One of the world’s great cities, London is the capital and largest city in the UK. As such, it is a constantly evolving, vibrant and cosmopolitan urban centre with a rich and full history, plenty of art and culture, big sporting events, live music and interesting scenes, music, theatre, food, and so much more. On every corner you turn in London you are likely to find something interesting to watch, explore, take part in – the sights and sounds are incredible, especially as a young student living away from home. There is so much to welcome students to London, from some historic pubs to big nightclubs and everything in between, and from our London student accommodation you’ll be in the heart of the throbbing action!
Our student accommodation in London has been designed to fit the needs of the modern student, with plenty of storage space, your own private study area and en suite bathroom, comfortable bed to get a good night’s sleep in, but also access to varied and vibrant communal areas where you can meet new friends. In a big cosmopolitan city such as this you are never far away from anything you could ever need or want, and our accommodation is located in some incredible parts of the city, including Bloomsbury, Chelsea, Notting Hill, Camden, Canada Water, and Stratford. You’ll be close to public transport and within easy reach of some of the main universities in London, such as the University of London, University College London, University of Westminster, Imperial College London, Regent’s University of London, and Goldsmiths University.
We would always recommend getting an Oyster card as soon as you arrive and get used to travelling around London via Tube or Bus. It can be daunting at first, but once you get the hang of it you’ll absolutely fall in love with the best city on the planet.
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There are over 20 major universities and colleges in London as a whole. There is a wide range of students from all over the UK, and all over the world at any given time, creating a melting pot of culture and learning at every single higher education establishment. For the purposes of brevity we’ll just take a quick look at some of the universities that are within a close and easy travelling distance of our London student accommodation.
The University of Westminster has a 180-year history, and you can take advantage of studying in the very heart of the City of London. It is home to over 19,000 students from all over the globe, and is a modern, forward-thinking place to study with a view to providing courses aimed at focusing student minds towards specific careers and not just with a view to being awarded a degree at the end of the course. There are four large libraries, each with an extensive collection of books, journals, and specialist materials. Careers support is also extensive, with plenty of volunteering options and mentoring support programmes, work placements, and employability workshops. Specialist facilities include access to Bloomberg Financial Markets Suites for those students studying Finance, Accounting, and Business. The Architectural studios have advanced facilities including a range of 3D printers and laser cutters.
Imperial College London in South Kensington ranks just below LSE in the majority of league tables and is associated with heavy research and a focus on STEM subjects (Biology, Engineering, Medicine, Computer Science etc.).
Regents University of London is the only, not-for-profit university in the nations capital city. It is set in 11-acres of secluded private gardens and provides a supporting learning environment for students who wish to become leaders of the future and entrepreneurs. Regents is a smaller university with an intimate feel of only 5,000 students on campus, despite welcoming students from over 140-countries. The dedicated Careers and Business Relations staff are on hand to offer expert advice and guidance about all things education, student finance, and careers counseling, helping students to find part-time work for now, as well as placements and internships to help build a future career.
Goldsmiths University has a rich history of academic excellence dating back to 1891 and has a reputation for the best in arts and creative disciplines, humanities and social sciences. Students at Goldsmiths are encouraged to take a step back and take a different look at the world than they would at a ‘conventional’ university and to explore new ideas and concepts. The libraries are open 24 hours a day, every day of the year, and there are several extensive student support services running throughout the university and the Students’ Union (which has over 100 clubs and societies).
In a city as big as London and as varied as can possibly be in terms of cuisine, your best bet when first living in London is to just get out there and sample as many different restaurants, street food stalls, and markets as you possibly can. There is no better way to find out what you like and to discover hidden gems. We couldn’t possibly help you find exactly what you should be heading for, but we can point you in the right direction for different areas to try out some tasty food when living at our comfortable London student accommodation.
Borough Market is without doubt the biggest and the most well known food market in the whole of London. It is open every single day of the week, but the main market is open every Thursday through Saturday, so that is when you should head down to experience the full impact. It is definitely full of tourists, crowded, and can be a bit expensive, but it is the place to be if you want to get your hands on speciality ingredients. Head to Monmouth Coffee for some great caffeine hits (if you can survive the queue), or over to Kappacasein for some life-changing raclette. There is pretty much something for every taste, so you are always going to be as happy as can be and missing out at the same time!
