London Business School | Groups

London Guide

Written for partners, by partners, this guide has been designed to provide you with tips, tricks and important information to help you adjust to a new city, a new job, a new lifestyle.

The London Business School Partner's club is quite active. There are regular pub nights, weekend excursions and picnics in the park; it is important to remember that you are not alone.

We highly recommend that all partners attend the Partners Welcome events in September, as they offer ideal opportunities to meet people, network and make lasting friendships.

 


1. Survival Guide: Relocation

HERE: VISAS | PACKINGBUDGETWEBSITES TO BOOKMARK | OR GO TO THE TOP

 


VISAS

Be sure that you and your partner know what visa you need before you go through immigration, and be sure to bring the appropriate paperwork. The immigration rules change periodically, so check the UK Border Agency website to find your visa options.

TIP: If you plan to work, you should double-check with your local consulate to confirm that spouses of students will continue to have working rights. At this point in time (20th January 2017), spouses postgraduate students enrolled for courses of 12 months or longer are able to work. Details on what sort of jobs you won't be able to perform can be found on the UKCISA web site.
Expect to be grilled at immigration, and be prepared to show necessary paperwork (bank account statements, marriage certificate/proof of civil partnership).


PACKING

Packing for London is tough. While there are definitely windy rainy days when thick coats, hats and gloves are needed, there are also days where the sky is clear blue and the breeze is warm.

Also it's important to realise that once you are at London Business School there will be all kinds of opportunities to go skiing in the Alps, sailing in the Med, etc. If you think you will fancy a ski trip, do bring your ski clothes. It may seem bulky at the time, but at least you will have them when you need them.

And if you are planning to interview in London for work then bringing a formal black suit helps. Do carry all important documents which include your marriage certificate, your academic qualification certificates, your bank account statements from back home, passport size photographs, etc.


BUDGET

London is an expensive city, so it's important to plan your budget carefully. Here is a list of some of the most common expenses you will face while in London, based on a couple per month, living in a studio or one bedroom flat.

 

Rent £1200 - £2000+ (depending on Zone and type of accomodation)
Transport £15 - £200/person
Supermarket £200 - £500+
Water £14 - £40
Electricity £27 - £45
Phone £35 (quarterly)
Council tax Depends on where you live & type of property
£80 - £100
(you don't pay council tax if it says on your visa/travel document "No recourse to Public Funds")
TV License £145.50+ per year
(you will need it if you have TV or watch programmes live on an online TV service, and to download or watch BBC programmes on demand, f.ex. on BBC iPlayer)
Cinema £10 - £20
Dinner for 2:
cheap/moderate
£20 - £30 (each)
Dinner for 2:
moderate/expensive
£70 - up

 

When budgeting, remember to check all variables: length of studies, tuition fees, utilities, flights, etc. You can also include an estimate of incomes for the summer internship and second year project (if applicable to your programme).


WEBSITES TO BOOKMARK


GO TO THE TOP

2. Survival Guide: Getting Settled

HERE: HOUSING | LOCATIONSMEDICAL SERVICESBANK ACCOUNT | MOBILE PHONES | GROCERY STORES | POST OFFICE | OR GO TO THE TOP


HOUSING

Finding the perfect place in London may take you a week or two or more, so make arrangements in advance to stay at a B&B. Before beginning your search, it is important to know that accommodation in London is quite expensive and small.

TIP: London Business School has its own hotel. While the rooms are subject to availability, it is one of the best, and most affordable places you could possibly stay. Never forget to book in advance as the hotel is always in high demand.

Once you have arrived in London, if you have time, spend a day or two checking out the neighbourhoods where you intend to live. (See further down, in "Location, Location, Location", for more information on an individual area.)

The main sources to find accommodation are the rental websites, agents and newspapers. You can get a head start by looking at agent's websites, but you normally won't be able to do anything before you get here.

Short Term

If you are looking for short term accommodation in London you can sublet a flat for the first couple of weeks with AirBnb, Unite Students, Wimdu or Uni Places


Flatshares
While as a couple you will probably be looking for your own place, it is common to house or flat share in London even as a couple and this can provide a lower cost alternative to renting your own place. Loot (newspaper and website) and SpareRoom are the best options for shared accommodation. SpareRoom is even hosting speed flatmaking events when you can meet and get to know your future flatmates ahead of commiting to living with them! 

Student Accomodation

Another good option is to apply for apartments in student accomodations. These are regular studios and apartments that are offered only to full time students arriving with partners (and some allow kids). They are highly subsidised and usually conveniently located close to school. They are very few of these and they are given out on a first come first served basis, so apply as early as possible. London Business School recommends the following:

University of London -Lillian Penson hall

http://halls.london.ac.uk/lillian-penson-hall

International Students House

http://www.ish.org.uk/

Zebra housing (Allows children also)

http://www.zebrahousing.com/

 

TIP: Early August is a great time for searching as a lot of properties come on the market. Don't forget though that if you're applying for a student house accomodation, you should do that straight after your partner is accepted!

Estate Agencies

The best places to start with your housing search are the property agencies located in the area where you wish to live. Usually, agencies work within a limited area, so don't expect them to show you properties all around London.

Take your time to look through the neighbourhoods around the school and go into every agency you see. It may seem frustrating when each agency has only one or two apartments to show, but that is precisely why you should target a LOT of them. Registering with them or taking property details away with you should be free of charge: don't pay for this.

Don't feel obligated to remain loyal to any agency; just walk in, give your requirements and be prepared to make as many appointments as possible. Also, try to go there when you know you can spare some time because many of them will offer to show you some properties right then.

Newspapers

Check the Loot, the Sunday Times, the Evening Standard and the local papers. Once you have been around the neighbourhoods, you will be able to recognise a good deal in the advertisements and make an appointment. And, if you are dealing direct with a landlord, without an agent being involved, you can expect the rent to be less and not to have to pay for the rental agreement.

Be prepared to do an application when you see flats. Bring a reference letter from your bank at home certifying creditworthiness and a letter from LBS confirming your attendance in the programme. Also remember that you will not be given much time to decide on whether you want a flat (some students have lost good opportunities because they wanted a day to think it over).

Apps

There are few apps that allow you to set your preferences and get notifications when ideal rental house appears on the market. Movebubble, Knocker, or Patch Property Search can be a good place to start, eseciallyif you want to get a sense for prices in your prefered area.
 

Found the perfect home? ... so what's next?

When you find a place that you like you will be asked to pay a small deposit, usually around one week's rent to secure the property while your offer is taken on by the agent to the Landlord. If you pull out of the deal you lose the deposit, and if the agent/ landlord pull out, the deposit is returned.

It takes around two weeks to agree on contract terms and move into a property. It might take less, but go for the worst-case scenario and expect that.

Most agents will charge you an administration fee of £50-£150, once you have agreed to take a property and further fees each time you extend your tenancy. Always check with your agent beforehand how much it will cost to draft the contract. You can negotiate before you see any properties but not later.

The normal tenancy in the London area is for one year. Most agents will agree that the tenant can have the option to break the agreement after six months by giving one or two months notice. Make sure that you have this "six-month break clause"; you never know what the future might bring you!

If you don't feel sure, before signing a tenancy agreement ask for advice in the University of London Accommodation Office (www.lon.ac.uk/acomm).

You will be required to pay a security deposit of up to six weeks rent to be held until end of the tenancy. You should ask about the interest, although it usually doesn't apply.

You will be expected to pay your first month's rent in advance. In a lot of cases (the majority actually!) since both you and your student partner will most likely be unemployed at the time of arrival in London, some agencies will ask you to either pay 8 months of rent in advance or have a local person sign as a guarantor.

You are responsible of contacting the utilities companies to arrange supply prior to moving into the property. And even if everything is up and running, it also your responsibility to make sure all utilities are under your name.

When you move in you should receive an inventory of the contents and condition of the property. Be extremely detailed when checking the inventory, get a copy and report any discrepancies in writing. If possible take pictures of anything which is not in the right state including the patch paint job on the wall and the broken door lock. When you leave they will try to find every reason to make deductions from your deposit.

Most flats in London are furnished, but don't expect much more than a bed, dresser and wardrobe in each bedroom, basic crockery and appliances, kitchen table and couch. However, if you feel you could use a TV, a sofa bed or a microwave oven, it never hurts to ask for it. The worst that could happen is to get a no, and I know of many people who actually got what they requested (including myself). But insist on a furnished apartment while you lay your requirements with the estate agent as they have several unfurnished options available too. It would normally cost £ 10 - £20 more per week but will fetch you a great deal more than investing in household items when you are struggling with other expenses. Unless of course you have transported your complete household from your home country.

Useful links:

Agencies
www.foxtons.co.uk
www.kfh.co.uk
www.waellis.com/
www.winkworth.co.uk

Classifieds

www.rightmove.co.uk
www.zoopla.co.uk
www.loot.com

Others
www.arla.co.uk (The Association of Residential Letting Agents)


LOCATIONS

To help you decide on your perfect neighbourhood, we give you a brief description on the areas around the school. Cheaper location options are available further away, but this increases travel time and cost, plus it makes school socialising more difficult.

Walking distance from school

Marylebone - This area consists of most of the slice of London sandwiched between Oxford Street and Regent's Park; it could hardly be more central or more varied. Marylebone is long-established, especially in the medical district. The whole area is a mixture of residential and commercial, therefore it is cheaper than other central areas and a better value than many would expect. Around the station, and towards Edgware Road, you can find amazing places at a very good value.

