London life

There is nowhere better to study than London, and Birkbeck is right at its heart. London has a greater number of international students than any other city in the world: over 100,000 international students from more than 200 countries around the globe. 

There is always something going on in London, even on a tight budget: from world-class cultural venues, art galleries and museums like the British Museum, which is right next door to Birkbeck in central London, to exquisite parks, historic buildings and riverside walks. There are also hundreds of free activities for kids. So, despite the city’s reputation as expensive, you don’t have to miss out. 

Travel and location

  • London is the hub of the UK’s transport network and the Student Oyster photocard entitles you to a 30% discount on public travel. Central London is compact and most journeys are possible by foot, but the area is well-served by an extensive bus and Underground (the Tube) network. 

Diversity

  • London is a diverse, welcoming world city, where over 300 languages are spoken. By studying in London, you will establish a global network of friends to last a lifetime. 

Entertainment

  • London is a packed with music venues, world-famous restaurants, theatres, cinemas, pubs and clubs - there is something to suit every taste.
  • The West End contains the biggest theatre district in the world, home to some of the best productions ever mounted, from award-winning musicals such as Les Miserables to edgy performances from new talent. 
  • Whether you want to see the latest Hollywood blockbuster or the newest independent movie, you will find an exciting range of cinemas in London and there are plenty of student discounts on offer. Birkbeck even has its own cinema, in our School of Arts, which offers many free screenings. 
  • And if food is your thing, you can sample food from around the world in London. From top Michelin-starred restaurants to budget 'all you can eat' buffets, there is a wealth of culinary expertise to choose from. You can eat your way around the world without ever leaving London. 

Culture

  • London is blessed with some of the finest museums and galleries in the world, many of which are completely free to visit. View some of the most famous art ever created at the National Gallery, Tate Britain or Tate Modern; step aboard HMS Belfast or the Cutty Sark; marvel at ancient relics in the British Museum; wonder at the Natural History Museum’s dinosaurs. Whatever your interest or passion, you’ll find it in London. 

Sport

  • The University of London has high-quality facilities for most sports and currently has over 4000 students regularly competing in intercollegiate sports leagues across London.
  • Right next door to Birkbeck at Student Central, you can use a 60-station gym and 33-metre swimming pool, or join some of the 50 fitness classes held every week.
  • If you are more of a spectator, in London you can visit some of the most iconic sporting arenas in the world such as Wembley Stadium, Wimbledon tennis club, Lord’s Cricket Ground or Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium, one among some of the world's most famous football grounds. 

Shopping

  • You can shop until you drop in London, the fashion centre of the world. Birkbeck's main campus in Bloomsbury, central London, is just a short walk from the West End’s Oxford Street, Carnaby Street and Covent Garden, with boutiques to suit every budget. And our Stratford building is right next to the new Westfield Shopping Centre.
  • London also has many world-famous markets - such as Notting Hill’s Portobello Road or east London’s Brick Lane - where you can buy almost anything, from street food, art and antiques, to vintage and designer fashions. 

Outdoors and green spaces

  • London is one of the greenest cities in the world, with more than 3000 parks and open spaces. In Bloomsbury, where Birkbeck's main campus is based, you can stroll to beautiful Georgian squares, including Russell Square, Brunswick Square and Bedford Square, while Regent's Park is close by. From Hampstead Heath and the famous Hyde Park, to urban farms, royal houses, nature reserves and an extensive network of canals, London has outdoor spaces to suit all activities. 

Employment

  • As a world city, London has an unrivalled power to connect people. Employers choose to locate their headquarters here, from banks such as HSBC, media companies like BSkyB, publishers such as Penguin Random House and every kind of business in-between. 

Safety

  • London is a very safe place but, like any big city, you can protect yourself from petty crime by taking sensible precautions to protect yourself and your possessions.