#1 Edited by JeffGoldblum (3707 posts) -

So next semester, I'll be studying abroad in London. I've never been out of the states before and my university is giving me a lot of "great" advice like "cars drive on the other side of the street be careful!". So I was wondering if you guys could give me the hot insider tips to living in/being a student in the UK I need. What do I absolutely need to do/eat/see? What should I try and avoid? What the hell is a pence?

EDIT:Someone asked where I'll be staying, I'll be living in some student housing that is apparently a five minute walk from King's Cross.

EDIT2 Electric Boogaloo: In response to the oyster card posts, I'll have a card with covered travel in the first two underground zones and can add cash for going further out

#2 Posted by Imsorrymsjackson (855 posts) -

Eat curry. Also, if you are in London then get the train down to Brighton and come and stay in my lovely hotel, The Oriental.

#3 Posted by MattyFTM (14417 posts) -

Don't drunkenly think "there's an underground station every 50 yards in London, lets just keep on walking and we'll come across one in no time" at 11:30 pm. It'll take far longer than you expect and you'll miss the last train home. I know this from personal experience.

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#4 Posted by jimmyfenix (3858 posts) -

Stay safe, some places in london have high crime rate/gun crime so watch your step.

#5 Posted by VintageKrug (9 posts) -

Make sure you bring some cash to travel. London is 3 hours or less away from most of Europe and benefits from lots of low cost airlines (Ryanair, Easy Jet...) that will get you to most destinations. Plan on spending weekends travelling to the continent.

#6 Edited by HermanBloom (94 posts) -

Get an Oyster card. That will simplify the tube system into a swipe and go (though remember to swipe when drunk, otherwise your two stop ride will turn into something very expensive). Also go to a Football game.

#7 Posted by Soap (3610 posts) -

Stay safe, some places in london have high crime rate/gun crime so watch your step.

Um.... I'd like to dispute that.

We have some dodgy areas, but gun crime is pretty rare.

#8 Edited by jimmyfenix (3858 posts) -
#9 Posted by James_Hayward (418 posts) -

My advice would be to make sure that you set aside time to get out of London and see the rest of the UK. London is like a country within a country... mostly that's a great thing ( I live in London) but don't make the mistake of missing everything else while you're here!

#10 Posted by Unilad (575 posts) -

London is the best city in the world. You'll have a blast.

Ps. In Soho...some of the women.....are actually men.

Have a blast bro.

#11 Posted by falserelic (5468 posts) -

Your topic reminded me of a movie I've seen along time ago.

I remember this transformation scene of this movie. I always liked the theme song it would fit with resident evil, but the werewolf designs were just bad in this movie. They looked like giant cat-rats. On top of that this movie had parts that didn't make sense.

Anyway I hope things workout for you in London...Good Luck

#12 Edited by mercutio123 (471 posts) -

We should really get some sort of Giant Bomb London meet up happening at some point

#13 Posted by Drebin_893 (2923 posts) -

Eat curry. Also, if you are in London then get the train down to Brighton and come and stay in my lovely hotel, The Oriental.

That's nuts, I live in Brighton and own a flat in Oriental Place. Weird.

#14 Edited by Mushir (2389 posts) -

Get interested in football (soccer). You will hear a lot about it, so it may be nice to have some knowledge of it.

#15 Posted by mrfizzy (1541 posts) -

Hey I just came back from London earlier this week! Seeing as you'll be studying there no doubt youll make friends with lots of locals who will help you out.

My advice, British pubs are awesome. As is the underground (the subway, if you didn't get that). I would get yourself a decent travel guide (Lonely Planet or Rough Guides are good) and go from there. Have an awesome time Duder!

#16 Edited by rahulricky (252 posts) -

Prioritise appropriately, the first thing you need to do is find a decent local pub, next get acquainted with the night bus timetable / tube map. Everything should follow naturally from there.

*edit* do you know where in London you're going to be staying? Could give more specific tips if we knew.

#17 Posted by AlexW00d (6303 posts) -

Take lots and lots of money 'cause London is one of the most expensive places you'll ever visit.

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#18 Edited by Lashe (1252 posts) -

London's great fun, I'm sure you'll enjoy it. I'd echo what some other duders have said: go travelling. London's has great connections to pretty much anywhere.

If you find time / money, jump up to Scotland for a bit. £40 train ticket from Euston to Glasgow Central, takes about 4 hours. Really awesome city — great music and comedy scene, lots of great pubs, museums, people, etc.

#19 Edited by 49th (2784 posts) -

Do the touristy stuff - The London Eye, Buckingham Palace, Tower of London, London Bridge, St. Paul's Cathedral. The South Bank is also a cool area with lots of theatres and places to eat and stuff to see. Also walk around Leicester Square, where the movies premier, and SoHo (Chinatown).

#20 Posted by leebmx (2247 posts) -

Stay safe, some places in london have high crime rate/gun crime so watch your step.

