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 in any other city in the world: 100,000 international students from over 200 nations.

There is always something going on in London, even on a tight budget, from world-class museums, like the British Museum next door to Birkbeck, to exquisite parks and riverside walks. From historic houses to stunning art galleries and free activities for kids, there are some amazing free experiences to be had in London. So despite the city’s reputation for being expensive, you don’t have to miss out on exploring what the city has to offer.

Travel and location

London is the hub of the UK’s public transport network and the Student Oyster photo card gives 30% off travel. But the density of London means most journeys are possible by foot, and buses that run 24 hours a day ensure that you will rarely require a taxi, even on a night out.


London is the most diverse and welcoming city in the world, with over 300 languages spoken in the city. By studying in London you will establish a global network of friends to last a lifetime.


London is a packed with music venues, world-famous restaurants, theatres, cinemas, pubs and clubs - there is something to suit every taste.

The UK’s capital city boasts 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, you will never tire of London’s Theatreland.

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 plenty of student discounts on offer. Birkbeck even has its own cinema in our School of Arts, offering many free screenings.

And if you are in to your food, London has a vast range of cuisine to try. 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!


London is blessed with some of the finest museums and galleries on the planet, 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.


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 the Energybase’s 60-station gymnasium 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, among the famous footballing homes in London.


You can truly shop until you drop in London, the fashion centre of the world. Birkbeck main campus 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 capitals in the world, with more than 3000 parks and open spaces in the city. From Hampstead Heath and the famous Hyde Park, to urban farms, royal houses and nature reserves, London has outdoor spaces to suit all activities.


With its world city status, London has unrivalled power to connect people, even in a globalised world. 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.


London is a very safe place but like any big city, if you take sensible precautions to protect yourself and your possessions you should have few problems when it comes to crime.