London: Five Local Secrets

Behind the splendour of the Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace, far from the winding galleries of the Natural History and V&A museum and less dazzling than the Shard and London Eye, a different London lies. These lesser known hidden gems are unique and unaffected by mass tourism, identifiable only to those who know London well, or those who happen upon it by chance, lost in the labyrinth of the capital city. Once Big Ben is seen and done, here are some ideas for those looking for something off the beaten track.

Hometown Highlights: Washington, D.C.

Contrary to what House of Cards might make you think, us DC natives do not spend our lives as victims of or agents in political scandal. Many of us, in fact, like to spend as little time thinking about the government – and whether it’s open or shutdown on any given day – as possible. We prefer sampling Thai tasting menus, enjoying free visits to the zoo and listening to hardcore punk.  Though a visit to the monuments scattered on and around the National Mall is a must, these are some of my recommendations for what to do after you’ve posed with Lincoln and waved at the Oval.

Hometown Highlights: Manchester

Confident, stylish and proud. Forward looking and innovative, yet conscious of a history which has shaped the world. Birthplace of the computer and cradle of the Industrial Revolution. The city where the atom was first split and where atomic theory was formulated. The wheels of industry and progress transformed Manchester into the hubris of a global empire and this industrial past has shaped the state of our country today. Women’s suffrage, Communism, Classical Liberalism and modern Capitalism grew out of the seething fires of industrial Manchester, and leave a proud legacy for contemporary Mancunians. Today, Manchester has transformed itself into the undisputed cultural and economic powerhouse of the North. A city famous for its music, football and student scene Manchester will thrill medicine students from St Andrews finishing up their studies, along with their thousands of counterparts. From the trendy bars of the Northern Quarter, to the medieval oasis of the Cathedral gardens – through to the gothic grandeur of Albert Square and the clubs and pubs of Oxford Road. Here’s a proud Northerner's pick of what the city has to offer.