Best places to visit in London as a student or young person.
As a student or gig worker in London, it’s not always worth following the tourists around the busy, expensive attractions. You’ve seen the London Eye, you know about the London Dungeons and Madame Tussauds. Here are some places in London to visit that aren’t quite on the main tourist circuit, are often cheaper or free, and will make for a great student or young person experience in the capital.
Sky Garden – 20 Fenchurch Street
At the top of the skyscraper on Fenchurch Street known as the Walkie Talkie is a garden observatory with very hard to beat, immediate views of the city and its rooftops. Just a short walk from Monument tube station, the Sky Garden is free(!) seven days a week, though you have to book tickets in advance. However, there is also a range of restaurants 35 floors up the Walkie Talkie if you want to splash out.
Hampstead Heath and Primrose Hill
If you want some equally stunning but more natural views of London, take a short trip up from beautiful Regent’s Park to Primrose Hill, which just on the edge of Central London provides breathtaking views of the city. Go at
sunset and enjoy the magical old lamp posts lighting up the park when it gets dark.
If you like that, go a little further north to Hampstead Heath, one of the largest parks in London, that stands higher than Primrose Hill and is set further back, so while not as immediate, provides an amazing wide panorama of the capital.
Okay, it’s a little touristy, but Camden Lock and it’s market is worth a visit if you haven’t been. Great street food, weird and wonderful stores popping out everywhere, tattoo parlours, and yes, the Vagina Museum, are all on offer. Plus you can take a boat ride on the pretty canal to get away from
the crowds. And if you’re after a little music, just across the street is the Electric Ballroom, or if you’re in the mood for some jazz, the famous Jazz Cafe.
Spitalfields Market and Brick Lane
While Borough Market is always a great foodie experience, Spitalfields Market offers up great food, fashion and art in a historic location, plus you can walk across the road and check out Brick Lane, enjoying the incredible array of graffiti and street art, vintage shops and the best bagels in town. There’s so much on offer round here that’s not too pricey, or has the regular Central tourist crowds. If you need a drink after a day at the market, head to the Breakfast Club in Spitalfields, and walk through a fridge (yes) to the hidden speakeasy-style cocktail bar The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town.
The Vaults are located under the railway tracks going in and out of Waterloo station. For a while now, they’ve been used as an open space for general creativity, boasting some of London’s best graffiti, art installations and there is even the underground Vaults theatre that hosts the Vaults festival, one of London’s best performing arts festivals. If that’s not your thing, there’s a pub restaurant inside the Vaults serving up some great grub and board games, so you can play Monopoly or Settlers of Catan whilst having a burger and a pint.
BFI Southbank / IMAX / Prince Charles Cinema
Cinephile? There’s loads of cinemas in London, but like a lot of things in the city, they’re usually overly expensive for what they are. If you’re under
25 though, you can get £3 tickets to the BFI Southbank, the centre of cinema in the UK showing everything from the latest blockbuster to 70mm prints of Lawrence of Arabia, and offering live Q+As with the most respected directors in the world. And if you’re after a matchless big screen experience, head across the road to the BFI IMAX, boasting the biggest screen in Europe. If you want something a bit more independent, skip past the Vue cinema in Leicester Square down a side street to the Prince Charles Cinema hiding behind it. Reportedly Tarantino’s favourite cinema, it serves up new Oscar winners and old classics alike.
Hackney and Dalston
Hackney and Dalston, in north-east London, are a haven for hipsters, but they offer up a lot more than that. Another area of London that provides incredible and unique nightlife, Hackney and Dalston have some of the city’s best bars and clubs. Historically a Turkish area and now a diverse hub of culture, there’s some fantastic restaurants of all cuisines, and it also doubles up as the best place to get a kebab and a haircut. There’s also a phenomenal bustling arts scene. If you’ve not had your fill of arty stuff, check out the stunning Rio Cinema, a truly independent stunning Art Deco movie theatre and the Arcola, an Off-West End theatre at the forefront of emerging theatre in the UK.
Fabric / Brixton Academy / Electric Brixton / Ministry of Sound
Like a night out? London is known for some of the best nightlife in the world. There’s also some pretty bad stuff, so don’t go anywhere. Ministry of Sound in Elephant & Castle and Fabric in Farringdon are regularly cited as two of the best nightclubs in the world. There’s also Brixton, a must-go for people looking for a lively area with amazing nightlife, also offering great street food and vintage shops.
Need to find a job in London? Check out our article on How to Find a Gig Job in London.
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