St. John's Wood - The pace and style of these select streets are set by the lazy summer sound of wooden willow that drifts across the high, enclosing walls of Lord's Cricket Ground. Life here is conducted at a strolling place. The area has the appeal of shopping (on the High Street and nearby Finchley Road), religion (with the London Central Mosque and synagogues), and the American School. It is a very good option, especially if you have --or plan to have-- kids, but it can be expensive.

Regent's Park - This area still forms part of the Crown Estate and benefits from its careful management and long-term planning, which has led to the restoration of all the great terraces since 1945. It can get very expensive.

A bit further away...

Paddington & Bayswater - This area can be very touristy with many hotels and B&Bs in the vicinity. But also a good place for affordable studio and one bedroom appartments. Ideal for couples. Has many 24 hr convenience stores and PLENTY of restaurants, mainly aimed at tourists. Paddington station is 2 tube stops away from school, 10 mins by bus and 20 mins if you walk.

Camden Town & Primrose Hill - This area is probably a smarter place to live today than at any time since Earl Camden started to build in 1791. Camden Town is where bohemian London got rich and its occupants have changed from writers to media stars. Primrose Hill is an enclave of quiet streets beside 110 acres of open space of the Hill to the West. It has been known for its handsome houses and spacious flats for decades and is still intellectual-smart rather than mere money-smart.

Maida Vale & Little Venice - This is a wholly residential district, spacious, well placed and decidedly popular. Here there are a rich mine of particularly nice flats - big and small, old and new, with garden-level maisonettes replacing traditional houses. The most coveted homes are those nearest to or overlooking the canal, which give Little Venice its name.

Hampstead - This area has a reputation for prosperous intellectualism and a strong community feeling about the way it looks. The only drawback is the traffic congestion and the parking. Hampstead is in the top handful of London residential areas and has everything the modern affluent would want - the Heath, smart shops, and good restaurants. There is reasonable transport, excellent schools and smart homes.

West Hampstead - This area has a commercial heart to go with its excellent travel links and ample supply of converted and mansion flats. It has a style and location that attracts young professionals who live there until they can afford the inflated prices of Hampstead proper. This is very much a young person's area.

Kentish Town & Tufnell Park - This area basks in the glow of Hampstead and Highgate, and its image continues to improve. Some streets are of Hampstead quality; other parts are disrupted by council building (public housing), both good and bad.


MEDICAL SERVICES

Britain has a subsidized health service called the National Health Service (NHS). The NHS provides free treatment for people who are residents in Britain. International students enrolled in a course lasting more than six months, and their 'spouses', are also entitled to NHS treatment.

The NHS is a public service, and as such, it has its problems and inconveniences, the major one is: you always have to go through your GP, and it takes forever to get an appointment with a specialist (min 15 days - 1 month). One thing you should do is visit ALL your doctors at home before you come here, and have a thorough check-up (fill your prescriptions, too!). Get that nagging pain on your tooth checked, that uncomfortable feeling in your back X-rayed, and so on. If you're a woman, go to your gynaecologist and get every possible exam out of the way. Also, if you know you're prone to something, bring with you the medication you usually take (best advice is to make a major trip to the store for all of your regular toiletries and medications), along with a fair share of antibiotics and pain-killers (please do talk to your doctor at home about this!!!). Don't worry about bringing contraceptive pills: they're free in the UK (see note further ahead).

Emergencies - Accident and emergency services are free for everyone in the first instance, if they are registered with the NHS (otherwise, you'll probably be charged). But be careful: not all hospital treatments following an accident or emergency are covered by the NHS, which means you'll have to pay.

You can get free medical attention for minor injuries at the so-called 'walk-in centres', but only nurses run them. For a couple of stitches it's fine, but don't expect the knowledge of a qualified doctor from them. The closest of these centres to school is the Soho Walk-in Centre, on Frith Street, just off Soho Square.

Registering with a doctor - Once you are settled, you should register with a local doctor as soon as possible. Do not wait until you are ill! You can obtain a list of local doctors or centres from the Post Office, your local Library or by contacting the Family Health Services Authority in your area (the address will be in your local telephone directory) or most of the NHS doctors are listed on www.nhs.uk.

When going to register to a doctor, you might be asked for a proof of local address, do take the letter of acceptance of your spouse at the LBS, which proves that he is going to stay in the country for more than six months -- and therefore you as well. Take note that it is up to the discretion of the G.P. to register temporary residents with the NHS, so if you're not lucky the first time, try another doctor. After your first visit to the doctor (which is a small medical check-up), you will receive a medical card stating your NHS number. You should take this card with you whenever you go to see your doctor. It takes a while, though, for you to receive this medical card.

When you go to your doctor for the first time, be sure to find out the times when the surgery is open. Also ask whether the surgery operates an appointment-only system. There should also be an emergency telephone number, which you can call if you need to see a doctor outside the normal surgery opening hours. The NHS doctors directory lists out all these as well.

If the doctor prescribes any medicines, he or she will give you a prescription that you have to take to a chemist (e.g. Boots). They will give back to you a slip off the prescription, which is what you have to take back to the surgery, in case you need a repeat prescription. The check-up in case of illness with the GP is always free but you have to pay for the prescription.

IMPORTANT note for women: contraceptive pills are FREE, so do not hesitate to ask your GP for them, and if you're already on it, do bring the chemical name; you'll probably find it here as well. Another tip: get your doctor to prescribe enough for long periods of time (i.e. six months). Otherwise, you'll have to go back to him every month, a true pain in the butt.

Dentists - In Britain, everyone has to pay something towards the cost of his or her dental treatment, even regular check-ups. However, if you are eligible for NHS treatment, you can also receive dental treatment at a reduced rate. Before you register, make sure that the dentist takes NHS patients. In most cases the Dentists always have a waiting list for NHS Patients and expect £15 - £25 for the first check-up for registration and then the rates depend on the treatment given.

Opticians - All patients have to pay for eye tests (around £15), lenses and frames for spectacles. However, if you are employed using computers then your employee may be legally obliged to pay for your eye tests, try asking HR for a free eye test voucher. Prices for lenses and frames vary considerably from place to place so have a look around before buying anything. If you usually wear glasses and/or lenses, we recommend that you bring with you a spare set, as well as all supplies associated with lenses (saline, tears, etc.). Remember: London is expensive!!

Maternity and Paediatrics -- See maternity section


BANK ACCOUNT

HSBC -- Your spouse will automatically get a bank account with your loan. But in case you do not have a loan or you need to open an account for yourself at HSBC or any other bank , then make sure you have your council-tax bill (exemption letter if applicable) to prove your current address, passport, photographs, previous bank statements, letter of acceptance of your spouse at London Business School.


MOBILE PHONES

In order to get a mobile phone contract, you will need an official bank statement, which is only acceptable if it is mailed directly to you from the bank. Copies or generated statements don't count...

You can also consider purchasing a pre paid SIM card, which is easy to buy. You can order a free SIM from Giff Gaff that will be delivered to your address in a couple of days (you can do it online before you arrive, if you have a friend's address) - the cards aren't for sale in shops. This provider has quite competitive packages that you can cancell any time. 

As for those long distance calls you're sure to make, register with one of the services that offer low rates for calls to other countries. A lot of mobile provider offer competitive rates for overseas calls, so check with your operator before signing a contract. Alternatively top up your skype credit - it will allow you to call landlines and mobiles. You can also check out Unity phonecards.


GROCERY STORES

The grocery stores here vary in cost and quality. The main supermarket chains are:

  • Tesco -- The market leader. Has a cheap value brand and good top end brand.
  • ASDA -- The cheapest of the mainstream supermarkets but lacks some top end stuff.
  • Co-op -- Small and local, decent grocery items, plus they're giving 10% discount to LBS students.
  • Sainsbury's -- Almost the same as Tesco with slightly better quality
  • Waitrose -- The top end expect to pay more but get excellent own brand food

You can also shop online with these stores and get groceries delivered within a 1 or 2 hour chosen slot, for about £5 -- this is great for getting big and bulky stuff delivered.

There are a few online-only grocery suppliers with cheaper delivery charges:

There are specialty markets that specialise in importing goods from the US and around the world. These markets are even more expensive -- you'll find yourself paying £4.00 for a box of Kraft macaroni and cheese (for example).

Supermarkets on sale - I was amazed to go into Waitrose one night and find items reduced. They never did this at the supermarkets at home! If you go into the supermarkets anywhere from two hours before closing to closing time, you should find an assortment of fresh items well below cost. Of course, those are the items that expire that day, but like my mom always told me, that's just the date the supermarket has to sell it by, not the date you have to eat it by.

So just what is reduced? It can be anything -- breads, rotisserie chickens, sushi, vegetables, milk, and fruit. Sometimes so many things are reduced; I end up having a bakery at the flat. I mean, how can you resist raisin bread for 10p or rolls for 15p or donuts for 20p? Beware of the "reduced vultures" though; these people crowd around the reduced items like scavengers hoping to take them all. Let them know who's boss.


POST OFFICE

The Post Office is a one stop shop here; it is amazing how much can be done at the Post Office. You can buy insurance, pay bills, get a list of local surgeries and mail those postcards home, all in one place.

