Studying abroad can be an incredibly exciting journey, especially in the city of London, England. London is home to a plethora of history, culture, and entertainment. It is also home to several highly-regarded academic institutions, such as UCL, Westminster, LSE, and Kings College.
As part of your preparation for your upcoming student stay, you’re probably researching what London offers, including in the student housing department. Of course, researching is one of the most essential parts of the study abroad process. For a quick view of student housing options, you can check out Amber, which shows various options in London and many other cities.
Additionally, you’re in luck because we put together the guide below to cover virtually everything you need to know about studying abroad in London.
Continue reading below as we discuss London’s opportunities, activities, and student housing options.
Factors to Consider for Student Housing in London
Fortunately, the options for student housing in London are plentiful since it is such a large city. London is also a well-known destination for international visitors and students, so they focus on offering ample housing. However, before we jump right into the options, there are some factors to consider first, such as:
- Budget: Determine your monthly housing budget, including all potential costs such as rent, utilities, etc.
- Location: Explore different parts of London, including renowned areas that may come with significant price tags. If you find highly expensive areas, consider checking out other regions. Ensure the area has all the local services you desire, such as grocery stores, bookstores, and other vendors.
- Transportation: Ensure you have a convenient way to reach your school. This might involve finding a place close to your school or somewhere near public transportation.
- Residents: Consider who you will be living with. As a student, you likely won’t be living alone unless you cover the cost of your own rental. Be honest with yourself and choose carefully, as some people may be great friends for activities but not necessarily great roommates or housemates.
- Amenities: Consider must-have features for your housing, such as a private bathroom, kitchen capabilities, gym facilities, parking availability, etc. These amenities can significantly impact your quality of living, but be mindful not to go over budget for things that are merely nice to have.
For reference, check out options for student housing in London on Amber to see a map of various locations and available housing in the area.
Types of Student Housing London Has to Offer
Now, let’s take a look at the various types of student housing London has available, which includes the below.
University Halls of Residence
University halls of residence are an excellent option for first-year students in London. With these facilities, you will be renting a room within the hall of residence. A hall of residence will typically have multiple options, such as compact single rooms, double beds, shared rooms, and more. This makes it easy to find the right option for your particular wants and needs.
You can opt for a private room if you prefer to stay by yourself or a shared room for a more communal experience. A shared room will also tend to be less expensive. Halls of residence will typically have a weekly cost, so be sure to consider the total in your monthly budget.
Once you are into your second year onward, you probably have found some friends that you would be comfortable living with. In this case, you can start to consider house share options. This is when multiple students will live in the same home while having their own rooms. Of course, this does mean you will be sharing the communal spaces, such as the kitchen and bathrooms, with your housemates.
Many homes located around universities already have this type of setup, so it could be easy to find a location that you and a friend or two can get into. You can also check your university’s online portal or check with the Accommodation Office to find some local options. House share options tend to have a lower rate than Hall of Residence Rooms, but the cost may not include utilities, so be sure to check and factor this in.
Homestay packages are an excellent option for international students. This is where you will stay with a local host family. The best part about homestay is that it is arranged beforehand and typically includes housing, meals, and utilities. That way, you will know all of your costs upfront.
Additionally, homestay is incredible for learning the culture of London. As you bond with your host family, you will learn all the local knowledge about the culture, food, entertainment, and much more. By the end of your stay, your homestay hosts will feel like a second family.
Private Housing Options
There are also private housing options, which are subdivided into a few types, including private halls of residence, private accommodations, or renting a room in a private house.
- Private Halls of Residence:These are similar to the above, except that they are managed by private companies. They offer many of the same benefits as university halls of residence, except that they typically have 52-week contracts, and you may be staying with students from several institutions.
- Private House:This simply means that you will rent a room from a private resident. This means you won’t be staying with friends, but your landlord may offer meals at an additional cost. Private room rentals are similar to homestay, but the arrangement is between you and the landlord rather than through a homestay agency.
- Private Flat:Of course, you can always just rent your own private flat. The benefit of a private flat includes your own bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom. However, this will likely be the most expensive option.
Questions to Ask About London Student Housing
As mentioned above, when looking into London student housing, it is important to know all the details and factors involved in your stay. Here are some good questions to ask about any housing you are considering.
- How much is the weekly or monthly rate?
- What are the contract options?
- How much is the deposit?
