Student Guide to London – the city of opportunities

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London is said to be an attractive place to study, yet very different to university life elsewhere. That’s definitely a true fact, as it offers many great and special lifestyle opportunities in culture, food, nightlife and more.

You surely have to keep in mind that London is one of the most expensive cities in the world. And as a student every penny counts. But just keep your eyes open for student discounts (there are even discount apps only for students). Nightclubs, bars, lounges or pubs offering student nights during the week plus everything you desire – great music, elegant cocktails or pints of beer – are widespread everywhere around London. And if you like to be the first knowing about new bands, there is also a great contemporary and underground music scene giving newcomers a platform.

You might be afraid of expensive taxi costs to get home. But firstly, in London most places are accessible within walking distance. Secondly, you can purchase a Student Oyster Photocard (you’ll get 30% discount). And thirdly, London has 24h buses, which will get you home at any time.

After a long night out you might want to relax the next day. Or you would probably like to spend some time off your studies or exam preparations. The beautiful parks London has to offer are just perfect for that. Apparently, the most famous one is Hyde Park with its lakes, fountains, memorials and the Speakers Corner – a place where public debating is allowed. Even some events, such as Live 8, took place at Hyde Park. Other parks worth a visit are St. James Park, Regents Park or Green Park, which is close to Buckingham Palace.

If you like food, it’s fair to say that London is the best place for you. Thanks to its multi-ethnicity you find a mind-blowing variety of Chinese, Vietnamese and Indian dishes (just to name a few) apart from the usual fish’n’chips. If you do the right research, you’ll find plenty of restaurants that are affordable and serve delicate food at the same time in any part of London.

But the street food traders at the street markets are not to be sniffed at, either. It’s said that especially at Berwick Street Market, in the heart of Soho, you’ll get some of the best and cheapest street food in London.

Since London is a city with a grand historical background, a student (who obviously is always willing to expand their knowledge) has great opportunities to explore any part of the historical city they prefer. Students interested in politics should have a look at the Palace of Westminster, where many political decisions are made.

You can visit architectural masterpieces like Big Ben or St. Paul’s Cathedral. As you may know, London used to accommodate many poets. So take a look around the reproduction of Shakespeare’s Globe close to the Millennium Bridge. Or, if you’re interested in science, visit the Science Museum in South Kensington (free entry!). Also, don’t forget to visit the British Museum, as it offers free access to their learning facilities to students.

London is just the right place for the fashion-addicted. No wonder, London Fashion Week is one of the best known next to Paris’ and New York’s. Shopping areas close to the Oxford Circus tube station and Soho offer a great variety of shops which are still affordable for the student’s purse – Those who like to spend a little more on designer clothes just take one more step to Carnaby Street, which is just as close.

On the weekends, about 70 street markets come to life. The biggest indoor market is Alfies Antique Market. You’ll be able to spend hours browsing through the more than 600 stalls offering you amazing vintage clothing and 20th century design pieces. If you appreciate vintage and design pieces in general, you should also check out Camden Lock Market. It’s in the centre of Camden’s huge market and they even offer design workshops (might be a pleasant change from usual student life).

If you find yourself bored on a Sunday, there’s nothing better to do than going to Brick Lane Market. That is the place where shoes, cheap leather clothes and more awaits you.

Greenwich Market, Old Spitalfields Market and Portobello Market are the ones where you literally find everything – from clothes to furniture to food – while Portobello Market might be the most historical one dating back until the 1800s.

So no worries, even when you’re living in expensive London, you’re going to look fabulous and, by doing that, will explore the city even more.

Those interested in the more cultural London have great offers to choose from. First of all, the famous theatre district in the West End. For instance, you’ll find there Her Majesty’s Theatre, Queen’s Theatre and the Royal Court Theatre which offer a variety of plays from timeless musicals to contemporary plays. For the more experimental students, there are plenty of underground theatres as well.

As an art student or just being interested in art, you’re lucky to be in London. The National Gallery or Tate Modern give you an inspiring look on some of the world’s finest art pieces.

London is an amazing place to be as a student. You shouldn’t let this opportunity pass and experience as much as possible. This city offers something for everyone.

Monique Chambers

Monique started indulge in 2011 and has since created Indulge Me GIFT and Indulge Me FOOD and volume 1 of The Artists Directory - Malta. A marketing professional by trade, Monique's passion is to promote local talent and Malta in general. Free time is her biggest indulgence, when she can tinker in her craft room or the kitchen, or be selfish with a book, the sofa and good glass of wine (of course, wearing something beautiful and with freshly coiffed hair!)

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