 

GO TO THE TOP


3. Survival Guide: Employment

HERE: WORK PERMIT | NATIONAL INSURANCE NUMBER JOB INFORMATION | JOB RESOURCES & RECRUITERS | SELF-EMPLOYMENT | START UPSOR GO TO THE TOP


WORK PERMIT

You can work in the UK if you have an EU passport. Otherwise, different options will be made available to you depending on your visa status:

  • Student Dependant - Full work rights in the U.K.
  • Work Permit - can work in the U.K. with company sponsor
  • Highly Skilled Migrant Worker - Full rights to work in U.K.
  • Student - can not work more than 20 hrs per week
  • Visitor - Can not legally work in the U.K.

Additional information on visas and employment are available at these useful web sites:


NATIONAL INSURANCE NUMBER

Everyone who works in the UK needs a National Insurance Number in order to be taxed properly. It is in your best interest to get this number as soon as possible so you are taxed at the lower rate when starting a job. Below are the best ways to make an appointment to meet with someone about National Insurance.

Below are the best ways to get your National Insurance.

  • Call: 0345 600 0643 Monday to friday 8am to 6pm
  • Website: https://www.gov.uk/apply-national-insurance-number (NOTE: The website has only details and FAQ, you still have to call to get someone to mail you forms and if necessary arrange an appointment for an interview.)


JOB INFORMATION

If you plan to work and you know you will have a visa that allows you to work, we recommend you start looking for employment as soon as possible. Don't be shy -- take up those offers from friends and family to introduce you to anyone and everyone they know in London.

NOTE: While looking for work, employers may give you a hard time about your visa. If you are a "spouse", then you are definitely able to work in the UK, so just be firm and clear. The employer/agency will take a copy of your passport and the visa, and hopefully, the problem will end there. If you have any problems, put your employer in touch with the British Home Office.

Tips:

  • Use the CV examples on the Partners Club page to help you get started
  • You may want to list your nationality and specify the visa you will hold that will enable you to work in the UK when preparing your CV
  • Once you move here update your CV to reflect your London phone number as soon as possible.

Items to note:

  1. Make sure you have proof that you are married to a student if you have the Student Dependant visa (i.e. bring Letter of Acceptance and marriage certificate).
  2. The more specific you are in your job search, the harder it will be to find a job.
  3. Be prepared for your job search to take longer than expected. Normally the process takes between 4-8 months, but for some people it can take longer.
  4. There are many temporary and contracting agencies in London that could place you in a job for a few weeks or months while you are searching for a permanent position. 
  5. Consider working in a pub or high street shop (good spending money).
  6. Internships can be a great way to get your foot in the company and demonstrate your skills to the company.
  7. Volunteering is always an option and looked upon favorably by employers. See Do-It.org.uk or Volunteering England.

JOB RESOURCES & RECRUITERS
  • LinkedIn - LinkedIn is a brilliant tool to find work. Make sure your profile is up-to-date. Connect with as many relevant people from your area of work as possible and keep applying for jobs that LinkedIn recommends to you. Many job openings are adverised through the platform as well, and recruiters often contact you after viewing your profile.
     
  • Newspapers and Professional Journals
    The Guardian - Mondays section for Media, Marketing and PR
    The Times - Crème section on Wednesdays for Secretary and PA jobs
    Google.co.uk (specify UK sites only) - Check on-line for Professional Journals in your field
 
  • Direct Approach
    - Send an Interest letter to a Company you are interested in working with
    - Approach companies in your home country that have operations in London
    - Ask friends to introduce you to people they know from London in your sector
 
  • Recruitment agencies - Experiences with these vary and can be great or really awful
    - Get recommendations from other partners
    - Talk to friends that live in London and get the names of the ones they like/trust
    - Be careful if you are working with more than one agency because often jobs are listed with more than one agency and there could be a conflict if you are sent on an interview
    - You have to be persistent because they can be slow getting back to you.


SELF-EMPLOYMENT

If you have a permit to work in the UK, you can also registered as a self-employed or a sole trader. Either you're trading services (freelancing) or goods, that option might be the best for you when you're just starting. You don't have to start with a company which often comes with a lot of paper work and not much benefits below a certain profits. You can also register a business name and open a business bank account (although not necessary) when self-employed (without actually having a company). 

So don't worry, it's not as hard as it sounds, below are some steps, tips, and even links to some tutorials to give you a head start.

Registration
Government Gataway
-- Registering as a self-employed is just like telling the government that you now have an income. It's done online, usually it takes around 10 minutes and it should be really straightforward. You will need to have your National Insurance Number handy. First you will have to register for Government Gateway, if you're a foreigner and don't have a sufficient credit record in UK yet to verify your identity, you may need aditional steps.

NOTE: I had a problem with verifying my details and it took me a long time to register. It turns out it was because I lived in UK before and my addresses didn't match in the system. If you encounter any problems, give HMRC a call. You wil have to deal with an annoying Artificial Inteligence secretary that by all means possible will be trying to redirect you back to the website. Finally, your call will be answered by a human. If you have tried all possible ways to register online, including their "Verify" alternative verification metod through certified companies, insist that you want to register over the phone, as it's absolutely possible to do it that way. I eventually did but it took me over a week of frustration (I felt like in a futuristic movies where the world was taken over by robots - desperate for a human interaction!), as I didn't know that I had the right to be registered over a phone. 

Getting UTR -- Now the government will communicate with you by post. It takes 10 working days to complete the registration process. HMRC will post you a UTR number (or Unique Taxpayer Reference), you will need it to enrol for Self Assessment online. Once you log in to your Self Assessment account through Governmnet Gateway, it will take some time before you can actually do your Self-assesment as you need to activate your account. 

Activation Code -- You’ll get an activation code in the post within 10 working days of enrolling. It's valid only for 28 days, so use it before that. Otherwise, you can request a new one. 

When to Register 
Ideally, as soon as you start earning. At the very latest, you should register by 5 October in your business’s second tax year. For example if you start working as a sole trader between April 2014 to March 2015, you should register before 5 October 2015. You will be fined though if you don't pay your taxes on time. Which brings us to....

Taxes
As a self-employed, your tax won't be deducted and you will have to pay it on your own. You are taxed on your profit after substracting from it the so called "Personal Allowance". The amount of Personal Allowance varies each year and you will have to check it, as of 2017 it was £11,000. All your profit left after that substraction is your "taxable income". First you will have to report your income (or business turnover), your expenses and your profit by submitting a tax return with free Self Assessment online service after the end of each tax year (the tax year in UK runs from 6 April to 5 April the following year).

By When to Pay Taxes
The deadline to pay your due tax is on 31 January following the end of the tax year but don't wait till the last moment. You can submit your Self Assesment and pay taxes as soon as the tax year ends! At least you won't have to worry that you may forget. You might need an accountant to help you but first watch some tutorials to undertand if you can do it yourself. Here is a great tutorial to get you started: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0g25-ooIQ1c

Dealing with Receipts 
Of course there is a tutorial for that as well! The easiest way is to keep all your receipts organized by months in a binder in your drawer, you will need them in case you get audited and it's just a good practice if not a requirement to have everything ready. You will have to keep a track of your business expenses, as you will deduct them from your business turnover, and based on the amount of the profit left - you will fit in a certain tax band. You will also have to keep a simple accounting book where you register your expense and earnings (together with dates, what it was for/from and so on). You can do it in a notebook or an excel spreadsheet and there are some excellent accounting apps for your convinience. The one I'm using, Wave, is free, let's you take photos of your receipts and keep track of your pending payments and invoices. There are many more apps like this out there, most of them charge you a fee, but it's important to know that you don't need it and you're perfectly fine tracking everything in excell. The important part is not to let those receipts pile up!

Freelance Jobs 
There are many websites where you can find freelance assignments, gigs and even recurring clients. One of them is Poeple Per Hour, but once you start searching , you will find countless more. Here are some jobs that you can do as a freelancer (by no means the list is complete!):
-Translation
-Graphic Design
-Writing/Copywriting
-Social Media Management
-Web/Software Development
-SEO optimization
-Affiliate marketing
-Consulting
-Yoga/Meditation Teacher
-Life Coaching
-Photography
-Market Research
-Data Entry
-Email Support
-Videography
-Virtual Assistance
-Transcription
-Voice Over
-Tutorials

You can also sign up for cheap and even free business workshops with British Library.

START UPS
London has a thriving start-up culture with countless opportunities to network, meet co-founders and pitch to potential VCs. The hackatons and meet-ups are organised almost on daily basis somewhere in the city.

Entrepreneurship Club -- LBS has its own Entrepreneurship Club where as a partner you can register and Enterprise 100 - the angel investor network. They also run a Launchpad initiative!

Campus Google -- Check out places like Campus London run by Google, where you can get a free co-working table if you register online and turn up early. They also have a calendar packed with entrepreneurial events.

Don't forget to visit Tech London's guide to the startup community and subscribe to StartUp Britain's newsletter.
 

Good luck in your search for employment or developing your business!


GO TO THE TOP


4. Survival Guide: City Life

HERE: PUBS & BARSRESTAURANTSMUSEUMSTOURIST SITES | OR GO TO THE TOP


PUBS & BARS

You will soon enough find out that life in London (and the UK) revolves around the Pub. As a Brit once said to me, you cannot walk more than five blocks in London, without finding a pub. People go there to meet friends, to unwind, to watch rugby or football, or just for the sake of the pint.

TIP: The Partners Club's organises a pub night about once a month. It is a great place to meet up with friends and get to know partners.

The Bar is the modern answer to the Pub's traditional dominance. Bars are usually more trendy and eclectic (whatever that means). You don't usually have your pint there, but go instead for a cocktail, or at least an 'alcopop'.