Lived in London for 25 years of my life, it is a pretty safe city for one so big. As long as you aren't doing anything dodgy you will be fine. Crime in the UK is at its lowest point since 1981 so crime is not something to be stressed about. Anyway this dude's coming from the US, don't know where he/she is from but if it is a city of the same size London will seem like Trumpton compared to the gun crime in the US.

My advice depends on what you are into. Go to our amazing parks, check out all the history and touristy things like Big Ben etc (cheesy but worth doing) @jeffgoldblum Go to Brick Lane and have a curry and then hang out. If you like your nightlife, London is amazing. Come to Hackney and eat some great Turkish food and watch people with crazy haircuts and bad/trendy clothes. Tons going on out here at the moment (althought its a bit too trendy right now).

Go to the Notting Hill Carnival if you are here for the August Bank Holiday, its crazy busy and kind of mental but a lot of fun if you like music loud and bassy.

Its not a cheap city by any means, not sure what your budget is, but with that stellar movie career behind you should be OK (its good to see you getting back into education btw).

Lastly go to Hampstead Heath, check out the view from Parliament Hill, and then go swimming in the ponds. Probably my favourite place on earth on a sunny day (on any day really).

It is a great city, make the most of it.

#21 Edited by RagingBrain (46 posts) -

Hey man, check out the southbank area of London. It has the London Eye, the aquarium and a bunch of galleries and museums. Also on a weekend they have the real food market. Definitely get an oyster card.

#22 Posted by mrcraggle (1954 posts) -

Just go to the Winchester, have a cold pint and wait for this whole thing to blow over.

#23 Posted by jimmyfenix (3858 posts) -

@leebmx: The one thing i like in london is the multiculturalism so many cultures in one area also its sunny down there. Here in glasgow its pretty shitty.

#24 Posted by JeffGoldblum (3707 posts) -

Prioritise appropriately, the first thing you need to do is find a decent local pub, next get acquainted with the night bus timetable / tube map. Everything should follow naturally from there.

*edit* do you know where in London you're going to be staying? Could give more specific tips if we knew.

I'll be staying in some student housing that is apparently a five minute walk from King's Cross

#25 Posted by Soap (3610 posts) -

@rahulricky said:

Prioritise appropriately, the first thing you need to do is find a decent local pub, next get acquainted with the night bus timetable / tube map. Everything should follow naturally from there.

*edit* do you know where in London you're going to be staying? Could give more specific tips if we knew.

I'll be staying in some student housing that is apparently a five minute walk from King's Cross

King's Cross is famous for it's red light district! Enjoy your self some illegal STI infested hooker sex! (or don't, I suggest don't....)

#26 Posted by leebmx (2247 posts) -

I'll be staying in some student housing that is apparently a five minute walk from King's Cross

Well if you ever feel the need for some smack or a £10 blow job, you are in the right place.

Half-joking, Kings Cross used to be really bad but they have cleaned it up a lot. You are right smack bang in the centre of everything at least. You are also really close the British Library (on Euston Road) which is well-worth checking out especially if you are concencious (I can't even spell the word) student. Every book in the world and all that, plus some really cool stuff like the Magna Carta.

One thing I would say is get out of the West End (which it sounds like where you are, and where a lot of student accomadation is) to surrounding buroughs, especially if you want cheap, decent places to eat out. Brick Lane for Curry, as mentioned, also Kingsland Road has tons of cheap Vietnamese places, and Upper Street in Islington has tons of places to eat out. Once you get your head round the tube, and buses (you'll be getting the 38 a lot if you head out to Hackney or Islington) you will find you can get out of the West End to cheaper, more authentic places more easily. Get an Oyster Card otherwise transport is mad expensive.

#27 Posted by leebmx (2247 posts) -

@leebmx: The one thing i like in london is the multiculturalism so many cultures in one area also its sunny down there. Here in glasgow its pretty shitty.

Yeah, thats what I like about London, its so mixed together. I lived in Leeds for a while and I really liked the city but it was much more ghettoised than London. All the Black people in one, place, Asians in another, students somewhere else and Whites with their own bit. Not healthy.

As for the sun, its almost too much at the moment - but it is great to see the place come alive when it starts shining. I guess its the same up there, at the first sign of any hot weather, everyone goes mental and tries to have barbeque in the park, even though its barely 18c.

#28 Posted by dannyodwyer (365 posts) -

I moved to London four years ago and had a blast the first few months especially. It's a great city to explore, every few miles has a unique feel.

