A newbie’s guide to living in London for international students

Preethi Vasanon 1 March 2021
london

Thinking of moving to the UK and studying in the Big Smoke? Find out everything you need to know about living in London with this handy guide.

“Hello, it’s a pleasure to meet you”.

Living in London, you may hear this expression a lot. British friendliness can make your start in the big city a lot easier, especially if you’re not familiar with London. But that’s not the only benefit of living in London by any means.

If you’re thinking of moving to London, be sure to read this guide. We’ve got the useful information and insider tips you need to know to live like a true Londoner.

Living in London

London is divided into two large areas - Inner and Outer London. If you like the city life and have nothing against noise in the evenings, you’re better off looking for a place in Inner London.

Outer London is a lot quieter. While it might take you a bit longer to get into town, there are loads of green areas to relax in, and the neighbourhoods are much more child-friendly.

Discovering London

There’s loads to see in London. Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and the London Eye attract around 18 million visitors to the city every year. But in order to get to know the city like a local, try visiting other places. Instead of going to one of the overpriced restaurants in the tourist guide, try a Sunday roast in the local pub, or visit one of the many parks that make the city so beautiful. The London Events Calendar gives you a good overview of what’s going on in London every day, so you’ll always have something to do.

Eating and drinking in London

Whatever your budget and dietary preferences, you're sure to find the right restaurant in London. Here are some of our favourites:

The Omeara near London Bridge offers a combination of a trendy bar, fine cuisine, an exhibition space, and a stage for performers. Make sure you check out the terrace while you’re there - it offers a spectacular view of Southwark Cathedral, adding even more charm to the location.

For a quick bite, Leon, Wasabi, Itsu or M&S are the perfect places for lunch breaks on a budget.

If you’re going upmarket, Gaucho, or the Westbury Mayfair are perfect for a more sophisticated dinner. And for after work drinks, head over to Covent Garden for some great bars and pubs. 

Public transport in London

The public transport network in London is fantastic, with frequent tubes, trains, buses and even trams getting you where you need to go. On an Oyster Card, you’ll pay a maximum of £6.80 per day when travelling around the city centre, which covers tubes, buses, DLR and Overground trains. More information can be found on the TfL website.

Meeting new people in London

There’s a huge range of events, sports groups and classes to help you meet people in London and try new activities. Use sites like Meetup to find out what’s going on, and if none of the existing Meetups excite you, you can always create your own.

Finding a place to live in London

It can be tricky to find accommodation in London, especially if you don't want to share a place with several people. It becomes even harder if you’re moving from another country and can’t view the apartments in person. Consider looking for a furnished apartment; even if you have to do the viewing online, you can rest assured that the place is fully equipped and ready for your arrival. It can be expensive, so check out our tips here on living in London on a budget. 

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Preethi Vasanon 1 March 2021