Pubs are open until 11pm; you'll find none open beyond that hour. Bars, on the other hand, might be open until 1am, and that's actually the whole point of going to one. Remember that London's alcohol expenditure is strictly regulated with licences (until 9pm, 11pm, 1am and so on). Of course, these licences have different prices; so, the later the place can stay open, the more expensive the drinks will be.

TIP: The beer here has higher alcohol content than beer in America. Pace yourself.

Another thing, what is known in many countries as "beer", is called "lager" here. The UK "beer" has a darker colour, not so much golden as bronze, and is drank a bit warmer. And then of course you have the dark beer called stout (Guinness and the like).n

The best place to have a free glass of wine or beer is Sundowners, which happens every Thursday at the LBS' Nash.

Pubs near the school include everyone's favourite, Windsor Castle, and The Volunteer on Baker Street.


RESTAURANTS

Everyone has their favourite restaurant. Our recommendation is to purchase TimeOut's "Cheap Eats," a small book that is one of the best investments you can make.

TIP: Many restaurants offer early evening meals that are less expensive - it's a great way to go out for dinner without spending a fortune.


MUSEUMS

As of January 2002, most of the museums in London (not to say all) became free. Unless otherwise noted, the museums and galleries in this list fall under that category, which makes them not only a fantastic attraction, but suitable for the budget conscious as well!

The British Museum
Free, open daily 10am–5.30pm; Fridays: open until 8.30pm
Address: Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG

The British Museum is one of the greatest museums of the world, founded in 1753. The Museum now holds national collections of antiquities; coins, medals and paper money; ethnography; and prints and drawings. For example, it has the largest and most comprehensive collection of ancient Egyptian material outside Cairo; the displays including a gallery of monumental sculpture, and the famous collection of mummies and coffins. Within the Greek Galleries, the displays include famous such as sculptures from the Parthenon, the Nereid Monument from Xanthos and sculptures from the Mausoleum at Halikarnasos.

The National Gallery
Free, open daily 10am–6pm; Fridays: open until 9pm
Address: Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN

The gallery houses one of the greatest collections of European painting in the world. The National Gallery's permanent collection spans the period from about 1250 to 1900 and consists of Western European paintings. The collection contains over 2,300 paintings by many of the world's most famous artists, including Van Gogh, Velasquez, Renoir, Monet, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Rembrandt, among many others. The National Gallery is a visit you shouldn't miss, even if you're moderately interested in art: you'll greatly enjoy it! And each Wednesday the Gallery organizes "Welcome Wednesdays" with activities for kids!

Victoria & Albert Museum
Free, open daily 10am–5.45pm; Fridays: 10am–10pm (Reduced gallery openings on Fridays after 17.30)
Address: Cromwell Road - London SW7 2RL (Station: South Kensington)

The V&A is the greatest museum of applied and decorative arts in the world. Its permanent collections include fashion and textiles, sculpture, ceramics and glass, metalwork, silver and jewellery, furniture, photography and paintings. The Textiles & Dress Galleries alone are definitely worth the visit for any woman. Some exhibitions and events carry a separate charge.

Tate Modern
Free, open daily 10am–6pm; Fridays and Saturdays: open until 10pm
Address: Bankside - London SE1 9TG (Station: Southwark/Blackfriars)

Tate Modern is Britain's new national museum of modern art. Housed in the former Bankside Power Station, Tate Modern displays the Tate collection of international modern art from 1900 to the present day, including major works by Dalí, Picasso, Matisse, Rothko and Warhol as well as contemporary work by artists such as Dorothy Cross, Gilbert & George and Susan Hiller. Tate Modern is definitely worth a visit, if only to see the refurbishment of the power plant. And if you're not into modern art, you can always go to the Café on level 7, and have a nice snack, enjoying a spectacular view of London.

Tate Britain
Free, open daily 10am–6pm;
Address: Millbank London SW1P 4RG (Station: Pimlico)

Tate Britain is the national gallery of British art from 1500 to the present day, from the Tudors to the Turner Prize. Tate holds the greatest collection of British art in the world, including works by Blake, Constable, Epstein, Gainsborough, Hockney, Moore, and Turner. Tate Britain is a MUST if you're interested in landscapes and/or watercolours: then you can't miss the Clore Gallery, which houses the stunning Turner Bequest.

Natural History Museum
Free, open daily 10am–5.50pm
Address: Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD (Station: Gloucester Road and South Kensington)

This impressive and awe-inspiring building is harbouring countless natural treasures - from skeletons of biggest mammals, an animatronic T-Rex, the Vault hosting a display of diamonds, to the taxonomy collection cataloguing some 28 million insects and six million plants. It's almost certain that one visit is not enough and you will want to come back again and again. 

Wellcome Collection
Free, open daily 10am–6pm; Thursdays: open till 10pm
Address: 183 Euston Road, London NW1 2BE (Station: Euston)

Branded as a destination for incurably curious, the Wellcome Collection is drawing on the legacy of its founder and pharmacist Henry Wellcome. It explores unexpected connections between medicine and art, running exhibitions on topics like death, dreaming, life, drugs and showcasing such peculiar objects as anti-masturbation devices, a forehead reader or the first Omniskop. The Collection has a well-stocked Reading Room where apart from enjoying a book on a comfy sofa, you can stumble upon a pop-up event. 

Royal Academy of Arts
Paid, open daily 10am–6pm; Fridays: open until 10pm
Address: Burlington House - London WIJ OBD (Station: Piccadilly Circus)

The Royal Academy's Permanent Collection comprises examples of British art from the 18th century to the present day. The collection includes paintings and sculpture, plaster casts, artists' memorabilia, prints and drawings.

National Portrait Gallery
Free, open daily 10am–6pm; Thursdays and Fridays: open until 9pm
Address: St Martin's Place - London WC2H OHE (Station: Charing Cross)

The National Portrait Gallery was founded in 1856 to collect the likeness of famous British men and women. Today the collection is the most comprehensive of its kind in the world. It comprises from Tudor portraits, to modern photographs. You can join their regular and free drop-in Sunday sessions for families and take part in free Family Art Workshops with hands-on activities for kids including drawing, painting and animation. Since this gallery is just around the corner from the National Gallery, you could pay it a visit when you go there.

Museum of London
Free, open daily 10am–6pm;
Address: London Wall, London EC2Y 5HN (Station: Barbican, St Paul's, Moorgate, Bank)

The Museum of London is the world's largest urban history museum with 1.1 million objects and Europe's largest archaeological archive. This museum spans the history of the city, from Roman times, through the Dark Age, Saxon, Tudor and Stuart periods, to the present day. It features the development of the metropolis (and its pyromaniac drawbacks), as well as an insight on how ancients Londoners lived, ate, dressed and behaved.

Science Museum
Free, open daily 10am–6pm (last entry 5.15pm); Fridays: Robots collection open until 10pm
Address: Exhibition Road SW7 2DD (Station: South Kensington)

This is great fun for both adults and children with lots of interactive stuff to play with and well worth popping into for a visit. There is also an IMAX cinema. Admission is free but you need to buy a ticket for the IMAX Theatre, flight simulators and some special exhibitions.

Royal Observatory Greenwich
Paid (£16.80), open daily 10am–5pm
Address: Blackheath Ave, London SE10 8XJ
 

Museums Outside of London

The Fitzwilliam Museum (Cambridge)
Free, open Tuesday to Saturday 10am–5pm; Sundays and Bank Holidays: open from 12pm; CLOSED on Mondays
Address: 32 Trumpington Street, Cambridge CB2 1RB (approximately 500 metres from the city centre)

The Fitzwilliam Museum was founded in 1816 by the bequest of the VIIth Viscount Fitzwilliam of Merrion to the University of Cambridge and contains magnificent collections of works of art and antiquities of national and international importance. These include antiquities from Ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, Roman and Romano-Egyptian, Western Asiatic and Cypriot Art; applied arts, including sculpture, furniture, clocks and rugs; coins and medals; illuminated manuscripts and printed books; paintings, drawings and prints (Titian, Veronese, Rubens, Van Dyck, Hals, Canaletto, Hogarth, Gainsborough, Constable, Monet, Degas, Renoir, Cezanne and Picasso).

Ashmolean Museum (Oxford)
Free, open Tuesday to Sunday and Bank Holiday Mondays 10am–5pm; CLOSED on regular Mondays
Address: Beaumont Street, Oxford OX1 2PH

The highlights of the Ashmolean Museum's collection include a special collection of drawings and watercolours by Camille Pissarro, the largest in the world and indeed the largest single collection of drawings by any Impressionist artist. The Ashmolean has one of the finest groups of Raphael drawings in the world and an important collection by Michelangelo. Additionally, the collections of the Department of Antiquities cover almost the entire span of human history from the Lower Paleolithic to the Victorian era. They incorporate the surviving parts of the Museum's earliest collections, notably the founding collections of the Tradescants, which were donated to the University by Elias Ashmole in 1683. The department has a strict policy of not acquiring material that has left its place of origin illegally.


TOURIST SITES

The following are the typical overpriced sites in London where millions of tourists visit every year. However, it's always fun to "play tourist" once in a while and see what the tourist hype is all about.

