Christmas is Coming – Things to do in London

Craig Gambell, our new Scape blogger, gets us in the Christmas mood!

Some people start planning their Christmas months in advance, but if you’re anything like me and leave things to the last minute, keep reading for a guide of some of the best thingsto do during the Christmas build up (other than just eating from your advent calendar!)Christmas in London

Christmas lights
Okay so by the time you read this, you may have missed the big “turning on of the lights”. But rest assured! You can still view them (and update your Instagram, of course) until early January. Oxford Street will light up for a 55th year this year, filling the sky with over 1000 glowing orbs. And if that isn’t picturesque enough for you, then don’t worry! There are many more locations with a beautiful display of lights, including Regent Street and Covent Garden.

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Going Travelling as a Student

Luke Harris tells us about opportunities to travel abroad as a student

With more and more students taking their academic studies to the next level, the market for student travel is Scape Student Living London accommodation student travelling gap year advicealso increasing. This means new and exciting opportunities are becoming available all the time. Some take an entire year off to travel but this is not necessary; most universities only have 30 – 35 weeks of term, leaving lots of available time over the winter and summer periods.

As a student looking to travel, you can simply go with having fun in mind, or opt to volunteer/work and bulk up that all important CV.

InterRail as a student

As far as holidaying goes, InterRailing is very popular among students. You can buy a country or Europe-wide pass that is valid for a set amount of time. The shortest is just 10 days, but longer tickets for up to a month are available.

Then you are free to choose your route, which trains you will take and where you will stay. Hostels are the most cost effective, with a comfortable night costing as little as £10 – £20. STA Travel is a helpful travel website designed primarily for students, they sell InterRail tickets and also have offers on flights and travel insurance.

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Saving Money as a Student

Many ambitious young people dream of living in London, it affords top universities and the experience of living in one of the best cities in the world. Every year thousands of excited international students from all over the world move to London. Most of them have a budget to keep to, and this can sometimes be difficult. In the beginning, saving money sounds super easy and just a case of self-discipline and control, but it’s more complicated than that. London can be an expensive place to live, but here are some useful tips on how to spend a bit less.Scape Living London student accommodation saving money budgeting

Student budgeting 

Firstly, decide how much you can spend each week.Look at your disposable income after things like your phone bill, contact lenses etc. When you have a limit, you will find you only spend money on the essentials. You can also make savings in some areas to allow for treats! Save all your receipts and keep track of what you spend.

Shopping and eating

Check out local supermarkets, cafes, chemists etc to find the best deals. If you plan your dining for the week, make lunches in advance, and limit the amount of times you eat out, you can save quite a bit. If you buy everything for the week at once you can take advantage of discounts, and remember that larger supermarkets have more deals.

Travel costs

Take your transport into consideration. If your university is not within walking distance from your accommodation, you will have to use public transport. Buses are less expensive than the Tube, so find out which routes suit you and take the bus whenever possible. For discounts on your fares, apply for an 18+ Oyster photocard. If you are under 18, you can apply for an 11-15 Zip Oyster photocard. Consider getting a bike, you can pick them up quite cheaply second hand. Then your transport will be completely free and you’ll be getting some exercise into the bargain!

Of course in the beginning you will be spending more money due to buying extra things for your room, kitchenware and so on. It goes without saying, but you can find great deals on Amazon and eBay if you can wait a few days for delivery. Once you have everything you need you can start your saving program!

Everyone finds their own ways to save money, hopefully this advice will get you off to a good start. You should have an amazing experience in London without worrying too much about money. The key things are to plan ahead, and always shop around!

Winter in London

Read what Sandip has to say about experiencing London in the winter months.

It’s not long now until the clocks go forward, and the warm autumn breeze is replaced by dark and chilly winter nights. But have no fear, for there’s no better place in England than London to spend your winter evenings. It might be warmer and cosier indoors, but trust me there’s plenty going on in the capital to keep you entertained. You could indulge yourself at the theatre, step aboard the Alternative London Tour, or be dazzled by the Lord Mayor’s fireworks display. Here’s my list of the best things to do this winter in London.

Popular theatre shows
You’ve not experienced London until you’ve been to the theatre, and this winter there are some jaw-dropping shows that will keep you thoroughly entertained. Firstly, Beverly Knight returns to the West End in new hit musical Memphis; whilst Cats returns at the London Palladium for a twelve week residency starring music superstar Nicole Scherzinger. Off-West End there’s the fierce and disturbing World War Two epic The Curring Room, and The Way Back Home at the Southbank Centre. You can find London’s theatre programme here.

