As the nation’s capital, London is a large, diverse, and multicultural city that has everything a student looks for in a location.

With more universities than any other city in the country, London offers a wide range of educational opportunities and a vibrant student life. 

Whether you're here to hit the books in one of its prestigious universities or to soak up the city’s lifestyle, London promises a student experience that's second to none. Packed with opportunities to explore, learn, and grow, your time in London will be one of the most memorable chapters of your life. 

But before making a decision about studying and staying in London, check out our handy guide to help you feel more confident in your choice… 


Student life in London


London is a global academic powerhouse with over 40 higher education institutions, making it a prime destination for students worldwide. Each university has its own unique atmosphere, from the scientific excellence of Imperial College London to the creative flair of Goldsmiths, University of London. The city is home to iconic institutions like the London School of Economics (LSE), University College London (UCL), and King's College London, all offering world-class education. Other institutions include: City, University of London, Birkbeck, University of London, European School of Economics, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London Metropolitan University, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University of London, London South Bank University, Queen Mary University, Regent's University, Royal Academy of Music, Royal College of Art, Royal College of Music, Royal Veterinary College, SOAS, St George's University, The London Institute of Banking and Finance, The London School of Economics and Political Science, and the University of Westminster, to name just a few.

Beyond academics, these universities foster a diverse student community, providing an opportunity to meet people from all over the globe. The range of courses offered ensures both domestic and international students find the perfect fit for their academic and career aspirations, whether in arts, sciences, business, or technology.

Living costs

While London is an amazing place to be a student, its reputation for being expensive is well-known. As with any capital, prices tend to be higher for everything, from takeaways to taxi rides, but careful planning and budgeting can make it manageable.

Accommodation will be the largest expense for most students, aside from the cost of the course. Fortunately, Sanctuary Students offers affordable student housing in London with rent inclusive of all bills, which significantly eases financial planning. We have several locations dedicated to London students, so be sure to check with us first.

Beyond accommodation, food, transport, and leisure activities can quickly add up. For food, cooking at home is much cheaper than eating out, and local markets offer fresh produce at reasonable prices. Your student house will be close to supermarkets to pick up all your groceries and living essentials - just be sure to stick to a budget! 

The city's transport network is extensive, and investing in a Student Oyster card or a railcard will help reduce travel costs. For entertainment, students can take advantage of discounted or free events, many of which are listed on university noticeboards or websites.

Eating out

London's culinary landscape is one of its many highlights, offering students an exciting array of choices from Italian or Thai food to Puerto Rican and Vietnamese cuisine! 

The diversity in the city's food scene means you can sample cuisine from nearly every country without ever leaving London. You’ll find decent restaurants throughout the city, but Southall, Soho, Islington and anywhere along the river are top highlights. Borough Market is a must-visit for foodies, where you can sample gourmet treats from independent vendors. Chinatown, near Leicester Square, offers an array of Asian delicacies, while Brick Lane is famous for its curry houses. 

For those on a budget, street food markets like Camden Market and Boxpark Shoreditch serve delicious meals at student-friendly prices. You can also explore London's famous food trucks or "greasy spoon" cafes for an authentic English breakfast or pop into a high street supermarket for a quick, affordable bite.


As a student in London, we all know nightlife is an important factor to consider! No matter what your social life looks like, whether that’s board games in the pub or all-night boogying on the dancefloor, this city has something for everyone. 

Students seeking a vibrant nightlife will find a diverse range of options in London, from traditional pubs to world-class nightclubs. From places that offer cheesy tunes and fancy dress to venues that give you the latest hip-hop and pop. 

The Ministry of Sound and Fabric are iconic clubs renowned for their electronic music scenes. For those who enjoy live music, KOKO and O2 Academy Brixton are must-visit venues showcasing established and emerging artists. 

If you're not a clubber, the city offers plenty of laid-back alternatives. Try a themed pub in Camden or a cocktail bar in Shoreditch, where you can socialise with friends in a more relaxed atmosphere. For a cultural evening, take in a play at the West End in Soho or catch a film at one of London's many independent cinemas.


