London: Student City Guide

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By in Cities. Updated November 2014.

LondonLondon is a city of so much potential and this shows in the number of Universities on offer in the city. However this can have a downside when moving here.

Nevermind that you most likely won’t know anyone beforehand, you probably don’t know where the hot spots and best places for students to go are in the city of London. It is England’s largest city and this makes it so easy to get swallowed up in the urban surroundings.

Do not fear because our new ‘Student City Guide‘ series is here with all the latest information on the city of London from the eyes of a student. Not only will it help you to get around but it will also help you to save money and protect your wallet (which is more important as London is an expensive city).

With our quick city guides you’ll never be stuck for ideas. Most importantly, you’ll know you’re getting the best out of your student city and life at university!

(Note: Figures quoted are correct as of September 2013).

Money Matters

Examples of what students can expect to pay in London:

Pint of Lager: £3.00 +
Double vodka & mixer: £4.50 +
Average Rent: £110 per week
Single bus ticket to uni: £2.50

Keep reading below for more detailed info on prices.

Universities and Colleges

Transport

London has arguably the best integrated transport network system in the UK, including a tram, tube and bus system. So travelling across the city is simple.

For students getting to University the bus or the tube is the best option.

Getting in and out of London is just as easy, with a multitude of major train stations connecting students to their hometowns across the country.

Buses and Trams

The London transport system is one of the countries best. There are a huge amount of buses driving through the streets of London at all times of day.

London’s night buses are great for students as it means getting home from the club at any time of the night.

The trams and buses will take you pretty much anywhere you want in London but if you are unsure then you should plan your route to university of wherever you may be going by using the London bus journey planner.

There are a lot of different ways in which you can pay for your journey on the London bus system. The first huge tip is to get yourself an Oyster card. They can allow you to get money off all types of transport within London.

Alternatively, if you are planning to use the buses and trams almost every day throughout the year then you could buy a year pass for  around £500. This may sound expensive but in the long run it could save you a lot of money (if you take 2 or more journeys a day).

The price of single ticket depends on whether you have an Oyster card or not. You’re looking at around £1.40 with and £2.40 without and Oyster card. To pay by Oyster card you need to regularly top it up because if you do not have enough on your card then you will have to pay by cash.

For long-distance travel by coach or bus, many students choose to take the Megabus (budget) or National Express.

Cycling

London has an enormous network for cyclists. Cycle lanes are available on all the major roads in and around London.

However, you do need to be careful as in some parts the cycle lane will run along the busy bus route. Just remember to be on your guard, check your brakes and wear a helmet! Unfortunately, London has a pretty bad reputation for bike theft so it’s also wise to invest in a decent D-lock.

If you do not want to buy a bike then it could be worth looking into the new cycle hire scheme. It allows you to pick up a bike at a designated point and then ride it to another stopping point for as little as £1 a day for non-members and 16p a day with an annual pass.

If you’re looking online, you can get a good deal on a bike delivered to your door from Hargroves Cycles.

Trains and the Tube

London has a vast network of tube stations and overground railways. There are 9 zones which you can travel in and the cost depends on which zones you plan to travel in. If you want to plan a journey then take a look at Transport for London’s journey planner.

As with the buses it is definitely suggested that you apply for a Student Oyster card as it will save you a lot of money. It could save you over  £2 on a single fair. Depending on which zones you are travelling in a ticket will cost around £1.90-£6 (with a pre topped up Oyster card).

You can also buy passes for longer periods of time with a 1 week pass ranging from £20-£50 depending on the zones. A month will set you back around £75-£190 and a year pass is £773-£2000. Once again, although these seem like very high prices, they will save you a lot in the long run.

There are lots overground stations in London (Euston, Victoria and Charing Cross to name a few). They are connected to all the major cities across the UK with Euston offering a high-speed service to Manchester and St. Pancreas even has links to Paris. If you can, make sure you book your train ticket in advance online for big savings at First Trans Pennine Express.

For up-to-date information about public transport in London, have a look at the Transport for London website.

Best Student Nightclubs

Student nightclubLondon has a thriving diverse music scene. The city has plenty of student type bars and clubs to cater for all tastes, as you would expect for the largest city in England.

