Living in London: your London toolkit

Living in London: your London toolkit

Welcome to London! I’ll be honest with you. Not all cities are the same. London is its own beast. This city requires some specialist equipment to navigate and thrive in. But don’t worry. At UKCE we have a lot of experience. We have helps countless numbers of students before. Oh, and the best part? We do this too; this isn’t a list of vague suggestions, nope. This is a proven toolkit for surviving London. If you know someone who is planning on moving here soon, this might be a great list for them. If you are the person moving to London this is a ‘to buy’ list. If you’re already living in London… well… this is a checklist. You should have these things already!

London toolkit
London toolkit

Oyster card

To be honest an Oyster card works exactly the same way as a contactless debit card (or you can use your phone). The real benefit is you can load the card with your chosen amount of money and buy things like travelcards and get student discounts/ apply a railcard discount to the card. With just a £5 deposit you’re ready to go, which you get back when you lose the Oyster card or return it to Transport for London. And remember the UKCE staff can help you apply for a student oyster card to save you some pennies.

London Pass

It might just be a couple of weeks that you’re here, but it’s really important that you set aside some time to discover the city! Go out and do all of the touristy things. When you live in London people will expect you to know and have experience of these things. (Lean in for this bit) and if we’re being 100% honest you will likely become the tour guide for your friends. They might not appreciate the fact that you don’t know the city, or you haven’t allowed yourself the time to discover London! So, getting the London pass is a really good idea as it can save you a little bit of money on entrance to various attractions.


This is London, in the UK, not the one in Equatorial Guinea, not the one in South Africa, and certainly not the one in Arizona. It’s in England and if one thing is guaranteed, it’s that it’s going to rain. If you haven’t realised yet “brolly” is what British people sometimes call an umbrella. You will need to buy a few. Yes a few as in more than one. Yes, that’s right, a few because you will probably leave one in a coffee shop …or someone in a bar might accidentally take yours …or you might forget it on the train or something. All three things have happened to me. You can get some cheap ones from pound shops and supermarkets, or you can get the big golf ones from sports retailers and clothes shops. The cheap ones blow inside out, and the golf ones knock into trees, bus stops and lampposts so it’s your choice really.

Timeout London

This is a beautiful free magazine that I think comes out on a Thursday or Friday (I can’t remember). Maybe I should have checked. OK I’ll check now. OK I checked and just saw a great offer for something. Turns out it comes out on different days, but you can get them from tube stations, train stations, and even supermarkets. Time out has all of the coolest, latest and newest things to checkout in London and really is ahead of the curve when it comes to finding out about cool stuff. You can also check it out on social media or online.

Bank account

Get a Monzo! I don’t even work for this company but all I can say is that Monzo is revolutionary. There are no stupid bank rules, it doesn’t matter where you’re from, they will allow you to set up an account. Monzo is 100% online and really easy. You don’t need to risk destroying your umbrella by visiting a branch and photocopying 1,000,000 documents. You can do it all from the comfort of your house.

National insurance number

Having a bank account is a very important thing to do but of course you won’t be able to get anything into that bank account legally without a National Insurance number this is the website you can use to apply for one, all you need is your passport. Another thing you can do from the comfort of your house.


The city is not paved with gold, but everything costs just as much as if it were. London can be a crushingly expensive city at times. But in cities there are always opportunities! When you have some downtime why not apply for some jobs?


Good luck!