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We are the UK association for all those who research, study and teach global development issues

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What is Development Studies

What is development studies and decolonising development.

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We have around 1,000 members, made up of individuals and around 40 institutions

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The DSA Conference is an annual event which brings together the development studies community

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Our conference this year is themed "Social justice and development in a polarising world"

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Students and early career researchers are an important part of our community

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North-South Research

A series of workshops exploring North-South interdisciplinary research with key messages and reports

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Travel and stay

26–28 June 2024, Hybrid at SOAS University of London

Social justice and development in a polarising world

rights and representation; redistribution and restoration; reproduction and production

Arriving in London

Arrival to the UK by sea is probably best through either Dover in the South, or Harwich in the East: where you dock will depend on where you depart from, as well as other factors which should be taken into consideration.

  • Direct ferries
  • Dover
  • Other ports

Direct Ferries is a good comparison website to check which companies and ports would be the best option for you.Bear in mind that as a driver you will have to pay the toll at the Dartford Crossing coming from the South of England, and the congestion charge for inner London – so you may want to book a hotel outside the city centre and leave your car there before carrying on to central London and the conference venue.

Arrival through Dover is either via the Eurotunnel or by ferry.It might seem that Calais (France) to Dover is the easiest ferry route, but do bear in mind and keep an eye out for news on delays at that particular port (as these have increased post-Brexit), especially when leaving to go back through Calais.The conference is happening at the same time as the Spring School Holidays, so there will likely be an increase in traffic caused by this at Dover, as France is a popular holiday destination in the UK.

Newhaven is close to Brighton and may experience less traffic than Dover, so may be a good choice of Southern port. Getting to London from there is quite straightforward via train, changing at Brighton for a direct line to London. You can also take the train to Brighton and then catch a National Express coach or Megabus for the rest of the journey.Hull is in the North of England and may result in a longer inland journey to London than the other ports. You should check the trainline or the national rail website to see the prices and lengths of the journey, or as usual check National Express coach or Megabus.Holyhead is in Wales and docks ferries from Dublin. You can drive, or take public transport to London from there.Unfortunately the Harwich – Esbjerg in Denmark service is no longer available, but you can take a direct ferry from the Hook of Holland as an alternative to France. Harwich is in Essex, to the North East of London – this means that train or coach travel from there is relatively short and straightforward.Other ports of note: Liverpool as a link to Ireland and the Southern coastal cities, Portsmouth, Poole and Plymouth are all active links to Europe so depending on where you are travelling from, they are also worth considering despite their distance from London.


  • Eurotunnel
  • Arriving by train
  • Arriving by coach
  • Arriving by plane

The Eurotunnel runs between Folkestone and Calais. It is the quickest way across the channel, taking around 35 minutes. The website has a lot of useful information, we encourage you to have a look particularly at the vehicle type section, as you can see you do have the option to use the tunnel as a cyclist as well, which might be an attractive option. Prices do vary and you can only book around 6 months in advance, so check the website for a quote before you decide.Folkestone is not far from Dover; if you are driving it is around a two hour journey. Bear in mind that as a driver you will have to pay a toll at the Dartford Crossing, and the congestion charge for inner London – so you may want to book a hotel outside the city centre and leave your car there before carrying on to central London and the conference venue.Pedestrians can use the tunnel by travelling on a coach such as Megabus/Flixbus.

The Eurostar runs several services from all over Europe to London, fares will vary so have a look at the website. You can also look at their map of destinations, which will show you their direct journeys and those which require a change. You can get to central London directly with the Eurostar into London St Pancras station; From London St Pancras it is a 15-minute walk to SOAS or you can take a tube. The nearest tube station is Russell Square.If you are arriving at a dock or airport further afield, you will need to take a train to get to London. Depending on the area, different services operate. The best way to navigate the train system is to book online either on the trainline or national rail website, and keep to the journey outlined in the booking. A few more tips:

  • If you miss your specific train you can catch another, as long as it:- Is the same service provider, e.g. Chiltern Railways, Cross Country. This can sometimes be unclear, the name will be on your ticket, and to ensure you are on the correct train try to catch one that does the same route as the one you booked: e.g. I want to go to Birmingham through Banbury because my tickets say so, I will not take the train that does not stop at Banbury. Alternatively, ask someone who works at the station.- Is within the same time restriction, i.e. is it off-peak, super-off-peak or peak times? This restriction will determine the price – the more off-peak the less the tickets cost.
  • Book off-peak or super-off-peak if you can: peak time tickets are only necessary for those travelling in rush hour (09:00 and 16:00-18:00 company dependant).
  • Only book train tickets to London, not the specific London tube station you need. This may save you money as the London tubes have a daily and weekly cap on spending, so it’s always best to change to contactless or oyster card once inside London (more details further down).
  • Keep up-to-date with news about rail strikes, these rarely mean no services run at all, but often will result in reduced services and changes to timetables. The travel update section of the national rail website lists all disruptions and is updated often.

