Exploring London

Throughout history London has attracted people from around the globe, who have come to visit, live, study and work in the UK’s bustling capital. Today it is a truly cosmopolitan city, with one of the most diverse and exciting cultures in the world.

Central London

The heart of London is a mix of tradition, culture, commerce and innovation. Discover the historical treasures of the British Museum, Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace. View classic and modern masterpieces at Tate Britain, the National Gallery and the Royal Academy of Arts. Get an aerial view of the city from the London Eye.

If you want shopping and shows, head to the West End, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus, Covent Garden, and streets Oxford, Regent and Bond. The West End also hosts the hugely popular Chinatown, with street after street of south-east Asian restaurants and oriental grocery stores. Central London has lots of street markets, supermarkets and restaurants where you can enjoy a range of cuisines at reasonable prices.

If you’re feeling more reflective, head for one of the Central London’s beautiful parks. Vast Hyde Park has tree-lined walks and the Serpentine Lake, while regal St James’s Park is surrounded by three Royal palaces and is home to the Horse Guards Parade and the Mall – the setting for countless ceremonial parades.

East London and The City

East London is an eclectic mix of the contemporary and the retro, with characterful, historic buildings nestling beside polished new developments.

It is made up of several boroughs. The fashionable areas of Shoreditch, Hoxton, Dalston and London Fields have an array of markets, galleries and pop-up stores and are a hub for start-up businesses. It’s also worth visiting Broadway Market in Hackney which has been operating since 1890.

Brick Lane, near to Liverpool Street station, is a cultural melting pot. It is home to a large Bangladeshi community and has numerous Asian grocery stores and restaurants. For a bustling business and entertainment district, visit Canary Wharf which offers film, music, theatre, dance, art and fashion, and over 300 shops, bars and restaurants.

Right next to East London lies the City of London, also known as the Square Mile. The world’s leading financial and business centre, it is the oldest part of London and hosts historic attractions such as the Tower of London, built in the 11th century, and St Paul’s Cathedral.

West London

West London is the height of sophistication, offering top-class shopping and cultural attractions.

Knightsbridge is home to the upmarket department store Harrods and a multitude of designer boutiques. South Kensington has the Victoria and Albert, Natural History and Science museums, and Kensington Palace and its Gardens.

Made famous by Hugh Grant’s film of the same name, Notting Hill is a cosmopolitan area that attracts millions of visitors each year to its Carnival every August, the biggest event of its kind in Europe.

South London

Across the River Thames lies South London, stretching from Southwark, where you can find the popular Borough Market, or the beautiful cobble-stoned streets of Richmond, whose Royal Park is the largest in London.

Among the attractions in South London are the world-famous Tower Bridge, the 800-passenger capacity London Eye, the world famous Cutty Sark ship, and the Royal Festival Hall.

The picturesque village of Greenwich is also well worth a visit. Steeped in maritime history, it is the home of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and the Meridian Line which divides the eastern and western hemispheres.

North London

North London offers an extensive mix; from the cultured to the quirky.

Camden Town’s open-air markets and retail outlets offer everything from vintage to futuristic designs and it’s a hub for London’s live music scene, with legendary venues that have launched many big names.

Close to Camden Market is Regent’s Canal, which runs from Paddington in the west to Limehouse in east London, passing by the elegant Regent’s Park. In summer, the park buzzes with people boating on its lakes, relaxing in the rose gardens and groups of roller-bladers showcasing their skills. The Park is also home to London Zoo.

The legendary Abbey Road zebra crossing, made famous worldwide by The Beatles’ album cover, can be found in this area, as can the renowned Madame Tussauds waxwork museum.

External resources

  • Visit London: Details of what to see, things to do and travel information
  • Time Out: A guide to the best food, drink, events, activities and attractions
  • Study London: Advice on life as a student in London, from courses and entry requirements to visa applications and living costs

Average travel times from Loughborough University London to major London destinations

St Pancras International Station 7 mins
The O2 (one of the UK’s largest entertainment arenas) 7 mins
Liverpool Street Station (in the City, London's financial and business centre) 9 mins
Canary Wharf (offering shops, restaurants, cafes and bars) 10 mins
City Airport 15 mins
Oxford Circus 19 mins
Leicester Square 23 mins
Stansted Airport 35 mins
Victoria Coach Station 39 mins
Gatwick Airport 60 mins
Heathrow Airport 60 mins

Average travel times from Loughborough University London to destinations outside London

Loughborough University (via St Pancras) 90 mins
Birmingham (via Euston) 128 mins
Manchester (via Euston) 180 mins
Cardiff (via Paddington) 120 mins
Edinburgh (via Kings Cross) 4 hrs 20 mins
Edinburgh (flight from Luton, Stansted or Gatwick airports) 70-80 mins
Paris (via Eurostar from St Pancras) 135 mins