The Bartlett


Bartlett School of Planning's First Year's Field Trip to Porto

By Louise Oswald

YouTube Widget Placeholderhttps://www.youtube.com/shorts/N35ZtsoneTE


The Bartlett School of Planning (BSP) hosts a compulsory field trip for all first year students and this year, our field trip was incorporated into the urban design module- Introducing Urban Design.

This year we were fortunate to go to Porto, Portugal.

There is a video montage uploaded to The Bartlett youtube account should you wish to watch that.

This is a review of everything we (and I) did on this field trip,,, It was one of my favourite experiences and ways of learning.

Day One

Having had all of our flights and accommodation booked for us by the BSP (thank you so much <3), we were responsible for getting to Gatwick by ourselves ready to meet our tutors for 7:30 am.

Getting the tube to Victoria to get the Gatwick Express, checking our bags in, going through security and patiently impatiently awaiting the reveal of our gate.

We arrived in Porto, meeting the remainder of our tutors at the airport, we then got a coach to our hotel where we were checked in and given a couple of hours to settle and grab some lunch.

With some classmates, we walked down to the riverside and grabbed some lunch...very delicious and with amazing views of Gaia.

That afternoon we had a short lecture on the history of Porto given by a local urban designer.

Day Two

We were up early for our hotel breakfast and ready to meet our tutors ahead of our walking tours. Our cohort was divided into four groups, each having a tour led by a local, someone familiar with the area's history. Since this field trip was part of our Urban Design module, in which we are to develop a proposal for a public square, the tour was comprised of many of the public squares within Porto. My tour guide took us on a bit of a detour to see the views overlooking the Douro River.

composite of old streets and buildings in sunny city, one with text reading 'River Douro' and arrow pointing to river running through city
Our tour concluded with a packed lunch provided by UCL at Jardim do Morro (a park on the hill of Gaia overlooking Porto). UCL also gave us a return cable car ticket from the top of Jardim do Morro to the Gaia riverside. After lunch, we had the rest of the day to explore before meeting again for our social dinner that evening.

I, along with some classmates, had decided to spend some time in Gaia before getting the cable car back to the top where we'd get the metro back to our hotel.

composite image showing pasteis de nata (custard tart), river view of city and large bridge spanning river
It was a beautiful day, albeit rather windy at the top of the hill, and so the views were stunning.

A social dinner was arranged by UCL for us all to attend, alongside all of the tutors. We had gone to Casa da Musica, where we had the restaurant all to ourselves and were served a delicious three course meal.

Casa da musica also has a terrace where you can overlook the city. Seeing it lit up at night is beautiful.

composite image with text 'social dinner', showing modern restaurant and city at nighttime
Day Three:

Our last full day in Porto.

With our class split into 2, we engaged in an urban sketching class with a very skillful urban sketcher from Porto. He was very talented and dedicated to improving his sketches. We sat at Praca Dom Joao I and sketched fragments from the built environment. It was another beautiful day in Porto and so the only issue with sitting there for long was the complains of the sun being in our eyes,,,,

And once again, we had the afternoon to ourselves. My friend and I had decided we would visit Sao Bento Station, the train station that our tour guide had mentioned the day before for its beautiful interior. I had then insisted on having another pasteis de nata by the riverside before scouting out a place to buy vegan ones to bring back for my sister! (And yes, before you ask, they do make vegan pasteis de nata and they are just as good if you ask me!).

composite image: hand holding sign reading 'more pasteis de nata', image of tray of pasteis de nata with text 'for breakfast?', sunny streets views with text 'still beautiful weather', and river view
With our last evening approaching, a few friends and I decided we would take the bus out to the beach to see sunset and have dinner at a restuarant out there.

The sunset was so beautiful, the beach looked gorgeous! We had a stroll up towards a restaurant we had seen online and concluded our beach tour with a delicious pizza!

composite image of beach views at sunset with heading 'the sea' and google maps-like symbol reading 'praia de gondarem'
It was an AMAZING field trip, with beautiful scenery, patient tourguides and inspiring sketch artists.

Thank you to everyone that helped arrange it, and thank you to Elisabete who so kindly introduced us to her home town!

If you are reading this as a prospective student, let this be an attractive opportunity that Bartlett's School of Planning has to offer! It was an unforgettable experience and an exciting way to learn and take inspiration from.