THINGS I WOULD SUGGEST:

- Join a club. Sports / Special Interests / Whatever. Get out of your safe ecosystem and get embedded in the local culture. I joined a soccer team 5 months in and it helped me spread my social circles outside of work which is pretty important.
- Bookmark http://tfl.gov.uk/ and use it to travel everywhere. Even if you don't need to go anywhere, just travel. Get a feel for the city. Take tubes to far places but use buses too, to learn the layout of the city. If you're close to your university, get a bike. London is flat as a pancake, and you can cycle pretty much anywhere.
- Be smart with money. Not sure if your rent is covered, but rent here is a fucking bitch. Food items are expensive and so is travel. So just be on top of that. I wasn't for the first year and paid for it.
- Go to The Star of Kings. My mate owns it. You're probably staying in the new appartments around the corner from it. Great nights out there. If you meet Rob, tell him Danny the goalkeeper sent you. (see tip 1)
- Wrap up. Shit gets quite cold and VERY wet in the winter.
- Don't get too comfortable with the tourist areas. Your lucky enough to live there for a while, so don't do what every American traveller does, and only visit the City of London. There are loads of interesting historical museums and buildings to visit, but you should make sure you also check out the weird and wonderful parts of London too. Hang out on Brick Lane, get smashed in Hackney Downs, go to a gig in Brixton or Camden, check out the view at Crystal Palace. Bring a friend, or find new ones.
- Can't think of anything to do? Try http://www.timeout.com/london
- When Brits ask you where you're from, mention the state or city, not just 'America'. They will probably like you more and you won't have to talk about Iraq as much.
- If you drink, bring an ID that isn't your passport or get one here. You don't want to loose that shit over a few pints. Drinking age is 18 in case you don't already know.
- All of leebmx's suggestions are spot on. I'm gonna do a few of those myself.
- Don't be a stranger. London can be quite a cold place. From my experience people keep to themselves a lot more than the states and where I'm from. So be active in your search for social endevours. If you're ever stuck / need help or fancy a pint feel free to give me a shout via DM or email danny.odwyer@gamespot.co.uk.

Have a blast mate, this place gives as much as you put into it. Be proactive in finding adventure and you'll fly home with some fucking crazy stories.

#29 Edited by Imsorrymsjackson (855 posts) -

@drebin_893: Really, that is some fucking small world shit, I run The Oriental and live up at Seven Dials.

#30 Posted by FourWude (2261 posts) -

@jeffgoldblum: You're gonna get stabbed, shot, bummed and bombed. All in one night if you're lucky.

@imsorrymsjackson: Woah. I've never been to Brighton, nor even know where it is. But I once saw the movie Quadrophenia... spooky.

#31 Edited by Laiv162560asse (487 posts) -

You're gonna have a great time. I lived in London for 25 years and miss it so much ever since I left.

It sounds like you'll be staying near where I went to uni at SOAS. Do what everyone else recommended as regards to travelling around, but my advice would also be to get to know your local area on foot (or bicycle) as much as possible. From Kings Cross you're only about 10 minutes' walk from Camden to the North and Bloomsbury (with the British Museum) to the SW. From Bloomsbury, you're just a hop away from all the shops around Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Street, and in turn they're right next to Soho, Chinatown, Leicester Square, Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus. The last two in their turn are just a couple minutes' walk from St. James' Park, Green Park and Buckingham Palace. Bored of the bustle? Head south to Embankment, the Thames, the London Eye and everything on the South Bank. And if your feet ever get tired there's Oyster Cards and Tube stations for that.

Get lost. Find parks, find squares, find pubs. Get to know all the famous spots and then, no matter where you are, you'll never be at a loss for somewhere to shop, or to hang out and chill with friends, to get a pint or a bite to eat by a monument or a fountain or in a park somewhere.

To reiterate: find pubs. They're everywhere, so it's easy as well as being rewarding. There are some awesome old fashioned pubs particularly dotted around near Temple Gardens (which is a nice place in its own right - they back onto the Thames between St. Paul's Cathedral and Embankment). One of my personal favourites was The Lamb, a quiet pub near Russell Square and the Uni of London.

If you really want to dork out on London, try reading up on some of its history. Peter Ackroyd's London: The Biography does a fantastic job of linking the city's history to modern day life in its various districts.

#32 Posted by Nitrocore (369 posts) -

Tip 1 - Avoid London

#33 Edited by Sooty (8082 posts) -

Well there's London, and Central London, the rest of London is basically a county with a bunch of little towns/boroughs. Central London is nice, Westminster etc, the rest of it...not so much.

Stay away from estates and any set of flats (apartment complexes) you think looks a bit run down, as these are where a lot of the crime takes place.

edit: lol sorry I didn't mean to sound that negative, London is just a touchy subject for me sometimes because it reminds me of the complete mess that is my ex. It will wow you your first time seeing the sights, after that it's truly a collection of small towns, like a county with tourist attractions scattered around!

I felt a bit on edge walking around Ealing, when you're in the center you feel so safe, when you're not the tales of knife crime can make you paranoid, although it does seem knife crime gets reported on far more in London despite it taking place elsewhere too.

#34 Posted by Slaegar (726 posts) -

@sooty: I'm sure it can't be THAT bad. I mean the last time I was in Cleveland I watched a guy in broad daylight take an empty beer bottle out of trash can and drink what was left in it.