London A City Guide written by a student who lives and studies here

London: Student Write Up

Ettie A. Holland

What can I say about London? It’s all encompassing. It’s chaotic. It’s beautiful. It’s also one of the most popular cities in the world for students, and with good reason.

One of the biggest advantages to being a student in London is the network you’ll build. The old adage does still hold true – that it’s not what you know, it’s who you know – and London is the place to meet and forge connections with the influencers of the future, whether you want to be a politician or an artist. At the same time, London is home to some of the biggest and most prestigious graduate employers – and while proximity isn’t everything, it definitely helps.

Critics will tell you London is expensive – and it is. But I’ve lived in London for the past three years and I promise, it’s worth it. You can’t put a price on the best years of your life and, besides, there’s no shortage of student discounts so you can keep costs down if you keep your eyes open.

Some of the best nights are weekday student nights – everyone has their own favourites but Inferno’s in Clapham is widely thought to be one of the best (Or maybe I’m biased – I’m a South Londoner). It’s hard to recommend specific places because London is just so huge. Whether you fancy listening to jazz on a rooftop terrace in Brixton or downing Jaegerbombs from sticky bars in Soho – London really does offer it all.

The food is as diverse as the nightlife. London is known as a thriving cultural metropolis; one of the major advantages to being a student in London is that you genuinely are spoilt for choice. One of my favourite haunts is ‘Curry Lane’ – Brick Lane, where you’ll find endless authentic curry houses. Most of them are BYOB too so it’s a really cheap way to have a meal out.

Soho is one of London’s real culture hubs – and would likely be high on most London students’ ‘Favourite Places’ list. Expect to find tiny cafes tucked away behind even tinier bookshops, punks walking arm in arm with the girl next door. Plus Chinatown is amazing – the streets lined with Chinese all you can eat buffets and dumpling stands selling five dumplings for a pound.

One of the best things about being a student in London is that there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re arty or a science-buff, into your rugby or your yoga, shy and musical, or loud and love to party – you’ll find your people in London. You can spend your weekends shopping for aged Camembert and vintage cider in Borough market or listening to underground rock and the buzz of a tattoo needle in Camden. You could be eating a picnic and watching the world go by in Victoria Park, or walking round the Tate Modern admiring Dali.

The best advice I can give you as a student in London is to say yes to everything! Go to that restaurant that only serves steak and booze. Go to the opening of that blues bar. Check out that new gallery, that performance art group, that demonstration. Whatever you’re into and whoever you are, London offers unparalleled opportunities to get involved, to connect, to explore new things – and in my mind, that’s what sets it apart from anywhere else in the world. 

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