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Queen Mary Summer School

London on a budget

Even as Londoners, it’s a challenge to take advantage of all London has to offer. While people often say that London is an expensive city, there is so much that you can do for free (or next to nothing)!

There’s no need to be daunted by the prospect of living in London as a student, in fact, London was voted as the most cost-effective student city in the UK! Before you arrive, you should take into account the amount of money you need for food, travel and making the most of your new hometown.

How to make your money go further


Being in a self-catered apartment means that you’ll be able to make use of the kitchen facilities and prepare your own food. There are a number of large supermarkets within walking distance of Queen Mary where you can pick up your groceries – be wary of smaller ‘express’ stores, the prices can often be higher for exactly the same items.

If you don’t fancy cooking, you can grab a hot meal on campus at The Curve for a modest price.


The most cost-effective way of seeing the city is walking, you will be able to get anywhere you need to from our campus by walking! If you want to head into the city, the next best thing is to get the bus. For a flat-rate of £1.50 per journey, you can travel across the city cheaply and enjoy the views from the top deck while you’re at it.

Please note that Summer School students will not be able to benefit from the Student Oyster Card.


If you want to hit all the London tourist spots in one go, you might be tempted to take an expensive open-decked tourist bus tour. Instead, you should take the no. 11 bus and enjoy a real Londoner’s tour of the city’s most iconic landmarks. The route takes you through Chelsea, past Buckingham Palace, Parliament Square, Wesminster Abbey, the Royal Courts of Justice and St. Paul’s Cathedral. Click here to see a map of the route.

If you’re fascinated by the history of London, with its eccentric, centuries-old traditions, you can catch a glimpse of the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace or the Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London.

A constant surprise to tourists is that most museums and galleries in the UK are completely free. This means you can peruse the works of Van Gogh at the National Gallery, take in the sight of a giant dinosaur skeleton at the Natural History Museum, or analyse the Rosetta Stone at the British Museum – all free of charge!  Click here to see a list of the best free museums and galleries London has to offer.

If the classic tourist landmarks aren’t your thing, there’s still plenty to do for free in London. You can…

It was a really interesting three weeks. I met loads of really nice people who I hope to stay in contact with!
— Rosie Fenwick from the UK, Practical Machine Learning