Megabus was acquired by Flixibus so now the two are the same provider. This is possibly the cheapest route from Europe to London, with so many different stations available you can probably start your journey from quite close to home. It probably will take longer than train or flight, but it is worth considering. Have a look here for the route map and the website. Do zoom in on this map as you may notice that zoomed out it looks like Estonia has no stops, but zooming in you will see them; visitors from Finland may have to travel to Estonia in order to catch a coach.Travelling from within the UK, the other option is National Express, which is also quite cheap and has a lot of stops around the UK.

London is the airport hub for the UK, most long-haul flights will go from here rather than the other smaller airports around the country. There are six major airports in London, where you arrive will most likely depend on where you are flying from. Aside from London City Airport, they are all just outside of London, with easy links to the city. You can take a train or bus to the closest tube station, and make your way deeper in the city from there. We would not advise renting a car at the airport as the city has a steep pollution tax for any incoming vehicle, and it is exceptionally well connected anyway.Find out how to get to London if you’re flying in to Heathrow AirportGatwick AirportLuton AirportStansted AirportLondon City Airport or Southend Airport.For airports connected to the tube, (see our section below) on how to navigate the tube effectively.

Getting to the venue

The conference will take place at SOAS University of London, 10 Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG. The coordinates are 51.522038361257145, -0.12863496502769226.

When using google maps, it’s better to input Brunei Gallery SOAS (directly opposite the entrance), or School of Oriental and African Studies, as otherwise the maps can lead you to the back of the building rather than the front.



There are several nearby tube stations. The tube is the most popular way to navigate London, and for good reason. It will often be much faster than the bus or taxi, and many stations have accessible access, though it’s a good idea to check before you travel for those which don’t. Here are a number of stations within walking distance of the venue entrance.You can use the Google Maps or Citymapper app for detailed travel directions.

  • Russel Square
  • Euston Square
  • Euston
  • Goodge Street
  • Tottenham Court Road
  • Holborn
  • Kings Cross St Pancras
  • Warren Street

Russell Square (Piccadilly Line)

  1. Walk west on Bernard St/B502 towards Herbrand St, 361 ft
  2. Continue straight onto Russell Sq, 0.1 mi
  3. Turn right onto Thornhaugh St, 200 ft
  4. Turn left, 157 ft

Euston Square (Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan Lines)

  1. Walk south-west towards Gower St, 10 ft
  2. Turn left onto Gower St, 0.2 mi
  3. Turn left onto Torrington Pl, 230 ft
  4. Continue onto Byng Pl, 164 ft
  5. Turn right towards Torrington Square
  6. Take the stairs, 0.1 mi
  7. Turn left onto Torrington Square

Euston (Victoria and Northern Lines, and Mainline trains)

  1. Walk south-east on Eversholt St/A4200 towards Wellesley Pl
  2. Continue to follow A4200, 440 ft
  3. Turn left onto Euston Rd/A501, 33 ft
  4. Turn right towards Upper Woburn Pl/A4200, 121 ft
  5. Continue onto Upper Woburn Pl/A4200
  6. Continue to follow A4200, 0.2 mi
  7. Turn right onto Tavistock Square, 276 ft
  8. Continue onto Gordon Square, 292 ft
  9. Turn left onto Woburn Square, 0.1 mi
  10. Turn right, 131 ft

Goodge Street (Northern Line)

  1. Walk north-west on Tottenham Ct Rd towards Tottenham St, 354 ft
  2. Turn right onto Torrington Pl, 0.2 mi
  3. Turn right onto Malet St, 0.1 mi
  4. Turn left onto Torrington Square, 397 ft

Tottenham Court Road (Central and Northern Lines)

  1. Walk south on Tottenham Ct Rd towards New Oxford St/A40, 62 ft
  2. Cross the road, 0.2 mi
  3. Turn right onto Bayley St/B506
  4. Continue to follow B506, 0.2 mi
  5. Turn left onto Malet St, 0.1 mi
  6. Turn right onto Torrington Square, 397 ft

Holborn (Piccaddilly and Central Lines)

