London is the third most-visited city in the world, but our lucky students get to live here and can call themselves ‘Londoners’, if only for a short while! Here are our top ten tips for living in the capital.
1. Do these 101 things
I challenge you to get bored in London. It’s just not possible! If you are ever stuck for something to do, refer back to this list of 101 things to do in London – come rain or shine there is something for every day. Well, 101 days…
2. Take advantage of free culture
London is packed with free museums and attractions so make sure you get your fill while you are here. Check out the Time Out website or our five of the best London museums you didn’t know existed article for free things to do.
3. Don’t stick to the obvious tourist sights
Yes, you should visit Big Ben and Covent Garden, but also make the time to go further afield – eat jerk chicken in Brixton, buy flowers at Columbia Road flower market, and take a dip in Tooting Bec Lido. Check out this Buzzfeed article about alternative London.
4. Get to grips with the London transport system
London has an extensive network of trains, tubes, buses and even trams. It can seem confusing at first but soon you’ll know it like the back of your hand (maybe). Download the Citymapper and National Rail apps and always check the Transport for London (TfL) website for updates.
5. Learn the Tube etiquette
If you are going to pass as a real Londoner you need to learn the etiquette of the transport system. We take it very seriously and TfL even have a campaign dedicated to it:
- Stand on the right side of escalators, walk on the left.
- Let all passengers leave the carriage before getting on.
- Have your Oyster card ready when you enter and exit a station.
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6. Buy an Oyster card
Purchase an Oyster Card for a £5 deposit, refundable when you leave. This will be your key to transport around the city. It is accepted on all public transport (even Thames River BOATS!) and can be topped up at tube stations. If you’re in London long enough, students can apply for an 18+ Student Oyster Card for 30% off of travel cards, for a £20 fee. Alternatively, you can use your contactless bank card, or even your smartphone – if you’re using pay-as-you-go, this may be cheaper than an Oyster!.
7. Buy an umbrella!
We would love to say it will be sunny 24/7 but unfortunately this is England, so it is almost certainly going to rain. A sturdy umbrella is a solid investment that should stay in your bag even if it’s forecast blue skies (never trust the weatherman).
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8. Find your nearest park
London is the greenest capital in Europe with 47% of our city made up of green space; find your closest park or common for when you need to escape the bright lights of London. Why not order a hamper and have a posh picnic while you’re at it?
9. Don’t stay in London!
London is the gateway to Europe. You can hop on a train to Paris or Brussels, or take a plane to each corner of the world. Make the most of being in this well-connected city and tick some countries off your bucket list.
10. Appreciate it
I realise this may contradict the previous point, but London is like nowhere else in the world so appreciate it while you are here. Time flies when you are having fun so don’t be tempted to stay in your room and watch Netflix, even if it is pouring with rain. Get out and explore!