Things for students to do in London: 6 best activities

As politician and novelist Benjamin Disraeli once said, “London is a roost for every bird”. And, if you are in London, lucky you! There are thousands of fun things to do in London to suit every individual and their preferences.

But what, you may wonder, about students? Can you strike a balance between budget, social life, and fun activities? The answer is absolutely! To help you build your list of fun things to do in London, I’ve compiled a selection of the best. Enjoy!

1. Admire and snap shots of street graffiti

London graffiti via Pixabay.

For a street graffiti aesthetic and endless photo opportunities, London is an excellent place to look. Brixton, Shoreditch, Camden, and Shoreditch are all excellent places to spot some colourful street art. However, as the main recommendation, you should visit Brick Lane.

From Brick Lane, head to the Nomadic Community Centre. Here you will find sustainable seating areas, fascinating street art, and even beehives. The centre pushes massively towards sustainable living and has an open-arms atmosphere – which is perfect for students. Pull up a second-hand wooden chair, sit back, and admire some of London’s best street art.

Another bonus of choosing Brick Lane for graffiti spotting is that you can enjoy the area’s famed curry houses. Visitors have a whole row of different venues to choose from, which has amassed Brick Lane’s reputation for curries.

How much does a trip to Brick Lane cost?

To admire the graffiti and visit the Nomadic Community Centre is free. Your only costs will be transportation, and if you choose to dine for a curry, you can expect to pay £10-11 upwards for a main dish.

2. Grab a scenic brunch

The Sky Garden via Pixabay.

Brunch is the new lunch, let’s face it. And, as a student, grabbing a brunch is fantastic – it’s indulgent, very sociable, and can be quite affordable if you know where to look.

Skylon is one scenic brunch spot, thanks to its riverside locale. Here, you can sample a 2-course brunch for £27 per person. Or, to indulge a little more, you can upgrade to a bottomless Prosecco for £19 a head.

However, the Sky Garden is a top recommendation. The Sky Garden holds the title for ‘London’s highest public garden’ and sits at the top of the Walkie Talkie skyscraper. With 360 degrees views over London and a jungle of Mediterranean and African plant life, the Sky Garden is perfect for grabbing a scenic brunch.

While there is no specific ‘brunch’ menu, you can purchase refreshments and light food at the café in the garden since it offers all-day dining. Alternatively, book a table at the garden’s Fenchurch Terrace and sample a sharing platter for between £25 and £29.50.

How much does entrance to the Sky Garden cost?

It’s free to enter! Just book in advance to secure a place and then purchase refreshments from the City Garden bar or sit to dine.

3. Go bargain shopping

Coloured materials via Pixabay.

London is famed for its retail therapy opportunities. Unfortunately, most London store prices and student budgets are usually mismatched.

But, if you love shopping, there are still plenty of options in London. Charity shopping is always a cheaper solution and is more sustainable (and I daresay fun) than purchasing clothes from high street brands. You can also head to markets around the city to bargain and purchase lower-priced clothing. Camden Market is an especially good place to pick up bargains!

If secondhand and market buys aren’t appealing to you, London also has a number of designer outlet stores. Here you can buy designer goods for a fraction of their usual price – which is amazing for students looking to cut prices. You can usually expect discounts of up to 70%!

London Designer Outlet is a major centre located near Wembley Park. The outlet is open 10am until 9pm every day but Sunday, when it closes at 7pm. Shoppers have access to 75 stores within the centre, including Adidas, Calvin Klein, Champion, Nike, and Levi’s.

How much does visiting the London Designer Outlet cost?

Entrance to the outlet is free, and you don’t require any membership. So, a cost of a visit is entirely dependent on you and your buys!

4. Play tourist to some of London’s museums and galleries

The Natural History Museum via Pixabay.

This could seem an obvious addition or even a cop-out. But what’s the point of being a student in London if you don’t take advantage of the museums and galleries on your doorstep? Besides, London has plenty of unique attractions if the Natural History Museum and Tate Modern aren’t for you.

London is home to The Sherlock Holmes Museum, the Anaesthesia Heritage Centre, and Vagina Museum. And, for more phallic artifacts, Vikor Wynd’s Museum of Curiosities has a mummified penis that would make the Sex Museum in Amsterdam blush.

