The temperature during autumn and winter typically ranges from 20°- 65° F. Expect a beautiful autumn! There will be warmer autumn days and colder winter days, as well as the rainy gray days and the infamous London fog.Alumni tip: buying coats, hats, scarves, etc. at Primark is inexpensive and easy.
Some people used an international plan or new SIM card, and others did not, using WiFi instead to communicate through iMessage, FaceTime, WhatsApp, etc. Fair warning, however: Roehampton WiFi can be pretty spotty at times.
Check with your phone carrier. Some companies have great options and others can be pretty expensive.
UK SIM Cards
Many students got a new SIM card from the “3” store in London. There are many locations (closest is in Putney), where you get a free SIM card then top up with a £20 plan each month for unlimited data and a good amount of texting/calling. You will get a new UK phone number.Do some research to figure out what works best for your situation!
It is recommended to take out an initial amount of Pounds and other currency you may need for backpacking (typically Euros) from your bank back in the States. Depending on the bank, this may take a few days, or they may have them on hand. It is helpful to have some currency when you first arrive.
ATMs/Debit cards/Credit cards
Check your bank’s policy on international spending/ATM withdrawal fees. Certain banks do not have associated fees and others do. Bank of America is typically recommended, as they have no fees for withdrawing from Barclay’s ATMs (a common London bank). Many places now require a chip in your debit/credit card.
Your Oyster card will become your best friend. Anytime you leave Roehampton, you will use this for transportation. You can buy an Oyster card right when you land at London’s Heathrow airport. You need to put down a £5 deposit for the card (you can get it back before you leave London) then “top-up” your card as you deplete it. This will be used for buses, trains and the underground. Any single bus ride costs £1.50 and trains/tube rides vary. There is a daily “cap” at £7-8 after which you will not be charged any more for public transportation that day. You can find more information at the Transport for London website: https://tfl.gov.uk/
Alumni tip: use the Citymapper app - it plans out journeys and gives you the best directions!
London makes a great hub for weekend trips. Two recommended airlines to check for cheap flights are EasyJet and RyanAir. If you are leaving for a weekend trip, make sure to bring your “top 5” travel items.
-Take Piccadilly line to Hammersmith
-72 bus towards Roehampton to “Roehampton University, Main Entrance”
Southern Trains (1hr, £11 from Clapham to Gatwick)
-From Barnes Station take train to Clapham Junction
-Change for Southern trains to Gatwick Airport
Gatwick Express charges you about £16 one way and it takes more time and money to get to Victoria.
Easybus (typically 2.5 hrs, £6-8 from Victoria to Gatwick)
-From Hammersmith, take District line to Victoria Station
-If choosing easybus, allow PLENTY of time. Many students encountered difficulties with missing buses and almost missing planes with easybus!
Uber (about 50 min, £50-54 for 4 people)
-Really nice for splitting with a group of people (esp. early or late flights)
Alumni tip: the southern trains route is recommended and worth the few extra pounds to cut 1-2 hours off your journey to the airport. ALWAYS check the TFL website to make sure the timing works (especially for early morning flights)!
Easybus (typically 3 hrs, around £8 from Victoria to Stansted)
-See above directions to Victoria
Uber (about 1 hr, 15 min, £50-70 for 4 people)
-Again, can be nice for early morning flights and splitting between a group.