Go Higher: London & The South East: Spoiled for choice

Virtually every activity imaginable is on offer in and around London
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Indy Lifestyle Online
YOU WILL not be short of things to do in London - or in the region that surrounds it. As Britain's political, cultural and commercial capital, London is groaning with museums, art galleries, street markets and culture of all kinds. If you are at university in the 60-mile radius around the metropolis, you should be able to reach this action fairly easily - and benefit from other activities beside.

If you are at university in Bournemouth you will have all kinds of water sports on your doorstep. Poole Harbour, two or three miles away, is one of the best places in the United Kingdom to learn to windsurf. The water isn't so very deep, so, if you fall in, you can be sure you won't drown. A good price for windsurfing, according to Charles Elder, the university's press and public relations officer, is pounds 15-pounds 20 an hour. Other activities come free - surfing the waves or simply strolling along the beach.

In Brighton you will have similar delights. Brighton University, for example, has clubs for sailing, kayaking, sub aqua, surfing, swimming and windsurfing. The cost is minimal for students. Once you have bought your sports federation card for pounds 5, you will be charged only a few pounds for sports, such as sailing, which would otherwise cost you a lot of money.

In London itself, there's more sporting and outdoor activity available to students than you might imagine. Undergraduates from the University of London can use the facilities at the University of London Union in Malet Street. Students of other London universities may also use the ULU swimming pool for an annual or termly membership. To swim during the day students are charged pounds 1.40 a time.

Facilities include 35 sports clubs covering outdoor sports such as rowing, sailing, canoe polo, swimming, lacrosse, hockey and football, and indoor sports such as badminton, volley ball and korfball (a cross between basketball and netball). Amazingly, you can also join a polo club that has eight polo ponies. In addition, there are clubs for mountaineering and caving, and there is a sub aqua club that trains in the swimming pool.

For those who prefer their recreation to be more sedate, ULU has a ballroom and Latin American Dance Society which is developing an international reputation. It came third recently in the world university dance championships.

Each university in the region and each college of London University, lays on its own sport and recreation for students. University College London has a gym charging just pounds 30 a year for membership which has become more popular with students recently.

Now that going to university costs a lot more, students are more careful with their money and their health, the argument goes. Instead of going out and blowing their money on a drunken evening, they husband their financial, physical and mental resources - and take to the treadmill instead.

Lucy Hodges

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