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, and enjoying London. All the location mentioned below, along with all RVC buildings and accommodation, can be found on our RVC Google Map.

Areas to explore

Camden

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

One of London's most vibrant areas for theatre and musicals, culture and history as well as food and drink. Home to Oxford Street and Soho, the area is brimming with shops, restaurants and bars.

Covent Garden

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.

The City

With an 800-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. 

South Bank

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.

Greenwich

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.

Brixton

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.

Nightlife

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 diverse nightlife of bar, 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.

Sport

London is home to many Premier League football clubs such as Arsenal, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Fulham, 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.

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. Also close by is Primrose Hill (adjoined to Regent's Park) and Hampstead Heath which both offer amazing views of the London skyline.

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.

London travel

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.

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 Undergrund, 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

TransportRouteOff-peak journey
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

iQ Highbury

TransportRouteOff-peak journey
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

TransportRouteOff-peak journey
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

TransportRouteOff-peak journey
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
Cycling   9 minutes

College Hall

TransportRouteOff-peak journey
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
Cycling   9 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

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