Exploring London

Article

One of the world's most exciting and creative cities, London is the ideal place to explore digital technology, art and design.

Explore one of the world's greatest cities

Goldsmiths is just a short train journey from Central London with its world-famous galleries, museums, theatres, festivals, shops, markets and parks.

With great quality of life and a vibrant mix of people, London is a place that's constantly changing and offering up new experiences. This great global city is the perfect location for your studies.

London is sometimes described as 'a city of villages': although it has a city centre (the West End), some of the most interesting things happen in the outlying neighbourhoods. In East London, Shoreditch, Hackney and Dalston are young and fashionable. Camden is the centre for alternative music and shopping. In South East London, Greenwich is green and historic, while New Cross and Peckham are arty and multicultural.

Our summer school staff will show you how to navigate London and its transport systems, and will show you the very best of London's visitor attractions. Our Discover London module will also give you an insider's guide to the city, encouraging you to have a London experience that the average tourist would never discover.

During your four weeks in London, you are likely to enjoy:

  • Tate Modern and the National Gallery
  • British Museum and Victoria & Albert Museum
  • East London’s cutting-edge art and music venues
  • relaxing trips to parks and along the River Thames
  • nights out in bars, restaurants and theatres.

We'll also organise trips outside of London to towns such as Brighton, Oxford and Cambridge. So please keep your fingers crossed for good weather!

Travel in London

When you arrive, we will give you an Oyster Card with a one-month Travelcard. This gives you free travel on:

  • the underground, overground and Docklands Light Railway (Zones 1-2)
  • buses (all London zones)
  • trains (Zones 1-2)

Zone 1 is central London. Zone 2 is the area around central London that includes New Cross, Whitechapel and Brixton. Transport for London maps

How to use your Oyster card

Place your card on the yellow validator. When you hear a ‘beep’, you know that you have successfully tapped in or out. On all trains (underground, overground, DLR and National Rail) you need to ‘tap in’ at the beginning of your journey and ‘tap out’ at the end of your journey (even if you use several different trains). On buses, just tap in. Don’t tap out.

Watch a video on how to use your Oyster Card

Top up your Oyster card

If you only travel within Zones 1 and 2, you do not need to add money to your travel card. However, you will need to pay extra to travel:

  • in Zones 3 to 8
  • by Thames Clipper (river boat)
  • on the Emirates Airline (cable car in North Greenwich).

To top up, go to an Oyster machine and tap your card on the yellow validator. Choose the ‘pay as you go' option, then choose how much money to add to your card.

London taxis

Your Oyster Card does not cover payment for taxis. There are three types of taxi in the London area:

  • Black taxis, or 'cabs' (with an orange light displaying the word 'TAXI') can pick up passengers on the street. You can also find taxis at designated taxi ranks.
  • Minicabs are cheaper, and look like ordinary cars. You order a minicab by phone or at a minicab office. Be warned - it is illegal and dangerous to get into a minicab without a booking (eg, on the street or outside pubs and clubs)
  • Apps like UBER are now very popular. This is often the cheapest and fastest way to take a taxi.

Trips outside London

At weekends, you'll have plenty opportunity to explore sights and cities outside of London. Popular trips include Bath, York, Edinburgh and Stonehenge. You may even want to travel to Paris or Amsterdam. And if you want to avoid the traditional tourist spots, ask us for recommendations!

Safety

During your first week here, our staff will guide you round London, giving you the tools and confidence to explore the city independently. London is warm and welcoming to all visitors but - as in any major city - there are a small number of criminals who target tourists. We advise you:

  • Keep your belongings safe. Don't leave your bag or mobile phone unattended. Keep your purse or wallet close to your body, and don't carry too much cash.
  • Travel safely at night. London's trains and underground services stop at midnight, so if you're staying out late, you'll probably need a night bus or taxi. At night, travel home with friends - it's safer and more fun.
  • Be aware of tourist scams - and never give money to strangers.
  • Tell us about any problems or thefts. At night and at weekends, contact the security office at Loring Management Centre. During weekdays, speak to any of our summer school staff.

Walking tours

Shoreditch walking tour

Take the Overground train to Hoxton and then follow this walk through Shoreditch and Whitechapel. Key sights:

  • the young and the fashionable
  • independent shops, cafes and bars
  • Arnold Circus, part of the historic Boundary Estate
  • Boxpark, a shopping centre built from shipping containers
  • Brick Lane, home of fashion shops and Bengali restaurants
  • Whitechapel Art Gallery

When you've finished, take the District Line to Whitechapel, then take the Overground back to New Cross or New Cross Gate.


Southbank walking tour

Follow the Thames path then cross into the heart of British power. Key sights:

  • Tate Modern
  • National Theatre, British Film Institute, Southbank Centre, London Eye
  • Big Ben, Whitehall and St James Park

When you've finished, take the Jubilee Line from Westminster station to Canada Water. Alternatively, walk onwards to Buckingham Palace or Piccadilly.