Grocery shopping as a student in London doesn't differ much from other places. Major supermarket chains have a presence throughout the city and there are various smaller stores, international markets, and 24-hour convenience shops to meet diverse needs and preferences.

London is a shopper's paradise, catering to all tastes and budgets. Oxford Street is the ultimate shopping destination, home to flagship stores for international brands. For high-end shopping, Knightsbridge and Bond Street offer luxury boutiques, including Harrods and Selfridges.

Students will also enjoy London's markets, which offer a unique shopping experience. Camden Market is known for its alternative fashion and quirky accessories, while Portobello Road Market in Notting Hill specialises in antiques and vintage clothing. For a mix of high street and boutique shopping, head to Westfield Stratford City, one of Europe's largest shopping centres.

Student accommodation

Finding the right student accommodation in London is crucial to making the most of your student experience. While the city offers various low-cost housing options, from private rentals to university halls, not everywhere offers a high standard of living.

Sanctuary Students proudly offers some of the cheapest accommodation in London for students. We provide clean, safe, and secure student accommodation that balances affordability with convenience and quality.

We have student accommodation across the city close to major universities such as SOAS, the London School of Economics, City University and many other leading institutions, making commuting easy.

Rent is reasonable and all bills are included, providing peace of mind with no hidden costs to worry about. That makes budgeting your student finances a lot less stressful! The housing is designed with students in mind, offering secure, clean, and comfortable living spaces with essential amenities. Being part of a student community also provides a support network and a social environment that makes settling into London life a lot easier!

Find out more about our student accommodation in London.

Places to visit

London is brimming with iconic landmarks and attractions that every student should experience. The historical landmarks like the Tower of London and Buckingham Palace offer a glimpse into the city's royal heritage. For art lovers, Tate Modern and the National Gallery house remarkable collections, while the Natural History Museum and Science Museum are perfect for curious minds.

For a break from the hustle and bustle, relax in one of London’s many parks like Hyde Park or Hampstead Heath. Explore the city's vibrant neighbourhoods, from the vintage shops and street art of Shoreditch to the multicultural food scene of Brixton. A ride on the London Eye offers breathtaking views of the city's skyline, and a stroll along the South Bank provides a picturesque walk alongside the River Thames.

Harry Potter fans can’t stay in London without visiting Platform 9 ¾ at King’s Cross Station, no train ticket required!

There are hundreds of other places to visit and things to see and do, it all depends on how much free time you get to explore the city during your course!


London's transport system is among the best in the world, with all sorts of public transport options which make it easy to get around. You have buses, trains, taxis and the Tube. You can also cycle or walk, or hop on a plane!

The London Underground, also known as the Tube, is the quickest way to travel, with multiple lines covering the entire city and trains that run every few minutes at peak times. Keep in mind that not all services run 24 hours though, so be sure to check if you’re planning a late-night outing. It's often complemented by buses, which provide a scenic route and run 24/7 on key routes. Taxis are also readily available, but watch out for the black cab or ‘Hackney carriage’ which are famously expensive. They probably shouldn’t be your everyday transport option, but they can be useful if you miss a bus or train. Don’t forget you also have Uber and the usual ride services too.

Cycling is a popular option, with cycle lanes and bike-sharing schemes available throughout the city. Walking is another great way to explore London's many neighbourhoods, offering a closer look at the city's architecture and hidden gems. A Student Oyster card is essential for affordable travel when living in London, offering discounted fares on buses and the Tube. It may also be worth grabbing a railcard if you plan on travelling on the train a lot as you can get a third off standard train fares.

Working as a student

Many students take on part-time work to top-up their income while studying. London offers plenty of opportunities, from retail and hospitality jobs to internships in various industries. After Brexit and the pandemic, many sectors face staff shortages, making it easier for students to find work.

Popular student jobs include working in retail shops, as a cashier in a supermarket, shelf stacker, delivery driver for an app or brick-and-mortar store, as waiting staff, museum guide, cleaner and many other jobs.

Retail and hospitality roles are common among students, offering flexible hours and opportunities to earn extra money. For those seeking industry experience, internships can provide valuable insights and connections. Universities often have career services to help students find suitable employment, and it's worth tapping into these resources where you can.

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