The capital does not disappoint when it comes to keeping you busy, especially as a student. With that being said, it’s hard to deny the fact that it comes with an expensive reputation, most of which is hard to keep up with. Therefore, we have compiled a list of things to do in London as a student, whether you want to just get out of the house or explore some new avenues.

1. Explore East London Street Art

London Street Art
Source: Ian Roberts

Hackney is often seen as the soul of London, encompassing many starlets in the bright and bustling borough. A world away from the hectic nature of central, Hackney offers many things perfect for students that doesn’t involve spending any money. One thing east London is known for is the artwork plastered on many brick walls, as so is a perfect thing to explore. Whether you’re an art fanatic or have only ever heard of Leonardo da Vinci, make sure to take a look around the likes of Banksy, Frankie Strand and Axel Boid to immerse yourself in London’s heart of culture. Not only does it make for a great day out itself, because many of us students are on a tight budget, but it also opens you up to so many heritages –  make sure to check out the markets as well for some authentic cuisines.

2. Eat Out

Eat Out in London as a student
Source: Deliveroo

London is often seen as the bread and butter of fine dining, but as a student that is rarely an option; it is not hard to find great places to eat out for an incredible price. If you fancy a great selection of authentic pizzas, then head on over to 50 Kalò di Circo Salvo with prices starting at just £6.50 and cocktails from £7.95. Or how about traditional Chinese street food? Just like the name suggests, Boa London offers fresh boa buns with various fillings for just £5 each! Whichever feast you fancy, the capital does not disappoint with its choice of affordable restaurants – make sure to keep an eye out for those hidden gems.

3. Check Out Thrift Stores

Thrift Stores things to do in London as a student
Source: mynorthwest

Oxford Street is brimming with new fashion trends and famous stores, but can often be extremely crowded and quite expensive. So, especially in times like these, it’s more important than ever to support small businesses, and so thrift stores are the way to shop. With many independent stores such as Beyond Retro, East End Thrift Store and Traid Shepherd’s Bush selling vintage fashion for great prices, you’ll find everything you’re looking for, plus more! These shops are dotted all around London, so make sure to check out your trendy local store for a selection of authentic attire.

4. Party

Party things to do in London as a student
Source: Time Out

With all the major party venues shut for now (insert crying face here), we can longer enjoy a night out with our friends, but instead have to reminisce on the music, shots and dancing. Whether it was a spontaneous night out or had been in the works for weeks in advance, we all miss it – but that just means we’ll have to party even harder when they fully reopen again. Hosting great student nights are clubs such as Lightbox in Vauxhall, Tiger Tiger in Chinatown, Ministry of Sound in Elephant and Castle, and The Garage in Highbury and Islington. Drinks are often reasonably priced, and you can meet so many students also studying in London, not to mention these places also host their separate events if you fancy going out OUT.

5. Sight See

sight seeing things to do in london as a student
Source: The Telegraph

Now, there’s no way you can come and study in London without having seen or even witnessed any of its famous landmarks. But, if you haven’t, then this one is definitely for you (or even if you have, feel free to join in). The capital hosts many buildings, statues, parks, restaurants and bridges that are open for all to see – and the majority are free. There’s Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, the Shard, the Globe Theatre, Tower Bridge… the list is honestly endless! What’s even better is that you can either do them alone or in a group too.


Boxpark things to do in london as a student
Source: Wikipedia

Hosting a range of exciting events, games and restaurants is BOXPARK, located in Shoreditch, Wembley and Croydon. If you fancy virtual reality experiences, glow in the dark ping pong, shuffleboard, foosball and maybe even axe throwing, then BOXPARK has got you covered on all bases. Fancy something a bit more low-key? In the food court, you’ll find tens of independent stalls serving anything, and everything – from Greek and American food to vegan Thai and Spanish inspired tacos, all at a great price. Their motto of ‘Eat, Drink, Play’ is perfect for all students, and definitely worth exploring (once we’re allowed to, of course).

7.  Game at SideQuest

SideQuest London things to do for students
Source: SideQuest Instagram

In 2022, SideQuest emerged in London as a dynamic gaming hub, catering to gamers of all kinds. They have playing areas, events and food and bubble tea to enjoy. You can also choose from playing solo, or teaming up and competing against new players, which is perfect if you just want to enjoy by yourself or meet others. Or why not watch Esport tournaments, meet famous streamers, or play console sports? There are so many options of how to spend time at SideQuest.

They currently have two London sites to choose from: Charing Cross and Elephant and Castle.

8. Hire a Santander Bike

Santander bike things to do in london as a student
Source: Santander Cycles

Dotted around London are Santander bikes, which allow you to explore the entire capital on wheels! Hiring one is super easy; all you need to do is pay £2 and make sure the bike is returned to within 24 hours. Once hired, feel free to cruise around the city, whether that be alone or with friends, for an adventurous day out – ride along the Thames in the dawn or through Oxford Circus in the dusk, it’s all up to you.

9. View London from the Top

things to do in london as a student
Source: Boston University

There’s no better city to view from the top than London, and I know many people would agree with me that not all the best sights are seen from below. Places such as the Emirates Air Line cable car in Greenwich, Sky Garden near Langbourn and the London Eye in Waterloo are just a handful of the spectacular venues that offer views of the iconic capital. They offer a variety of prices and bundles depending of the group size, so make sure to book in advance once things start to reopen.

10. Wander around Tate Modern

Tate Modern Things to do in London as a student
Source: Time Out

If you’re an art fanatic (or just simply enjoy staring at the weird and wonderful portraits), then make sure to head on over to Tate Modern, located on Bankside near Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. Anything creative you can imagine, I can guarantee you’ll find it in there: exhibitions, comic paintings, displays and even more to check out. Not only can you spend a good few hours there, entry is also free for the majority of the gallery! There’s also a shop and café you can pop into, to make sure you never forget the visit.

11. Visit a Park

Things to do in London as a student
Source: Londonist

Whether it be a cold crisp morning in January or a stifling hot day in July, parks in the capital do not disappoint. With their picturesque fields, lakes and flowers, sometimes it’s good to take some time away from the hectic nature of everyday life to truly appreciate nature. Places such as Hyde Park, St James Park and Regents Park host acres of tranquillity, so you can either take a picnic along with some of your friends or just pop some earphones in to keep you company. Whichever and wherever you choose, I can guarantee relaxation.

So there we have it, just a few ideas of things you can check out as a student. With the ongoing pandemic, you may need to wait for the majority of things to reopen, but once they do, it’s a celebration for all!

Last Updated on February 22, 2024