Why London is so attractive to students

By : Nick Marr

Five two-bedroom apartments, newly refurbished and interior designed, and a spectacular three bedroom triplex, were recently snapped up in the Fountain House block in Mayfair. Located on the ultra-desirable Park Lane, overlooking Hyde Park, the prime properties were priced from £2,250 per week.

With apartments priced at more than £5,000 a week, the block is considered to contain London’s most expensive student accommodation. Rather than sharing halls, international students have expressed a preference for private accommodation.

London’s property prices have been the subject of much debate, and around 80% of inquiries about properties continue to come in from non-UK investors. Let’s look at what it is about London that makes it so attractive around the world.

World-class education

For international students, London offers a bounty of top universities – more than 40 in total. They can choose from the likes of art and media colleges like Central St Martins, London College of Fashion and Goldsmith’s. King’s College is a relative stone’s throw away from St. Paul’s and Waterloo – as is the London School of Economics.  That’s before mentioning the likes of SOAS and UCL. The cachet of a degree from an English university can open doors back home, or anywhere in the UK and worldwide.


It’s easy to arrive in London from somewhere like the Caribbean, east or South Asia or the Middle East and find a place to feel right at home, given that nearly 40% of London’s population were born outside of the UK.

Historically a city made up of smaller villages, London’s districts have each kept a distinctive feel. The look and feel of Mayfair is going to be very different to that of Hoxton – and one easy way to experience this is to pick an Underground route, like the Victoria Line, and take in the sights at either end, stopping off at central points like Oxford Street and Victoria.

Being where the action is

Choosing a central location such as Mayfair, or at least being close to all the necessary local amenities outside of travel zones 1 and 2, is a top priority. A generous budget doesn’t make London smaller or easier to navigate for students (or anyone), so selecting an area with good transport links – that’s also close to their chosen university and gives ready access to nightlife – is hugely important.

The transport links from London to the wider world are unrivalled in the UK. St. Pancras offers a gateway to Paris and beyond via the Eurostar, while east London’s City Airport brings Europe that bit closer with short-haul flights to and fro. Of course, Heathrow and Gatwick are easily reached if not just by Tube, then by rail from Victoria. Little wonder that London is popular with European tour groups.

London is packed with sports and leisure venues (with the Olympics of 2012 giving a record-breaking boost to tourist numbers), a whole district dedicated to theatre (the West End or ‘Theatreland’), plus multiple museums and historic sites.

Finding work

Post-graduation, London is considered to have the edge over ‘cooler’ cities like Berlin when it comes to work. Polls have suggested that London is one of the most popular cities in the world to work, and if a student is renting a property rather than buying, they have the added flexibility to launch themselves on the world stage and move about as they wish.

With all of that on the doorstep, is it any wonder domestic and international students make London their destination of choice?