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5 Essential Things to Know Before Coming to London

What kind of a London focused student blog would we be, if we didn’t create this absolutely useful blog entry? Preparing for student life is something you know to research well in advance. Preparing for student life in London is along those same lines. How about preparing for London though? Each city has its own quirks and London is surely one to be enjoyed best with a bit of research. We have gathered the top 5 things you need to know before heading here and have them all laid out for you to enjoy!

1. Most museums are free

London’s rich and versatile culture scene will never leave you bored with its abundance of things to do, see and spark your artistic self. Even during the periods when they were closed, they treated us to a wonderful selection of virtual activities and taped tours – which goes to show how deep seeded the importance of making art accessible by audiences at all times is. From Tate Modern to the National Gallery and the British Museum, most museums in London will treat you to a phenomenally enriching experience free of charge, allowing you to both stick to your student budget, as well as make the most of the city’s arts & culture scene.

2. Download City mapper

Long gone are the days when you had to stick your nose in a pocket version of London’s tube map and follow the colour coded complication that unfolded in front of you. No more sitting on the platform searching for the correct exit while crowds move swiftly past you. Navigating the complex transport of London is now a piece of cake; just open the Citymapper app and get real time information on possible routes, traffic calculations as well as cheap alternatives. You can even view bike docks and their availability!

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3. Driving is the other way around

If you are used to cars driving on the right side of the road, as is the case with a great big number of countries around the world, forget what you know. Londoners drive on the left, and that takes a moment to get used to – especially as a pedestrian! Thankfully, the city is filled with the “Look Left” and “Look Right” indicators on the road, so you know which way to turn towards when crossing.

4. The pronunciation is deceiving

You may think you know how a word is pronounced, but it’s not always a spot-on guess! When navigating through London, you will soon come to realise many words are pronounced much differently to what it may seem like at first glance. One of the most common examples that’s right there in the city centre is Leicester Square, which is actually pronounced “Less-ter” Square. Westminster is also a tricky one, as the first “t” and second “i” are silent, whereas Greenwich sounds quite different the first time one comes across it, and the first time the train conductor calls out “Grenitch”. Sometimes it almost feels like a game, going through stops during your commute and wondering if you’ve guessed the pronunciation correctly!

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5. Take the bus

Yes, buses in London are arguably much slower than the tube. One of the perks of student living, however, is you aren’t always obliged to navigate the city during rush hour. This means you often have the opportunity to grab the bus as opposed to the tube to head to your lectures. The double decked red buses in London aren’t just charming on the outside, they also offer stunning views of the city as you navigate through it. Get acquainted with a city that has so many unique neighbourhoods, stunning sights and phenomenal cityscapes to offer from the top of the staple red buses and you can thank us later!

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