Nafiza's guide to getting around London

Image of Big Ben on a rainy day.

Hey!

So… you’ve just been accepted into a London university and you’re buzzing to start and live in one of the most famous cities in the world! But there’s probably lots you’d like to know about London.  As your Vice President for Postgraduates, and fellow Londoner for over 10 years, I’m going to share my top tips for getting around the city – and trust me, some of these will surprise you!

 

How I like to travel around the city:

  • My personal preferences for getting around London are buses and trains. I love taking the tube as I can get to my destination in minutes because it’s so fast and you don’t have to wait long for the next one. I’d suggest avoiding travelling during rush hour if you can – it’s not fun. Buses are great because I can get signal to use my phone and can easily change my travel plans if the bus stops working. The only downsides to buses are the crowds, traffic and constant stops.

My favourite cuisines in the city:

  • When it comes to great food, in my opinion, you cannot go wrong with Chinese, Turkish and Mediterranean cuisine. For my Chinese meal, I always go for the chef’s special fried rice with prawns, veggies and a black bean curry. When it comes to Turkish or Mediterranean food, I am a massive lover of donner kebabs wrapped in soft flatbread and covered in special white garlic sauce. I also love the mixed hot mezze platters, which are always the first thing I order when I’m ordering with a group or just choosing a snack to take with me when meeting friends.

 

 

How I stay hydrated in the city:

  • Personally, I am terrible at remembering to drink water and stay properly hydrated, as I love fruit juices.  My advice would be to invest in a reusable bottle so you can fill it up on campus or around the city in supermarkets and drugstores. After being provided with a reusable bottle from by King’s Student Life Group, I have been able to save so much money and become more sustainable!

How I budget my money in London:

  • I often sign up to mailing lists from different clothing and lifestyle retailers to keep an eye out for massive sales so I can start ticking things off my shopping wishlist. By doing this, I’m able to get items I really like for much cheaper and be able to save up for them as I wait for the discounts. Another thing I tend to do is make use of the ‘first purchase offer’, an incentive that online shops give to first-time customers – these can range from big discounts to money vouchers.

The sights I love the most:

  • I love looking over the city and seeing it all spread out before me, which is why I cannot get enough of the Emirates Air Line. You can literally go from one side of the River Thames to the other in an air cable car, and explore different parts of London such as Greenwich and Canary Wharf. The cable cars are a great adrenaline rush but can also be enjoyed by those who are afraid of heights. I really like that you get the chance to explore the O2 arena as well.

 

 

My thoughts on London weather:

  • I still haven’t gotten used to the London weather and its spontaneity. Coming from a country where the weather has always been nice and comfortable, the constant and often unexpected rain when I am wearing my favourite eyeliner or mascara and turn up to a meeting looking like a panda.

My favourite bank holiday:

  • Given that I am a workaholic, I don’t have a preference over any of the bank holidays. Though I do love a three-day weekend after a long week at work. The only bad thing about bank holidays are flight prices shooting through the roof – for a discount lover like me, it’s not ideal. My advice would be arranging a short trip to somewhere sunny in Europe at least 2-4 months in advance.

How I find WiFi in London:

  • London WiFi is amazing! I go to uni and use London Underground daily, which are two of the best free Wi-Fi spots. Yes, it’s true that there are other spots around London that have free Wi-Fi, but I find it takes a long time to connect to them so I’ll mostly stick to my own mobile data.

My tips on British etiquette:

  • The first thing to remember – when on an escalator, the right side is for standing and the left is for power walking.  Also, always mind the gap! It only takes one wrong step to fall through 

 

     Hope this helps!

 

     Nafiza Mamun,

     VP Postgraduates 19/20