There is a wide selection of drinks at varying prices, although generally more expensive than anywhere else. If you stick with the student night clubs then the prices will be cheaper.

These are our top student night club picks to suit various tastes in music.

Indie Rock

London has a great underground indie scene with venues spread all over the city. However, the main hub for indie is undoubtedly Camden.

  • Club NME – A definite favourite. Every Friday as Koko in Camden. This is a great place to see the best indie bands in the English scene.
  • White Heat – At Madame Jojo’s every Tuesday 5 minutes from Piccadilly Circus. It has some of the best DJs in indie and electro with drinks starting from just £2.
  • After Skool Klub – With entry as cheap as £3 this is a great night. Located near Holborn this plays the latest in popular indie.
  • Cheapskates – At Moonlighting Nightclub in Soho, this night offers something a little different with drinks from as cheap as 90p!

Pop & Retro

Pop (and cheese!) is well catered for  in London with all the clubs aiming to please. Many clubs offer dedicated nights to the joys of the 60s, 90s and naughties!

  • Zoo Bar – On a Tuesday night Zoo bar caters to students with some retro dance classics and three floors to choose from. Drinks start at £2.
  • Zig Zag – At Strawberry Moonsbar is a premier student night in London located near Saville Row. The bargain drink is £2.50 for a double vodka and red bull.
  • Los Locos – Plays the latest chart hits alongside a vast mix of music every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Its location is in Covent Garden.

R&B, Funky House and Hip-Hop

If you love these genres of music then you are in luck. The biggest clubs in London will play these kind of tunes at least once a week.

  • Tiger Tiger – Very lavish club. Can be quite expensive but always cheaper on special student nights. Especially on a Monday when it is Vodka Island.
  • Popcorn – At Heaven near Charring cross claims it is the best student night in London. It has 5 rooms and entry is free with NUS.
  • Oceana – Student night is on Monday. This club night offers a bit of everything and even has a bit of cheese and pop chucked in for good measure.

Dubstep, Drum & Bass and Techno

The Dubstep and the electro scene in London is one of the countries best and has grown a massive student following in recent years.

  • Fabric – Located near Holborn. This club is famous for the music it plays with the latest in dubstep and electro. Although it can be quite expensive some say it is well worth splashing out on.
  • Egg – Also on the expensive side but it hosts the best DJs in dance genres throughout the year.
  • Ministry of Sound – Located in SE1, this club also hosts the biggest and best DJs from all over the world. Look out for student deals offered by ticket reps.

Rock

From heavy metal to grunge London is a great place to “rock out”.

  • Crobar – The best music in London for you metalheads out there. Located in Soho this Bar/Club is open every day of the week.
  • The Hobgoblin – Located in Camden is a great little place for all types of rock enthusiasts. It attracts young and old students and non-students.

Eating out

Being the biggest cities in the UK, London offers plenty of choice for eating out to meet any palette. The diversity in food is huge in all area of the city from Turkish to Australian. Of course you’ll find all big restaurant chains like Pizza Express, Zizzi’s and Nando’s to name only a few.

But if you prefer something a little different and unique to these then check our top restaurant picks.

  • Chipotle – This great little Mexican take away is located in Charing Cross. You can get a meal for as little as £6.60 which is an amazing price for the quality.
  • Cafe Emm – Cheap and cheerful British food in the area of Soho. This is a great place to go to when your parents come to see you at University.
  • Chowki - This great little indian is located in the heart of the West End of London. You will usually end up spending around £15 a head but it is well worth it for the quality of the cuisine. If you sign up for the free Chowki club on the website you will be contacted with promotions.
  • Franco Manco – You can’t go wrong with a good Italian and especially not at these prices. You could easily have a meal here for less than £10. If you can make it to Brixton to eat here then definitely do so.
  • Hummus Bros – Also located in Soho this restaurant is all about the name! If you love hummus then you will love it here. Cheap and healthy, it puts a spin on this wonderful ingredient.
  • Saigon – Located in Greenwich, this is one of the best cheap restaurants for Chinese in London. For under £10 you can’t go wrong.

