Where to live?
We are often asked “what’s the best part of London to live in?” This depends on how much you are prepared to pay and how far you are prepared to travel, amongst other things. To help with your search, we have created an Area Guide to some of the places in London which are popular with students. However, there is no substitute for getting to London a few weeks before the course to explore the city yourself before the course starts.
What is a safe place to live in London?
London is generally a safe city and we hear of very few problems from students. When choosing an area to live, it is important that you feel safe and comfortable. It’s a good idea to visit an area in the day and in the evening when it’s dark to make sure you will be happy in the area. When visiting a property, you should always plan your route before you go so that you feel confident finding it, and think about taking a friend with you.
It's not uncommon to read about violent crime in the newspapers, but in reality it is very rare, and hardly ever involve innocent passers-by. The most likely thing to happen is that someone steals your phone / wallet, without you even realising.
You can stay safe by taking basic precautions:
- Try and plan your journey before you set out, to avoid the "lost tourist" look
- Don’t walk around flashing your phone for everyone to see
- Don’t walk around with headphones so you can’t hear what is going on around you
- Walk confidently and purposefully – don’t look like a victim
- Don’t carry large amounts of cash. And your passport can stay at home – in the UK there is no need to prove your identity if you are stopped by police.
- On the tube or bus, keep your bag close to your body and don’t leave your bag open.
- Never accept a ride from someone you do not know. Take a cab!
- Trust your instincts – if taking a short cut across the park does not feel safe, don’t do it!
- Don’t leave your bag / laptop in a place where you can’t see it (like hanging on the back of your chair).
- Be wary of strangers coming up to and “accidentally” spilling coffee on you, or claiming to have picked something up which belongs to you. This could be a distraction technique while they help themselves to your wallet.
For further guidance about staying safe in London, please download the British Council’s safety booklet (pdf).
Transport in London
Like all Londoners, you will develop a love-hate relationship to London’s transport system but really it is very good at getting millions of people from A to B on a daily basis!
Different types of transport:
Underground (“the tube”): Quickest and most frequent method of getting around. Gets crowded at peak times (between about 7 - 9 in the morning, and 5 – 7 in the evening).
London Overground: The overground network has been upgraded recently and provides a good service to non-central areas, but overground trains are not as frequent as the tube.
Bus: Cheaper but not really advisable for long journeys due to traffic congestion, unless you are happy sitting in slow-moving traffic for an hour. Best for local journeys.
Cycling: definitely worth considering if you are an experienced city cyclist – but London is not the most bike-friendly place compared to some countries. The new bike-hire scheme is worth investigating – there are two docking stations very close to LSHTM.
Which ticket type to buy
If you will be using London transport regularly (e.g. 3 – 4 times a week), you should buy a weekly or monthly Oystercard, covering the appropriate number of zones. If you will be living within cycling or walking distance, it’s still worth getting a pre-pay Oystercard for occasional use (much cheaper than buying individual tickets). Both types of Oystercard are available from tube stations, and are valid on the tube, overground and buses. Once you have registered on your programme at LSHTM, you can apply for your student discount (30%) on the TFL website, which is valid on weekly and monthly Oystercards.
Transport for London: everything you could possibly need to know about London transport. Use the Journey Planner to work out the best route between places (if you need the School’s postcode, it’s WC1E 7HT). Includes tube maps (showing the different zones), all London bus routes, and London overground map.
Postcode map: helps you work out roughly what areas the London postcodes correspond to (note that low numbers don't necessarily mean a central location!).
Google maps: locate a potential property, use street view to look around and work out your route on foot.