Coming from a small village in Poland and having spent three years in Oxford, I was admittedly a bit apprehensive about moving to London to study at LSE.
How would I find living in such an enormous city? How would I navigate the public transport system? How would I manage to live on a limited student budget? Such questions haunted me.
While they were not unfounded, London has proven again and again what a great city it is to live in. Especially for people in their 20s.
Subjectively, I think the best things about London are its cultural and social scenes.
As an enjoyer of all things cultural, I have been delighted by the breadth of options London has to offer when it comes to culture and history.
The starting point is, obviously, museums which you can visit for free. We’re really spoilt for choice in London – the National Gallery, Tate Modern, National Portrait Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museum are a must-see for art lovers. If you’re interested in the historical side of things, the British Museum is the place for you, but also the Imperial War Museum or Museum of the Home. The opportunities are vast and they won’t cost you a penny.
London is also famous for its West End scene. Whether you like classic musicals like Phantom of the Opera and Les Misérables or more modern pieces like Hamilton or Pretty Woman, you will find something suitable for your taste. Admittedly, tickets might be a stretch for a student budget, but seeing the actors sing your favourite songs, high notes, multi-voice harmonies or tongue twisters is *so* worth it (speaking from experience!).
Finally, there are theatres and cinemas. So many incredibly talented and famous actors are based in London and there’s a chance to see their wonderful performances on stage, in more intimate theatre settings (such as Paul Mescal in the Streetcar Named Desire – a recent senstation). Cinemas offer not only the newest releases but also interesting movie marathons and less mainstream or older films (for example the Prince Charles Cinema).
London’s cultural scene is complemented by the countless social opportunities this city has to offer young people. An abundance of exciting events, bars, clubs, cafés and restaurants cater to all tastes and desires.
London’s food scene is incredibly diverse – a reflection of its population representing many different cultures, languages, and backgrounds. From traditional British pubs through authentic Asian restaurants and small local coffee shops to street food markets like Borough Market and Camden Market, there’s always something delicious (and affordable) to try.
London is also famous for its nightlife. My personal favourite is Dalston on a Friday night, but plenty of events and parties are happening across the city with different themes and vibes, and many local communities regularly organise interesting events of a unique character.
All in all, London is a big city where everyone can find something special for themselves, but the cultural events and social scene make it a particularly exciting and vibrant place to live.