  • Madame Tussaud's -- If you want a tourist trap conveniently located near the school, try Madame Tussaud's. Never been inside, but from signs and posters, this wax museum contains the likes of royalty and celebrities from all over the world. Ticket prices start from £29, with priority entry starting at £50. You can save buing your tickets online and also buing combined tickets to two, three or four London attractions (those for two attractions start at  £39). In return you'll get lots of good photos with lots and lots of famous people. (Tube: Baker Street)
  • London Zoo -- Also close to school is the London Zoo, located somewhere inside Regent's Park. I've never been there and have no clue how to get there, but from their colour brochures it looks great. Zoos are always a good place to take kids to. When you buy online, the tickets are £24.30 for an adult and £18 for a child. (Tube: Regent's Park and then a walk through the park)
  • Tower of London -- One of the most famous buildings in the world, the Tower was constructed following the Norman conquest in the 11th century to dominate London. Here you can see the Royal Armouries and the Crown Jewels. Current online rate for adults is £24. (Tube: Tower Bridge)
  • London Dungeon -- A medieval horror museum where you can see the horrors of the torture chamber depicted in living colour and full graphic detail. Sounds cheerful, huh? Dungeon only tickets start at £21 but similarly to other attractions, it makes more sense to buy them as a joint ticket with other tourist hot spots. (Tube: London Bridge)
  • London Eye -- From your glass-enclosed pod on a Ferris wheel, you can see all of the city below. (Tube: Waterloo)
  • The O2 (previously the Millennium Dome) -- Often talked about, rarely visited, the O2 in an entertainment site hosting exhibitions, club nights, a huge concert venue, Cineworld cinema, Sky Studios, bars and restaurants, the list goes on and on. On top of all that... you can literally climb on its roof and bring your kids along on this little adventure. (Tube: Greenwich)
  • IMAX -- The Odeon's IMAX theatre by Waterloo station offers big screen entertainment and it's the biggest screen in Britain. (Tube: Waterloo)

And free touristy things:

  • Buckingham Palace -- Ah, the home of Queen Lizzie. Maybe she'll ask you in for a cuppa if you drop by. At Buckingham Palace, you can stare at the building for a few minutes, take a few snapshots, and go on your merry way. Or you can pay the cash and see the Royal Mews. There's also the famous Changing of the Guard which takes place every day at 11:30am during nice periods and 11:30am every other day during the winter months.
  • Tower Bridge -- At the tube stop by the same name, is the famous tower bridge, which most people mistakenly think of as London Bridge. You can walk across the bridge and see the Thames below.



GO TO THE TOP


5. Survival Guide: Parks


London may be a crowded city, but there are plenty of parks to go to if you want to see wide-open spaces, green grass, and flowers. It is shocking how many people are in the parks on sunny days. If you plan to have a picnic, stake out your area early as the parks begin to fill around noon.

Regent's Park is just behind LBS (or across the street, if you use the school's main entrance). This park has lots of benches in which to sit and read, canoes you can take on the lake, a Japanese garden, the beautifully flowered Queen's Gardens (in the Inner Circle), and an Open Air Theatre (be sure to check its schedule). And during the warm months, you can have your own stretcher in which to sunbathe or just relax.

Primrose Hill, adjoint to the Regent's Park has one of the best views of London. Each year on the New Year's Eve close to midnight thousands of people gather there to watch fireworks over the London's skyline. 

Hyde Park is a perfect place to relax or go rollerblading. Hyde Park is well known for its speakers' corner, where people from all walks of life come together to speak their minds.

Kensington Park is the home of Kensington Palace, The Orangery (a great place for tea) and the Albert Memorial (directly across from the Royal Albert Hall).

Hampstead Heath is great for families. Part of this huge park has a zoo with birds and animals (even flamingos!), a playground, and a wonderful place to eat.

If you walk through Green Park from the tube station, you'll be right in front of Buckingham Palace.


GO TO THE TOP


6. Survival Guide: Entertainment

HERE: CINEMAS | LIBRARIES | THEATRE | BRITISH TV | SPORT | OR GO TO THE TOP



CINEMAS

You will find that the Brits are not so much into movies as many other countries. The good thing is they have kept those small cinemas up and running, while developing the big, popcorn, eight screens kind of place.

If you like the retro-Italian-village kind of venue, near school you can go to the Everyman Baker Street cinema. It tends to show more "educated" kind of movies, as opposed to Schwarzenegger type ones. But they do show some nice, relaxing movies.

If you like the huge, massive screen, try Odeon or Warner Village venues. Near LBS, you can go to the Odeon Swiss Cottage, the Odeon Camden Town or the Odeon Marble Arch (all give student discounts). 

There are tons of other movie theatres throughout London, many near Leicester Square. In this area, there's the Prince Charles cinema, which offers second-run films for a reduced rate if you'd rather see it on the big screen than rent it at home. Check online to see what's playing. (They also have Sing-a-long with the Sound of Music, but at £16, this may not be on a student's budget.)

For new releases, it's best to order tickets beforehand online (check out www.odeon.co.uk, www.myvue.com/ or www.cineworld.co.uk/). In centra London the ticket prices are usually around £10+, or around £8+ for students. So if you're a real film buff and watch more than one film a month, you might be better off with a membership program like Odeon's Limitless or Cineworld Unlimited Card that, as their names indicate, offer you the unlimited access to film screenings every month. The price is around £20/month (if you include central London cinemas) and the only trick is that whichever loyalty card you choose, you have to commit to a minimum of one year. 

Theatres tend to get crowded and in some there are assigned seats. Also, don't forget to bring those candy bars and snacks with you. If you're trying to save money while you're here, it's always cheaper to buy these outside the theatre.


LIBRARIES


I don't need to tell you that libraries = free books. Bring proof of address when you apply for the card. You must go to a library in your "council". For example, if you live close to the school, you live in Westminster and can only go to Westminster libraries. If you live in Swiss Cottage or Camden Town, your council is Camden and you can only go to Camden libraries. Some libraries are better than others so explore the ones in your council. 


THEATRE

For reduced price tickets, there's the Half Price Ticket Booth (TKTS) at Leicester Square. Be aware that the Ticket Booth sells tickets only for shows that are playing that day, their ticket selection is limited, and Tickets can only be bought in person at the booth.

If you're willing to take a chance, you can get student tickets at most theatres an hour before the show for a price, which is usually even less than half price. There's also something where you can go an hour before the show and try to get returned tickets, but I've never done this and don't know if it works. They tell you not to use any of the low-cost sellers besides the TKTS, but there again, haven't tried it, so don't know.

Useful sites to check listings and/or buy tickets:

You can always enjoy the all-time-classic musicals: (latest updates available in Timeout magazine)

  • The Book of Mormon, at Prince of Wales Theatre (31 Coventry Street, W1D 6AS)
  • FAME the Musical, at Bridewell Theatre (Bride Lane, off Fleet Street, EC4Y 8EQ)
  • My Fair Lady, at Bridewell Theatre
  • Mamma Mia!, at Novello Theatre (5 Aldwych, WC2B 4LD)
  • Lion King, at the Lyceum Theatre (21 Wellington Street, off Strand)
  • Les Miserables, at Queen's Theatre (51 Shaftesbury Avenue, W1D 6BA)
  • The Phantom of the Opera, at Her Majesty's (57 Haymarket, SW1Y 4QL)
  • Jesus Christ Superstar, at Regent's Park Open Air Theatre (Regent's Park, NW1 4NU)
 


BRITISH TV

It's wild, it's wacky and it takes a little getting used to. Unfortunately, everything in England has a price, and as far as the TV goes, it's the evil TV licence.

Those TV police will try to get you in two ways: (1) you have to fill out a form with name and address when you buy the TV and (2) if you do get cable, they know for sure you have a TV. There's also a rumour that the TV police go around with special devices that can track TV signals inside your flat, but this has never been confirmed.

What I do know is that they can come around knocking on your door, demanding to see your TV licence. But remember, they can't confirm you have a TV if you don't let them in. Beware that the TV police may masquerade themselves as postmen or the like so make sure you know whom you're opening the door to.

But TV license is not only on television sets anymore. You will also need one if you're streaming any TV programs live online or downloading or watching any BBC programmes on iPlayer – live, catch up or on demand. This applies to any device, including a TV, desktop computer, laptop, mobile phone, tablet and so on.

Your best bet is just to pay the TV licence, which is a hefty sum at over £145.50/year. If you need it, buy your TV Licence or you will be fined over and over again.


SPORT


London has an amazing sport scene, from such absolute football temples as Wembley, Emirates Stadium or London Stadium to Lord's Cricket Ground and Wimbledon. On top of all the matches and games to watch, you can also get your muscles working!!! Once you get to London, you'll probably find yourself with more spare time than you expected. Which means... you're out of excuses to skip workout.

Partners are recruited and encouraged to join in on student sports and teams. Don't be shy, it is a great way to get to know people and make friends.And the good news is: there are options for everyone! You can either go to the Gym and/or Pool @ Taunton (yes, partners' cards have access there) or have a nice outdoor workout at Regent's Park, joining any of the sports teams the school has.

And for a nice relaxing time when your muscles are sore, you can try the Jacuzzi, the Sauna or the Turkish Bath, again at Taunton.

Fitness Centre (fitnesscentre@london.edu)
Get the opening times and class listings from the forum.

