Top Tips: Getting to know London

Whether you have grown up in London or are living here for the first time, there is plenty to discover and do in the capital.

We asked some of our current students for their top tips, recommendations and best kept secrets (until now)...


Best things to do for free

Money can be tight when you are on a student budget, but London has lots of things to offer which won’t cost you a penny. Our thrifty students rank their favourites:

1. Lazy days in London’s parks
2. Discovering London’s many museums
3. Scenic walks along the River Thames
4. Exploring the city’s many cycle paths
5. Soaking up culture at the captial’s art galleries
6. Checking out the view at Sky Garden
7. Stimulating the senses with a browse around Borough Market
8. Self-guided tours of London landmarks
9. Watching the street performers on London’s Southbank
10. Hanging out at the UCO Students' Union

All the parks, they are amazing on a beautiful day. The museums are also amazing. But most of all, just walk around London and effectively ‘get lost’. You get a true feel for the city and get to explore less known locations you may never have thought of going before.”

“Walking on the south side of the Thames out to the Thames Barrier and beyond (Sam Smith pub en route). Cycling along the Lea River through the new wetlands and as far north as you want to go.”

“Borough Market, picnic in the park. Have a look online – there are usually some cool mindful things that come up which turn your brainwaves into a laser show.”

“Museums and art galleries for a rainy day, Victoria Park or Hyde Park for a sunny day.”


Favourite London hidden gem

Shhh! Don’t tell anyone, but these are some of our students best-kept-secret places to visit and things to do…

“A tour of the Charterhouse – perfect if you like London history.”

Paul's Patisserie at London Bridge because the mezzanine is perfect for revision.”

“Swimming in Hampstead Heath.”

“Misato Japanese restaurant.”

“Tate Gallery viewing platform.”

“All the little temporary events going on in and around London Bridge.”


Not-to-be-missed places to visit

Our students share their favourite ‘must dos’ for London.

1. The Shard
2. Camden Town
3. River Thames at sunset
3. Tate galleries
4. Victoria & Albert Museum (particularly on a Friday night)
5. The Royal Parks
6. London markets – Camden, Spitalfields, Borough
7. Greenwich
8. China Town
9. St Paul’s Cathedral
10. Sky Garden

Do everything and anything. You’re going to be at uni for four or five years – don’t leave knowing and experiencing your surroundings.”

“Daylight music at the Union Chapel on Saturdays between 12 and 2 – great live music. Lincoln’s Inn Fields – two great small museums (the Huntarian and John Soane museums) on one square.”

Get a copy of Time Out (free) and read about new places. This city changes every five minutes.”

Best nights out in London

Whether it’s culture you’re after or dancing the night away is your thing, London has something for everyone.

The Dolphin near Aldgate East is by far the best night out. It’s a sweatbox but everyone is so friendly and the music is pure cheese.”

Late nights at Tate Modern or The Vaults venue in Waterloo rail arches – a massive venue hosting all kinds of events.”

Drink Shop Do in Kings Cross.”

Katzenjammers – nearby, reasonable beer, great music. The Roebuck pub on Great Dover Street (out the back of the UCO building) is also nice.”

Union Chapel

Victoria and Albert Museum on a Friday night.”


If you're still stuck for ideas, Time Out is a great place to look for things going on across the capital.

And don't forget our own Students' Union who organise a regular programme of events to suit a range of tastes and interest. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram for more information.

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