  1. Walk west on High Holborn/A40 towards Kingsway/A4200, 102 ft
  2. Turn right onto Southampton Row/A4200, 03 mi
  3. Turn left onto Russell Sq/Southampton Row/A4200, 36 ft
  4. Turn right, 118 ft
  5. Turn right, 59 ft
  6. Turn left, 69 ft
  7. Turn right, 226 ft
  8. Turn left towards Russell Sq, 30 ft
  9. Turn right towards Russell Sq, 292 ft
  10. Turn left towards Russell Sq, 56 ft
  11. Turn right towards Russell Sq, 56 ft
  12. Turn left towards Russell Sq, 92 ft
  13. Turn right onto Russell Sq, 26 ft
  14. Turn left onto Thornhaugh St, 154 ft
  15. Turn left, 131 ft

Kings Cross St Pancras (Circle, Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan, Piccadilly and Victoria Lines, and Mainline, Thameslink, and Eurostar trains)

  1. Walk south-west on Euston Rd/A501 towards Pancras Rd/A5202, 0.3 mi
  2. Turn left onto Upper Woburn Pl/A4200
  3. Continue to follow A4200, 0.2 mi
  4. Turn right onto Tavistock Square, 276 ft
  5. Continue onto Gordon Square, 292 ft
  6. Turn left onto Woburn Square, 0.1 mi
  7. Turn right, 131 ft

Warren Street (Victoria and Northern Lines)

  1. Walk south on Tottenham Ct Rd towards Warren St, 374 ft
  2. Turn left onto Grafton Way, 0.1 mi
  3. Turn right onto Gower St, 0.2 mi
  4. Turn left onto Torrington Pl, 230 ft
  5. Continue onto Byng Pl, 164 ft
  6. Turn right towards Torrington Square
  7. Take the stairs, 0.1 mi
  8. Turn left onto Torrington Square, 207 ft


The following buses serve the area: numbers 7, 68, 91, 168 and 188 stop on Russell Square; 10, 24, 29, 73 and 134 stop on Tottenham Court Road (northbound) or Gower Street (southbound).You can use the Google Maps or Citymapper app for detailed travel directions.

The closest bus stop to the venue is Russell Square (Stop E):

  1. Walk south-west on Russell Sq towards Thornhaugh St, 217 ft
  2. Turn right onto Thornhaugh St, 200 ft

Other nearby bus stops are:

  • Russel Square (Stop H and J)
  • Russsel Square (Stop D)
  • Capper Street (Stop N)

Russell Square (Stop H and J)

  1. Walk south-east on Woburn Pl/A4200 towards Bernard St/B502, 203 ft
  2. Turn right onto Russell Sq, 0.1 mi
  3. Turn right onto Thornhaugh St, 200 ft

Russell Square (Stop D)

  1. Walk south-west on Russell Sq towards Montague St, 226 ft
  2. Turn right to stay on Russell Sq, 0.1 mi
  3. Turn left onto Thornhaugh St, 200 ft

Capper Street (Stop N)

  1. Walk south-east on Tottenham Ct Rd towards Capper St, 453 ft
  2. Turn left onto Torrington Pl, 0.2 mi
  3. Continue onto Byng Pl, 164 ft
  4. Turn right, 305 ft
  5. Turn left, 367 ft
  6. Turn right, 289 ft

About London

London is one of the largest cities in the world, and it has countless cultural sites to see, as well as other cultural activities such as theatre and art. The conference will take place at the SOAS building in the centre. Visit London will be a good resource to use, as well as their things to do page for an idea of where to best spend your free time in the city.

In order to guide you in your conference visit, this guide will focus on the areas around the conference venue. These are Bloomsbury, Soho and Covent Garden, within the city of Westminster.


The conference venue will be in this area, right next door to UCL, at SOAS. Bloomsbury is a wealthy part of London, home to the British Museum and considered the literary centre of the city. There are also beautiful parks and squares, such as Russell Square and Gordon Square.


Soho is an area of the City of Westminster, part of the Westend of London. It is the part of London most known for entertainment: it is near the heart of the theatre area, and is full of restaurants and bars. Additionally, Old Compton Street is now the core of London’s main gay village, and Gerrard Street is the entrance to London’s Chinatown, pedestrianised and decorated with a Chinese gateway and lanterns.

Covent Garden

Covent Garden is another cultural centre of London, home to the Royal Opera House and a continuation of the West End, it has a number of notable landmarks and museums, including St Paul’s Church and the Freemasons’ Hall.

Exploring the city

London’s different areas

The conference will take place at SOAS in Bloomsbury. This does not mean that you should limit your experience of London to these two districts however: the advantage of the tube system is that you can travel from one side to another quite effectively. London is also very diverse, and it would be a shame to miss out on it.

If you can, sample each section someway or another: you can explore the river by going on a tour or using the tfl river bus to get where you need; see what the other districts such as Paddington, Greenwich or Brixton have to offer, take your time to explore.

