Home to over eight-million people and with over 300 languages spoken, London is a global metropolis which is rightly seen as one of the capitals of the world. Although at first it may seem a large and daunting place, once you become familiar with the city it becomes clear that London is made up of a collections of smaller neighbourhoods, each offering a unique and diverse experience.
Below you will find a guide to living in, and enjoying, London. Many of the locations mentioned below, along with all RVC buildings and accommodation, can be found on our RVC Google Map.
Psst! If you want to check out life in and around our Hawkshead campus, click here.
Areas to explore
Our Camden Campus is located in Camden Town, a creative and quirky area to explore for food and shopping, and just as good at night with plenty of live music and bars. Perhaps the single biggest attraction is Camden Market, which has a vast array of shops for alternative clothing and other nick-knacks. The market is also home to a statue of late singer Amy Winehouse who lived in Camden and had a big connection with the area.
The West End
Covent Garden is a hugely popular destination for visitors. There are several smaller areas within Covent Garden that are worth exploring such as the traffic-free Covent Garden market piazza, the Opera Quarter, St Martin's Courtyard, Seven Dials, Neal's Yard, and Floral Street.
With an 2000-year-old history, the City of London is the UK's main financial district, and the area is home to iconic sights such a St Paul's Cathedral, the Bank of England and Leadenhall Market. You also get a really nice view of the City from Blackfriars Bridge if you get the chance to visit.
The south side of the River Thames is where you will find a range of cultural highlights such as the National Theatre, British Film Institute and Royal Festival Hall. Taking a stroll along the South Bank towards London Bridge, you will also come across the Globe Theatre, Tate Modern and Millennium Bridge.
The home of 'time' and situated next to the River, Greenwich is where Eastern and Western hemispheres meet. There are excellent views of the city, royal heritage and amazing attractions. You will also find the Cutty Sark, the Royal Maritime Museum and the Royal Observatory.
With strong ties to the Caribbean, Brixton is a vibrant neighbourhood that is the birthplace of David Bowie, and has become a buzzing nightlife hub and food destination.
Museums and galleries
London is renowned for its museums and galleries, which range from vast traditional collections to state-of-the-art contemporary exhibitions. Many museums and galleries are free or offer student discounts, so visiting is perfect for a budget conscious student. The RVC also has its own Anatomy Museum.
Not far from our Camden campus, you will find the world-famous British Museum, home to an enormous collection of artefacts dedicated to human history, art and culture, and the British Library which is the largest national library in the world, with over 200 million catalogued items.
A short underground or bus ride away, you can visit the Natural History Museum, one of the world's leading life and earth science museums, comprising 80 million items within five main collections of botany, entomology, mineralogy, paleontology and zoology.
You can also visit lesser-known, but equally fascinating attractions such as the Sir John Soane's Museum, the Photographers’ Gallery, the Cartoon Museum, the Wellcome Collection, and countless other specialist collections and exhibitions.
If you’re into music, London is the best city in the UK for gigs, concerts and festivals. Every genre of contemporary music will be found in pubs, arenas, halls and clubs across the city.
For fans of classical music, you may find yourself at home at the Royal Albert Hall and Royal Opera House. Pop acts may be found at huge stadiums and arenas such as Wembley Stadium, Wembley Arena, the London Stadium and the O2 Arena. Other large music venues that offer a diverse line-up of music include the O2 Academy Islington, O2 Academy Brixton, O2 Academy Shepherd's Bush and Hammersmith Apollo, whilst the Kentish Town Forum is just up the road from Mary Brancker House (one of our student Halls).
The bars and venues of nearby Camden Town also offer the chance to see a wide variety of smaller bands and acts. During the summer months, London’s green spaces play host to many outdoor music festivals such as Lovebox, Wireless and All Points East.
London also has a thriving nightlife with many club nights catering to the large student population the city is home to. In Camden, KoKo, The Underworld and Electric Ballroom all play host to club nights popular with students. In the West End, you will find The Roxy, Zoo Bar and Tiger Tiger and further East in Shoreditch, XOYO, Village Underground and the Old Blue Last.
For those more serious about their dance music, clubs like Fabric, Ministry of Sound, Corsica Studios, Printworks and Oval Space all host internationally renowned DJs.
LGBTQ+ in London
London is an extremely diverse city and home to Europe’s Largest LGBTQ+ community. A vast range of bars, clubs and club nights can be found across the city. Although Soho is often seen as the ‘gay village’ of the city, with bars and clubs such as G-A-Y and the Admiral Duncan, other areas of London such as Vauxhall in the South and Dalston in the East have popular venues such as The Royal Vauxhall Tavern (RVT), The Glory and Dalston Superstore. Other popular club nights that host inclusive crowds and cabaret performances are Cybil’s House and Sink the Pink. Venues such as the RVT, Her Upstairs and the Soho Theatre are also notable for cabaret shows.
For the film fan London plays host to multiple LBGTQ film festivals such as BFI Flare and Fringe! You can find buy tickets for and find LGBTQ+ events at Out Savvy.
