Life in London
Music is part of London’s DNA: in the clubs, pubs, venues, and even the streets. From The Rolling Stones in the 60s, Sex Pistols, and punk in the 70s to today’s thriving grime and rap scenes with Mercury Prize winners Little Simz and Dave, London caters to everyone’s tastes.
In London, you’ll have the opportunity to experience other cultures in everything from fashion to food to film. Few other places can rival London’s ability to travel a few stops on the Underground but change your surroundings completely.
London is often seen as more of a collection of villages than a coherent city; a collision of different communities. Spend any amount of time in Brixton’s electric atmosphere or the charm of Dalston, and it’s incredible to realise that you’re just a few miles away from the glass towers of Canary Wharf or townhouses of Kensington. But best of all is when all these varied people come together and share each other’s passion as the house lights dim at Camden Koko or Amazing Grace.
But, don’t just take our word for it. Hear from Anika, our Vocals, Professional Musicianship student, and her three tips for living in London.
One of London’s premier independent record stores.
London’s largest venue, regularly welcoming the world’s biggest performers.
One of the longest established and most respected jazz and blues venues in the world.
A world-famous tourist hotspot and cultural touchstone for music fans.
When it comes to music in the capital, anything goes. It doesn’t matter if you’re a hip-hop head, a jazz fiend or an all-out tech metal fan. This city has something for everyone.
A music city in every sense, London is globally recognised as the centre of the UK’s music business, with major labels, promoters, agents, managers, publishers and tech giants such as Spotify and Google basing their headquarters in the city.
With a legendary club scene, intimate acoustic showcases, late-night jam sessions and a kaleidoscopic range of gigs happening all over London on any given night, you can be sure to find a musical fix to suit your tastes. Try Soho’s 100 Club or Camden’s The Jazz Café, or Camden Assembly. The Colour Factory in Hackney Wick always has something good on, not to mention Fabric, Unit 58 and The Pickle Factory. Failing that, Steam Down at Matchstick Piehouse is a legendary jazz jam spot, running to the early hours. These are all must-visit places.
London Music Festivals
London and its surrounding areas are known for hosting some of the best music festivals yearly. These include Field Day, All Points East and Cross The Tracks, which all focus on underground sounds. Then there’s Lovebox, Wireless Festival, Hyde Park’s British Summer Time, Barn On The Farm and Hidden River – all of which BIMM London has professional links with.
These provide a wealth of work experience, networking and performance opportunities for students and graduates, and they pull big-name artists into the city each year, further fuelling its thriving music scene.
You’re pretty spoilt for choice when it comes to eating and drinking in London. A few of our s favourite places include Farmacy Kitchen in Westbourne Grove, Purezza in Camden, Phở and Pizzeria Santa Maria, just a short hop away from our campus in Fulham.
Further afield, there’s a wealth of incredible spots to get your foodie fix. Ramo Ramen specialises in Filipino noodle soups, and Dusty Knuckle creates some of the most incredible sandwiches, or you can hit up Bleecker Burger, Rack City Ribs, and Crisp Pizza for all your fast food needs.
Around the corner from BIMM London is the Whole Foods Market, which has all manner of quick and tasty options to suit any dietary requirements. And, of course, our college even has its own cafe, so you can grab a bite to eat between lectures without leaving home turf.
London is known for offering a plethora of options when it comes to the bustling world of retail.
Places like Oxford Street, Shepherd’s Bush and Stratford offer quintessential tourist shopping locations, such as the Westfield shopping mall, one of Europe’s largest. If it’s vintage clothes that you’re after, head to Brick Lane or Deptford Market or one of the thousands of charity shops in London.
Music retailers can be found throughout the city, with large and independent instrument shops being easy to find in places like the famed tin pan alley, Denmark Street and a wealth of vinyl shops at your fingertips. Try VDS, Honest Jon’s and Flashback Records for well-rounded stores covering many genres or Rise Above and Crypt of the Wizard for all your metal needs. With so many options available, a quick search online should reveal the best place to get your local music fix.
For those looking for a break from the busy streets of London town, there are lots of green spaces to escape to, many of which are just a short hop away on the tube. Around the corner from the college, you’ll find Eel Brook Common, Normand Park and South Park, Fulham.
Whilst further afield, you can easily escape to Battersea Park, Hyde Park and Holland Park with its Japanese Kyoto Garden. And to the South East, the beautifully picturesque Richmond Park, which is famously home to hundreds of deer. North is the iconic Hampstead Heath, Highgate Wood or Waterlow Park, all beautiful in their own ways.
It’s easy to forget that there’s stunning countryside just a short train or car journey on London’s outskirts, such as the Surrey Hills (an area of outstanding natural beauty), Kent (aka the Garden of England) and the wide-open spaces of Essex, East Anglia and Sussex.
Cycling is a great way to get around London. Many of our students commute via this transport mode as BIMM London is equipped with off-street bicycle storage.
Most of central London is very well serviced by bicycle lanes, and you can rent a Santander Cycle – a great value mode of transport accessed via a smartphone app – throughout the city.
- Fulham Broadway is well-serviced by buses. Nearby Clapham and Wandsworth (both popular areas for student accommodation) are serviced by the 295 (towards Ladbroke Grove) and the 28 (towards Kensal Rise).
- Hammersmith can be accessed most easily by the 391 (towards Sands End), the 295 (towards Clapham Junction) and the 211 (towards Waterloo).
- Putney/Parsons Green is serviced by the 414 (towards Maida Hill), the 14(towards Warren Street) and the 424 (towards Craven Cottage). For Southfields, as above, then connecting bus route: 39 (from Clapham Junction).
- Shepherd’s Bush is serviced by the 295 (towards Clapham Junction. West Kensington is serviced by the 28 (towards Wandsworth) and the 391 (towards Sands End).
- Acton/Ealing – Acton (from Acton Central Overground) 207 / 607 to Shepherds Bush – change for – 295 (towards Clapham Junction)
We strongly recommend that you apply for a Student Oyster card at the start of the new academic year to save 30% against the price of adult rate Travelcards and Bus and Tram passes.
London is well-serviced by Hackney Carriages (Black Cabs), Uber and other minicab companies. Always make sure to pre-book your taxi from a fully licenced taxi firm.
The London Underground (aka the Tube) connects most of London. As with buses, we strongly recommend applying for an Oyster card at the start of the academic year for up to 30% savings.
- Clapham/Wandsworth – Overground northbound to West Brompton.
- Hammersmith – District Line or Piccadilly Line to Earls Court, change to District Line to Fulham Broadway.
- Putney/Parsons Green – District Line to Fulham Broadway.
- Putney/Southfields – District Line to Fulham Broadway.
- Shepherds Bush – Overground southbound to West Brompton.
- West Kensington – District Line to Fulham Broadway, change at Earls Court.
- Acton/Ealing – Overground to Willesden Junction change for – Overground southbound to West Brompton.
London Heathrow and London Gatwick are the two closest airports for those travelling to London by plane. Both airports are well serviced by taxi and train for 24/7 connections.
For any questions regarding London student life or if you’d like more information on how to apply to BIMM Institute London please contact our Admissions Team on 0344 2 646 666 or email [email protected].