Want to know the top 10 reasons why you should study in London? Well, you’re in the right place. Whether you’re looking to study in London, or you’re already studying here, we thought we’d create the ultimate student guide on what makes this city so special. You probably already know this, but in case you didn’t, London is the UK's capital city, and home to a whopping 8 million people. 382,000 of them are students. Living in London, you're surrounded by people from every imaginable background. This gives the city an incredibly diverse and cultured feel and allows you to make friends with people from completely different areas and backgrounds, which is just one of the reasons why this city is so unique.
But what exactly is on offer for students in London? And is the city just a concrete jungle with nowhere to escape (spoiler: it's not!)? We’ve put together a list of reasons why London is one of the best places to be a student, read on to find out why we think it’s so great:
1) QUALITY OF EDUCATION
This wouldn’t be the ultimate student guide to London without talking about the Universities. London has more universities than any other region or city in the UK, ranging from small campuses to some of the top-ranking universities in the world, meaning that they attract top researchers and lecturers alike, so you’ll be taught by the very best in your field of study. If you haven’t decided where in London you’d like to study, here’s a quick summary of the top 5 Universities:
UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON (UCL)
UCL specialises in a wide range of subjects, including science, engineering, management & business and medicine. It has a particularly large postgraduate population (around 53%) who enjoy its faculties and teaching hospital's central locations – the main Gower Street campus is just a short walk from Soho and Oxford Street.
IMPERIAL COLLEGE LONDON
Imperial College London is a one-of-a-kind institution in the UK, focusing solely on science, engineering, business & medicine. Offering students a prestigious business school and one of the UK’s largest medical facilities. Its history began with Prince Albert, consort of Queen Victoria, who developed his dream for an educational area that included the Royal Albert Hall, Victoria & Albert Museum, Natural History Museum and royal colleges. And to top it off, there’s plenty of green space too, as you’ll be a short walk away from two royal parks (Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens).
KING’S COLLEGE LONDON
This impressive research-led university is one of the largest and oldest colleges of the University of London. It's known for being “the most central university in London”, which makes it a hugely popular choice with international students. People travel across the world to take advantage of its reputation for delivering first-class courses in the humanities, law and the sciences. Fun fact: King's College was founded by King Henry VI in 1441, and to this day King’s continuously strives to maintain Henry’s love for education, religion, learning and research.
LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS AND POLITICAL SCIENCE (LSE)
Located close to the heart of the city in the Chancery Lane area, LSE is the UK’s only university that specialises in social sciences. Its impressive overall world ranking (44th) is even bettered by its huge international intake and its comprehensive offering of individual courses such as anthropology, politics, sociology, law and accounting.
QUEEN MARY, UNIVERSITY OF LONDON (QMUL)
QMUL founded in 1822 has gained a reputation for offering excellent medicine and dentistry courses at St. Barts Hospital and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry; together with a wide range of other subjects. And the university’s main Mile End campus provides unbeatable access to the trendy streets of East London.
For a full list of London Universities, check out all 90 Universities in London
With approximately 1.35 million people who speak English in the world, and it being the business language of many large companies, being fluent in English can open a lot of doors in the world of employment. Luckily, living and studying somewhere is one of the best ways to become fluent in a foreign language, so if you can team your degree with an excellent level of both written and spoken English, then you’re already ahead of the game. And if you’re looking to add more languages to your repertoire, fear not. There are plenty of evening classes available for you to sign up to, plus you’ll have the opportunity to be able to test yourself whilst practising with uni friends, as London is such a richly diverse city.
London is one of the most diverse cities on earth meaning it’s likely you’ll make friends from countries all around the world, who will come from many different and interesting backgrounds. This means that you not only learn about British culture whilst studying here, but also lots of other amazing cultures. Such as Chinese New Year, Diwali festival, Eid Festival of light, Holi festival, London Pride and so much more. So when you graduate and go travelling or work somewhere else in the world, you’ll be much more culturally aware.
4) CAREER PROSPECTS
Twice as many graduates choose to pursue a career in London. As it’s home to many of the largest graduate employers, with over 100 of Europe’s 500 largest companies headquartered in London. London’s also renowned for its huge networking fairs, apprenticeships schemes and mentorships, so you’ll have plenty of options to choose from and endless opportunities to land your dream job.
Being at a university in London is not like being at a campus university where you see the same people and go to the same places all the time, which can get a little boring and claustrophobic after a while. Living and studying in a big city like London brings with it a much greater sense of independence, and enables you to grow much more as a young person.
London’s transport network is one of the best and most reliable in the world, making all parts of London very accessible. You’ll have access to the world-famous London Underground network (the Tube), as well as the DLR line (an automated light railway), trams, the London Overground, buses, boats, countless National Rail services and even a cable car – spoilt for choice. We suggest downloading the City Mapper app, you'll be able to find out the best routes and real-time journey updates for getting around the capital. It’s almost too easy to get from home to coffee shops to lectures to restaurants to bars to nightclubs to home to lectures… you get the idea. And if you fancy leaving the UK for a cheeky little city break, you can hop onto the Eurostar at Kings Cross St Pancras station (home to Harry Potter’s platform 9 ¾) and visit some of the best European cities such as Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam.
7) LONDON STUDENT ACCOMMODATION
Moving to London is a big decision, but knowing where to stay in London is just as important. And student housing is a major part of this experience. You need to make sure you find the right place, that works within your budget, and will directly benefit your studies (and your social life). Because of the city’s high standard of living, London has some of the highest quality accommodation available to students. This means that it’s easy to find the perfect home from home.