LBS Sports Clubs:

  • Men's Football
  • Women's Football
  • Women's Touch Rugby
  • Men's Rugby
  • Expedition
  • Sailing
  • Snow
  • Swimming
  • Volleyball
  • Tennis
  • Squash
  • Softball
  • Golf
  • Cycling
  • Cricket
  • Basketball
  • Badminton


GO TO THE TOP

7. Survival Guide: Transport

HERE: OYSTER CARDAPPS | WALKING | TUBE | BUSES | NATIONAL RAIL | UBER | BLACK CABS | MINICABS | CYCLING | SANTANDER CYCLES | DRIVING | ROLLERBLADING | FLYING | OR GO TO THE TOP


London is a very big city, and it's good to know the transport options before you arrive; it'll help you decide where to live, and, of course, it'll come in handy when you decide how to get from the airport to the city.


OYSTER CARD 

Underlined, as it should be your first purchase once you get to the city, or even before if you're planning to take the tube from Heathrow airport. It's not really a purchase as in theory, the £5 you pay for it is a deposit and if you don't loose it, you can get your money back when you're leaving UK. While getting your Oyster at any station's ticket machine, you should top it up with the amount of your choice. £20 pounds is a good start, and you can monitor how much you have left at any tube gate or while entering a bus, keep in mind - transport in London is not cheap. 

As of January 2017 you can still buy paper single journey "cash" tickets but they're more than double the fare you would pay with your Oyster. For example, for a tube journey in Zone 1 from Baker Street to Kensington High Street, you'd pay only £2.40 while if you were to buy just a single paper ticket, it would be £4.90! If you're traveling from Heathrow to the city center on the tube (not Heathrow Express!), with Oyster you pay £5.10 in peak hours (Monday to Friday from 06:30 to 09:30) or £3.10 in off-peak times (all other times, including weekends), and it would be £6.00 with a cash paper ticket at any time.

TIP: You cannot use single tickets or top up your Oyster on busses anymore, so make sure you have pay-as-you-go credit when you're planning your journey. Busses accept only Oyster cards or a contactless bank cards. 

You can check prices of tickets between any two stations on the TFL (Transport For London) website here but usually CityMapper will tell you that automatically within the app, which brings us to the next part - apps!


APPS

CityMapper was hinted at already and for a good reason, it's an absolutely indispensable app for getting your head around London's transport. Or even the transport in Paris or Amsterdam for that matter, as they have a couple of destinations you can choose from. It not only provides you with countles alternative routes - only the tube, only buses, buses plus tube, rain-proof routes, cycling or walking routes or now even those including rental bicycles. They also calculate (pretty accurately) hwo much time it's going to take you to your desitnation, alert you if there are any delays to the underground service, tell you which part of the train to choose to be closest to your exit, show you the time required to change the platforms or when the next bus/train is arriving. They can even tell you how many cycles are available at rental stands. Plus, for the adventurous ones, they even show you how quickly you can reach using a catapult or a jetpack. And... have I mentioned already that it is a free app?

Google maps fade in comparison but it always good to have on your phone, especially to find restaurants or bars nearby.


WALKING

You can find your way around London streets with Google maps or the CityMapper app. London is exceptionally walking friendly and if you live in the center, you'll see that you can reach many landmarks and venues on foot. It's not uncommon for people to walk to work, school or meetings even up to one hour if the weather is good, catching as many sunrays as possible and keeping fit. Always check with Google maps or CityMapper but quite often you might spend the same amount of time to walk somewhere as to take a bus - especially in the city center. So keep walking!


THE UNDERGROUND OR "TUBE"

This is undoubtedly the fastest way to get around. London has a very extensive underground network that will take you virtually anywhere in town.

The tube system works on concentric areas: Zone 1 through Zone 6 with Oyster fees varying between the Zones. Zone 1 is the central area including LBS. The closest tube station to the school is Baker Street Station, which is on the Jubilee, Bakerloo, Metropolitan, Hammersmith & City and Circle lines. Every line is colour-coded and given a name and the trains have the "ending stop" on the front of them. Use your CityMapper app to find your way around but make sure you input the origin and destination of your journey before you go underground and lose connection. And if you want to test your orientation skills, use the wall maps that can be found on every station to plan your route. 

TIP: The worst lines are the District, Circle and Hammersmith lines; the best ones: Central, Piccadilly, Victoria and Bakerloo. Have this in mind when you plan your journey. If, for example, you want to go to South Kensington from school (Baker Street), instead of taking a direct journey via the Circle line, take the Bakerloo and change for the Piccadilly line. You could also take Jubilee and change for Piccadilly, but you'd have to do this at Green Park, and it is a heck of a walk underground at this station (this is another thing you have to bear in mind). The downside of the tube: you don't get to admire the city while travelling.

Underground trains generally run between 5am and midnight, Monday to Saturday, with reduced operating hours on Sunday. Since the middle of 2016 London finally has the Night Tube service, although still limited. To find out more check TFL website or use the CityMapper to plan your journey in advance (you can set the time when you want to travel). 


BUSES
Cheaper than the tube, and as mentioned before, they're accepting only Oyster or contactless. If you have a travelcard for the tube, you can also use this card for bus travel. There is a universal fare of £1.50 per trip, irregardless what zones you're travelling between. You tap your Oyster only once at the entrance and not like on the tube, here you don't have to tap out. From September 2016 the city's Mayor introduced the Hopper fare. ‘Hopper’ provides two bus journeys for the price of one within an hour (you have to tap in on both busses but second bus is free), saving you tons of money and making your commute even easier. "Within one hour" means that you have to tap in within an hour, it works even if you tap in at 59th minute and then take a 40 minutes long ride after that. I made countless round trips that way. And apparently from 2018, Londoners will get unlimited bus journeys within an hour!

Note there's a night bus network in London; these buses start with an "N" prefix followed by a number.


NATIONAL RAIL
The tube is used to travel in London (Zone 1,2,3,4,5,6,7) but for travelling outside these zones around, you can take the London National Rail. If you will be using National Rail often, then having a young persons card (if you are 25yrs or below) gives a 30% discount and students irrespective of age can also avail of this discount.


UBER

It's a great alternative to the taxi service, and it works as an app you download to your phone and link to your bank card, so it's a cash-free service. You don't have to do anything as the fare is directly debited to your account after you leave the car. I used it extensively when I was living abroad, where the public transport was limited and the city was ruled by a taxi mafia. In London you would probably only use it at night or in the evening when it's much cheaper than black cabs with their post-10pm premium. Be aware that when there is a high demand for cars like in rush hours or when the pubs close, Uber sets surge pricing. A sample surge may be for example 1.3x or 2.1x the regular fare but most of the time they fluctuate quite quickly and you can accept extra charge or choose to wait. Unfortunately, you may have to wait long time before the prices in your area drop, so if you're in a hurry better use the tube, otherwise it is a gamble. Definitely avoid Uber during New Year's or big festivals, as the surge may never drop!


BLACK CABS/TAXIS
 
If you have mega money, this is the best way to get around: they're fast (traffic permitting but together with buses they can use designated Bus Lines), they know their way around town, and they're safe. But even if you're on a budget, taxi might still be a good option, if you can chare with other people (no more than 5). Fares start at £2.60, and during the night you are also charges 45% to 60% surcharge. A typical six-mile ride home in a black cab at 11pm will cost £25.60 compared with £13 to £17 for an Uber, so yes - they're are a premium choice.


MINICABS

These can be dangerous to use if you pick them up on the street; you usually have no safety guarantees and problems are common, but sometimes (like at 4am) you don't really have a choice. The good news is, you can now get a list of the registered minicabs. Never forget to negotiate the price before getting on board. Prices should be the same as a black cab or cheaper for longer trips. They may be a good option if you're traveling from the airport with a lot of luggage as generally they have a fixed price and you don't have to worry about the running meter.


CYCLING
Two problems with this: traffic and rain. Other than that, it's free and a good exercise. Second-hand bikes are advertised in The Loot or can be purchased at a market in Brick Lane on Sundays. Make sure you have lights at night and a helmet.


SANTANDER CYCLES
This is London's self-service public cycle hire scheme for short journeys. The network of cycle docking stations is really robust and you can access a bike from as little as £2 for 24 hours if you keep docking every 30 minutes and wait 5 minutes before you re-take the bike. After first half an hour you will be charged £2 extra per every 30 minutes, so it only makes sense to know where the docking stations are on your route if you're riding further than that. Simply dock and undock the bike again, it's annoying but it works. You can also use the bikes all year round for £90. You will need your bank card to get started and then you will be given a code to input next to the cycle of your choice. The undocking should be pretty straightforward but it was just hell when I used it first time, it didn't help that I was rushing! I ended up ditching the idea of hiring a bike after paying, and just going to my meeting with a bus. I used the bike on the way back, as I have already paid, and it worked, so it might depend on the docking station. You have to lift the bike slightly when taking it out - if in doubt watch a tutorial here. I've used a Santander cycle only once after all, I found it too heavy and clumsy, but thousands of commuters happily use it every day!


DRIVING
There's absolutely no reason to have a car in central London. However, if you do insist on owning a car, you'll face huge petrol prices, high insurance costs, and you'll need a parking permit to park on central London streets from your local council. Once you have the car, there are few places to park. If you really want to drive, rent a car first with a lot of insurance.

You can search for car hires (prices and locations) with Skyscanner and the cost is around £50/day. Instead of owning a car, you can also take part in the sharing economy with Zipcar. By paying a membership fee of £59.50/year you can drive a car from £6/hour or £54/day (on weekdays) for up to 60 miles. Then you are charged extra per mile, so it might be an option for short excursions. Although more expensive than conventional car hire, Zipcar is supposedly simpler and more convenient. Once a member, when you need a car, you just choose your make and model from cars parked around your local area, get in and drive off. 


