Everyone's experience of London is unique. For Jessica Lindström, a tourism student from Design and Construction College in Sweden who traveled to London with Erasmus+ and the Internship Programme earlier this year, the city's main appeal was the fantasy attractions of the novels and comics which have influenced her over the years.
I’m not really sure why I am a nerd... it just happened, I guess. Until I was 16 I was into fantasy. Then I started liking comic books. Most of the nerdy stuff I love – especially fantasy – originates from the UK and London in particular, so coming here is like an ultimate nerd dream coming true. Here is my top ten list of places to visit for other nerds like me.
1. The Harry Potter Studio Tour
The Harry Potter Studio Tour is, as you can probably imagine, a tour of the studios where they filmed the Harry Potter movie series. As someone who grew up with Harry Potter and is a massive fan, I believe this is a must-see. I visited the studio back in 2013 and it was amazing just seeing the props. You can actually have butterbeer there (a delicacy from the Three Broomsticks Inn). It might be too sweet for some, but I liked it. Apparently they installed The Hogwarts Express about a year ago, so I want to go back and see it.
2. Kings Cross station, Platform 9 ¾
Kings Cross station is where the Hogwarts express departs from in both the Harry Potter books and movies. A few years ago, they installed a cart half-swallowed up by the wall beneath a 9 ¾ sign, since a lot of people actually attempted to run into the wall between platform nine and ten to enter the secret wizard station. Next to it, there's a Harry Potter gift shop.
3. London Comic Con
London Comic Con is one of the biggest nerdy conventions in the world with stuff for every kind of nerd. There are merchandise stalls, celebrity guests and the event attracts cosplayers and regular visitors from all over Europe. I have never personally attended London Comic Con, but my friends have and they only have good things to say about it.
4. Forbidden Planet
Forbidden Planet is my favourite comic book store in London. It's huge and offers everything from science fiction to manga and anime. It's perfect for all kinds of visitors, since non-nerdy people usually find something they like in there as well.
5. Speedy’s Café
Speedy’s Café on 187 North Gower Street has been known by Sherlockians since 2010 as it was featured in BBC's Sherlock series - a modern version of the classic detective books about Sherlock Holmes. The door next to Speedy’s - 221 B Baker street - is Sherlock’s fictional home. They have also filmed scenes inside the actual café. When I went there, the staff showed me to the table where actors Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman had been sitting and there were pictures of the cast on the walls. The food was OK, but to be honest I went there more because of my love of Sherlock than the actual food.
6. Police box or TARDIS
The police box outside Earl’s Court underground station is a must-see for every Whovian, i.e. a fan of the TV series Doctor Who. Even if you're not a Whovian, the police box might be of historical interest as they're very uncommon these days. This one is a replica of a 1929 design and was used in the olden days to contact the police in case of emergency or as a mini police station by officers. In Doctor Who, the Doctor’s spaceship/time machine, known as the TARDIS (time and relative dimension in space), is disguised as a police box. As someone who loves Doctor Who, it was amazing to see it even though it's closed.
7. London Film Museum
The London Film Museum is something I would recommend for nerdy people as well as film enthusiasts. They exhibit everything from movie costumes to famous scripts. I went there in 2013 and I had never heard of it before. There was a Dalek (an alien machine organism featured in Doctor Who) on the flag outside, so I decided to go in and I don’t regret it.
8. The Sherlock Holmes museum
221 B Baker street is the home of Sherlock Holmes in the books, movies and TV series about him. The real address in London is now a museum about Sherlock Holmes. I visited this museum in 2010 and it was just like stepping into Sherlock’s home. You could read about Sherlock’s criminal cases and even sit in his chair.
9. Greenwich University
Greenwich University is where the final battle in Thor: The Dark World takes place. As a huge superhero and Marvel nerd, I was really excited to visit the university. All I can say is that it was beautiful and I recognised lots of stuff from the movie.
In the Narnia films it's mentioned that the Pevensie siblings are from Finchley, a borough in North London. The Chronicles of Narnia have a special place in my heart as it was the first thing I got really nerdy about. The movies actually got me into reading in the first place. I have never been, although I would love to see the home of the Pevensies and if you're a fan of Narnia, I think you should too.
Jessica visited London with our Internship Programme, a project eligible for EU funding. Don't hesitate to contact us if you would like more information about what we do and how to get sponsored. Call a Country Manager today on +44 2084249424 or send us a message.