Health & Wellbeing Advice

For many, coming to university is a huge step towards independence. While university life is to be enjoyed, it's important you don't get too caught up in all the fun and games and forget to take care of yourself.


It is strongly recommended that you register with a doctor as soon as possible after you arrive in London so that you can access healthcare as quickly as possible if you become ill or injured. Registration with an NHS doctor is done according to postcodes, which means even if you’re registered at your home address, you’ll need to do so again in London.

The Ridgmount Practice, located at 8 Ridgmount Street is a National Health Service (NHS) practice providing healthcare services. More information, including registration forms and the practice welcome letter, can be found on the practice website. The Ridgmount Practice opening times are Monday – Friday from 9.00am to 5.30pm.

If you do not live near UCL check the list of postcodes in the catchment area before queuing to register at the Ridgmount Practice. You can also choose to register with a practice closer to where you are living if you prefer. You can find services closest to you using the National Health Service website.

To register, you need to visit the surgery. You will need to complete a form and will need to provide certain documents. The actual documents you need to provide will vary from surgery to surgery so it might be best to call to check. You should expect to provide some ID (like your passport), your visa (if an international student) and proof of your student status and address.

If you are an international student you may wish to refer to the International Student Support website for further information about the health care provision available to you in the UK, especially if you are staying for a short period of time.

Remember, if someone’s life is at risk or they need urgent medical care call 999. You can also contact NHS advisors for non-emergency cases on 111.


Dental treatment is not free, and not all dentists will accept NHS patients. To find a dentist that is taking new NHS patients, you can visit the NHS 24 website where you’ll need to contact and register with your chosen dentist. Often, you’ll be asked to attend a ‘new patient’ appointment where you will be given a check-up and any treatment you need will be discussed. Registering for treatment on the NHS is normally significantly cheaper than getting treatment privately – as an example, a basic check-up and scale and polish is normally around £10 - £15 on the NHS, but can be up to £50+ when done privately. But be aware, it can take significantly longer to get an appointment on the NHS.

The Dental Centre at UCL, situated on the 5th floor, 3 Gower Place has been established for more than 50 years. They provide a wide range of dental care to UCL students, staff and members of the public including NHS, Private and Denplan treatment.

Mental Health

Studying is likely to bring a number of changes to your life. Hopefully it will be enjoyable and interesting, but it can also be challenging – especially if you are experiencing a mental ill health. Some changes or new experiences that many people experience are:

  • meeting and working with new people from a variety of cultural, religious and socio-economic backgrounds.
  • new demands such as deadlines for written work or presentations
  • exams or assessments
  • balancing the demands of studying with work or caring commitments
  • maintaining relationships with family and old friends
  • leaving home or moving house.

If you have past experience with or new concern over mental ill health, it's a good idea to familiarise yourself with the support services on offer at the university and the wider community. The UCL Student Psychological Service is dedicated to helping UCL students with personal, emotional and psychological concerns.

Other useful links to make a note of include: Crisis Support, London Nightline, The Samaritans, HOPELineUK, Big White Wall

Sexual Health

If you are sexually active it is crucial that you look after your sexual health. This includes preventing sexually transmitted infections (STIs), avoiding unwanted pregnancies and keeping yourself safe and mentally well.

If you would like to talk to someone about a sexual health issue, you can call the national sexual health helpline free on 0300 123 7123. Your call will be treated with sensitivity and in strict confidence.

It’s a good idea to speak to your doctor about contraceptive options, and you can get free condoms from local clinics and pharmacies - one of the closest to Bloomsbury Campus is Brook Euston, 92 - 94 Chalton Street. You can be tested for all Sexually Transmitted Infections at Mortimer Market Centre. Mortimer Market Centre offers all the advice and services you need to be sexually active and healthy whilst at University.

The emergency morning after pill is available from most pharmacies for roughly £30, and available free from Boots, 16-17 Tottenham Court Road.

Complete a self-assessment of your sexual health here and read this nifty UCLU guide to Sex and Relationships.


Eye health is just as important as any other. Whether you’re long term-bespectacled or just in need of a check up, a dedicated student optician service University Vision is located in the Student Central (previously ULU) building on Malet Street. They offer 30 minute consultations and walk-in slots - perfect for students who want to fit in eye examinations between work and lectures. They also offer a 10% student discount. A large selection of high street opticians can be found on nearby Tottenham Court Road or Oxford Street.

And remember to take care of your eyes. Digital Eye Strain is common among those who spend more than 2 hours per day using a digital device, but there are methods to help reduce its effects.


12 Things to do on your first week in London

Student life will surely show you the best of London, but here are some things to do to get your bearings in your first week in the city – London is Calling, there’s no time to waste and too much to see!

The best park in the city is pretty much in your back garden

Whether the sun is shining or the rain is pouring, London’s green spaces are a great place to cure your hangovers with new found friends! Regent’s Park is a real favourite.



Tour the Museums and Galleries

Become a culture vulture with a city-wide tour. There’s so much to choose from right on your doorstep, from the British Museum to Churchill’s War Rooms. If you’re more into the arts, pay a visit to the Tate or National Portrait Gallery to absorb some resident masterpieces and visiting exhibitions.


Indulge in amazing places to eat and drink

London boasts an incredible multi-cultural cuisine, and there’s something for everyone! From the first Cereal Café to student-favourite Hare Krishna and a sampling from the world’s best Michelin-starred chefs. Check out London food blogs for all the best spots!



