Top 10 Things about Living in London

Top 10 Things to do in London 1

Students at our campus in East London are in for a treat when they arrive, with the capital city offering plenty of opportunities for culture, entertainment and much, much more. Get in touch to find out how to join us

London has been ranked as the best city in the world for students for the fifth consecutive year in the QS Best Cities Ranking 2024.

So it’s no surprise that over half a million students now call it home. 

In our first city guide, we’ll delve into what makes it such a vibrant and brilliant place to live and learn…

Live music and the small gig scene

Live music in London

If you’re moving to London, then the live music scene is a top attraction. Venues of every size are part of its makeup with the smaller spaces offering important platforms for many of music’s greats to cut their teeth and hone their skills. 

The Dublin Castle pub in Camden is where Madness first performed. Brixton’s The Windmill has been an important space for the likes of Hot Chip and The Vaccines. The 100 Club can be found in the basement on Oxford Street and has a rich and unrivalled musical history. Acts such as the Clash, the Sex Pistols and many others have all performed intimate sets on its stage. 

At the other end of the spectrum are London’s O2 and the Royal Albert Hall – both prestigious and huge in capacity, these are the venues where you can catch many of the world’s biggest, best and boldest artists and musicians. Everyone from Beyonce, the Arctic Monkeys and the 1975 have graced these stages.

The South Bank

London Southbank

The South Bank of the Thames is home to many of London’s best attractions – from the Tate Modern to Shakespeare’s Globe and the Southbank Centre itself, the walk along from Borough Market to Waterloo Bridge fizzes with excitement and energy. 

If anyone new to London wants to take in the city, then a (hopefully) sunny afternoon spent meandering here will allow you to bask in some of the most vital cultural experiences it has to offer. 

Denmark Street and Soho

Denmark Street

This part of London offers explorers a chance to get up close with the heart of the capital’s music history. 

Regarded as the UK’s Tin Pan Alley, Denmark Street used to house music publishing companies during the twenties before a host of music shops called it home. During the sixties, Denmark Street would have seen the Rolling Stones, Elton John and the Kinks all recording music in the studios. In 1970, Bernie Taupin and Elton John wrote Your Song, John’s first hit single, at No. 20 Denmark Street. 

Now the area has seen significant redevelopment but it’s still a home to music. It’s also the location of the Outernet entertainment complex, an impressive audio-visual extravaganza of a venue which has seen performances from Duran Duran to Jai Paul. 


Markets in London

If you’re looking for inspiring food or shopping experiences, then London has plenty to keep even the hungriest of appetites satisfied. 

From Broadway Market in Hackney, located not too far from our London site to Borough Market and Spitalfields, there are myriad street food vendors, restaurants, bistros and retailers ready to cater for budgets of all types. 

The city is a global hub, meaning there are products and cuisines from all over the world on offer. 

Student discounts

Student discounts in London SAE

London is a city full of life, energy and attractions but can also be expensive as a student.  

Websites including Student Beans and Unidays can help you save on shops, restaurants and much more. 

Many online stores and high street retailers offer student discounts so don’t forget to ask as you could be getting products and services at much cheaper prices. Look out for signs at checkouts, in shop windows and on websites. 

Make sure you take advantage of any travel offers, particularly for the Oyster card too. 

You can save on Travelcards and Bus and Tram Passes with the 18+ Student Oyster photocard


Camden in London SAE guide

From Amy Winehouse to the days of the Camden Palace (now Koko), Camden is one of UK music’s homes. 

Officially, punk exploded in Camden in July 1976 at the iconic Roundhouse, one of the capital’s best and exciting venues. 

During the heady days of Brit pop, bands like Blur, Elastica and Suede would have been found hanging out in pubs such as the iconic Good Mixer

The Jazz Café opened its doors in 1990 and brought more jazz, R&B and hip hop sounds to the area. 

Record Shops 

Rough Trade Record shop London

We’ve already visited Soho and its brilliant network of record retailers – Sounds of the Universe, Phonica and many more are based here but there are plenty of must-visit stores dotted elsewhere around the city.

Rough Trade has a couple of outlets, the original location on Talbot Road in West London, then the newer location in Shoreditch with both stacked full of vinyl, books and musical ephemera. If you’re up for a visit to Kingston, then Banquet Records is an institution, offering great vinyl and plenty of in-store gigs. Others worth checking out include Honest Jon’s, Flashback and The Little Record Shop. Alan’s Records, located between East Finchley underground and the North Circular, is one of the most revered among DJs and diggers for those willing to explore further afield. 

The BFI and IMAX

London BFI Southbank

Studying Film Production? Or just interested in exploring film in all its glory? Then London is a great place for you to experience cinema of all kinds. The BFI IMAX offers total sensory overload, providing viewers with unrivalled immersive viewing. 

Currently showing Dune: Part Two and Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, this cinema boasts the UK’s biggest screen. 

On the flip side is The BFI National Archive, which has one of the most important film and TV collections in the world. This huge archive houses thousands of titles from the world of TV and film while it also offers opportunities to hear leading industry professionals in conversation, sharing their insights and knowledge. 

Culture – from Theatreland to the Royal Family

Tate Britain

Alongside live music, London is alive with culture of all types, home to some of the most striking buildings, museums and architecture in the UK.

Buckingham Palace sits at one end of Pall Mall and one of the many residences to the Royals while in nearby Westminster, visitors will find Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey and much more.

If you’re looking for museums, then the V&A and the British Museum should be able to offer you plenty of insights, experiences and knowledge. Alongside this are galleries aplenty including the Tate Britain.

London’s is also home to many world-class theatre productions with iconic theatres including the Old Vic, the National Theatre and Theatre Royal Drury Lane.

The Future of Live Music? 

ABBA Arena

We’ve already mentioned the Outernet in Soho as one of the venues offering unparalleled experiences, marrying dazzling performances with exciting technology.

For those curious about what the future of live music might look like, ABBA’s Voyage experience is a must.

This show feature virtual avatars, depicting the iconic group as they appeared in 1979, and use vocals re-recorded in a Swedish studio specifically for this show. Much like London, it’s a special and unique experience…


Whether you want to work in Film Production, Audio Production or more, there are many different opportunities to elevate your career in the creative industries at SAE London.

Our degrees will provide you with the skills, experience and knowledge to succeed at the highest level.

Get in touch with our team to find out more.

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