The Bartlett


Finding quiet spots around campus for time out

by Anastasia Bartle

Student life can be amazing, eye-opening, and stressful all at the same time! The UCL campus provides you with spaces to get away when you need a moment of calm in your day. With Covid-19 restrictions impacting  everyone in the last 18 months, it has never been more necessary to prioritise our wellbeing and check in with ourselves. Now that campus is open, there are many quiet spots you can make the most of, to contemplate and reflect. Whether you wish to read a book, meditate, journal or simply just relax with friends; I’ve compiled a list of quiet spaces for time out so you can use campus facilities fully and maintain your wellbeing at UCL.

Student Centre 4th Floor Terrace 

Located a stone’s throw away from The Bartlett, the Student Centre was opened in 2019 and has achieved the highest BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) rating, recognising its sustainability. Along with the Student Centre’s design excellence, you can make use of the café on the 4th floor to take a break from studying.  

One space to highlight is the very special 4th floor terrace. Rarely busy, why not absorb the contemplative atmosphere of the fourth-floor outdoor terrace in the Student Centre? If you like to feel inspired about London, skyline views of UCL Hospital and the Shard can be seen from here. Explore the varied plants on display and watch the bustle of London go by from a new perspective. Step away from your laptop screen as this is the perfect place to get into a creative thinking zone.  

Student Centre - terrace

Japanese Garden  

Sat in the heart of campus the Japanese garden is a fantastic place to relax; it’s an open outdoor space which is sheltered from wind by walls of the main UCL building, offering stillness and quiet in central London. Open plan seating areas, stunning architecture, and interesting plants galore; its conveniently located centrally within campus. A perfect space to retreat from studies in the Student Centre and take in some fresh air, that all important sun and watch flowers bloom!

Japanese Garden

Woburn Square, Gordon Square and Russel Square 

Gordon Square is leafy square, with an abundant green lawn which is somewhat rare in central London; it’s worth a stroll to sit on the comfortable benches and wildlife watch. The best time to visit is spring and autumn, to see the natural colourful displays that seasons bring. A tall canopy of trees surrounding the square offer ample opportunity for shade and wildlife spotting to take some time out from studying. As the square is large; you can use this quiet space to undertake exercise such as walking or stretching and improve wellbeing. Whether it’s for mindfulness or leisure; this space will accommodate your relaxation needs! If you find yourself studying towards the east of campus, why not pay a visit to the larger, Russell Square.  

Russell Square

Student Centre Contemplation Rooms Floor B2  

The variety of new spaces and inclusive contemplation and prayer rooms is a definite asset to the Student Centre! This space is open to everyone and all faith groups; it also provides ablution facilities. Whether for praying, meditation or quiet contemplation, this space is perfect for you; with privacy screens and pleasant lighting, you often forget the space is underground.  

Student Centre

Boasting such a diverse estate, UCL offers a large selection of wellbeing spaces for all student needs and tastes.  Enjoying student life, working to earn your degree, and maintaining your well-being are so important to balance. Adapting to student life requires time and effort, particularly during this time; but the proximity, ease of access and quality of wellbeing spaces offers UCL students  opportunities to take time out and relax. Don’t forget to stay present, relax, enjoy, and make the most of your time at UCL. Explore these spaces to help prioritize your wellbeing whilst pursuing your studies!  

About the author

Anastasia is a full-time MSc Spatial Planning student, pursuing a career in planning and sustainability. She volunteers her time with several London-based charities; and previously undertook her undergraduate Geography and Planning degree at Newcastle University. She enjoys cycling around London to visit galleries and explore new areas! 

Student Ambassador - Anastasia Bartle