Take a stroll along the B-E-A-UTIFUL waterways

Winding from Little Venice, through Camden, Victoria Park and the Docklands, Regent’s Canal is a real gem right in the centre of the city.



Make the world your Oyster (card)

Buy a day ticket and spend some time station-hopping from Zone 1 way out to the jungles of Zone 6. Find beaches, heritage sites and activity centres you never even knew existed!


Unleash your inner tourist

It ain’t the nation’s capital for nothing! The city is bursting with sights, from St Paul’s to Buckingham Palace and the Globe Theatre to Kew Gardens. We’ll be impressed if you manage to cram it all in before you finish your degree!



Check out quirky shops

Whether you are searching for the perfect fancy dress costume, or hunting for some stylish decor to deck out your halls, there are plenty of one-off boutiques in London to start bargain hunting. The Brick Lane Vintage Market and Camden Market are a treasure trove for rooting out vintage clothing, and the east end is blessed with many tiny outlets selling craft goods, unusual jewellery, and artistic prints.


Get lost in the city

Do dedicate one day to simply walking around. Getting lost is the best way to discover London! Marylebone, Holborn and Fitzrovia have endless closes, and there’s something steeped in culture around every east-end corner . You might even find some great shortcuts that you can use to save precious time! If you prefer more guidance and background information about the city, check out our Welcome Festival Walking Tours.


Visit the set of all your favourite films

Make the movies come to life by walking in the footsteps of Hollywood stars. Of course, there’s the Harry Potter Studio Tour and the Southbank, but how about a trip down Baker Street (or should we say North Gower Street) or Notting Hill’s Portobello Road? UCL’s very own library is also a blockbuster star!


Enjoy the nightlife

London is a social playground, full of the weird and wonderful. From late night music venues like Koko and The Roundhouse, to famous clubs Egg Club and Fabric. Maybe you prefer something a little off the beaten track? The UCLU Welcome Festival has a whole range of student club nights to take your pick!



Check out an unforgettable view

Take a trip to the City, ride the Eye or simply climb the heights of Senate House Library. London is (dare we say it) even more incredible from above! Broaden your perspective and feel grounded in the BEST CITY ON EARTH.



And take some time out to just relax

Yes, this really is the greatest city on earth, but it’s important to make your house feel like your home. Pick up some creature comforts as you explore the area around your new digs, join us for our Plant Sale and a quick browse at the Welcome Festival’s Poster Sale shouldn’t go amiss!


UCLU’s Welcome Festival for Non-Drinkers

UCLU’s Welcome Festival for Non-Drinkers

So you’re tee-total - maybe that’s for religious reasons or just that you’re so over hangovers. Perhaps you’re not quite 18? For those who don’t drink or go clubbing, coming to university and experiencing freshers’ week can be something of a culture shock. But fear not! UCLU caters to all, and we’re here to offer plenty of non-alcohol-fuelled ways of socialising to make your Welcome Festival the greatest!

Results Day is finally here!

While our IB and gap year friends have been basking in the comfort of their confirmed and unconditional offers, it's been a tense week for everyone waiting to see if their A Level Results will cut the mustard. 

If you're here, it must mean that yours did, so massive congratulations to you! 

There is going to be a whole lot of information coming your way over the next month or so and it can be overwhelming, but take your time to check in here every now and again as we will be doing our best to make sure that you are as prepared for coming to uni as you can be. 

We have listed all (and the ONLY) official UCL Welcome Events on this site, so take a look through and see which ones you fancy. There's also loads more info on everything we do, from clubs and societies to advice and welfare on our main website


Which events should I go to?

We get lots of questions about when things start and which events to go to. 


The simple answer is 

19 - 25 September is a week of events for international students. If you move in during this week, these events will give you time to get to know London better before the full student body arrives. Get the full listing here.

25 September - 2 October is what is traditionally called "Freshers' Week" - this is when the main bulk of the events, including most of the club nights, take place. Get the line up here


The important thing to know is that only the events you see listed on this site are official, approved UCL student events. There are lots of promoters out there claiming to run UCL events, but ours are the only ones that are truly just for UCL students. They're also the best value for money - the union is a not for profit, so we aren't trying to make money from our events like other promoters. Tickets for official UCLU events go on sale on 1st September.


Another way of keeping up to date with all of the OFFICIAL UCL info is on the Welcome Festival Facebook page and group. They're a great way of figuring out who is going to what.


We look forward to seeing you all in September!

Planning is underway for the UCLU Welcome Festival

"In MAY?!?" we hear you ask. 


Well, yes. The Welcome Festival is, without a doubt the biggest event that happens at UCL each year. Over 10,000 students from all over the world will be coming to UCL to start (or continue!) their academic careers. Making sure that each and every one of you gets the welcome that you deserve is no small feat. 

From helping the 260 plus Clubs and Societies we run get prepared for you, to arranging a line up of events that will give you the chance to meet other new students; from making websites so that all of your info is on one place, to evaluating the pricing in our bars and cafes to make sure it's the best value; from brushing up on Visa regulations, to working with the university, there is a lot to prepare! 

So keep your eyes here and on the Official UCL Welcome Festival 2016 Facebook Page for regular updates on what promises to been one of the most exciting, scary, crazy and memorable weeks of your life!