Why Study in London?
London is a vibrant, bustling and changing city, one of the most exciting capitals in the world. But it is also a city full of history, heritage and culture.
London has long been known as a world centre of entertainment. It boasts five resident symphony orchestras and over 100 theatres. The famous musicals of the West End are joined by numerous thrillers, plays and new works.
The London music and club scene are renowned throughout the world and currently are heralded as the most fashionable anywhere with venues such as the Ministry of Sound and the Blue Note.
London is, of course, an art lover’s paradise. Modern art at the Tate or the impressive collection at the National Gallery are envied the world over.
Museums exist in abundance in the Capital. London’s 300 museums is twice as many as Paris and many of them are setting the trends in the interactive age.
Modern attractions are also very much in evidence with new openings such as the virtual reality of Segaworld and the Commonwealth Experience to the new Aquarium and soon to open BBC Visitor Centre.
It is a city that constantly looks to the future and the Millennium celebrations at Greenwich, the home of world time, promise to be spectacular.
Visitors to London can dine out in style. London is one of the world’s top three gastronomic cities, offering a choice of over 50 different cuisine’s in over 5000 restaurants.
Last, but certainly not least, this great capital is a shopping mecca. From historic shopping areas such as Jermyn Street to all the most modern designer stores, Oxford Street, Knightsbridge and Covent Garden, it has something for everyone.
Whatever a visitor is looking for, London can provide it.
London For Free
There is a common misconception that London is an expensive city to visit. Yet where else in the world are such renowned national museums and art galleries free, and what other city can boast as many as 2,000 public parks and open spaces and such a variety of great architecture?
Which other city has so many cultural centres offering free exhibitions and performances? Armed only with a day travel pass for central zones 1&2 (£3) or for all 6 zones (£3.90), all London becomes amazingly accessible as does its wealth of free entertainment’s, sights and experiences (weekly or weekend tickets are even better value).
All the traditional landmarks are reachable by tube or bus. Get off at Trafalgar Square, St. Paul’s, Big Ben or Tower Bridge.
To help you make the most of London, underground maps and free central bus maps are available free from London Transport and Tourist Information Centres at Victoria Station, Liverpool Street Station, Selfridges Oxford Street and Heathrow Airport.
A close up view of London’s many festivities is a great way to get a feel for the city and it won’t cost a penny.
Whether it is Trooping the Colour for the Queen’s birthday, watching the Changing the Guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace, lapping up the Oxford-Cambridge Boat race, lining the streets for the Lord Mayor’s parade and the London Marathon or entering into the Caribbean spirit of the Notting Hill Carnival, London offers a spectacle for all tastes and interests.
The Visitorcall number 0891 505 490 gives information on What’s On over the next three months (calls cost 39p per minute cheap rate and 49p per minute at all other times).
Parks, Greenery and Open Spaces
There are a very few cities in the world that boasts as many parks as London. A wander through central London’s Regent’s Park, Green Park or St. James’s Park feels like leaving the city behind.
In summer sit down with a picnic to listen to one of the daily free concerts given at the bandstands. On Hampstead Heath, why not take a refreshing dip with the regulars at the Bathing Ponds or watch the kites fly on Parliament Hill.
Richmond Park is home to roaming deer and Hyde Park on Sunday offers the unique London experience of Speakers Corner, where all and sundry can voice their opinions on the topics of the day.
Churches and Cemeteries
St. Paul’s Cathedral, Christopher Wren’s masterpiece, is free on Sundays and after 1630 on other days. Most of London’s historic churches, for example, St. Brides in Fleet Street and St. Martins-in-the-Fields in Trafalgar Square charge no admission.
Nor does Southwark Cathedral, London’s second cathedral, which is well worth a visit. The stroll along Bankside also takes you past the recently reconstructed Shakespeare Globe Theatre and the Clink Prison Museum (for which there is a small charge).
Cemeteries in London provide a Who’s Who to London’s past, as well as a fascinating wander through Victorian memorial sculpture. Kensal Green, the burial place of Thackeray and Trollope is free while the resting place of Karl Marx and George Eliot, Highgate Cemetery charges a token £1.
Galleries and Museums
The British Museum, perhaps the world’s most famous museum, is a free invitation to explore world history. The Science Museum and the Natural History Museum are also free after 1630.
London’s premier classical art museum, the National Gallery does not charge an entrance fee either. The Iveagh Bequest at Kenwood is home to a great art collection and its substantial grounds sweep down to a lake.
It is also the venue for the Kenwood summer concerts season.
Music and theatre lovers are well-catered for in London. Summer sees the annual TUC free Respect festival in July, bandstand concerts in the parks throughout the season, performances on the South Bank and many other events.
There are always lunchtime and early evening concerts in the foyers of the Festival Hall and the Barbican Centre and buskers play on every corner, in the tube and most famously around Convent Garden.
A different side of London
East London epitomises traditional London whilst being one of its most colourful area. Explore Spitalfields, the old silk weavers market, Brick Lane, a very diverse street market on Sundays and the vibrant Sunday Columbia Road flower market.
Whitechapel Art Gallery is close at hand as is Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood, both free. This part of London amply demonstrates the diverse, multi-cultural nature of London.
London stretches way beyond the central area many tourists explore on their first visit. It boasts beautiful countryside areas such as Epping Forest, the 180 mile-long Thames Path, Hampstead Heath with wonderful views over London, Richmond and the delights of south west London on the river.
South East London is a more economical choice for accommodation and offers green surroundings, diverse markets, and many attractions such as the Horniman Museum and free entry on Fridays to Britain’s first picture gallery in Dulwich.
Whatever your tastes, interests and most importantly budget London offers a great deal.