City Guide

London

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Introduction to London

London is one of the world's largest – and most expensive – cities. 'Londinium' was founded by the Romans more than 2,000 years ago, and has since grown into a hub of legislative, political, financial and regal activity.

The English capital survived plague, fire and two world wars to become the largest conurbation in the European Union, with a population of more than 8 million, more than double that of the next largest European capital, Berlin. The postal area of London covers 241 square miles in total. It can take hours to travel across London, which makes deciding where to live almost as important as where to study.

City centre

The city of London is geographically a small area inside Greater London and denotes the financial centre of the urban mass. Although this part of London has a population of fewer than 10,000, the ‘city’ or ‘square mile’ employs around 300,000 people.

The North

This part of London is popular with international students for its wealth of transport links – there are far more tube stations north of the River Thames than the south – and for its trendy hot spots, such as Camden’s alternative goods and the theatres around the West End.

The East

This area is home of one of the UK’s most popular television soap operas, EastEnders, which focuses on Cockney London. The markets in this area have gained notoriety among international students for their competitive prices and eclectic offerings, with the foreign vibes of Brick Lane proving a big hit.

The West

Although there are entertainment venues all over London, a large amount can be found here. Hammersmith Apollo, Hammersmith Palais and Lyric Theatre attract several comedy acts, gigs and shows. The west of London is also home to the city’s largest public festival, Notting Hill Carnival, which takes its name from the tube stop and provided the name and setting for a hit Hugh Grant film.

The South

The south of the River Thames is perhaps most famous for Clapham Common and the festivals that go with it. One of the most popular attractions for international students is Balham’s pub and club scene and Greenwich Park.