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Living in London

A global cultural and creative centre, London is at the heart of our 6 Colleges.

Make your arrival in London easy and find out more about accommodation, bank accounts, healthcare, travel and things to do in the British capital.

Accommodation

Living in halls of residence is a great way to meet new people and make new friends.

All international students at UAL are guaranteed a place in our accommodation for their first year of study, and you can choose among 13 halls of residence spread across London. Places are also available for students on our Presessional English Programme.

If you're arriving in London for the first time, you can use our free collection service from the airport to your hall of residence.

If you have questions about accommodation or housing in London, you can get in touch with your UAL Representative, or the International Accommodation Adviser based in our Asia Branch Office at accommodation@arts.ac.uk or +852 3753 8813 (GMT+8).

Find out more

Halls of residence

Bank accounts

The British Banking Association's guide for international students provides information about accounts offered by most banks.

To open a UK bank account, you’ll need to visit a bank branch.

Make sure you have with you:

  • Your passport
  • Proof of your address in your home country. Banks will accept an offer letter from UAL.
  • Proof of your UK address, such as your housing contract or utility bills
  • A ‘bank letter’ from UAL
    You can request this from your College, but only after your enrolment event. You will need to provide us with the name and address of your chosen bank.

Important notice

It will take a few weeks after arriving in the UK to open your new bank account. Make sure you have another source of money for your first few weeks in London, such as cash, travellers cheques or a debit/credit card with low international fees.

If you have any questions about opening a bank account in the UK, contact our Student Advice Service.


Healthcare

Before you arrive

Consider doing the following in your home country:

  • Meningitis C vaccination
  • Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccination
    Adults can't get this vaccination from UK's National Health Service (NHS) but only from private healthcare providers
  • Tuberculosis (TB) screening certificate
    This will be required for your visa application and you may also need to show it when you arrive at a UK airport
  • Your medical record
    Bring an official English translation of your full medical records for your new doctor in the UK
  • Regular medication 
    Registering with a doctor might take time, so bring enough supplies for the first months if you take regular medications

When you arrive

Make sure you register with the UK's National Health Service (NHS). You can find your nearest doctor on the NHS website, or with UAL Health Advice if you're staying in UAL Halls.

  • EU/EEA citizens
  • Your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will give you access to NHS healthcare.

  • International students
  • If you are on a visa for more than 6 months, you need to pay for a Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) to use NHS healthcare. This is paid as part of your visa application. If you're in the UK for less than 6 months, consider buying a private health insurance as it will be cheaper than paying for NHS treatment.

NHS services

  • GP (General Practitioner) services
    GPs, commonly called doctors, can diagnose and treat minor or ongoing health problems.
  • Emergency healthcare
    For emergencies, go to an Accident and Emergency (A&E) department at your nearest hospital. If you need an ambulance, call 999 for free from any phone.
  • Dental care
    You can find a local dentist on the NHS website. You will be charged a fee for dental treatment.
  • Eye tests
    Eye care is provided from high street shops like Boots Opticians, Specsavers or Vision Express.

Mental health and further support

If you need help or advice about health and mental health matters, you can contact the UAL Health Advice service.

For more information about healthcare in the UK, visit the UK Council for International Affairs (UKCISA) website.


Travel

In London

Underground - called the 'Tube', the quickest way to get around and some lines are open 24hrs during the weekend

Overground - trains to get outside of the city centre

Buses - your cheapest option with services throughout the night

Trams - useful for students at Wimbledon College of Arts


Download the Tube and Overground map

Download Citymapper - Transport app for London



Fares and payment

You will need to buy an Oyster Card for £5 to use public transport. You can use your Oster as:

Travelcard – a weekly, monthly or yearly pre-paid pass

Pay as you go – top-up your card with money as and when you need it

Full time students can get 30% discount with a Student Oyster Photocard

Visit tfl.gov.uk for more information

Outside of London

Coaches – Buy a Young Persons Coachcard for £10 to get 10% off National Express, or find cheap tickets with MegaBus

Trains – Buy a 16-25 Railcard for discounted travel, use Trainline to compare prices and find out more about train travel on the National Rail website

Car – iI you want to drive, read the UKCISA's driving guide for international students

Outside of the UK

Make sure you read the immigration rules for travelling abroad on your student visa.

The International Student Identify Card (ISIC) gives you discounts on travel in Europe. You can buy one from Arts Students' Union.

Use GoEuro to search and compare fares for train, coach and plane travel


Community

Life in the capital is all about making connections. Wherever you come from or whatever your background, you’ll meet like-minded people. You’ll already be part of a huge student community when you join UAL, but here are a few ways of finding new friends.

4 people hugging in a group shor

Arts SU: Students' Union

As soon as you arrive at UAL, you automatically become a member of Arts SU, the University’s Students’ Union. Arts SU has many societies that you can join, which are a great way to meet new people.

International Student House

International Students House (ISH) organises social and cultural events for international students in London, including free cinema on Sundays and trips around the UK. UAL is a member of ISH so all our students can join for free.

UAL students in the park in the summer

Homestay with British families

HOST is a voluntary group that arranges for international students to stay with a British family free-of-charge for a day, a weekend or the Christmas holidays. This is a great way to learn more about the British way of life and to share your culture with your hosts.

Illustration Garden Marja De Sanctis

Religion and faith

London is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world and almost every faith is represented by a community group or organisation. UAL has a university chaplain who can provide support, whatever your belief. The chaplain can also help you find a place of worship or community group for your faith in London.


Things to do in London

London is one of the most innovative cities in the world with inspiring artists, designers and communicators from across the globe.

There’s always something new to experience and influence your creative journey at UAL - or simply just to have fun.

Many world-famous art galleries, museums and exhibitions are free to visit and different events take place every night of the week.

With so many things available, here's a few tips to plan your days in London while saving money.

Two female students looking at a flower stall

Plan

Culture Trip - Act like a local

Secret London - Food, drink, lifestyle and culture

Time Out - Restaurants and bars, films and theatre, music, art and more

Evening Standard’s Going Out guide - Latest events and exhibitions

ArtFund - Don't miss out on London's art scene

Dice.fm - Music gigs and tickets

Resident Advisor - A guide to London's clubbing scene

London for Free - All things free in London

Save

NUS Extra and UNiDAYS - Discounts from stores, restaurants, bars and more across the UK

International Student Identity Card (ISIC) - Discounts across 120 countries worldwide

ArtFund Student Art Pass - Save big on entry to London's amazing museums and exhibitions

Too Good To Go - Save on takeaway food and join the food waste revolution