ROLLERBLADING
Rollerblading is not allowed in Regent's Park so you'll have to go over to Hyde Park. You can rent a pair of blades at Slick Willies in South Kensington (12 Gloucester Road) among other places.


FLYING
London has way too many airports, and you have to know how to get to and from them.

Heathrow -- How you get there depends on your time and budget constraints. The cheapest way to get there is by tube. The Piccadilly Line goes straight to the terminal; just use your Oyster. Next cheapest is the National Express, which will set you back about £10. Then there's the Heathrow Express, which leaves from Paddington Station and if you buy a fixed date off-peak single ticket, it costs £15. Finally, you can take a taxi for around £50 (or more, depending on traffic) or a minicab for about £40.

Gatwick -- There's no tube that goes to Gatwick directly. You can catch the Gatwick Express or the Southwest trains from Victoria Station from £17.80 and £15.70 respectively. There are supposedly other cheaper trains that will also get you to Gatwick but make stops along the way. Don't bother taking a taxi, as this might be more expensive than your airfare. National Express also runs buses to this airport but check on their website, as they are often delays on this route. 

Luton and Stansted -- They are a hub for budget airlines so there is a chance you will be going there often. For Luton, you can catch a Green Line 757 or the A1 National Express bus that runs through Gloucester Place near the school. For Stansted, there's a train, which leaves from the Liverpool Street station. But there is also the A6 National Express bus that passes through Gloucester Place, or their different routes from Stratford, Victoria or Shoreditch. Check with the website if there is a station near the place you live.

City Airport -- You can take the tube there: Jubilee Line straight to Canning Town; and there take the Airport Bus (5 minute ride). Otherwise, you could take a taxi; from school, it costs around £25-30 (or more, depending on traffic).

TIP: If you choose a bus, make sure that you are going to the airport with a lot of spare buffer time. Although the journey is pretty smooth, there might be traffic along the way! National Express busses on the Luton and Standsted routes may also be delayed. We had problems twice with this company, and we had to ask for refund. My husband once almost missed his flight and had to rush to the Standsted train! It's not to scare you, as I used them many times, and run into trouble just twice, but really have some buffer time. Also, even though you can buy a ticket on the bus if you're boarding along the route, it's safer to buy it online to guarantee your spot, especially before or after holidays when there are many people traveling to the airports. 


GO TO THE TOP

8. Survival Guide: Shopping

Let's be clear, it's definitely not cheap in London. But sometimes it's an experience. 

January & July sales -- London's sales supposedly take place twice a year -- January and July. Haven't been here in July, but the January sales seem to take place in every store on the High Street. Took me a while to figure out just what the High Street was since I couldn't understand how every single store could be on one street named High. However, this just refers to the branded retailers which are found all over the UK such as Marks & Spencer, Selfridges, Oasis, TopShop and the like.

Selfridges -- If you're looking for designer fashion in a store you can get lost in, Selfridges is the place to go. The store boasts Europe's largest perfume department and has floors filled with everything from luggage to a spa, restaurant, and food hall. (Tube: Bond Street)

John Lewis -- The best place to get household stuff and things you just don't know where else to find such as sink plugs, shoe laces, coat hangers etc.

Marks & Spencer -- This old British favourite doesn't have especially stylish or designer clothes, but if you're looking for a plain suit, blouse or skirt (or a pair of underwear), M&S is the place to go. The store is working on their old-fashioned image, having top designers bring their collections into their stores. M&S can be found all over London, but there's one on the corner where Oxford Street meets Baker Street, across from Selfridges.

Fortnum & Mason -- Walking into Fortnum & Mason feels like a high-class British experience. It must be the building itself with its wooden staircases, beautiful carpets, and spaces clear of racks upon racks of clothes. The food hall downstairs is expensive but wonderful; you can get fabulous meats and dressings and sometimes they give samples. (Tube: Green Park/Piccadilly Circus)

Harrods -- You can't come to London without going to Harrods. There's enough on the bottom floor alone to keep you entertained. In fact, I don't think most people venture past that point. The food hall is something to see with counters of foods you can eat-in or take-away, a room full of fruits and flowers, a room full of meats and cheeses, and a room full of chocolates and breads. Just beware -- with all the tourists, there's barely room to breathe in the wonderful aromas. (Tube: Knightsbridge)

Harvey Nichols -- "Harvey Nicks", as it is called, is famous for being Princess Diana's 'hunting grounds'. That said, you can figure out that this is one upscale department store with six floors of shopping, restaurants, and a spa. (Tube: Knightsbridge)

Hamley's -- The choice for those that are still a kid at heart. Hamley's has five floors full of toys. And not only do you get to look, you can actually play. It's a fun experience for all ages -- as long as there are no screaming kids in the store. Plus, there's a place to eat downstairs. (Tube: Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus)

Primark -- This is your best bet if you're looking for cheap but nice clothes. It's hard to beat their prices. There are two Primarks at both ends of Oxford Street. (Tube: Marble Arch or Tottenham Court Road)

Decathlon -- This is reasonably priced sport store where you can find gear and wear for any sport you can imagine. It's particularly popular just before the annual LBS' snow trek organized by the Snow Club, when those lucky enough to get the tickets head to stock up without breaking the bank. (Tube: Canada Water)

Oxford Street -- Oxford Street is often called "the longest shopping street in the world" with well over a mile of stores terminally congested by locals and tourists. Close to the school, it's an experience you have to see for yourself -- once.

Regent Street -- Regent's Street, which intersects Oxford Street at its midsection, is far more elegant than Oxford Street. Here you'll find boutiques, china shops, and jewellers.

Bond Street, Sloan Street, and Knightsbridge -- If you want high-end clothes from international designers, these are the places to go.

King's Road in Chelsea -- On King's Road there are dozens of high-end chain stores and a great people-watching experience. Also good for homeware -- try Heal's, and Habitat.

Free hair cuts anyone? -- Yes, some things in life are free. One person reports: "I was flipping through a magazine called Ms. London one day when I found an ad for a free haircut. The catch was that you had to go to the Toni & Guy Academy where students would be working on you. I always have this theory that hair will grow back, so I gave it a go. And yes, it was completely free. Unfortunately, I had to wait on the stairs for half an hour while they got the appointments sorted out and the haircut took over two hours, but that was just part of the experience. Even better than the haircut I got from Toni & Guy was the one I had at the Vidal Sassoon Academy (yes, students cut hair here too)."

"I found an ad in the Metro that said the haircut would cost a mere £5. Again, there was a long wait to get seated in front of a mirror and an even longer wait while the student cut my hair, but I received the best haircut I've gotten in my entire life. It felt wonderful to walk around London with my stylish new Vidal Sassoon cut. Their slogan, "If you don't look good, we don't look good," obviously rings true. Both Toni & Guy and Vidal Sassoon also offer colours at reduced rates as well as cuts so go for it! The academies are both located near Bond Street; Sassoon at Brook Street, Toni & Guy at New Oxford Street. If you don't want to take a chance with a student, there's always Supercuts which cuts your hair from £15. There's one in the Bond Street Station, but Google other locations."


GO TO THE TOP


9. Survival Guide: Street Markets


London has fantastic street markets, and you can find them all over the city. The best part about these markets is that they are 100% completely free, unless of course you actually want to buy something.

Marylebone Market -- This can be found just off Marylebone High Street and is open from 10-2 p.m. on Sundays. Boasting fresh fruits, veggies, local meat and cheese, it is hard to go wrong.

Portobello Road -- Yes, this was the famed location of that Hugh Grant/Julia Roberts favourite "Notting Hill." Portobello Road is an 'all-in-one celebration'; five markets roughly stapled together including antiques, clothes, crafts, and household goods. It gets crowded, so get there early, and be prepared to walk; the market is over a mile long. (Tube: Notting Hill Gate, Ladbroke Grove, Westbourne Park. Hours: Saturday morning)

Spitalfields -- I kept insisting there was an indoor market somewhere in the city centre, but no one wanted to believe me. Finally, one day I discovered Spitalfields, and it has become my favourite market of all. First of all, it's the only market I've been to which isn't overcrowded by tourists. Second of all, it's perfect for those rainy days when you want to go out but still stay indoors. Spitalfields has a wide array of organic foods as well as stalls of art. And the "food court" is the best I've ever seen. Not only do they have an authentic American restaurant, but they also have everything from Thai to Middle Eastern to French. Tip: Markets have some of the cheapest meals in London. Have a nice lunch out! (Tube: Liverpool Street. Hours: Daily 10am - 5pm, Sat 11am - 5pm)

Brick Lane -- Home to everything vintage, a huge Bangladeshi community and famous curry houses, this market street near Spitalfields is known to some as "Banglatown". It's best to visit Brick Lane market on Sundays when it's bustling with artists and echoing with live music. (Tube: Liverpool Street)

Petticoat Lane -- If you need some cheap clothes, this is the place to go. Vendors sell coats, collared shirts, trousers, and everything in-between. The market gets crowded, so go early. (Tube: Aldgate, Aldgate East, Liverpool Street. Hours: Mon - Wed, Fri 9am - 4pm, Thu 9am - 2pm, Sat & Sun - Closed)

Borough Market -- This market is south of the river, within walking distance from the Tate Modern. It is quite large and offers a great selection of olive oils, cheeses and fresh baked goods. This market is also known by sushi enthusiasts as a great place to get fish off the boat - you just have to be willing to get up early. (Hours: Mon - Thu 10am - 5pm, Fri 10am - 6pm, Sat 8am - 5pm, Sun - Closed)

Leather Lane -- Contrary to its name, there is not much if any leather. There is quite a bit of clothing, curtains, shoes and nibbles throughout. (Tube: Chancery Lane)

Camden -- Funky and fresh, Camden is an enormous market which specialises in second-hand clothes (think John Travolta). The market is actually four separate markets -- The Stables (antiques), Camden Lock (mainly clothes), Camden Canal Market, and Camden Market. In the Camden Lock section, there are a huge number of food stalls selling everything from Middle Eastern to Chinese to fish & chips and organic foods. Camden Market, supposedly the biggest market in London, also gets extremely crowded, so get there early. Saturdays for some reason are usually less busy than Sundays. The shops surrounding the market are also interesting to go into for shoes and clothes. (Tube: Camden Town, Chalk Farm. Hours: Sat & Sun, 10am-6pm)

Additional markets, listed by the main type of offering, are as follows.