There are plenty of LGBTQ+ inclusive sports clubs and teams such as the Kings Cross Steelers rugby team, Out to Swim and the Frontrunners. You can find a list more sports clubs and societies at Out for Sport.
London is home to many Premier League football clubs such as Arsenal, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham, and also houses the national football ground, Wembley Stadium.
Cricket fans can go to Lord’s and the Oval, and rugby fans can enjoy matches at the national rugby stadium, Twickenham. London is treated to a tennis grand slam in the summer at Wimbledon too (they often put big screens up in Kings Cross for this too).
The 2012 London Olympics also highlighted the city and the country’s sporting traditions, and Londoners make use of a wide variety of sports pitches, courts and clubs. Some venues from the 2012 games can still be used by the public such as the Velodrome and Aquatic Centre in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stratford.
You can also take part in a wide range of sports through the RVC SU or the University of London SU, Student Central, or you can take part in the many runs and cycle rides that take place throughout the year.
Parks and green spaces
One thing that often comes as a surprise for visitors to London is how much green space there is. In fact, 40% of the capital is made up of public green space, mostly covered by the eight royal parks; Green Park, St. James's Park, Greenwich Park, Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, Regent's Park, Bushy Park and Richmond Park. The latter has a large herd of deer in it so it's worth a visit at some point and can be easily reached using the Overground from Camden Road.
The closest green space to our Camden Campus is Regents Park, great for picnics and outdoor games, and the location of London Zoo.
Also close by are Primrose Hill (adjoined to Regent's Park) and Hampstead Heath which both offer amazing views of the London skyline and are our top picks. The former is great if you like watching dogs run free and happy, and it's also good for celeb-spotting as many live in the area. The latter is a very large park with swimming ponds, extensive fields, a lot of woodland and is the perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of London. It's also within walking distance of 'Mary B', our largest halls of residence.
There are also a number of smaller parks and gardens that are all worth visiting, such as the Kyoto Garden in Holland Park and Camley Street Natural Park which is just a stone’s throw from the Camden Campus.
These green spaces afford you the perfect escape from the bustling London streets, and host a number of festivals and other activities throughout the summer months.
There are many ways to travel round London thanks to an extensive public transport network, and walking and cycle friendly infrastructure. Transport for London (TfL) provides extensive advice for students regarding travel round London.
One of the first things you should do is arrange student discount cards for both TfL and National Rail:
Student Oyster card - if you have an 18+ Student Oyster card, you can get 30% off the price of adult-rate travel cards, and bus and tram pass season tickets.
16-25 rail card - get 1/3 off a range of fares for £30 a year or £70 for three years with a 16-25 Railcard. Mature students aged 26 or over and in full-time education can also use this card.
If you do have a 16-25 Railcard, you can also add the discount to your 18+ Student Oyster photo card to get a total of 34% discount on off-peak pay-as-you-go fares and off-peak daily caps on Tube, DLR, London Overground, TfL Rail and most National Rail services in London.
The Millennial Railcard - Those who are aged 26-30 will likely be eligible for a Millennial Railcard which offers 1/3 off rail fairs across Britain. This rail card is £30 a year and is likely to save you much more throughout the year if you are a frequent rail user.
London Underground and Overground – the train network in London comprising the Underground and Overground services, along with National Rail services, can all be accessed using your Oyster Card or contactless debit/credit card. The tube map is made up of Zones which dictate how much you will be charged for your journeys. Journeys into the centre of the city (Zone 1) are the most expensive.
Buses – cheaper than the Underground, you can use the Hopper fare to make unlimited bus journeys within one hour of 'touching-in' your Oyster card.
Cycling – keep fit and get around the city by cycling. London has had vast investment in cycling infrastructure over the past ten years. make sure to brush up on cycling safety in London.
Walking – London might seem like sprawling metropolis, however it is often the case that walking between destinations can be a preferable and often enjoyable alternative to public transport.
Travelling to Campus from your accommodation
College Grove is located within the Camden Campus and therefore journey times have not been included below. It is worth noting that all accommodation offered by the RVC are within a 25-minute cycle from campus, and most are within walking distance.