Alternative London Tour
Scape East students, you’ve been living in East London for a while now, maybe you’ve already experienced some of the events I shortlisted for Scape. If not, this leftfield tour is a must, see your local area as you’ve never experienced it before. An original tour taking you on a non-stop journey into the heart of London’s vibrant and diverse East End.

Experience terror at the British library
Britain’s most comprehensive display of Gothic literature and artefacts goes on display at the British Library in their new exhibition, Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination. This is a more intellectual and informative day out, and ties in nicely with upcoming Halloween! If you want to explore the dark-side of British literature, delve into vampire slaying-kits, or even experience how gothic heritage has infused our daily lives, then you and this exhibition are an ideal fit.Scape Student Living London student accommodation Winter things to do Halloween

The Lord Mayor’s firework display
This year on Saturday November 8th, London celebrates the new Lord Mayor. For over 799 years the new Lord Mayor (not Boris Johnson, but the newly elected Ambassador of the City of London) has walked, trotted and even fought his way through the congregated crowds to swear an oath of loyalty. This year the celebrations begin with a morning river pageant, followed by an afternoon procession through the centre of London, and finishing in the evening with an impressive fireworks display.

Halloween events in London
It’s almost that time of year again, when London is gripped by ghost stories, and spooky goings-on. There are plenty of events to keep you entertained for this year’s celebrations. There are plenty of parties taking place across the capital, all you need to do is get down to your local costume shop and pick out something that will scare. There are also a number of Halloween themed events across London ready to give you the scare of your life.

This was by no means an exhaustive list of things to do this winter in London, but it’s a good starting point. Remember to stay safe, and more importantly have fun.

How to Make Extra Money at University

Life as a student has always been expensive, cost of living and tuition fees have both risen sharply in recent years. You can save money by spending less on a weekly shop, but cutting back isn’t the only way to take care of your money. Students can be known for their hoarding habits, and you can earn some money from your old, unwanted items.

Gadget stores

So you’ve moved into student halls, and you’ve brought your computer, phone, speakers… the list of gadgets is endless, right? Well not all of these items are essential and you can part with some of your electronics by selling them. Try looking around your room for old gadgets and unwanted items that can be sold at a local second hand store. Check on websites such as webuy.com for a guide price before lugging your larger items around town! Don’t be afraid to barter with the customer assistant, and if you are unhappy with the price given at a particular store try shopping around, you may get a better price elsewhere.

Car boot sales

You may be studying at a location where travelling to the ‘local’ gadget store isn’t really an option. In this case, you could try local events such as car boot sales or fairs. The cost of having a stall/pitch shouldn’t be too much; you could go with a few friends, pool your stuff to sell and split the cost of the pitch.If you’re taking electronics to sell, try looking for an indoor event as bad weather will most likely break your gear. London also has its share of car boot sales, listings can be found here.

Online ad listing

If you’re still at a loss, try posting an ad on craigslist or Gumtree. Delivery is free, and no there’s no charge to list your items, unlike eBay. Always be careful when selling your items online and beware of scam artists.

Old clothing

There are other websites that allow you to send unwanted clothes in return for cash.  Scape Living London student accommodation make money university sell clothesSo if you have any labelled clothing that doesn’t fit, pay a visit to musicMagpie. After all, it’s just collecting dust in your wardrobe! This website also gives you cash for DVDs, games and electronics.

EXTRA TIP: Take a look inside your local charity shop and see if there are branded garments on sale. You could make a quick profit through buying and selling them online.

Gift Cards

If you have lots of clothing that isn’t branded (you are a student after all) then you could check out schemes such as the one offered by H&M. They allow you to take in a bag of old clothes in exchange for a £5 gift voucher that can be spent in store on yet more clothes. Let’s face it, you were just going to buy more anyway!

If you have any tips of your own, share them with us on Facebook or Twitter.

Top 10 Things to do in Greenwich – Part 2

Read Part 2 of Paula’s Guide to Greenwich – scroll down for Part 1!

Following on from Paula’s first post, below are 5 more essential trips that you need to make in Greenwich.

Cutty Sark
Right on the river, the Cutty Sark Pub has been around for a long long time. With a friendly and rustic feel, the pub has a lot of character and Things to do Greenwich Scape Living London student accommodation cutty sark culture pt2there is a great selection of beers and food. When the weather is great you can sit outside and take in the awe-inspiring views of the River Thames. Just how long has the Cutty Sark been around for? The actual tavern was built over 200 years so you will be immersed in a piece of history.

Greenwich Theatre
Greenwich Theatre offers an alternative way to spend your evening. It is relaxed, intimate and features a wide array of shows throughout the year. Originally a music hall, live performances have been taking place at the site for the past 150 years. Today, the theatre has an ethos of supporting grass roots theatre where ‘exceptional graduate performers’, young companies and Emerging Artists festival all feature. Martin Luther King, written by Ewan Hooper, the Vortex featuring Vivien Merchant and Timothy Dalton, Chekhov’s Three Sisters and John Mortimer’s A Voyage Round My Father have all featured at the theatre.

