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.
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