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Student living in London

Living in London

“By seeing London, I have seen as much of life as the world can show.”

— Samuel Johnson

As one of the world’s most recognisable cities, London has it all.

With its iconic architecture, wide range of activities, and wealth of eateries, even a student budget can afford you the best of London life.

Take a look at our guide below to make the most of living within the captial.

studying london

Campus Life

London is home to a number of well known universities, colleges and training institutes – all with their own unique campus cultures.

Most provide their own guide to getting the most out of your course, including information on activities, orientation programs, and general student life:

Kings College City university
Imperial College UCL
University of West London London Business School
London South Bank University Queen Mary University
St George’s University University of Roehampton
University of London University of the Arts London (UAL)
football club

Sports

Most London universities offer a range of sports teams and clubs, plus a vast range of more casual on-campus activities.

London is also blessed with a multitude of amateur sports organisations. The Get Active London website will help you find the right level organisation in your chosen sport.

If you’re more of a spectator than a participant, why not check out one of the nearby elite level sports clubs? Premier League side Crystal Palace play close to Cedar Hall and Furzedown Hall, while the Rushworth’s closest pro sides are Chelsea, Fulham and Millwall. League ticket prices can be prohibitive but there are often cheaper tickets available for cup games – and there’s a range of great student-friendly sports bars across the city.

student pub

Pubs & Clubs

London is always buzzing with new club nights, meaning it’s often hard to keep up to date. But a staple with students is Frat Party – for fairly obvious reasons. And Cargo hosts two of London’s best-known student nights – Wanderlust and It’s Like a Jungle Sometimes.

If a cheap pint down the local is more your scene, checking out Design My Night’s drinks specials in your area will help your budget stretch as far as possible.

student dining

Dining

Even when eating on a student budget, London is your oyster. Time Out offers a handy guide to south London’s cheapest eats close to Cedar Hall, the Convent and Furzedown Hall – putting a range of excellent multicultural fare within your budget.

A range of chain and independent London eateries also offer generous student discounts – check out Student Beans for the full list.

London Shopping

Shopping

From high fashion to the high street, London has earned its reputation as the UK’s fashion capital. But there’s much to be said for shopping beyond the famous Oxford Street boutiques.

To get the most out of shopping in your uni days, check out UNiDAYS – your guide to student discounts at London’s clothing retailers.

Theatre & Comedy

Theatre & Comedy

London is home to the some of the UK’s leading theatres, dance venues, and comedy clubs. The Rushworth is in a particularly prime position, with Shakespeare’s Globe, The Old Vic and Southwark Playhouse all within walking distance.

Rather than splash out on opening night, check out LastMinute.com for discount tickets on shows that aren’t likely to sell out.

Live Music Concert

Live music

London’s live music culture is the envy of the country – from chart-toppers playing the O2 to a knees-up round the piano down the East End locals.

Whether you’re into indie or go loco for Latin, Skiddle is the place to find gigs to suit any budget. Artists just starting out often play venues with no door charge – a great opportunity to catch the next big thing for nothing!

oyster card

Get an Oyster Card and top it up for the month

This is the best value and most effective way to pay for travel in London; while you can access the tube using contactless payments on your phone, there will be times that it malfunctions. For example, you tap at the start of a journey and it doesn’t tap properly on the way out – or it doesn’t go through when you think it has. This is annoying because you’re then charged you the maximum amount for that journey, leaving you paying £7 for a £2 journey.

If this does happen, you can claim money back online through TFL – a great tip when you’re on a budget as it’s possible to rack up several of these in a week.

Franco Manca London

Franco Manca - remember the name!

Franco Manca is a sourdough pizzeria. And Franco is everywhere. The one in Covent Garden is the best, because it’s opposite ‘The Porterhouse’, which is a great place for a few drinks. They offer daily specials and a great selection of pizzas with their own ‘no logo’ beer and cider. You can expect to get two delicious pizzas for around £20. Be prepared to wait for a table in the evenings – but it’s certainly worth it.

Dojo App

Download ‘Dojo’

This app is truly amazing because it gives you a weekly run down of the best bits happening in London, including free events. Whatever you need to find, you can find it on Dojo, whether it’s a rooftop bar in Kensington or a Greek restaurant in Soho. The interface is well designed and easy to navigate.

‘Tube map’ and ‘City Mapper’ are useful travel apps to have. Moving to London can be daunting, and when you have to get from one side to the other, it can look like you have to spend a whole day on the tube. So use these apps – and they will simplify your journeys and offer alternative routes.

You can also grab some great deals on food and clothes through the Vouchercloud app.

cycling in london

Cycle the city

This is a great money saver – plus the tube on hot days is pretty unbearable.

You’ll be surprised how compact London is and you’ll discover new areas on the way too! You can hire a Santander bike for 24 hours for just a couple of pounds and take in some beautiful cycle routes. Regents Canal offers great views and Little Venice is a serene area only twenty minutes down the bike path from Camden. You’ll also pass through Regents Park where you can grab a free cheeky view of the camels in London Zoo!

Isle of Dogs

Isle of Dogs on a weekend

Right next to Canary Wharf, the Isle of Dogs is hauntingly quiet at weekends interesting to walk around – a nice contrast to the usual chaos of central London.

Mudchute City Farm is also on the Isle of Dogs and free to get in. What better way than to de-stress than to stroke some farm animals?

Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum

Super interesting and free! You can easily pass an entire day in this museum without getting bored.

Southbank London

Walk down South Bank

Just a few minutes’ stroll from Rushworth, there’s always something going on along South Bank; skateboarders, street performers and a great street food market at South Bank centre. Then there’s the Tate, which offers free entry to a range of art collection displays. Plus, it has a free viewing platform that gives you incredible views of the stunning St Paul’s Cathedral and London skyline.

Coffee

Bargain coffee

Pret offers 99p filter coffee which is really tasty and keeps you in sync with the fast pace of the city.

Shoreditch

Brick Lane/Shoreditch/Brixton

With its wealth of quirky vintage shops, Brick Lane is only a short walk from both Spitalfields Market and Shoreditch, where there’s plenty to do. There’s an indoor street food market, All Star Lanes bowling and Junkyard Golf – the home of crazy golf, tunes, food and drink!

While you’re in Shoreditch, end your day/evening in the Queen of Hoxton. This eclectic bar spans several floors and boasts an impressive rooftop, with new themes throughout the year.

For an equally great night out, bigger night out, avoid the tourist traps by heading to Pop in Brixton. Expect food vendors, live music and flowing drinks in this vibrant shipping container complex.

Soho

Soho

There’s something for everyone in Soho. This hub of bars and clubs is home to some absolute treats, like Soho Grind – espresso bar by day, cocktail bar by night.

Just around the corner is the Carnaby Street/Kingly Court area which has a great vibe and hosts numerous bars and restaurants. Try out ‘Cahoots’ in Kingly Court for a cocktail in one of London’s most theatrical 1940s-style bars.

The Sky Garden

Free to get in. You can book up to three weeks in advance and spend an hour walking around an indoor garden (drink in-hand), gazing in awe at the beautiful panoramic views of London.

London Park

Hit the parks

When the sun’s out, forget beer gardens with extortionate drinks prices – everyone’s at the park!

Grab your friends and head off to Richmond Park, Hampstead Heath, Regents Park, Primrose Hill (which has incredible views of the city), Greenwich or Green Park. This is common practice in London as locals flock to the nearest green space to picnic.

Living Quarters

Living Quarters