Brixton Village has become one of the standout areas of London for independent restaurants, with highlights Honest Burgers and Franco Manca, as well as some incredible food from the likes of El Rancho De Lalo and Mama Lan. Broadway Market on the other hand has had a recent resurgence due to a plethora of new and exciting food traders in recent years and an emphasis on local talent. Violet Cakes is one of those selling a range of tasty cakes, whilst Climpson & Sons specialises in coffee. The Broadway Bookshop is the best place to while away some time attempting to fill your bookshelves with brand-new reads.
When most food markets in London have packed away for the weekend you’ll find Brick Lane going strong on a Sunday. Brick Lane is an area in general where you can find some of the best curry houses in the world, with a whole host of magnificent Bangladeshi restaurants to choose from. The market dates back to the 17th century, and is centred around The Old Truman Brewery, hosting stalls selling all sorts. The Rib Man can be found here, specialising in spicy ribs that are out of this world.
If you are after new places to eat where you can sit in a traditional restaurant then of course there is plenty to explore in London, as well as Brick Lane for curry, head to China Town for some of the best Chinese restaurants in the city (as you would expect), and up to North London for some of the best Turkish cuisine around, or down to Stockwell for some amazing Portuguese food. Living in London as a lover of food is basically just exploring and heading to new areas all the time to find hidden gems and tasty treats on every corner. Search for bring your own booze (BYOB) restaurants to cut down on the cost, and always stay on the lookout for student promotions and discounts wherever you are.
On the face of it though, is there any better place to live as a young person than London? Whatever you are interested in you’ll be able to find what you are looking for. Even if you can’t find the specific type of night out that you want to go on in your immediate area close to your London student accommodation you’ll almost certainly be able to access it easily via public transport. The nightlife in London truly does cater to 100% of people, so you can sit and enjoy the bar in your particular Students’ Union for sure, but outside of that there are thousands of pubs and bars, and hundreds of top quality nightclubs spread out throughout the entire city.
There are some amazing venues and student specific nights to explore in London, including Wicked Student Nights, who put on different themed nights such as the biggest RnB and Hip-Hop night at the Roxy, Red Card, which is the biggest uni sports night and many more themed nights, pub and club crawls throughout the city. Tiger Tiger is a popular venue with six rooms playing all types of music, whilst the Piccadilly Institute (PI) is a big name venue with a labyrinth of rooms and themes to suit all moods and tastes. The student-specific night is there every Thursday.
Planning a big night out in London? Read our article on the 9 best clubs in London for students.
Fabric is one of the most well known clubs in the entire world and is a place to go for all your dubstep, grime, techno, house, DnB, and Hip-Hop needs. There isn’t a specific student night at Fabric, but you can get in at a discounted rate with your student ID. Ministry of Sound is another iconic name and venue that is well worth visiting at least once, even if you’re not sure you are into the music playing there. There is discounted entry for students on Friday and Saturdays, and specific student club nights semi-regularly on a Tuesday night. If you are more into your Indie hits and alternative music head down to Camden for many a cool venue, loads of live music, as well as Propaganda at The Electric Ballroom. G-A-Y and Heaven are the places to go to soak up the LGBTQ+ nightlife around Soho.
It might be easier to just explore some different areas, rather than try to list every specific venue that we’d recommend in London. Whether you are in Camden, Brixton, Soho, Dalston, Covent Garden, Clapham, or Shoreditch you are bound to have a good time wherever you end up for the night!
For a quieter night at the cinema you might be forgiven for thinking it would be way too expensive but the Prince Charles Cinema in Leicester Square often has cheap tickets and seasonal specials, so keep an eye out for those. You can always keep an eye out for local student club nights in your area, go to watch BBC shows being recorded (these are often free to attend), or do something completely different and check out Museum Lates where museums stay open late with a bar and DJ on the last Friday of every month.
London can be an incredibly expensive place to live as a student, but remember, if you are heading on a night out or just fancy a few pints after university there are ways to have a good time on a budget. With pubs in particular, look out for Sam Smith’s pubs in central London and you’ll always find a much cheaper pint than in almost every other boozer around.
Through your Students’ Union you are likely to be able to join a sports club of your choice, whether you are looking to keep fit and healthy through some running or track and field sport, have some fun and play a team sport such as rugby union or football with your new mates, or take on a sport and become competitive with it, such as swimming or badminton. If you fancy becoming better at sport or taking part in any kind of sport there is no excuse not to in London as you’ll be able to find sporting facilities of all kinds across the city, and sports clubs and endeavours that welcome you whether you are a first-timer or a seasoned pro.