Here's our top tips and suggestions for where you can find the perfect student home in London:
Central London and the West End are excellent spots if you love the thrill and rush of city living. There’s always a buzz in the air, thousands of trendy bars, clubs and restaurants. In Central London, you’ll be surrounded by iconic landmarks and countless tourist attractions including Buckingham Palace, Piccadilly Circus, Hyde Park, Oxford Street, Theatreland, Soho and more. Plus if you’re a theatre fanatic, you’ll be spoilt for choice with the huge variety of shows on offer every day of the week!
The capital’s East End is a very popular location for London students, boasting a mixture of the old and the new. Expect traditional cosy pubs, modern restaurants, trendy bars and fashion boutiques. No two streets in East London are the same - best known for its music scene, vintage shops, busy nightlife, excellent coffee shops and unique eating experience.
From the tranquil banks of the Regents Canal and quaint Notting Hill to the hustle and bustle of Westfield shopping centre and the iconic West End, West London is the perfect place for student living. Stroll along the picturesque canals of West London or treat yourself at Portobello Road antique market – West London is full of vibrant areas, green spaces and cultural attractions.
South of the River Thames is renowned for its combination of rural and urban worlds featuring stunning parks, street food, festival pop-ups and markets, giving different flavours all year round. From the leafy corners of Greenwich to the always-heaving Borough, make the most of transport links across the city with various underground, overground and DLR options for you to choose from.
North London is one of the capital’s hippest areas and a popular destination for shopping, quirky bars and restaurants, plus renowned theatres and music venues. Being close to the heart of London and King’s Cross St. Pancras station means you’ll be ideally placed for connections across the city, to your university and for trips to Europe via the Eurostar.
For more info on finding out the right area for you, click here
London is so rich in History and it’s all fascinating if we say so ourselves. London’s history dates back to the Romans and is filled with many historical sites, from monuments, museums and royal palaces. You could head to one of the many museums but for a more immersive experience, the London Dungeons really gives you an insight into life in historic London. It’s also excellent around Halloween time as there are scary fright nights and lock-ins – if you get scared easily, we did warn you! Or hop onto one of London’s best-known bus tours and embark on an adventure across the whole of London. Many student accommodation providers will arrange a number of tours for you, so you can become familiar with your new home and be a pro tour guide when your friends and family come to visit.
There are so many places with great shops in London but everything can normally be found on or near Oxford Street. With over 300 shops, 4 underground stations and flagship stores for numerous companies. Oxford Street is arguably the latest shopping district in existence with high street brands, top designers and large department stores such as Harrods, Selfridges, Liberty’s, H&M and the largest Primark in the world, you’ll always find what you’re looking for. If you prefer big shopping centres there’s also Westfield in Shepherds Bush and Stratford. If you’re looking to find some unique collectables and vintage treasures, we’d highly recommend exploring London’s famously known street markets, our favourites are Borough, Portobello and Spitalfields markets.
10) RESTAURANTS & PUBS
There are over 14,000 restaurants in London, 66 of which have at least one Michelin star. With amazing and sometimes crazy pop-up restaurants too, there is such a broad range of exciting places to choose from. We recommend picking one great place once or twice a month, taking some friends and making a night of it. And if you’re on the hunt for a cosy, cute, rustic pub – you’re in for a treat. Most people who live in London go to a pub at least once a week or more. They have a homely feel to them, often with big fireplaces, cosy sofas and booths, and lots of wooden beams. Whether you’re craving delicious traditional food or want to have a few drinks with friends, a good pub will never disappoint you. The other good news is that there are hundreds of them across town so there will always be one when you need it.
Since there’s so much choice, we thought we’d recommend our top 3 places to visit:
MR FOGG’S TAVERN, LEICESTER SQUARE
Situated in the heart of Westend, on the corner of St Martins Lane, you’ll find the wonderful Mr Foggs Tavern. At first glance, you’ll be stunned by their stunning floral display, but as soon as you walk through the door, you’ll be transported back to the Victorian era (1870). With its wood panelling and its array of antiques and artefacts dotted all over the wall. It’s a truly unique bar, with a true sense of adventure. Serving exquisitely crafted cocktails, with a rare collection of spirits influenced by Phileas’s Fogg’s adventures – inspired by Jules Verne’s novel ‘Around the world in 80 days'.
DUCK & WAFFLE
Duck and Waffle prides itself on being the highest 24/7 restaurant in London. Located on the 40th floor and with floor-to-ceiling windows, brunch in the city will be the highlight of your week. It’s served Saturdays & Sundays 9 am – 4 pm and the menu includes a snacks section with the likes of BBQ-spiced crispy pig ears, eggs - Shaksuka or Ox Cheek Benedict among others, and delights such as the eponymous Duck and Waffle – crispy leg confit, fried duck egg and mustard maple syrup.
THE BREAKFAST CLUB, LONDON BRIDGE
The Breakfast Club have restaurants dotted around London, but our favourite is the site on London Bridge. They claim to be ‘well known for our banging brunches’ and we agree they are just that. They have a selection of ‘Club Classics’ which are served all day and our favourites are the Breakfast Burrito, Chorizo Hash or Reggie the Veggie.
For the ultimate guide, visit London food and drink guide
We know student life can seem overwhelming at the best of times, let alone in one of the world’s busiest cities. But it’s also one of the greatest cities with endless opportunities, so make the most of your time in London.
MORE FROM OUR CHAPTER COMMUNITY
Our Favourite Spots in London
Make the most out of living in this wonderful city. We’ve made a list of some of our favourite things to do and places to visit in London.Read more
5 ways to style your student room
Typically, uni rooms can look a little bland, but that can soon be rectified with some decorative bits to make it cosy & feel like home. Here are our 5 ways you can style your uni room.Read more