- When will you be able to move in?
- Are utilities included in the cost?
- Are there any additional expenses to the rate?
- How is the internet in the area?
- Is the accommodation furnished?
Additional Budget Considerations
We briefly discussed budgeting above, but now let’s take a look at some of the fine details. After all, there can be a lot of additional expenses outside of just the housing rate. Moreover, be sure to consider:
- Food expenses
- Laundry costs
- Extracurricular/entertainment costs
- Books and supplies for school
- Travel expenses
- Gas/electricity/other utilities
It is important to factor in all of the above to your budget, as well as any additional costs that you can think of. This will give you a much more accurate prediction of your weekly/monthly expenses and what will work with your budget.
The other important part of budgeting is to review it regularly. This is especially true early in your stay. After you have been in your accommodation for a couple of weeks, review your expenses and budget. This will tell you how much you have been spending and whether you need to cut down on anything.
What to Do While You’re in London
Now that you know a majority of what you need to find student housing options, you’ll probably want to know what the city of London has to offer outside of school. Luckily, the city is jam-packed with incredible things to do and see.
Firstly, there are all of the incredible cultural and historical sites, such as:
- The Palace of Westminster
- Big Ben
- Houses of Parliament
- The British Museum
- Natural History Museum
- Tower Bridge
- London Eye
- The National Gallery
- Buckingham Palace
- Westminster Abbey
- Tower of London
- St. Paul’s Cathedral
- Trafalgar Square
- And much more
In fact, there is so much sightseeing to do in London, it may be hard to see everything you want between school. Since it is such an old city, there is a lot of incredible history to experience through modern eyes.
Many of the above locations also offer incredible tours so that you can see the whole location while learning facts and history about it. There are also tours that cover several of the above locations, which makes it easier to cover everything you would like to see.
Some seasonal tours offer a unique experience as well, such as the Christmas lights bus tour.
Entertainment in London
Of course, London is certainly not short of entertainment activities as well. With it being the largest city in England, there are plenty of fun things to do, including the following.
- Warner Bros. Studios: Check out the Wizarding World of Harry Potter to experience some incredible set pieces and activities from the movies.
- Treasure Hunt: CityDays offers an immersive treasure hunt through the streets of London. You will get to solve clues and puzzles, stop at incredible pubs and cafes, see ancient Roman ruins, and much more along the treasure hunt. This is a perfect way to have some fun and familiarize yourself with some of the city’s attractions.
- London Dungeon: If you consider yourself a fan of the dark and spooky, head over to the London Dungeons. This attraction is made up of 19 shows and rides that are designed for high-quality scares.
- Shakespeare’s Globe: For fans of live performances, there is no better place than the original main attraction of Shakespeare’s Globe. This is a faithful reconstruction of the iconic theater where William Shakespeare held his plays. The original was unfortunately destroyed by fire, but this is an exact replica that considers all the fine details. Here, you can catch an amazing reenactment of famous Shakespeare plays.
- O2 Arena: The O2 arena offers entertainment in more ways than one. As an arena, you can attend to catch concerts from your favorite artists and other incredible events. For adrenaline junkies, you can also climb the O2 arena. You will be harnessed and briefed before climbing the 52-meter vertical staircase for one of the best views of the city. If you want to go even further, you can also bungee jump at the arena.
- Jack the Ripper Tour: London even has a tour about the infamous serial killer, Jack the Ripper. This tour will take you through the streets of the East End of London, where Jack the Ripper terrorized the city in 1888.
- McLaren Technology Center: If you’re a car fan, check out the McLaren Technology Center. Here, you can learn a bit about the top-secret assembly lines that create some of the most incredible and fast cars in the world.
You certainly don’t want to miss out on the cuisine of London. There are several iconic restaurants you should definitely check out during your stay, such as:
- Simpson’s in the Strand
- The Wolseley
- The Ritz Restaurant
- Andrew Edmunds
- Mangal Ocakbasi
Of course, be sure to make sure your food choices are within your budget, as some of the renowned London restaurants can be pricy!
The above is far from everything there is to know or do in London, but it hopefully serves as a good kickstart to your adventures.
Looking for Homestay Options in London?
If you are considering homestay housing in London, StudentRoomStay can help. There are numerous homestay agencies, but we have built a reputation as the most recognized service provider for international students. We offer detailed packages for international high school and college students. Head over to our website to start your journey!