London is a city rich in culture, and east London is no exception. In fact it’s one of the best areas for art galleries, small theatre venues and some interesting museums. Time Out is the best place to look for listings of the latest shows. You should also check out First Thursdays, where many galleries stay open late on the first Thursday of every month and entry is free.
Galleries very close to Queen Mary include the Whitechapel, the White Cube, Matt’s Gallery and the Wapping project.
Museums include the V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green, the Museum of London Docklands and The Geffrye Museum, a wonderful museum dedicated to the history of interiors. There’s also the Ragged School Museum – where you can experience how Victorian children were taught – and the Sweet Tea House, which is dedicated to promoting Tibetan art.
Many theatre productions start out in local theatres before transferring to the West End. Theatre Royal, Stratford East claims to be the liveliest theatre in London, regularly developing exciting new shows. Greenwich Theatre is another local theatre with a reputation for high quality shows.
There’s also the Barbican Centre just a short tube ride a way. The Barbican is Europe's largest multi-arts and conference venue, so whether you're interested in theatre, art, dance, film, or music you will definitely find something interesting to go and see.
If you're thinking all this is going to set you back a small fortune, most theatres offer student standby tickets – queue up on the day and get tickets for a fraction of the price.