Keep an eye out on Visit London for ideas of what to do, Google Maps can also be helpful to figure out where the closest points of cultural interest or landmarks are.

  • Using the tube
  • Using buses
  • Using taxis
  • Cycle hire scheme

The tube is at times overwhelming for new users to get their heads around it. However, if you focus on where you need to get to, it becomes very straightforward. If you can, try out the new Elizabeth Line, the latest addition to the network with new trains and stations. The tube runs through the night, thought at a reduced capacity: see the Visit London page about this for more information.

Here we have broken down a few key points to keep in mind when using the service.

Navigation: Each line is assigned a colour, each colour has two or more directions named the same as the compass point (northbound, eastbound etc.).The easiest way to get your head around this is to use google maps – make a note of what line you are taking and which station you are headed to, then follow the signs. Once you arrive at the platforms they will have a simplified map of only that line with a list of stops which is easier to read.The other useful resource for getting around London is Citymapper, which will also help you figure out which is the best route to get where you need.

Money: to pay for the tube you can use either a contactless debit/credit card, that is a card with the chip that lets you make payments without using your pin, or an oyster card. Oyster cards can be bought in shops and in the station for £5, and they are no different to using a contactless card. Both payment methods have a daily and weekly cap. If you are planning to pay in cash, buy an oyster card at a shop and put cash on it, rather than tickets.Some stations do not have barriers but have the device to tap your card or oyster card on. Even without the barriers, do remember to tap your card on the way out, otherwise be subject to a steep fine the next time you tap your card at another station.

Foot traffic: the tube is at times a very busy network, especially if you are travelling to the venue for a panel session at 09:00 as the hour before that is rush hour. The etiquette on the escalator is to stand on the right, walk on the left – allowing people in a rush to keep going even if you are not. On the platform you might not want to stand right at the front, as during rush hour it can feel scary to be pushed by the crowd closer to the platform edge – opt for somewhere in the middle and try to push onto the train; letting people go ahead is polite but might mean you’re stuck on the platform for two or three trains stopping before you get on.

London buses are all cashless, so you need an Oyster card, Travelcard or contactless payment card to ride. They are similarly spending capped to the tube, and the UK unique double decker provides opportunities to sightseeing which the tube does not.

Most bus stops in London have an electronic board to indicate the time until the next bus and which service it is, and a shelter for the rain. Sometimes bus stops are just signs on the side of the road however, so keep an eye out for them.

In order to catch a bus you often need to wave your hand to indicate you’d like to be picked up. In London you embark at the front and exit through the back door, you do not need to tell the bus driver which stop you want, just tap your card or contactless when you get on.

To ask the driver to let you off at the next bus stop, press one of the red buttons which can be found on the upright metal posts throughout the bus. You will probably hear a bell and see a lit sign appear at the front of the bus that says “bus stopping”. Buses will not stop anywhere that isn’t a designated bus stop.

London black cabs are famous for their look and their knowledge of the city. You can pay with cash or card, and they are fully accessible, they can also be booked using the Gett app. See the Visit London page for more information. Though bear in mind that traffic is at times unforgiving, and taking a cab to the conference venue first thing in the morning might take longer than you think.

App-based ride booking active in the city include Uber, Bolt, Gett and Ola, but there is a lot of choice available.

If you are looking for bike ride inspiration, Transport for London has created scenic leisure routes around London. The easy-to-follow, self-guided routes will help you discover London’s hidden gems by bike. Check out quirky LondonLondon’s secret gardensSaturday marketsindependent shops and markets and sporting sights.

You can hire a Santander bike anywhere in London and London is quite bike friendly. The docking stations have a terminal so you can pay for the hire, just tap on that to get started. Many of London’s parks have cycle paths, including Regent’s Park and Hyde Park.

For more information on bike renting and e-scooter renting, have a look at the Visit London Page dedicated to this.

Things to Do

This section will briefly outline different entertainment avenues, click on the hyperlinked pages for locations and more information!

Museums & Galleries

There are so many museums in London that listing them is difficult. We have outlined a few suggestions, but we recommend exploring, as well as looking on Visit London and Museums London. Have a look at The Culture Trip article here and timeout.com for some more ideas.

  • Museums & Galleries

The Brunei Gallery is SOAS’s own exhibition space and hosts a programme of changing contemporary and historical exhibitions from Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Part of the Museum Mile in central London, their aim is to present and promote cultures from these regions while being a student resource and public facility.