Mary Brancker House
|Bus||214 (towards Moorgate)||13 minutes|
|Underground||Northern Line, Kentish Town to Mornington Crescent||16 minutes|
|Walking||Holmes Road, Kentish Town Road, Royal College Street||22 minutes|
|Cycling||Holmes Road, Kentish Town Road, St Pancras Road, Royal College Street||9 minutes|
|Bus||29 or 253||20 minutes|
|Walking||Tollington Road, Camden Road, Royal College Street||48 minutes|
|Cycling||Tollington Road, Camden Road, St Pancras Road, Royal College Street||15 minutes|
The Garden Halls
|Walking||Mabledon Place, Ossulton Street, Charrington Street, Chalton Street, Royal College Steet||16 minutes|
|Cycling||Malbeton Place, Ossulton Street, Purchese Street, Goldington Street, Royal College Street||5 minutes|
Lillian Penson Hall
|Bus||27 (towards Chalk Farm)||33 minutes|
|Underground||Circle Line or Hammersmith and City Line, Paddington to London Kings Cross, walk to Campus||35 minutes|
|Walking||Sussex Garden, Marylebone Road, Hampstead Road, Crowndales Road, Royal College Street||58 minutes|
|Underground||Northern Line, Goodge Street to Mornington Crescent||19 minutes|
|Walking||Byng Place, Gordon Square, Euston Road, Eversholt Street, Oakley Square, Crownsdale Road, Royal College Street||25 minutes|
Useful apps for life in London
RVC app - the Royal Veterinary College's mobile app for students, including the library catalogue and Hawkshead shuttle bus timetables
Citymapper - covering almost all modes of transport this app gives you directions, routes, waiting times and much more
Santander Cycles - the bike hire scheme often referred to as ‘Boris Bikes’ is a great way to try out cycling in the city for the first time. This app will help you locate and hire the bikes
Timeout - a local guide to entertainment and things to do in London
DICE - find gigs, many of them free, and book tickets using this app
Best Coffee - find the best coffee in London with this handy application
DOJO - a really useful for finding tasty cheap eats
OpenTable - discover great restaurants and book tables with this easy to use app
Life within the RVC itself
RVC Students' Union
The RVC’s Students’ Union (SU) offers a range of social activities to take you away from your books.
The SU is there to represent your interests, to raise awareness of issues that will affect you, to raise money for charities by hosting events and, most of all, to help you have fun.
Both campuses have their own Union-run bars: The Buttery, our small but mighty bar at the Hawkshead Campus, has been around since 1960 (although it has been recently refurbished!) and is infamous throughout the UK veterinary community. The Haxby, meanwhile, is one of the more recent and welcome additions to the Camden Campus.
The SU organises scores of social events every year including RAG Week, several balls and, of course, the legendary Freshers’ Week. It also offers a huge array of sports clubs and societies that everyone’s welcome to join, and plenty of other events and distractions to get involved with along the way. See su.rvc.ac.uk/ for more information about clubs and sports, welfare, social events and the other services on offer.
The SU will also help you keep in touch beyond your time with us, through its work with RVC4life.
Student Central (University of London Student Union)
As an RVC student, you are also entitled to free membership of Student Central. This is based in Central London (Bloomsbury) and the student hub of the various University of London colleges.
This is great for culture, sports and socialising as it makes you part of a bigger student family scattered throughout London, with a wide range of student services, including a fantastic gym (Energybase) and several bars. There are various societies that you can join in addition to the RVC ones. The Student Central building is a 20-minute walk from the RVC Camden Campus, and close to many of the intercollegiate halls of residence.
Postgraduate Students' Society
The Postgraduate Students’ Society (PGSS) liaises with academic and administrative staff and with the Student's Union.
It represents the interests of all postgraduate students and, via Student Central, brings together postgraduates from across London.
RVC PGSS committee members represent students at meetings and sit on the Students' Union Council, which means postgraduate views are heard across the College. A wide variety of social events are organised throughout the year.
Sports clubs, societies and facilities
From badminton to wakeboarding, we probably have the most diverse range of sports of any of the small and specialist colleges in the University of London (UoL). We have a number of amazing sport and fitness facilities, such as our new Sports and Wellbeing Centre (SAWC) and our multi-use games area. And if we don’t satisfy your specific sporting needs, you’re welcome to use the facilities at any other UoL college.
We currently have over 600 regular participants in sports, with clubs catering for all abilities from experienced players to complete novices – so if you fancy trying something new, you’ll always be welcome. All of our teams have the option of competing in leagues against other London universities, and we’re proud to say that the RVC is well known for punching above its weight when it comes to sporting success!
Fancy stretching yourself in other areas? We offer you opportunities to attend various training courses. Also on offer are arts classes, the Zoological Society (affiliated with the Zoological Society of London), Choir and a range of clinical clubs. Yoga, meditation and various other classes are available to take your mind away from the day-to-day stresses of being a student.
When you start your studies at RVC you have already taken a big step forward towards achieving your goals. As you move through your course there will be new challenges that help you discover your strengths, and challenge you to think differently to achieve success.
Study skills support
Our Educational Development team can support you to achieve your academic goals, offering study skills support in a variety of formats to suit you whether this is in groups, individually or online.
The team will work with you to develop study skills and learning habits that will not only help you graduate, but will enable you to become a lifelong learner. This will further your understanding in what you need to do for your reading, coursework, presentations, clinical work, research and placements, and will help you to think about doing things in new ways.
Careers and employability support
RVC Careers supports you in developing your employability potential. We offer workshops and events tailored to your course to support you in becoming aware of professional skills that are useful in a variety of different careers, as well as support in making career decisions, finding work experience, applying for jobs after graduation, and connecting with employers.
We also provide one-to-one appointments with our expert Careers Consultants and Application Adviser, where you can discuss career pathways and receive guidance on submitting applications in a confidential setting. You can access a range of bespoke careers resources on RVC Learn to get the information you need to make the next step.
After graduation you can continue to use the careers service for up to two years to support you as you start your career.