  • Antiques: Bermondsey, Church Street, King's Road, Camden Passage (in Islington), Deptford Market
  • Books: Riverside Walk
  • Bric-a-brac: Greenwich Market
  • Cheese: Berwick Street
  • Flowers: Columbia Road, East Street
  • Afro-Caribbean food: Brixton, Ridley Road, Shepherd's Bush
  • Fish: Billingsgate Market

Again, if you can believe it, this is only a short listing of all the markets that London has to offer. Explore your neighbourhood to find out what's there and check out London Farmers' Markets.


GO TO THE TOP


10. Survival Guide: Parenthood

HERE: MATERNITY LEAVE & PAYPATERNITY LEAVESHARED PARENTAL LEAVE & PAYNHSSURE STARTCLOTHES/TOYSRECOMMENDED READINGMONEY YOU MIGHT GET | OR GO TO THE TOP


In the Partners Club, there are quite a few mothers, mothers-to-be and fathers; they have provided the following information. London is filled with lots of activities targeted towards small children.


MATERNITY LEAVE & PAY
---
https://www.gov.uk/maternity-pay-leave/leave
Parental leave calculator: https://www.gov.uk/pay-leave-for-parents


PATERNITY LEAVE
---
https://www.gov.uk/paternity-pay-leave


SHARED PARENTAL LEAVE & PAY
----
https://www.gov.uk/shared-parental-leave-and-pay/overview


NHS

NHS (National Health Service) is a government-led service that provides healthcare for all citizens and all of its services are free of charge.

To receive NHS services, you need to register at GP. How do I register with the National Health Service when I move to England?

For antenatal clinic, you mostly stay in contact with your midwife and doctor at GP. They monitor your blood pressure, urine, heartbeat from your baby and your growing belly. For other check-ups (blood, ultrasound etc.), you have to go to the hospital that NHS designates. NHS offers antenatal classes which prepare you for the birth at the hospital you will be for labour.

After the delivery, you would probably stay at the hospital for one night or so in the case of normal delivery and a few more days for caesarean section. For postnatal care, a local midwife visits your home to check your and the baby's health within 10-14 days after your delivery. A healthcare visitor visits you as well.
 


SURE START

Sure Start is the government program "to deliver the best start in life for every child". It provides wide range of services such as help and advice on child and family health, parenting, money, training and employment.

If you live in the area Westminster Church Street, you have a lot of possibilities during and after pregnancy, all for free - family support, parenting groups and workshops, an employment drop-in and so on.

Active Centre offers pregnancy yoga, antenatal and postnatal classes. The cost of classes varies and starts from £20 per class.
 


CLOTHES/TOYS

  • H&M, Gap, Next -- you can find many shops in London
  • George by ASDA - affordable and nice kids and baby clothes - order online and get delivered or pre-order and pick-up in an ASDA store
  • Mothercare -- price is ok; they have everything you need... (clothes, beds, push chairs, baths, toys ...)
  • Seraphine -- not cheap, but nice
  • Primark -- very cheap
  • Spirit of Nature -- good, natural products, they sell only online
  • Oxfam -- you can find nice second-hand baby clothes etc. for very little money...
     


RECOMMENDED READING


MONEY YOU MIGHT GET

If you are working in UK and covered by National Insurance, you may be entitled to benefits and tax credits. NHS provides a very useful pregnancy and baby guide.



GO TO THE TOP


11. Survival Guide: Day Tripping

HERE: DAY TRIPSWEEKEND TRIPSLOW-COST AIRLINESTOUR OPERATORSOR GO TO THE TOP


If you want to spend a day or a weekend away from the city, there are plenty of places to go just a few hours away.


DAY TRIPS
Hampton Court
- Home of the infamous King Henry VIII, Hampton Court is a short train ride from Central London. Not only is the castle interesting in its own right, but there are also gardens and one of those mazes you can get lost in. Although you have to pay to get into the castle, there are free tours offered by guides in period costumes.

Windsor - Here you can see Windsor Castle, the largest inhabited castle in the world, which has been a royal residence for over 900 years. But don't forget to visit Legoland and Eton College as well. The easiest way to get there is by train from Paddington (every 30 minutes).

Oxford - Home of the famous university for over 800 years, Oxford is both a commercial centre and a town of quiet cloisters and peaceful gardens. The Oxford Tube coach runs every 10-20 minutes and stops at Victoria, Marble Arch, Notting Hill Gate, and Shepherd's Bush. The X90 leaves from Victoria every 20-30 minutes and stops at Marble Arch and Marylebone Road. Buses take around 100 minutes to reach Oxford. There are also trains two times an hour from Paddington.

Cambridge - Can't go to one University town, without seeing the other. While in Cambridge, visit the Botanic Gardens or punt on the River Cam. Trains leave from King's Cross and Liverpool Street and take 55 minutes to get to town. National Express coaches depart hourly from Victoria.

Stratford-upon-Avon - If you love Shakespeare, go here. If you don't love Shakespeare, go somewhere else. Trains run from Marylebone and Euston and coaches leave from Victoria.

Bath - Just two hours west of London is Bath, a quaint city famous for its Roman baths and pump rooms. Get a Bath bun or drink a Bath ale while you're there. Trains leave from Paddington station, and National Express coaches leave from Victoria every 90 minutes.

Canterbury - As one of the most famous and oldest of England's cathedral towns, Canterbury is full of history and spiritual depth. While there, be sure to visit the Chaucer Centre and Canterbury Tales visitor attraction. Trains leave from St Pancras. National Express coaches make the 90 minutes - 2 hour journey every hour from Victoria.

Beach - Dying to go to the beach? England's seaside towns include Brighton, Portsmouth, and Bournesmouth. Although Bournesmouth is reputed to be the best British beach, if you want a real beach, you have to get over to the Continent. Brighton is easily accessible by trains leaving from Victoria, London Bridge and Blackfriars.


WEEKEND TRIPS

Want to really get away for the weekend? Tell your partner to take a break from studying, pack your bags, and go. With low-cost airlines, buses, ferries, and trains, there's no excuse not to get away during your time in London.

Edinburgh - Acknowledged as one of Europe's finest cities, Edinburgh has always been a cosmopolitan melting pot drawing visitors from all over the world. There are 19 weekday trains that make the 4 1/2 - 5 hour journey from King's Cross.

Paris - Surprisingly enough, one of the cheapest places to go from London is Paris. For as low as £69 return, you can take the Eurostar from Kings Cross station and reach the Gare du Nord station in Paris in less than 3 hours. Eurostar offers specials online. But if you're on a tight budget you can even take a bus for as little as £25 return. This option is great for a spontanious weekend getaway. The bus is punctual and compfortable and it gets you to Paris in less than 7 hours. It's not as long as it seems! Check National Express and Megabus for the latest offers. If you live near Victoria station, you can skip the £5 online booking fee by buing straight through the National Express' ticket machines. 

Amsterdam - Amsterdam is also a favourite spot to go from London and also one of the cheapest city breaks. The Eurostar goes to Amsterdam as well, but the ride is a long 5hrs 45mins. Perhaps it's better to fly with return flights starting at £80/person.

Brussels seems like the cheapest city break of all. It's less than a 3 hour ride on the Eurostar.


LOW-COST AIRLINES

There are a number of these, so you're sure to continue to see low prices because of competition. These airlines fly to different cities and you can search through all with Skyscanner or Kayak. Don't rule out the "full-cost" airlines which may have flights just as cheap as the "low-cost" ones. Try Ryanair, WizzAir, Norwegian Air Shuttle, and EasyJet. And for a flight to Iceland - WOW Air.
 


TOURS

The London Walks -- offers day trips as well as walking tours in the London area. There's a day trip every day -- the walks meet at the railway station and take you on a full tour through the city of your choice whether it be Oxford, Bath, Stonehenge, or Canterbury, among others. Walking tours around London last around two hours and range from nightly pub walks and Jack the Ripper walks to daily walks of London neighbourhoods and museums. It's a great way to learn more about your home away from home. 

Student travel agencies -- These can be found all over London and include STA and USIT.

 

GO TO THE TOP


12. Survival Guide: Education


GENERAL COURSES

  • Hot Courses - Course finder - browse through thousand of courses in the UK to find what suits you best
  • Coursea - Online courses from top universities
 

ENGLISH COURSES

 

ESOL

 

IELTS

 

GMAT

  • Kaptest - Preparing the GMAT at Kaplan
  • GMAT Review - Preparing the GMAT at Manhattan Review
 


GO TO THE TOP