Entertainment

Every city has its major attractions and entertainment hot spots. London is the capital of England and a tourist hot-spot.

There are loads of places to visit along with some great shopping hot-spots and some of the best urban parks in England.

It boasts a large amount of entertainment all year round and is one of the many reasons why the city attracts so many students from across the world!

  • Camden Town – Located in the North of London. It’s a fantastic quirky area to explore for shopping and just as good at night with plenty of live music and chilled bars. Perhaps the single biggest attraction is Camden Market, which has a vast array of shops for alternative clothing and off-the-wall knickknacks. You can pick up some amazing bargains here and it has an amazing food court area which is good to keep in mind for lunch.
  • The O2 arena – Located in the South East of London in the Millennium Dome, this is a major entertainment centre. From eating out to seeing your favourite pop artist it offers so much to any visitor with its gorgeous in door streets. However, the gigs are expensive so check your bank balance before visiting.
  • Oxford Street – If you are a fan of shopping then Oxford Street is the place to go for the latest fashion trends. It has all the largest fashion retailers on one street. If you are looking to save money then you can head to the Primark on Oxford Street, which is one of the best in the government.
  • Leicester Square – This is a great area for those looking to splash a bit of cash. There are a few eateries and in particular a Haagen Dazs restaurant. Alongside this are a good number of bars and clubs and most importantly the Odeon cinema. This huge cinema is great and on a Wednesday you get 2-for-1 with Orange especially if you get there before 5.30. You can also get a student discount with a valid NUS card.
  • Museums – There are a large number of museums in London for people interested in a range of things. The best thing is that most of them are FREE. Here are our top picks for students to visit. The London science museum has 5 floors dedicated to science and technology so there is so much to see. The Imperial War Museum offers a great day out for all you war enthusiasts out there. Last but not least is the Natural History Museum which offers a great view to the natural world and the earth.
  • Seasonal Attractions – London has a plethora of student markets. Starting in late November, it’s a great way to get in the Christmas spirit. Head over to Canary Wharf or many other locations in London for ice skating! Throughout the year there are lots of festivals in the parks. The Wireless Festival in Hyde Park is one of the best city festivals in England and has seen acts such as Jay-Z and the Ting Tings on previous occasions. For bonfire night, again head over to any local park and there is most likely going to be a display there.

Health & Fitness

You’ll have no problem keeping fit and healthy in London. There are loads of gyms which offer student discounts and trials. However the best option for students usually comes through the universities.

The University of London Union offers great prices for all students in London with 6 months costing around £125. Take a look at the union’s gym here.

If you enjoy swimming then you will love London. There are swimming pools located all over the city offering great prices.

For jogging or running there are plenty of parks and open spaces in London. Try Hyde Park, Hollands park or Greenwich park for lots of running tracks and green space.

Student Accommodation

New section! Find and review letting agents in London.

There are literally thousands of student flats and properties located in and around London. There is a huge selection in nearly all parts of the city.

From my experience, I would strongly recommend looking to live in the central part of the city as you have access to everything that you want and need on your doorstep. Not to mention the cheaper travel (because you will not be travelling from an outer zone).

For student digs, average rent can range between £80 to over £130 a week, obviously depending on location and quality of the house. Check out our guide to viewing a student house for extra tips when taking a look.

There are a lot of students houses in London so you don’t have to worry about finding somewhere to live. If you are looking for a flatshare with other people nearby then take a look at Easy Roommate.

Leave a comment



2 Responses to “London: Student City Guide”

  1. Lizzie

    21. Nov, 2013

    very outdated guide as bus fare is no longer £1.20 and £2.00 respectively. now £1.40 and £2.40.

    Reply
    • Jake Butler

      21. Nov, 2013

      Hi Lizzie,

      Thanks for letting us know. I have made the update.

      This guide was written a little while ago and as we have over 1000 pages of content on the site it is almost impossible to keep every single one up to date. This is why we are thankful for comments like yours.

      If you read near the top it actually says… “(Note: Figures quoted are correct as of June 2013).”

      Hope you continue to enjoy the site.

      Jake.

      Reply
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