A student guide: Getting to know London

guide to studying in london

London is a huge magnet for both national and international students. Not least as it’s such a multi-cultural and exciting place to live, with many of Europe’s top universities.

In fact, Imperial College London and University College London both appear in the top 20 universities worldwide (according to Times Higher Education).

Studying in the English capital also puts you on the doorstep of important future employers, as many consider London to be a global leader for finance, professional services and innovation.

That’s all very promising, but what is student life like in London?

Places to live

There are around 40 higher education institutions spread across London’s immediate area, as well as other places to learn and train in and around the city.

The good news is, this large student population means multiple places to find private accommodation, and diverse agencies to help you. A word of warning though. The cost of living in any capital city is high, and sadly London is known for much higher rent than anywhere else in the UK.

Also, keep in mind not all London universities guarantee places in halls of residence, due to high demand.


Back to another good reason to study in London. The transport system is second to none!

The famous London Tube is a complex underground rail system, but once you get your bearings, it's arguably the best of its kind. Pricing is based on zones, and off-peak journeys cost less.

You can also hop on and off London’s far-reaching bus, tram and train network. There are even water taxis in some locations.

Use day, week or month passes, or something called an Oyster card, to manage travel fares.

Places to work

If it’s one thing London has in abundance, it’s part-time job opportunities, as well as seasonal vacancies that welcome students.

Tourism and hospitality are massively important in England’s capital and are a great way to supplement your student finance. This includes student vacancies in the city’s many tourist attractions.

Sport, arts and culture

London is colourful, vibrant and a 24-hour city. It features the country’s top entertainment facilities, and some globally famous theatres and art galleries. The best concert venues include the O2 and Wembley Arenas, and The Royal Albert Hall.

You’ll also be spoilt for choice when it comes to sports genres and venues in London. Alongside some of the best-known football teams, the capital is home to such famous places as Twickenham (rugby), Lord's (cricket) and Wimbledon (lawn tennis).

One of the best things about student life here though, is there are plenty of free things to do in London, including relaxing in a series of glorious royal parks and abundant green spaces, where students tend to hang out. Hyde Park and Regent's Park are wonderful in most weathers!

There are also lots of free museums in London and many outdoor attractions and sights to fill your leisure time.

Nightlife and places to eat

London truly comes alive at night, and its clubs, bars and pubs are legendary. Going back to the cost of living here, you will find prices vary enormously. The more central and popular the venue is, the more chance you will pay high prices for drinks.

Fortunately, students often frequent the less touristy places, where locals socialise. The same applies to restaurants and cafés. Save the world-famous eateries for graduation celebrations and stick to the massive number of cheaper places to dine on community high streets in London.

Borough Market is popular with students, with its street food outlets and multicultural dining options. There’s a similar colourful vibe eating out at Flat Iron Square, Box Park Shoreditch and the markets held in Leather Lane, Greenwich, Camden and Whitecross Street. At least once, head to London’s China Town with your student friends too!

Places to shop

Tourists flock to London’s Oxford Street and Regent Street, and to flagship stores such as Fortnum & Mason, Harrods and Hamleys (which brings out the big kid in everyone).

However, for browsing on a student budget, one of the best places to go is Camden. It has lots of unique, independent outlets. Other popular shopping places for bargain hunting include Carnaby Street, Spitalfields Market and Brick Lane.

Don’t miss out on Covent Garden though, as the street entertainment is legendary.

Going further afield

As London has such an excellent transport system, another advantage of studying here is you can easily get out and about throughout the South of England. Including short journeys to major UK attractions such as Warner Bros Studio Tour (The Making of Harry Potter), Thorpe Park and Chessington World of Adventures.

If you're student and planning on going home for the holidays or travelling and need somewhere to store your belongings in London do get in touch as we have over 45 storage facilities in London so bound to have one convenient to you.

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