bridge at night

Whether you're coming to Imperial from the UK or abroad, it's easy to settle into London life.

Finding accommodation

First-year undergraduates who make Imperial their firm choice are guaranteed a place in one of our halls of residence as long as they apply by the deadline. 

We have a wide range of accommodation which caters for different tastes and budgets, from modern purpose-built halls to converted Victorian town houses. The halls vary in their location and character, and each has its own individual atmosphere and social life, allowing you to develop a sense of home and community. 

Find out more about College accommodation.

Alternatively, you may be considering London’s wide range of private accommodation. Don’t panic if you don’t know where to start, as Imperial’s Student Hub team can provide plenty of advice and support, including our own property search website: Imperial Home Solutions.

  • Accommodation costs will account for a large part of your living expenses so it’s important to be realistic about what you can afford. The London Rents Map provides a useful overview of rent rates.
  • Be aware of journey times to and from the College and make sure that you balance price with practicality. 

Postgraduate students also have the option to stay in GradPad properties, designed exclusively for postgraduate living.

Read advice from Paula, one of our student bloggers, on finding accommodation in London

Staying safe

For a city of its size and population – more than 8 million people – the level of crime in London is low. Over three quarters of crime here is opportunistic, so there are precautions you can take to stay safe.

In South Kensington – where our main campus is located – the streets are well paved and well lit, and the public areas are well maintained. We have our own Security Service within the College who are dedicated to making our campuses safe places to live and work. We have:

  • campus-wide CCTV, monitored live by our 24-hour control room staff
  • access control in all buildings and residences
  • an emergency response team on standby at all time

We also work closely with police liaison officers to deliver safety briefings throughout the year and personal safety campaigns with Imperial College Union.

In the UK, the emergency assistance number is 999.

Transport

Oyster cardAn Oyster card – available at all London Underground station offices – will make your life much easier. This can be used on the trains (underground and most overground), the buses and on the River bus.

Students with an 18+ Student Oyster photocard can get 30 per cent off the price of adult-rate Travelcards and Bus and Tram Pass season tickets.

Find out more about getting around London.

Useful information for international students

We are proud to be the most international university in the UK – and the fifth most international in the world – with students from over 130 countries coming to study at the College. 

Our International Student Support team organises a series of orientation events for new students, as well as other support activities throughout the year such as trips and social events to enable you to meet other Imperial students in an informal setting. They can also offer you specialist advice on visa and immigration issues, even before you arrive at the College.

Useful information for international students

Student Hub

Bank account

Once you arrive, you should set up a bank account straight away.

You will need to provide documentation and the Student Hub at Imperial will be able to help you with this.

The College benefits from a Santander branch located in the Sherfield Building, on our South Kensington Campus.

Student on phone

SIM card

It's a good idea to set yourself up with a SIM card for your mobile phone early on.

Take the time to research the best tariff for you, to make sure you're not spending money on services that you will never use.

There are also plenty of Pay As You Go plans to get you started, from giff gaff, O2, Three and more.

Info for international students continued

Currency

The pound sterling, known simply as the pound, is the local currency in the UK. The symbol is £.

Power plugs

London and the wider United Kingdom use a three-pin plug with a general voltage of 230v.