But, as a top suggestion, you should visit God’s Own Junkyard. The Junkyard is an eclectic collection of everything neon. Whether it’s signs or movie props, the whole venue is filled with colour and flashing messages.

God’s Own Junkyard has accrued a reputation as a photoshoot destination and is a weird-yet-wonderful addition to London’s more traditional museums and galleries. It attracts lots of high-profile attention and has even been featured in Vogue. Needless to say, its place amongst the best fun things to do in London is well-deserved.

How much does entrance to God’s Own Junkyard cost?

God’s Own Junkyard is completely free to enter! However, if you want to use a camera instead of a phone for a photoshoot, you do have to pay an extra charge.

5. Experience London’s drinking scene

A London bar via Pixabay.

Grabbing a drink or sitting to sip a cocktail, or three is a rite of passage for most students. Usually, two things are prioritised – atmosphere and prices. 

When in London, you can expect higher drink prices on average, and you can often expect to sacrifice one of these priorities for the other. The Chelsea Pensioner, Simmons Cocktail Bar, Barrio Shoreditch, and Made in Brazil Boteco are all good options for cheap drinks. 

Whereas, if it is a unique atmosphere and experience you are chasing, you should consider venues like the Ballie Ballerson. Formed entirely around a massive ball pit, this venue gives you the chance to step into your five-year-old self again while keeping your ID to let alcohol fuel the fun. General admission cost between £5, £10, or £15 depending on the day you visit and gives your 2 hours in the ball pits. 

For a darker-themed drinking spot, the Alcotraz Prison Cocktail Bar is another wacky venue. Guests can get in character with a typical orange jumpsuit and await service from ‘inmates’ who combine acting with excellent service.

How much does drinking in London cost?

According to, you can expect to pay an average of £5 for a pint. Of course, this price will rise rapidly for cocktail drinkers, and you will be lucky to get cocktails under £8. To cut costs, aim to make the most of happy hours and research cheaper pubs and clubs ahead of time.

6. Try out London’s seasonal activities

A Christmas stall via Pixabay.

London is a fantastic city to wait out all the seasons. For students, looking for seasonal activities also provides something fun to look forward to and plan!

In Autumn, London has many Bonfire Night events to attend and hosts the London Film Festival annually. In Winter, there will be more fireworks for New Year’s Eve, ice rinks, and plenty of festive Christmas Markets. During Spring, keep your eye out for the Chelsea Flower Show and London Marathon.

Finally, in Summer, you can look forward to the Notting Hill Carnival and even make the most of some of London’s urban beaches. Fulham Beach, Limin Beach Club, London Secret Garden, and London City Beach are all central spots for you to soak up some sun.

How much do seasonal activities in London cost?

The benefit of seasonal activities and events is that you can plan far in advance and make the most of early bird tickets. Some events, like the London Marathon, are free to spectate, while participating in others, like the Winter Wonderland Ice Rink, will require tickets. It is best to plan ahead when sticking to a student budget.

BONUS: Student budgeting tips for fun things to do in London

As a final note, here are five top tips for students looking to stick to a budget and enjoy fun things to do in London.

Get a student card: It will save you money daily and is a great backup ID. Wherever you go, make sure to enquire if they offer student discounts and have your card ready to prove your student status.

Try different cuisines: Be open-minded when it comes to trying different cuisines. Aside from getting to sample delicious foods, the likelihood is that the wider you spread your options, the better deals you will find.

Get a travel card: Make sure to pick up an 18+ Oyster or 16-25 Railcard for 1/3 off of travel within London. Alternatively, invest in a bike or vow to walk, as transport prices hike up your spending massively.

Download Happy Appy: Happy Appy keeps you updated on happy hours near you, meaning you can score good deals even on unplanned nights out. Speaking of happy hours, you should live by them – they will cut partying costs massively.

Listen to word of mouth: The chances are if a friend-of-a-friend mentioned that a venue was cheap and great fun, it was cheap and great fun! Take mental notes of what fellow students mention and plan to see for yourself.

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