Whether you’re from Birmingham or Grantham, Shanghai or Padua, moving to London is a big step and coming to study here can seem daunting. But we’ll help you learn how to make the most of the city.
Get out and explore...
Walking routes: London has a lot to offer if you walk. It’s got the one of the largest walking networks in the world and if you get your walking shoes on, you can pretty much hit every London landmark at your own pace. One of my favourites is walking by the river, especially at night so you can see the city lights. Transport for London’s website has some of the most popular walking routes listed. Search: TFL Walking Routes.
Green spaces: At some point you might find that the streets of London have become overwhelming and boring at the same time. When you reach this point I’d recommend a nice low-key green space like Abney Park Cemetery, Hampstead Heath, Highgate Wood or the Barbican Conservatory.
Galleries & Museums: Most galleries and museums in the UK are free, so why not wander around the National Gallery after your lecture? How about heading east and popping into the Whitechapel Gallery? Keep up to date with free exhibitions and workshops at the British Museum and artist talks at the Tate Modern. You’ll have to look online for revised Covid-19 opening times for galleries and museums as some have restricted their opening times, aren’t open yet or require pre-booking.
Anti-tourism: I like to think of London as a patchwork city made up of little towns. A lot of enjoyment can be found in a 30 minute bus ride out of Camden to a high street in a different borough. Take a break from the tourist traps and find a quiet suburb to explore.
Fake it ‘til you make it.
It’ll take time to pull off that care-free shrug at the price of a pint, and the grumpy side-eye at a tube-delay that Londoners are so good at, until then - fake it.
Download citymapper, it’s better than Google maps. Fact. Those shortcuts people share that sound impressive? They’re just citymapper search results...
Get a TOTUM card. London costs £££, so you need to save money wherever you can. These student discount cards get you money off in high-street shops and restaurants, save you money on subscriptions and even get you discounts on your food shop at your local Co-op. Upgrade to a PASS ID version and it’ll be accepted as an ID card.
Transport for London online for alternative maps. They have a range of maps showing things like Tube stops with toilet facilities, or which lines you can take a bike on. Good knowledge.
Get a student Oyster Card and get a cool 30% off your travelcard. There’s also the 16-25 Railcard if you’re thinking of venturing outside of London. Whatever style you choose to travel in, always check if they offer student prices / have offers for students. Most places do.
Be one with culture. For just £5, you can buy a Student Art Pass. This get’s you money off the major London attractions and 50% on major exhibitions. This is how you fill your weekends...
Ask for student discount. This might feel a bit cringe at first, but most places do it (they just might not be advertising that fact). If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
Think outside of Zone 1 and 2. The good stuff happens further out. Zones 3 and 4 are less touristy, less pricey and generally a bit cooler - so get out of central. Check out Brixton’s bars and restaurants, Hackney Wick’s riverside for warehouse chic, Stoke Newington’s Church Street for a villagey vibe and find something that hasn’t been instagrammed 1 million times already.
Emma Cheung (BA English) and Farida El-Kafrawy (BSc Social Sciences with Quantitative Methods)