Student Life in London: The Ultimate Handbook

Student Life in London: The Ultimate Handbook

Uploaded on
Sep 3, 2022
Last updated on
Mar 26, 2023
Uploaded on
Sep 3, 2022
Last updated on
Mar 26, 2023
London student handbook
Welcome to London Living

Have you ever loved a city so much that you never wanted to leave? Have you ever been so enamoured by its charm that you’d do anything to stay? Upset about being forced to leave London, Adele wrote her first ever single, Hometown Glory, in a desperate attempt to show her mother the love she had for her home. That’s the kind of hold that the city has on people. Once you’ve had a taste of life in London, you’ll never want to leave.

London is one of the liveliest cities in the world, with never a dull moment. The city has so much to offer to its residents that it's hard to know where to begin. We’ve carefully curated a list of everything you need to know about student life in Lonon to make your time in the city unforgettable. If you want to know how to make the most of your time in London, just keep on reading! 

Student Travel in London

The city has one of the best transport networks in the world, making student life in London all the more convenient. The London Oyster card is a travel card that students can purchase, which can be used to travel around the city by subway or bus. Students 18 years old and older can purchase the 18+ Student Oyster photocard, which they can use on public transport for discounted travel prices. With a student Oyster card, students can save up to 30% on travelling while experiencing student life in London.

1. London Underground 

The London Underground is the oldest underground railway network in the world, having been in operation since 1863, and is famous worldwide for being well connected. With over 250 stations and 11 different metro lines, the underground is the fastest and most convenient way for students to travel around the city. 

2. Buses & Taxis

Transport for London or TfL is the official transport provider for the city. London has over 500 TfL-sponsored bus routes and approximately 900 bus stops. The underground and buses are both great transport options for students, but during the cold London winters or on some of the rainier days, students can also choose to ride in one of London’s famous black cabs. These black taxis, or Hackney carriages, can be seen driving all over the city and are great for shorter distances. The tube would be a better option for longer journeys as cabs can get quite expensive. 

Cost of Living in London

Living in a city like London can get expensive very fast and so budgeting is a very important tool that students living there can use to ensure they spend money wisely and save as much as they can. The cost of living in London is around £1,500 per month. Here are the costs of some basic things that students will need to spend money on. 

1. Food: £100-£150/week

2. Gas and electricity: £50-£70/week 

3. Internet & mobile phone: £30-£50/week  

4. Dinner at a restaurant: £50-£150/week 

5. Laundry: £25-£40/week  

6. Stationery and Textbooks: £20-£30/week 

7. Clothing: £50-£75/month 

8. Travel (buses, trams, and trains): £90-£150/month

Where to Live in London

London is a massive city, and so it may get difficult for students to choose the right and safe places to live in London. The area a student lives in is a very big factor, so its important to choose it carefully. Here are some of the best places to live in London:

1. Central London
Central London is the city centre and is a fast and busy environments for students. There are many things for students to do in central London and is very popular with students. Here you can find accommodations like :  Mannequin House, iQ Sterling Court and iQ The Arcade

2. Spitalfields
Spitalfields is a district in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets in the East End. This locality is very well connected to a lot of other areas in the city and is also home to a large artistic community. Some of the student accommodations in Spitalfields are : Spitalfields Residence-Go Brianya, Chapter Aldgate, and Urbanest Tower Bridge.

3. Stratford
Stratford is very popular with sports lovers. This is an amazing place to live for students and they can find comfortable and affordable student housing like Stratford ONE, Londonist Stratford One and Emily Bowes Court.

4. Richmond
Richmond has a beautiful park and riverside area and is just a little away from the city centre. This attracts a lot of students to move here in the student accommodations like  The Cube Ealing, The Lyra and IQ Tufnell House  .

5. Shoreditch
Shoreditch is preferred with students who want a more peaceful area to live in that is also cole to universities. The student housing options available here are Harrington Housing Central London, Blithehale Court and IQ Shoreditch.

Best Universities in London 

London is a hub of top-notch education, and students from all over the world come to here to study at some of the best universities in London. With cutting-edge technology, amazing faculty and the best quality of education it is no surprise that it is the first choice of a huge number of students. Here are some of the best universities in London: 

  1. London Film School 
  2. King’s College 
  3. BPP University 
  4. Queen Mary University (Lincoln's Inn Fields Campus) 
  5. BPP University London (Holborn) 
  6. Kaplan International English (London Covent Garden) 
  7. The University of Law
  8. London School of Economics and Political Science
  9. Imperial College London

Also Check out this blog on the best neighbourhoods in London.

Best thrift stores in London

College is the perfect time for students to experiment with new dressing styles and find one that works for them. Clothes and accessories are a big part of your identity, but students don’t always have the luxury of picking out new clothes for themselves every week. Thrift stores are the perfect places for students who love to shop but don’t want to go broke after one evening out shopping. London has some of the best thrift shops in the UK and is a big part of student life in London. 

  • Beyond Retro, Soho
  • Rokit, Camden
  • Oxfam, Kentish Town
  • East End Thrift Store
  • Annie's Vintage Clothes

Best restaurants in London for students

Some people eat to live, and others live to eat. If you fall into the latter category, then London has a host of amazing dishes and the best restaurants in London for you to try. Student life in London would be incomplete without trying some of the UK’s most iconic dishes. Here is a list of food items you definitely have to try while you’re studying in London.