For those into spectator sports however, London is an absolute dream. Let’s start with the most popular sport in the land, football. There are so many football clubs based in London, with many playing in the Premier League and regularly at the top of the European stage, such as Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, Chelsea, and West Ham. You really do have your pick of going to watch as much football as you like when living in London, with an experience at a non-league club such as Dulwich Hamlet a completely different day out to a trip to the Emirates to see Arsenal. A popular place to start is at Craven Cottage, the home of Fulham. It’s one of the prettiest stadiums you’ll ever see, nestled along the banks of the Thames, and they have a neutral section that makes it easier to get tickets no matter who they are playing against. Wembley stadium is the national stadium and hosts cup finals, England internationals (as well as many of next years Euro 2020 matches) as well as touring American football matches from the NFL, and big world championship boxing events.
Twickenham Stadium is home to the English Rugby Union team (they play in the 6 Nations every single year here), and there is also plenty of club level rugby to be found in London, including Harlequins and Saracens. Lord’s and The Oval are home to Middlesex and Surrey County Cricket Club’s respectively, and you can watch England Test cricket, T20 cricket, and One Day Internationals at the cricket grounds in the capital. Wimbledon is the home of tennis and is one of the four major grand slam events of tennis each year, with the world’s best players battling out on the famous grass courts of SW19. Other annual big sporting events to look out for include the London Marathon and the Varsity Boat Race, attracting thousands of people into the city.
Regent Street and Oxford Street are the two most recognisably London high streets to mention. Here, you’ll be able to find the original, flagship stores for many of the big brand names that you know and love and that can be found on most high streets around the country. These include H&M, Primark, River Island, and Topshop. Stores such as these are immense in size, and alongside them you’ll discover some amazing high-end designer labels and pretty much every type of clothing brand you can think of.
Selfridges is a world-famous department store, as is Harrods. As a student living at our London student accommodation you’ll be unlikely to have the budget to shop in these places, but it is certainly an experience to walk around for a couple of hours. Throughout the city there are plenty of big shopping centres that allow you to buy food, tech, and other items that you need whilst living away from home. Depending on where exactly your student accommodation in London is you could head over to Westfields Shopping Centre, Brent Cross or Canary Wharf, or one of the other shopping centre that number in the dozens.
Planning a Shopping day in London? Read our article on the Where to go Shopping in London: A Student Guide.
If you want to try your hand at finding hidden gems and look for a treasure trove of vintage and retro items on the other hand, there are a few places that we would recommend to you. Camden is an absolute assault on the senses (in a positive way) at times, and you’ll spend a good time jumping in and out of various independent clothing stores and vintage boutiques. Other options for alternative shopping experiences include Covent Garden, Boxpark, Spitalfields Market, and Carnaby Street. Always keep an eye out for vintage markets (especially those where you can pay by weight rather than per item), and we would recommend that you first get to know your local area for shopping. It is important that you learn early on how to budget accordingly when living in an expensive city like London, so get to know your local shop owners and supermarkets and you’ll soon find what you are looking for at a decent price.
London is a tourist hotspot with good reason. On any given day you can find an event or attraction that excites you. No matter what it is you are into there is something for you to see and do (from the free walking tours up to expensive paid events) and it doesn’t have to cost you a fortune to do so.
For museums and art there is no better place to start than South Kensington where you can find three museums (all with free entry) that are some of the finest examples the world over of each subject matter. The Science Museum, Natural History Museum, and the Victoria and Albert Museum (art and design) can take up a full weekend all on their own. Other amazing museums and art galleries that always have exquisite collections to visit include the British Museum, the Imperial War Museum and the Tate Modern.
It isn’t all concrete and urban delight in London, with Hyde Park (and the lovely Serpentine), Regents Park, Greenwich Park, Battersea Park, Richmond Park, and Hampstead Heath all providing luscious green spaces and plenty of annual events including big live music and entertainment. Over in the West End you’ll find some of the finest examples of theatre in the entire world, whilst littered throughout London are many different sizes and types of venue for live comedy and improve, live music, and some of the biggest sporting events in the world, from the O2, to Royal Albert Hall, Alexandra Palace, and Hammersmith Apollo.
With public transport so great and far reaching in London, even a day out to the outskirts brings some adventure at The Making of Harry Potter at Warner Bros Studio Tour, Legoland Windsor, or Thorpe Park. London is expensive but it is definitely a city that you can fall in love with, and once you have become used to using the public transport and finding your way around with ease you can make the most of free and cheap events every day of the week.