Things to do and see
One of the best things about living in London is just how much there is for you to do and see.
There's a reason why people come from all over the world to visit London – and the city thrives on the diversity that this brings. The streets are packed with restaurants, pubs, comedy and music venues, theatres, sporting arenas, historical and cultural attractions and so much more. Here is a small selection of what's available.
Don't forget to check out Imperial College Union's enormous list of over 350 clubs and societies to meet some like-minded friends to go with you!
With over 40 theatres in the West End alone, plus a huge choice of fringe venues, London is world famous for its theatre. If you're worried that the price of a ticket will blow your student budget, Time Out has some top tips for hunting down a theatre bargain.
If you're a fan of the cinema you’ll be spoilt for choice: with close to 800, London is home to over a fifth of all of the UK’s screens. Imperial College Union also runs its own cinema, with discounts available for students.
The diversity of London's music scene is reflected in its huge range of music venues, from iconic places like the the Roundhouse in Camden to the thousands of lesser-known pubs and clubs hosting soon-to-be-famous bands. The Royal Albert Hall, Imperial's neighbour and the location of our graduation ceremonies, hosts a wide range of musical events, from huge pop and rock gigs to classical concerts and the world famous Proms where tickets are available for as little as £6 on the day.
With over 300 languages spoken across the city, London is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world. It is home to some of the world's greatest museums and art galleries, three of which are right on Imperial's doorstep (the V&A, the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum).
Have a look at Discover South Kensington's website for information on exhibitions and events taking place near the College. And don't forget Imperial's annual Festival, an interactive weekend dedicated to sharing the best science and arts we have on offer!
But don't let the excitement of London stop you venturing further afield – London has really good transport links, making it easy to do a day trip to see such famous sites as Stonehenge, the Roman Baths in Bath, and Warwick Castle, built in 1068.
London is home to a lots of sporting activities, so whatever it is you are interested in, there are plenty of opportunities to take part or support your favourite team. Put Wimbledon on your list, and make sure you check out Wembley, the Oval cricket ground and Twickenham. The city is also home to a number of premiership football clubs.
Imperial's sports centre Ethos regularly plays host to professional sports teams, recently including the London Lions basketball team and the New Zealand All Blacks rugby team. You can follow in their footsteps for free throughout your time here, though a one-off fitness orientation fee applies (£40 in 2017–18) before you can use our high-spec gym equipment.
The Union offers a range of sports clubs spanning both modern and traditional sports as well as over 10 different martial arts.
From a curry lovers’ pilgrimage to Brick Lane to the quirky supper club scene, London's cultural diversity comes alive in its huge choice of eateries. Your student budget will no doubt welcome the abundance of discounts in the well-known chains, but in a city where street food from around the world thrives, enjoying new food experiences doesn’t necessarily mean blowing your budget. And it’s not just street vendors that will tempt you: the city’s huge choice of pop-up restaurants means it’s easy to be adventurous.
London is full of pubs, with some dating back to the 16th and 17th century – a reminder of a tradition which is regarded as quintessentially British. The clubbing scene meanwhile is constantly changing to reflect the latest trends, with warehouse venues, private members clubs, weekend festivals and pop-up parties just some of the options.
In London, shopping can be classed as a cultural activity as the city is full of famous shopping streets and markets.
If you don't mind braving the crowds then Regent Street and Oxford Street are the place to go to find the major high street shops in one place, while New Bond Street and Knightsbridge are home to some of the city's more exclusive shops – worth a visit, even if it's just for a bit of window shopping.
Knightsbridge is also where you'll find one of the world's most famous shops – Harrods (pictured right), which is just a short walk from our South Kensington Campus.
If you consider yourself more of a quirky or vintage shopper then why not give Covent Garden or Soho a try?
And don't forget the city's many markets, such as Brick Lane, Camden and Petticoat Lane.