Commencing your studies in London is an exciting time, and you’ll no doubt be looking forward to starting your course and getting to know your fellow students. However, it’s not all work and no play, and you’ll also be keen to get out and explore the sprawling metropolis that is the UK capital, with its incredible architecture, world-famous galleries and museums, thriving nightlife, excellent shopping scene and so much more!
Let’s take a look at some of the top things to see and do in London
Shopping in London
London’s shopping scene is one of the most famous in the world. Head to Oxford street for all the mainstream shops as well as huge department stores such as Harrods and House of Fraser. If you are looking for more luxurious items, head to Bond Street for designer stores, or Mayfair to rub shoulders with the celebrities and browse top luxury labels. London is also famous for its bustling markets where you can bag yourself a bargain and find some truly unique purchases. Borough Market is perfect for foodies, Camden Lock Market for clothes and gifts, and Columbia Road Flower Market to buy beautiful blooms. Read more about London’s thriving shopping scene here – https://www.visitlondon.com/things-to-do/shopping
Eating Out in London
No matter whether your perfect meal is a fine-dining experience, a hearty burger, an all you can eat buffet or a traditional English Sunday roast, London caters for all tastes and budgets, and when it comes to eating out, it is a food lover’s paradise. From Michelin starred restaurants to pop-up street diners and everything in-between, you can eat and drink your way around the capital and never get bored. Find out more about London’s food scene here – https://www.timeout.com/london/restaurants
Nightlife in London
London is famed for its exciting nightlife and vast repertoire of things to see and do once the sun goes down. Choose from a plethora of pubs, bars and clubs catering to all tastes, or explore more unusual or cultural things to enjoy such as theatre, cabaret, comedy, gigs, and even nighttime tours of some of the city’s most exciting and historic venues. Find out more about London nightlife here – https://www.visitlondon.com/things-to-do/nightlife
Museums and Galleries in London
London is home to some of the most exciting galleries and museums across the globe, from the classic, breathtaking works of great artists of the past such as Picasso and Monet to groundbreaking and contemporary pieces from modern artists, there is something for everyone. The top London galleries and museums include the Tate and Tate Modern, the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum, the Museum of London and the V & A. Find out more about London’s museums and galleries here: https://www.visitlondon.com/things-to-do/sightseeing/london-attraction/museum/top-museums-and-galleries-london
Tourist attractions in London
London is for exploring and if you’ve never been to the capital before it is essential to spend at least a day or two being a real tourist and visiting some of the most celebrated sights and attractions the city has to offer. Some fantastic places to start are the stunning Tower Bridge, the incredible O2 Academy, The London Eye, Madame Tussauds, Big Ben, and of course, not forgetting, home to the Queen of England, Buckingham Palace! There are a wealth of attractions and arts and cultural sites to choose from, and you are sure to find something to entertain and inspire you whatever you are into. Find out more about London’s tourist attractions here – https://www.visitlondon.com/things-to-do/sightseeing/london-attraction/top-ten-attractions
Libraries in London
London is also home to many lovely libraries which are perfect places for students to come to work away from the hustle and bustle of the city, find useful research books, and to use computers and the internet. Some of the top London libraries include:
- The British library – an iconic library and the largest collection of books in the world.
- The Welcome Collection library – a fantastic resource for the study of medical history, and a fascinating museum too.
- The London library – with over 1 million books to choose from covering a massive range of topics and genres the London library is a great place for those who have a love of reading.
Higher Education in London
The British capital has one of the largest concentrations of higher education institutions globally and is home to some of the most prominent and prestigious universities in the world. Some of the most well-known higher education institutions include:
- University of London. – The University of London is one of the city’s best-known universities offering degrees across a vast range of subjects.
- City University – City University always performs well in the league tables and offers a variety of courses including Medicines Management.
- Imperial College, London. – Imperial College boasts one of Europe’s largest medical institutions housing over 1,500 researchers and academic staff.
- Kings College, London – Kings College is one of the top medical university’s in the city. It offers a number of humanitarian courses as well as degrees in a range of medical subjects.
- Queen Mary University – Queen Mary University is one of the top London Universities with a rich heritage and five campuses across the city.
Useful advice for London living
Look after your money
Some students can find that life in London is rather expensive. With accommodation prices ever rising and tickets for public transport also increasing it is always worth looking out for bargains and discounts when available. Luckily, there are lots of offers for students to save money, and everything from exclusive student nights in bars and nightclubs where drinks and entrance fees are cheaper to transport discounts, cheaper gym memberships, discounted clothing, and restaurant deals, can see you saving money on almost anything if you’re smart about it!
Get yourself an Oyster Card or make sure you have a contactless bank card
The London Underground is the most accessible and convenient ways to get around London. So make sure you don’t spend ages queuing up to buy a ticket each time you travel and get yourself an Oyster card for savings and simplicity. Alternatively, simply use your contactless bank card to tap in and out of the barriers without having to wait to get a physical ticket to let you through!
Get your student ID
Get your student ID sorted before you arrive in London. Doing so means you don’t have to take your precious passport out and about with you for ID, and you can also flash it in many shops, cafe’s restaurants and bars to get great discounts, so it’s well worth organising for as soon as you arrive.
Student IDs are also known as an ISIC (International Student Identity Card). These are an internationally-recognised student ID, and are super useful to have on you at all times.
You could also get your hands on an NUS Card from the National Union of Students. These cards are fantastic as give you lots of offers and great deals for being a student too.
Download useful apps to help you settle into city life
If you’ve got a smartphone why not download these useful apps to help make navigating the Big Smoke even easier?
- Viber – this app allows you to send messages and make calls to anyone else using the App on any device, in any country, and you don’t have to pay a penny!
- CityMapper – CityMapper is a very helpful public transport app, and will make finding your way around hassle-free.
- Uber – Uber is a cheap taxi service that can help keep costs of those late night taxis down!
Staying safe in London
London is an incredible city, but occasionally unfortunate events do happen. It’s worth making sure you know which areas are identified to have higher crime rates and being vigilant when it comes to keeping an eye on your belongings as pick-pocketing can be a problem. Always stay safe at night by getting public transport or a recognised taxi home and letting someone know where you are, and what time you’ll be back.
Some great links to help you get to know London better
- tfl.gov.uk – the transport for London homepage to help you navigate the city and plan your journies.
- https://www.timeout.com/london/blog/29-tips-for-when-you-first-move-to-london-092115 – some helpful tips to help you adjust to London life.
- https://www.visitlondon.com – a website dedicated to helping you find the best events, attractions, restaurants, as well as tickets, tips, and generally good advice.