Things to do while studying in London

Wednesday April 12, 2023

New in town?

While it’d be impossible to sum up everything London has to offer, we can guarantee that it’ll be an adventure — one shaped by real-time event guides, discount apps, and word-of-mouth recommendations. Being here is a thrilling, transformative experience, and it’s something that’ll set you up for life.

Photo by: Aron Van de Pol

A big part of living and learning in London is taking advantage of the incredible, one-of-a-kind opportunities sitting on your doorstep; the venues, resources, and connections that could only happen in a major world capital. If you’re an aspiring videogame designer, check out the huge range of retro arcades, eSports events, and indie studios popping constantly up across the city — from The Four Quarters, to Meltdown London. Filmmakers and production fanatics have the BFI, BAFTA HQ, and countless studios, museums, and public archives just a few underground stops away, while musicians and audio engineers get front-row access to the city’s legendary live music scene.

As for the bigger picture? Here are a few tips on settling into London life, and making the most of a life-changing experience.


First up, do the tourist thing

London is huge — but many of its best-known attractions are condensed into just a couple of square miles. It’s like a film set brought to life, splashed with world-famous landmarks like the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, St Paul’s Cathedral, Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge, Piccadilly Circus, Covent Garden, Shakespeare’s Globe theatre, and countless other monuments, museums, palaces, and parks.

Off the beaten track, you’ll also find lots of cool curiosities — from the imposing Barbican (perhaps the world’s most famed example of Brutalist architecture), to the tree-lined canals of Little Venice, to the low-lit vaults buried beneath Waterloo. Make yourself a tick-list, and then start exploring!


Get a free education from the incredible museums and galleries

London is home to over 130 museums. Some of them are big, and some are small — but they’re almost all free.

Places like the Tate Modern, National Gallery, Natural History and British museums are iconic, and worth visiting for the buildings alone. London’s museum scene accommodates every taste and interest, variously specialising in science, space, sport, war, photography, product design, prisons, toys, textiles, fashion, films, crime, cartoons, archaeology, architecture, zoology, videogames, religion, magic, music, media, and motorcycles!

Smaller establishments are dedicated to the most emblematic figures of London’s past — the likes of Sherlock Holmes, Jack the Ripper, Charles Dickens, Florence Nightingale, and William Shakespeare. What better way to spend a rainy day?

Photo by: George Ciobra

Go exploring

The real London happens between tube stations — so walk whenever you can! In a city pieced together throughout the centuries, history is written across London’s streets, alleyways, and buildings. Start exploring on foot as soon as you arrive; as well as saving money, you’ll be getting properly to grips with your new home.

Unlike many other capitals, London isn’t a concrete jungle. The city offers a huge range of stunning green spaces — you can relax and unwind in the famous Royal Parks (Hyde, The Green, Richmond, Greenwich, St James’s, Bushy, and The Regent’s Parks, as well as the beautiful Kensington Gardens) on a sunny day, or take an eye-opening stroll along the Thames if it’s overcast. Wherever you go, you’re certain to find something new.


Eat, drink, and be merry

Predictably, London is the UK’s social and culinary epicentre. The bars, restaurants, and street-food stalls are bigger, bolder, considerably more diverse, and open much later! With so many cultures now calling London home, a whole host of scenes and flavours await you, from Ghanaian to Greek and Thai to Turkish. The city runs on its stomach, and prides itself on the range of tasty options it provides for every budget — whether that’s a swanky restaurant, or an artisanal bagel on the fly.

As for nights out, London’s reputation speaks for itself. Every scene, crowd, and tribe is accommodated: from the sparkling theatre bars of the West End, to the Lo-fi bohemia of Dalston and Shoreditch; from cheerful, ramshackle Camden, to the sleek, sophisticated South Bank. Whether you’re in need of a quick pint or looking to entertain visitors, a night out in London is whatever you want it to be.

Photo by: Carlo Bazzo

The UK’s capital of sport

Sport is a huge part of London’s everyday conversation. The Olympics have been held here on three occasions, making it the most popular host city in the competition’s long history. As the nation’s capital, London is the traditional home of football (Wembley), rugby (Twickenham), cricket (Lords, and the Oval), and athletics (the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre). These impressive stadiums are revered across the UK, and all around the world.

The city also hosts a wide range of iconic events every year — from Wimbledon (arguably the most prestigious of the Grand Slam events), to the Oxbridge Boat Race, to overseas visits from the NFL.

Football is London — and the UK’s — most popular spectator sport. Currently, the city hosts seven Premier League football clubs (Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea, Fulham, Brentford, Crystal Palace, and West Ham), plus several popular and well-established professional teams in the divisions below (Queens Park Rangers, Millwall, Charlton Athletic, and many more). With most teams offering generous student discounts, why not take a break from your studies with a boisterous gameday experience?