool there, free of course, and the library gallery is an interesting place to revise. Info for geeks – that’s where Fleming discovered penicillin (and there’s a museum for that!).
4 & 5. Chelsea & Westminster / Royal Brompton To be honest, I never really spent much time there. I’ve only been to C&W to get a paper from the library, and in Royal Brompton for one day of lectures. Generally very nice and modern hospitals, located withing a walking distance from South Kensington. Both have access to lots of shops, bars and restaurants (on King’s Road and Fulham Road, respectively). They have a potential of being a good place to revise if SouthKensington gets full during exam time.
6. Charing Cross
Confusingly located in Hammersmith, far away from the real Charing Cross (and yes, I know of people who went to Trafalgar Square for their first day of lectures), this hospital seems to be the social centre of the medics with their bar – Reynold’s. If there’s any event hosted by ICSMSU – bets are it’s gonna be rightthere. The bar itself isn’t too bad, the size might surprise some of you (it’s bigger than FiveSixEight and the soon-to-be-opened Metric). Otherwise, the campus is a bit depressing. Combined with the fact that you have to walk through a cemetery to get there (which is a memorable experience, especially when foggy), visiting CX will be definitely an interesting experience.
Continuing with the confusion, Hammersmith Hospital isn’t located where the common sense tells you, but instead between White City and East Acton. This “between” is one of the problems – from the station, you need to walk an extra 10 minutes to get there. The place is really big, and very densely packed – a word ‘maze’ comes to mind. Although many building are very modern (the newly refurbished Wolfson Building) and nice looking, and there’s a number of places to eat on campus, the biggest downside of HH is it’s location. Not only it’s not close to the station, but also travel from South Kensington might be problematic (it’s on the Central Line) and there is nothing around the campus. Okay, nothing except the Wormwood Scrubs prison.
8. Northwick Park
It’s in Zone 4 on Metropolitan Line. It doesn’t look very nice. It has no library, computer room, or Imperial-WPA wifi (or at least I couldn’t find it). There is also no signs indicating it’s even an Imperial Campus (I found one, inside a building). Quite boring really. On a plus note, it’s located right next to Northwick Park Golf Club. If you’re a golfer, you’ll definitely enjoy a session on a driving range during lunch break, especially since you can get £10 worth of ball-credit for free (you can find the offer easily). That’s what i’ve been doing for the past few days.
I’ve never been to Wye Campus, but it’s not an Imperial Campus anymore – good for me
(all photos except the Silwood Park one are taken from Imperial’s Image Library)