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Student Life in London

Discover what to expect as a student in the nation’s capital

Everything you need to learn in comfort and style

London’s academic credentials are enough to turn the heads of ambitious students who want access to world-class tuition from some of the most prestigious universities on the planet. But aside from the opportunities for progression, the city offers a rich and dynamic experience for those who wish to study here.

Here is a little more information on what it’s like being a student in London, and how you can make the most of your time in this unique location.

Student accommodation

Finding somewhere to live isn’t difficult. The city is full of high quality student homes and short-term lets, many of which are within easy commuting distance of the major campuses. If you do need help finding the right accommodation, you can rely on the student lettings experts here at Victorstone to present you with a list of viable options, assist you with negotiating suitable terms, and help you manage your move. The only thing you’ll need to decide is where you want to be based.

London by borough

The exciting thing about London is at each of its regions offers different facilities – and entirely different experiences – to its inhabitants.

There are 32 boroughs to choose from, plus the City of London district in the heart of the capital. Some of the most famous (and therefore desirable) places to live in central London are Westminster, Camden, Islington, Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Southwark, Lambeth, Kensington and Chelsea, and Wandsworth.

If you are willing to live a little further afield – where rental prices are often cheaper – you may want to consider Barnet, Enfield, Waltham Forest or Redbridge to the north; Barking & Dagenham, Havering and Bexley to the east; Lewisham, Bromley, Croydon and Sutton to the south; or Hounslow, Ealing, Brent, or Harrow to the west.

You can learn more about what’s on offer from each part of London in our London Area Guides

Getting around

London is one of the best-connected cities in the world. There are plenty of buses and overground trains linking all the boroughs together, not to mention a wealth of taxi services to choose from – but by far the easiest and most cost-effective way to get around is by tube.

For the purposes of the underground, London is divided into six ‘zones’. Zone 1 covers Central London, and Zones 2-6 cover circles of ground all the way out towards outer London and, in some cases, into neighbouring counties like Essex.

The cost of your journey(s) will depend which Zone you want to travel to, or within. We would recommend purchasing a student travel card, which will give you discounts on standard fares. Maps are clearly displayed at all stations, and there are plenty of apps available to help you plan your routes. It’s a good idea to find out where your university and your student accommodation is located within London’s Zone system, so you can budget accordingly.

Shopping and amenities

London certainly doesn’t lack the basics. There are supermarkets and other facilities like launderettes and internet cafes on virtually every corner. However, the city really comes into its own with its vast array of shopping centres and retail hubs.

For a great selection of high street retailers and more unusual shops all in one place, try large-scale shopping malls like Westfield Stratford City or Westfield London (to the west). Hay’s Galleria, near London Bridge in Southwark, is a fun place to visit for an impressive mix of big brands and interesting independent stores. Oxford Street is perhaps one of London’s best-known shopping destinations (though be warned, it does get extremely busy at Christmas and other peak times!). Carnaby Street, a famous shopping street located in Soho, is a must-see too, not least because the street itself is a beautiful sight.

Nightlife

If you are a party animal, London’s the right place for you.

You can find amazing bars and pubs scattered across every corner of the city. There are venues to suit all tastes and preferences, from smaller, more intimate settings to multi-floor clubs. Our advice is to always check the ratings and reviews of each destination online so you can get an idea of what to expect from each place.

For upmarket clubs, bars and restaurants, Soho is the place you want to go to, located in the heart of London. Try Toy Room Club, The Box Soho, Comptons, L8 Soho, Scandal London and The Mix.

If your budget doesn’t stretch to the haunts of the rich and famous, Shoreditch offers an equally fun and eclectic night out. There are plenty of bars, clubs and takeaways here, all located just minutes away from the tube station. Places like Cargo, Hoxton Pony, XOYO, Trafik, Queen of Hoxton, Barrio Shoreditch and Browns are great places to spend your free evenings and weekends.

If you’re something of a foodie, rest assured you’ll find all kinds of cuisines in London. From great value street food to Michelin star restaurants, there’s something for every food lover down these city streets. To get you started, there are number of places located in the heart of London that you should try, including Masala Zone Soho, Villa Di Geggiano, Sushi Tetsu, Quaglino, Taste of Nawaab, Nobu, and The Ivy & Murano.

Things to do

You must, of course, visit some of London’s most established landmarks during your time here. Attractions like Madame Tussauds, the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace and London Zoo are rites of passage for any student. For those of you who love to immerse yourselves in history and the arts, there’s a plethora of museums to choose from, and a truly unrivalled selection of art galleries, including the National Gallery and the Tate Modern.

There are plenty of green spaces to explore, too. Take a stroll around Hyde Park, organise a trip to Kensington Gardens, or bask in the beauty of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. All of these locations provide stunning (and cheap!) backdrops for getting to know new friends and making memories together.

Cultural hotspots

Like any city, London is home to landmarks and institutions that need to be seen to be believed. From the grandeur of St Paul’s Cathedral and the centuries-old heritage of Shakespeare’s Globe to the standout architecture of the Barbican, there are plenty of buildings that are worth a visit. Larger-scale venues like The O2 regularly put on world-class live performances, and if you’re in London in late summer, be sure to catch Notting Hill Carnival as it makes its way through West London in all its vibrancy.