Fashion in Greenwich
Shopping in Greenwich can only turn out to be fun. As you stroll through the town there is a wide realm of boutiques and stores. Here is a selection of some of the shops you can find. Bullfrog’s Shoes offers a varied selection of shoes. ‘Meet Bernard’ offer highbrow fashion for the modern man/woman. A Greenwich favourite, Joy has the latest highstreet fashions for women and men.

Café Rouge
Having a coffee and breakfast at Café Rouge on a quiet morning is a real treat. The inexpensive French themed restaurant has a delectable variety of fresh patisseries such as pain au chocolat, pain au raisin, or croissants which comes with a petit pot of jam for £2.50. If you prefer a cooked breakfast, ‘Oeufs Bénédicte’, ‘Omelette’ and ‘Le Petit Déjeuner Végétarien’ are all on the menu. Café Rouge of course, is part of a mainstream chain and can get mighty busy but if you get the chance to go on a quiet morning or evening its well worth the journey.

Oliver’s Music Jazz Bar
Music makes the world go round and in Greenwich there exists one of the most famous venues: the o2, which of course showcase some of the most popular acts in the world. However there is another side to Greenwich. Oliver’s Music Jazz Bar. If you enjoy live music then Oliver’s Music Jazz Bar is a must! A complete hidden gem, Oliver’s showcases live jazz ‘of the highest calibre’ featuring internationally acclaimed musicians from the UK, America and beyond. It has a cosy ambiance where you can really enjoy good music and unwind.

Top 10 Things to do in Greenwich – Part 1

Read Part 1 of Paula’s Guide to Greenwich – scroll up for Part 2!

With its own vibe, leafy Greenwich is unique. It is rich in history whilst being a stone’s throw away from the city. So you end up being in one of the most beautiful towns whilst being in London. There are clubs, pubs, shops, independent traders, a comedy club, museums and so much more. Here is a selection of some of the top 10 things to do when you are in Greenwich.

Greenwich Park
Greenwich Park has to be one of the most breath-taking parks in London, if not England. The scenic 183 acres of green land first opened in the 13th century and is the oldest enclosed Things to do in Greenwich Scape Living London student accommodation Greenwich Park picturehouse market - pt1Royal Park. Situated on a hilltop, the luscious park boasts impressive views of Blackheath, Greenwich, the River Thames, Docklands and the City of London. The park is so extensive that you will definitely find a spot to relax, even on a hot summer’s day. The National Maritime Museum and the Queen’s House are at the base of the park. Discover where east meets west at the Greenwich Meridian line by trekking up to the Royal Observatory which is at the top of the hill. The park opens every day at 6am.

Greenwich Picturehouse
In the heart of Greenwich, Greenwich Picturehouse showcases the latest blockbusters. The cinema has a modern atmosphere and is home to five screens – with the intimate Screen 5 being a highlight. It allows you to feel completely at home whilst watching your favourite films. You can plan a nice evening at Greenwich Picturehouse, where you have a meal before your film as the Rivington Grill and Tapera are next to the cinema. If you fancy a tipple, there is a bar located at the top of the building and the views aren’t bad either. Students get discounts for cinema tickets.

Greenwich Market
London is a haven for markets and Greenwich has its own unique contributions to add to the mix. With a boutiquey feel, Greenwich Market is London’s only historic market that is found within a World Heritage site. The market stalls sell food, jewellery, arts and crafts, clothes antiques and beauty products. There is also an assortment of pubs, restaurants, cafés and wine bars.

The Trafalgar
Trafalgar Café is a great greasy spoon that has been serving Greenwich tasty English breakfasts for ages. With a modest feel, the cafés’ generous portions will leave you feeling satisfied. Their fry-ups never disappoint and their servings of the classics are appetising too. Builder’s tea is the norm but that’s part of its charm and appeal. The busy Trafalgar Café is perfect for those days when you just want to tuck in and relax. You don’t need to spend a lot either – expect to pay under £7.00.

Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park
Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park is a peaceful paradise to unwind. A mesmerising range of wildlife exists in the Park. Expect exotic birds, frogs, fish, toads and newts along with many other animals. In warmer climes, the Park has dragonflies, damselflies, and beautiful butterflies. The Park has an inner and outer lake. The outer lake is open at all times and the inner lake area is accessible only through the Gatehouse during opening hours. Scape Greenwich is right next to the park so you don’t have to travel far to find a piece of serenity in London.