Studying in London can be expensive. Here are some recommendations that could help you save money in the capital city.

Love it or hate it, you can’t deny that London has almost everything you could possibly need from a city, and that’s certainly no different for students. And yes, the capital can be expensive – but it doesn’t have to be!

This student city guide will show you what London has to offer, and includes lots of tips and tricks for saving money along the way.

Where are the best places to study?

The Barbican

The Barbican Centre is Europe’s largest performing arts centre. You don’t study the arts? That’s ok – you can still visit the centre’s wonderful, split-level library which has designated study areas available on its upper level with free WiFi access.

If it’s a nice day, there’s plenty of space to sit beside the waterfront. You can take some books with you and study there, or just have a well-deserved break from studying after grabbing a coffee from Benugo.

Bishopsgate Library

Tucked between a Pizza Express and a T.M.Lewin in Liverpool Street, Bishopsgate Institute houses the Bishopsgate library, and anyone is welcome to visit – no membership needed.

Resources can’t be taken out of the library, but they’re not the reason we recommend it, anyway! The old-fashioned surroundings will put you in a studious frame of mind, and it’s definitely worth trying to nab a space under the domed skylight.


Foyles’ amazing flagship store on Charing Cross Road isn’t just a magical maze of books – it’s also a great place to sit down and do some hardcore studying (as long as you’re not hoping for silence).

There’s a café on the 5th floor, and that’s where you will find people propped up on tall stools, poring over books or tapping away on their tablet or laptop. Why not pull up a chair and become one of those people?

Where can I grab a bite without breaking the bank?


Found in Leather Lane and Gabriel’s Wharf, Pieminister’s pies have won awards – yes, these are award-winning pies! A pie and a side will set you back £7 (add £1 for an extra side), and they’re mightily filling. There’s a great selection, and if you’re vegetarian, they’ve got you covered too!

Bluez Souvlaki

Open weekdays from 11am to 9pm, Bluez offers you a taste of Greece in London. With souvlaki wraps from £4.80 and meals from £6.40, there’s a great choice of meat and veggie fillings, as well as a choice of salads. If you’re studying at our Tower Hill campus, Bluez is just a few minutes away.


This small Korean restaurant can be found in the heart of Soho, offering an amazing selection of meals under £10. From Korean friend chicken to seafood ramen, you won’t be short of options. They also serve a selection of traditional Korean teas for as little as £1.


If you’re a fan of Italian food, head to London Bridge and check out Padella, which serves a small but tasty selection of hand-rolled pastas (most of which are less than £10), as well as some interesting antipasti. Got room for pudding? Try a slice of the chocolate tart for £4.

Getting around

With tube, tram, bus, National Rail, DLR and Overground, you can get to practically anywhere you want within a reasonable amount of time. It sounds complicated, but once you’re used to it, it really is quite easy.

There are two convenient ways to get around: you can either pay using your contactless bank card, or you can buy an Oyster card. Whichever of these you prefer, you simply tap them when you enter the station or board a bus.

If you opt for the Oyster, you can either load pay as you go credit onto it or purchase a travelcard, which vary in cost depending on how long you want it to be active for and which zones you wish to include.

For those aged 18 and over, you may be eligible for an 18+ Student Oyster photocard, which would give you 30% off travelcards, and bus/tram passes. You must be living at a London address and in full-time education or on a compulsory work placement. If you have a 16-25 Railcard, this can be loaded onto the Oyster for further discount on off-peak, pay as you go fares.

For more information, visit the TFL website.


Film and theatre

London is the place to be when it comes to theatre, with many West End venues contained within a small portion of the city – this area is sometimes known as ‘Theatreland’, and covers roads such as Shaftesbury Avenue, Drury Lane and The Strand.

Whether you like all-singing, all-dancing musicals, comedy, drama, immersive theatre or small, independent productions, London has it all. Mousetrap is currently the West End’s longest running show, and is also the longest running play in the world.

There are many ways to get your hands on affordable tickets, including weekly lotteries held by the shows, last minute tickets, and an app called TodayTix. Many shows also offer tickets from as little as £10, if you’re willing to sit towards the back.

When it comes to film, Leicester Square is the place to be. It’s got several cinemas, and is the venue for many of the biggest film premieres in the country. Many of the cinemas in London over discounted student rates if you can show them a valid ID card.

Live music

Being the capital city, London has a whole host of live music venues, from large stadiums through to pubs and cafés that host open mics and live lounges.

The Olympic Stadium in Stratford has been doubling up as a music venue for a little over a year, but has hosted some of the world’s biggest names in that time, including Guns n’ Roses, Robbie Williams and AC/DC. Other big venues include Wembley Arena and the O2 Arena.

The city also hosts its fair share of music festivals every year – British Summer Time, Wireless, Lovebox and Field Day are just a few.

Sport and exercise

At risk of sounding obvious, London has so many sports and activities to choose from simply because it’s such a big city. So, whether you want to continue with a hobby you do now or try something different, London is bound to have something for you.

Get Active London is a great website to use if you want to find activities and clubs in your local area. All you have to do is enter your postcode and the kind of thing you’re interested in. Some of the more unusual activities include chess boxing, rollerskiing and bubble football.

If you’re after exercise classes, Gymbox have an amazing selection – and if you don’t want to commit to paying the membership prices (which, let’s face it, can be pretty pricey), you can opt to pay as you go and go along whenever you fancy. If you would like a membership, PureGym tend to offer good student deals.

Something different: London Underground Tour

If you live in London, you’re a little sick of standing on a crowded tube train, right? Don’t let that put you off this Insider London tour…

Learn all about the construction of the Underground network (which was done by hand!), visit an abandoned ‘ghost station’, and learn some cool and quirky facts about the city and its stations.

Interested in studying in London? Press play on the video above for a sneak peek of our Ealing study centre, or visit our website to find out more about all three Arden study centres in London.


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