  • Fish and Chips: No matter where you are in London, you will definitely find a place that sells you fish & chips. The dish is pretty self-explanatory - deep-fried fish with potato chips on the side. A staple of the UK, you cannot visit London without trying fish & chips. Pro-tip: make sure to salt your food before tasting it because many places serve the dish unsalted! 
  • Sunday Roast: A typical Sunday roast dinner in the UK consists of roasted meat of your choice, stuffing, vegetables, Yorkshire pudding and roast potatoes, all served with a delicious gravy that pulls the whole dish together. Your student life in London would be incomplete without trying these. 
  • Bangers and mash: Sausages and mashed potatoes, a pub favourite for the English. The dish is usually served with some vegetables and gravy. It is also relatively simple to make for any students looking for new recipes to try out in the kitchen.  
  • English Breakfast: The iconic, traditional English breakfast is a feast fit for kings with eggs, sausages, toast, baked beans, tomatoes and ham. Many college students have a habit of skipping breakfast, but with a spread like this, who wouldn't be hungry in the morning?
  • Chicken Tikka Masala: This is one of the most popular dishes in the UK and is surprisingly not actually Indian. While the name and flavours of the dish seem Indian, the dish was actually created on British soil and is incredibly in demand all over the UK. 

Kick off your student life in London with one of these delicious dishes to ease your tastebuds into their new home. Once you’ve had time to settle into the city, there are many different restaurants you must try.  Also visit some of the best parks in London after a nice meal.

Here is a list of some of the best student eat-outs to try during your student life in London. 

1. Camden Market: The market in Camden town is the best outdoor market in the city. You will find dozens of tiny stalls selling food, crafts, and even live music performances. The food at Camden Market is always delicious and affordable. 

2. Pizza Union: This restaurant has some of the best pizzas in the city and is a popular student favourite. The pizzas are thin and fire-baked and come with a range of toppings to choose from. There are multiple outlets around the city where students can go to taste the food.  

3. Cabana the O2: Cabana serves Brazilian food and is located at the O2 arena in London. If you’re ever at the O2 for a concert or event, pop over to the Cabana for a quick bite to eat. The restaurant also offers discounts to its students. 

4. The Japanese Canteen: The Japanese Canteen is the perfect destination for anyone who enjoys Japanese food. The affordable restaurant serves sushi, ramen, katsu curry, mochi, teriyaki chicken, and dozens of other authentic Japanese dishes. 

Instagrammable Places in London

London is a beautiful, picturesque city with many scenic locations for students to visit. To document your student life in London, visit some of these locations and fill your friends back home with envy.

  1. British Museum: The British Museum is home to many great exhibits that make for great pictures. What makes it even better is that the museum is entirely free to enter. 
  2. Notting Hill: Popularized by the Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant film of the same name, this area is a great place for students to take pictures. 
  3. Piccadilly Circus: If you want to capture the hustle and bustle of the city, Piccadilly Circus is the place to do it. The area is always lively and full of people. 
  4. Tower Bridge: Student life in London is incomplete without visiting the city’s iconic Tower bridge. If you want a photo that screams “London,” this is the place to take it. 

Student discounts in London

Apart from the Oyster card, there are plenty of other avenues for students to avail of discounts in the city. Many retail locations provide student discounts making student life in London all the more convenient and budget-friendly. 

1. Local Attractions: The Tower London, London Zoo, and London eye all have discounted ticket prices for students so they can enjoy these iconic sites without needing to spend too much money. To avail of student discounts at these locations, one must carry their student id with them at all times. 

2. Movie Theatres: Some movie theatres offer student discounts to their patrons. Curzon, Everyman and ODEN are three popular cinemas where students can go to watch films at a discounted price. 

3. Shopping: Many retail stores offer student discounts on clothes. ASOS has a large online store where students can find many discounts on different items. UniDays is a popular student website that offers students discounts at many stores to make your student life in London more affordable. 

Film locations in London

London is an exciting place and a very famous city, so it's no surprise to learn that countless movies have been filmed in the area. Who knows? You may even see a couple of movie shoots while you experience your student life in London.

1. Tower of London: The climactic third act of Spiderman Far from Home takes place in the Tower of London.  

2. Baker Street: 221B Bakers Street sound familiar to you? You can find Sherlock Holmes’ address as you stroll through London on your day off. 

3. Kings Cross Station: Die-hard Potterheads will remember the significance King’s Cross station holds in the books and movies in the Deathly Hallows. 

4. The London Underground: Countless films have featured London’s underground system. Two famous films from action franchises - the Bourne Ultimatum and Skyfall- feature chases through the tubes.  

Tips for Living in London

Living in London may seem like a dream but can sometimes be difficult to navigate for students who have just moved there. London is fast and everchanging and so to help, here are some tips for living in London:

1. Learn to cook
Living in London as a student , eating outside everyday can get very expensive very fast so cooking at home can help save up but the student life in London is fun and exciting so go out once in a while also.

2. Choose bars and Clubs with free entry
When you do go out to explore Londons amazing nightlife be sure to go to the bars and clubs that offer free entry. Living in London as a student you will already be spending enough money on the transport and the drinks inside. 

3. Get a Job
This may sound boring and obvious but getting a job is a must for students living in London.The bills pile up pretty fast and this will help you keep up. It will also help you socialize. Here are some part time jobs in London.


From travel to leisure, that was a quick glance at everything you need to know when starting your student life in London. Food, shopping and sightseeing are all an important part of your student experience in the city. You never know how long you’ll get in a city like London, so make the most of it while you can!