Student Living London
London is a vibrant city with plenty to see and do whether you’re someone moving to the capital from another part of the UK, moving across the city to find your first student property with friends or course mates, or coming to the UK to study for the first time.
In the early days you – like most other students – may struggle for ideas on where to go and what to do during your free time, but we’ve compiled a number of borough by borough guides which will help you to learn more about your surroundings including where to go, what to do and how far it is to the nearest points of interest or Underground stations to help you get around the city.
Each University has its own range of on and off campus bars and restaurants where you can grab a bite to eat and socialise with friends, while the number of places you can go in the city is rising all the time to adapt to demand and trends. Vibrant and popular areas include Camden and Soho, while there are plenty of other attractions and venues across the city, although you won’t have to travel too far in order to find a bar or restaurant that takes your fancy.
There are then a number of other on campus venues where you can spend your time socialising and studying, with each having its own library packed full of useful books and resources that will help you to produce your finest work, with many finding that they work better in the complete silence of the University library or in groups around a table coming up with ideas in the various student unions or communal areas.
With such a large number of Universities in London it’s relatively easy to stumble upon a typical student area complete with the infamous Student’s Union, music venues and libraries.
Of course, student living isn’t just about spending time in lectures, in the library or in your student accommodation. With so many things to see and do in the city there is the chance to let your hair down at times too whether it’s socialising or immersing yourself in everything that the city of London has to offer. The majority of Universities are to the North of the River Thames, along with a lot of the city’s main attractions, and many are easily accessible by public transport or by a short walk from the campus.
Public transport is widely regarded to be the simplest way to get around the city of London, even if many of the peak Underground services are packed full of commuters. These services run every few minutes so you never usually have to wait too long for another to come by.
Many of the Universities have excellent connections with the London Underground with the likes of Imperial College London conveniently located near to the South Kensington station on both the Piccadilly and Circle lines giving you excellent access to the wider city and major rail stations.
The University of Westminster is another that is well connected with a short walk to Oxford Circus an University College London is within walking distance of Euston Square; while King’s College London and the London School of Economics are between Temple and Covent Garden.
There are also a vast number of bus routes with many passes cheaper than those for the Tube, and many have direct routes that pass the various Universities to help you to get to campus on time.
Oyster Cards are a great way of paying for your chosen public transport, and these work like mobile phone top-up cards. Simply add the credit to your Oyster Card and every time you get on a bus or Tube train you can swipe or tap on and off as you go through the gates at your station or as you get on and off the bus; with the price of your route then taken from the balance on your card meaning you don’t need to carry cash if you prefer not to. Alternatively, you can also use your contactless credit or debit card in same way as your Oyster Card on the Underground, London Buses, National Rail services and even the River Bus.
Each Student’s Union is different but they all have the best interests of the students at heart. While they are a great on campus venue to meet up and socialise with friends and course mates for a drink or bite to eat, they’re also a hive of activity and the home to many of the University clubs and societies.
You’ll find that there is nearly always something going on at your chosen Student’s Union with many representatives and volunteers attempting to raise funds for good causes, meaning that it is often a vibrant place to be.
If you’re not the kind of person who would usually visit a library that could soon change. While the library might sound like somewhere you visit in the first few weeks to learn where it is and to collect your membership card “just in case”, by the end of your time at University you’ll have worked out where every single resource is located and you’ll be well acquainted with the coffee machine!
London has an incredible range of libraries with some invaluable resources that will help you to find out as much as possible about your subject that you can then reference in your work to help to get the very best grades. The British Library is only a five minute walk from Kings’ Cross station so if you can’t find what you’re looking for in your campus library there’s no need to give up.
The library will also become your go-to place to print out your course materials, to bind your dissertation and to even meet course mates in pre-booked rooms so that you can plan your next presentation.
Music and Live Entertainment Venues
The West End of London has more than 40 theatres alone meaning that you’re never too far from a live performance. There are also countless “underground” venues in London where up and coming bands often showcase their talents in front of intimate crowds where you might stumble across one of the next big things.
Should you wish to remain close to home, many Universities have their own venues on campus with some up and coming artists and well established bands known to grace University stages from time to time so pay close attention to your Student’s Union message boards and calendars to make sure that you get tickets.
The Roundhouse in Camden is one of the most famous venues in the city let alone the borough, while iconic London venues such as Shakespeare’s Globe and the Royal Albert Hall play host to a wealth of musical and comedy performances each year.
If that’s not enough then Leicester Square is the prime location to catch a glimpse of some of the world’s biggest stars with many film premiere’s being held at the cinema – but be sure to get there early if you want to get up close to one of the stars on the red carpet!
Comedy clubs are also popular in London with venues such as the Comedy Store putting on live acts most nights of the week giving you the chance to discover some brand new comedians or to see some famous acts showcasing their latest material.
For something a bit quieter and educational, London has plenty of art galleries and museums for you to visit with attractions changing on a regular basis. The Victoria and Albert Museum, Natural History Museum and Science Museum are all within a short walk of the grounds of Imperial College London and each is easily accessible from the Underground, while the Tate Modern is in the very heart of the city.
If you’re still feeling like a tourist and you want something to do, something to see or somewhere to go during your downtime then London has an abundance of attractions. You could take an open top bus tour around the city to see some of the most famous sights with commentary from a tour guide, or you could make your own way to one of the many attractions.
Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the London Zoo, Imperial War Museum, Tower of London, Madam Tussauds, the London Dungeons and the Eye are among the most popular; and your Student’s Union will have plenty of ideas for you should you find yourself stuck for somewhere to go.
Events and Festivals
Of course, student life wouldn’t be complete without attending a live event or festival and when you’re studying in London you’ve got plenty to choose from. Hyde Park is one of the largest green spaces in the city at 350 acres and is situated right next to the University of London.
The BBC Proms in the Park are held in Hyde Park each year and a number of international bands and artists have all taken to the stage in front of packed crowds over the course of two nights in the park. The British Summertime Festival is held in Hyde Park at the end of June presenting music lovers with the chance to listen to a number of famous artists in this beautiful part of the city of London.
Other major events and festivals to be held in the city include the Capital FM Summertime Ball which takes place at Wembley, while Lovebox is held in Victoria Park and Finsbury Park is home to the three-day Wireless Festival.
The Chelsea Flower Show is a popular annual event each May, but as far as festivals go they don’t come much more vibrant than Notting Hill Carnival. This huge parade takes place in August each year with a number of floats, musical acts and dancers bringing the best of the Caribbean to the streets of London.