With over 50 universities and colleges strewn across its urban landscape, much of London's vibrancy can be attributed to its abundant student population.
The capital city is one of the world's leading financial centres, with strengths in the arts, commerce, education, entertainment, fashion, finance, healthcare, media, professional services, research and development, tourism and transport all contributing to its prominence. Over 300 languages are spoken and there are more than 50 nonindigenous communities. Something for every one of us.
London also boasts the oldest underground railway network in the world. Travelling around London has never been easier, thanks to the Oyster Card and the introduction of contactless bankcard payments. You can use either an Oyster Card or contactless payment bankcard to travel on trains and buses across the city. Paying for travel this way is cheaper and includes a maximum daily charge, like a travel card, so after a certain point you can travel for free.
As a student, you can enjoy all London has to offer thanks to a wide range of subsidised entertainment. Below is a list of suggested cheap or free things to do in London. You can also visit websites such as Time Out London and allinLondon.co.uk which have up to date deals and events listed for students.
Cheap or free things to do in London
The John Soane Museum
Free. Tuesday - Saturday 10am to 5pm.
13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London, WC2A 3BP. http://www.soane.org
Fantastic house designed by the architect and collector Sir John Soane, containing his paintings, prints and archaeological specimens from around the world, including an Egyptian sarcophagus in the basement. Highly Recommended!
The Victoria and Albert Museum
Free. 10am to 5.45pm daily.
Cromwell Road, London SW7 2RL. http://www.vam.ac.uk
Massive museum dedicated to the history of design and craft. Includes room dedicated to objects from all around the world, as well as collections of sculpture, photography, costume, and glass. Seek out the glass gallery; it’s spectacular.
The Natural History Museum
Free. 10am to 5.50pm daily.
Cromwell Road, South Kensington SW7 5BD. http://www.nhm.ac.uk
Massive museum dedicated to the history of the earth, including plants, animals, dinosaurs, geology. The great hall with its full-sized Diplodocus skeleton is a must-see.
The Science Museum
Free. 10am to 6pm daily.
Exhibition Road, South Kensington, London SW7 2DD. http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk
The third of South Kensington’s famous museums is devoted to science and technology.
The British Museum
Free. 10am to 5.30pm daily.
Great Russell Street, WC1B 3DG http://www.britishmuseum.org/
Museum dedicated to archaeology and history of civilizations world-wide. The collections from Egypt and Babylon are particularly stunning.
Free. 10am - 6pm daily.
Bankside, SE1 9TG. http://www.tate.org.uk/visit/tate-modern
Gallery of modern art in the disused Bankside Power station. They have regular large-scale installations in the massive turbine hall
The National Gallery
Free. 10am - 6pm daily.
Trafalgar square, http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk
The National Gallery houses the national collection of Western European painting from the 13th to the 19th centuries. It's on show 361 days a year, free of charge.
The National Portrait Gallery
Free. 10am - 6pm daily.
Trafalgar Square, http://www.npg.org.uk/
Created as a gallery of portraits of prominent British people, the collection includes of masters alongside a video portrait of David Beckham sleeping and artist Marc Quinn’s self-portrait sculpted in his own blood.
The National Theatre
Upper Ground, London SE1 9PX. http://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/
England’s national theatre produces a range of classic plays and new works across 3 stages. Several productions each year have hundreds of tickets available for only £15. Look for 'Travelex £15 tickets'. Also, students can by reduced price tickets for all shows on the day of the performance. Check with the theatre for details.
21 New Globe Walk, Bankside, SE1 9DT, http://www.shakespearesglobe.com
A recreation of William Shakespeare’s theatre built in its original design and near its original location. Hundreds of tickets for each performance are available for £5, but not that these tickets are standing, and are open to the weather. But if you take a raincoat, these tickets are a bargain.
One New Change
An exclusive shopping centre close to St. Paul’s Cathedral. Take the lift to the top floor and there is a free public balcony where you get a great view of the city of London and the Cathedral.
Please note that many of the free galleries and museums described here have a programme of temporary exhibitions for which entry is charged.