London Guide For Students

20 Nov 2023 - Category: Blog /
london students guide

Many people step into the British way of life to pursue an undergraduate or postgraduate degree and hopefully, get a good job in the UK at some point.

From fully funded scholarships to a cultural rich experience, the UK has sustained its position as one of the top choices of international students for studies and beyond.

International students choose London because of the city's vibrancy and diversity. However, newcomers may feel overwhelmed by the city's layout..and the London Tube Map - O dear!.

In this blog, we will cover everything for students; from where to reside to how to get a bank account and cope with bureaucracy in London.

So, if you are a student finding your way to London, let’s make your world smaller and hopefully, easier to navigate!.


The best places in London for students

Residence is the main aspect a student considers when moving for undergraduate or postgraduate programs in the UK.

Picking the right area to live in is essential as it brings a lot of ease. Most people prefer to live near the train and bus stations in the UK for easier access to London underground train and tube stations. However, such areas come with their additional costs in terms of rent etc.

Some well-liked residential areas amongst students are listed below:

  • Bloomsbury: It is a central and thriving student center because it is home to University College London and the British Museum making commuting easier for the students reducing the distance of the city.
  • Shoreditch: With its well-known artistic and creative atmosphere, is an excellent choice for students thinking about majoring in art, design, or fashion due to its short distance to a number of universities such as London College of Fashion, London Metropolitan University and City University, UK.
  • Camden: Markets and a thriving live music scene have made Camden a popular destination for young people.
  • Notting Hill: This neighborhood is known for its vibrant streets and the yearly Notting Hill Carnival. Plus if you look up ‘Best things to do in Notting Hill’, you will find gems like Portobello Road Market, Graffik Gallery, Japanese Gardens and The Notting Hill Bookshop.
  • Bethnal Green: It is a much cheaper alternative with convenient transportation to the heart of London. It is in the center of London making it easier for students to travel from one place to the other.
  • The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park: Mainly known as a sporting complex and public park in Stratford, is also close to various universities making it an ideal spot for students in the UK.

Located in the heart of East London, this area has gained immense popularity due to its geographical benefits for students studying in universities such as Loughborough University, Queen Mary University, Staffordshire University and more

Rental Apartments

It's not always easy to find a suitable apartment to rent in London. To find an apartment in London you need to have proper know-how of the city.

However, the following are some suggestions to consider while looking for an apartment:

  • Budget: Plan out your finances and be honest with yourself about what you can afford because this is what will help you survive in London. If you’re making the ultimate checklist before moving to the UK, budget needs to be one of the top 5.
  • You can find some of the best property apps to find your next home in the UK. Use apps and websites such as Zoopla, Openmarket, Rightmove, Homeviews, SpareRoom, Rightmove UK and Gumtree. Ratings and testimonials are a great way to get a sense of a property and meet future roommates or landlords.
  • Tenancy Agreement: Read and fully comprehend your lease. Your tenancy rights and obligations should be spelled out. You should expect to pay a deposit equal to one month's rent as a security measure.
  • Bills: Determine which bills (such as utilities and council tax) are included in your rent and which must be paid separately.

Coping with Red Tape

You will have to deal with a few bureaucratic hoops when you arrive in London.

First things first: Check that your visa and immigration paperwork are in order before you travel.

If you plan on being a student for longer than six months, you should register with the National Health Service (NHS) to be considered for free healthcare.

You must make an appointment with a primary care physician in your area before you can use these facilities.

Once you reach the UK as a student, you will need a BRP also known as Biometric Residence Permit usually collected from a post office nearest to your residence.

Wondering how I get a Biometric Residence Permit? The good news is, you qualify for this card when you apply to a university in the UK because you automatically apply for an extended stay in the UK.

Bank Accounts For Students

It is a crucial factor to open a bank account in London. But with proper guidance, you can get the right procedure. So, read on for further explanation.

  • Student ID and Enrollment: Enroll in classes and get a student ID card to take advantage of the many discounts offered to enrolled students.
  • Council Tax: Proof of full-time student status may be required to avoid paying council tax.

Opening a bank account for students: Step by step guide

You should organize your funds by opening a bank account in London. Luckily, many universities handhold your way through the process along with the banks on their panel.

Here's what you should do:

  • Pick a Bank: Investigate and compare the services each bank provides for students. Some of the best banks in the UK for international students include HSBC, Barclays, Natwest and Santander. These banks are the most well-liked options among students due to affordable fees.
  • Required Documents: A passport, evidence of student status (such as an acceptance letter), evidence of residency (such as a tenancy agreement), and possibly a letter from your school along with your BRP.
  • Make an Appointment: Many financial institutions need you to schedule an appointment before opening an account. Typically, this can be done via the phone or the Internet. Your university may also help you by calling bank representatives over to the campus. Good idea, to speak to your course coordinator or the admissions office about this.
  • Attend the Appointment: Bring all required paperwork with you to the scheduled meeting. The bank staff will walk you through opening an account.
  • Student Accounts: Student accounts typically have perks like an interest-free overdraft, which can be useful for keeping track of spending while in school.
  • Internet Banking: Once your account has been opened, you will have access to Internet banking services that will streamline your financial management and bill payment.


London is a vibrant and friendly city that welcomes students from all around the world.

Find a suitable neighborhood, learn how to survive in London, deal with bureaucratic issues, and open a bank account so that you can manage your money with ease in this busy city.

You can make the most of your time as a student in London by being well-prepared and keeping an optimistic outlook on the future.

Send Money to your loved ones from the UK

In the past, if you wanted to transfer money, you had to go to a bank, credit union, or other financial organization.

These days, the Small World Money Transfer App is one of the most convenient ways for Londoners, especially for international students enrolled in undergraduate and postgraduate programs in the UK and working part-time.

Send money to loved ones or split a cheque with friends easily with the Small World Money Transfer App in just a few taps.

Making reimbursing and receiving payments faster, easier, better for you!

Download the app now and sign up today!

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