The British Museum A note on the British Museum: this is one of the largest museums in the world, it would be wise to dedicate at least a full day to visit it, if not more, and expect to not see everything it has to offer. We’d recommend booking a guide and focusing your visit on some floors, rather than trying to tackle the whole thing in one visit.

Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology Part of the University of London in Bloomsbury, this small and specialist museum owns more than 80,000 objects (not all are on display), most of which came from the private collection of Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie.

Grant Museum of Zoology Robert Edmond Grant founded the museum in 1827 as a teaching collection for the University of London, now known as University College London. It opened its doors to the public in 1996 and runs events and exhibitions throughout the year, alongside the permanent collection.

October Gallery October Gallery has been instrumental in bringing to worldwide attention many of the world’s leading international artists, including El Anatsui, Rachid Koraïchi, Romuald Hazoumè, Nnenna Okore, Laila Shawa and Kenji Yoshida. The Gallery promotes the Transvangarde, the very best in contemporary art from around the planet, as well as maintaining a cultural hub in central London for poets, writers, intellectuals and artists, and hosts talks, performances and seminars.

Charles Dickens Museum The Charles Dickens Museum is set up as though Dickens himself had just left. It appears as a fairly typical middle-class Victorian home, complete with furnishings, portraits and decorations which are known to have belonged to Dickens.

The Foundling Museum They tell the story of the UK’s first children’s charity and its first public art gallery – the outcome of a centuries-old project designed to care for and educate London’s most vulnerable citizens.

Visionary Brit Museum The Visionary Brit Museum is the smallest art gallery in London, in a heritage Red telephone box outside the British Museum and is the first gallery to only represent visionary ideas in art and science selling magnificent paintings by top international artists.

Sir John Soane’s Museum Discover the extraordinary house and museum of Sir John Soane, one of the greatest English architects, who built and lived in it two centuries ago. The museum has been kept as it was at the time of his death in 1837, and displays his vast collection of antiquities, furniture, sculptures, architectural models and paintings.

Museum of Freemasonry At Museum of Freemasonry, their goal is to help you learn about freemasonry in all its cultural richness. If you’re a freemason, the Museum is a treasure trove for exploration. If you’re not a freemason, it’s the perfect place to visit and discover what freemasonry is all about.

The National Gallery The National Gallery, London houses one of the greatest collections of paintings in the world. These pictures belong to the public and entrance to see them is free.

The Cartoon Museum The Cartoon Museum re-launched at 63 Wells Street on 1st July 2019! The design vision for the museum was led by Sam Jacob Studio, who used the language of cartoons and comics as inspiration for the new architecture. The Cartoon Museum champions cartoon and comic art, highlighting its value to culture and society.

Other places of note

Tate Modern Tate Modern has over a hundred years of art, from modernism in the early 1900s, to exciting works created today. This includes paintings, sculptures, and more made by artists all over the world such as Pablo Picasso, Emily Kame Kngwarreye, and Jenny Holzer.

Tower of London Explore London’s iconic castle and World Heritage Site. Get up close to the Crown Jewels in the year of the Platinum Jubilee, meet the legendary Yeoman Warders and ravens and see the Tower like never before.

Madame Tussauds London See famous faces at Madame Tussauds London, an interactive wax museum with more than 190 lifelike wax figures on display.

Buckingham Palace Buckingham Palace is one of the few working royal palaces remaining in the world today. During the summer and on selected dates from November to December and at Easter, visitors can tour the 19 State Rooms, which form the heart of the Palace.

Westminster Abbey Marvel at the incredible architecture of Westminster Abbey, an active place of worship and UNESCO World Heritage Site in London.

Natural History Museum The museum is particularly famous for its exhibition of dinosaur skeletons and ornate architecture—sometimes dubbed a cathedral of nature—both exemplified by the large Diplodocus cast (Dippy) that dominated the vaulted central hall before it was replaced in 2017 with the skeleton of a blue whale hanging from the ceiling.

The Southbank Centre is Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room, Hayward Gallery, National Poetry Library and Arts Council Collection. They’re the largest arts centre in the UK and one of the nation’s top five visitor attractions.

Borough Market’s rich heritage – around 1,000 years of history – is part and parcel of its appeal, but their focus is very much on the here and now. The Market, which is run by a charitable trust for the benefit of the community, has never stopped evolving. A few decades ago, it was a wholesale market serving the greengrocers of south London; now it acts as a beacon for sustainable food production, short supply chains and social connection, drawing visitors from far and wide.


The conference venue is in the West End, so here are some of the theatres close by. You can also have a look on Visit London for current shows, and explore the different theatres as this is not a comprehensive list.

There are lots of ticket selling websites, we suggest the Visit London page, as well as Ticketmaster.

  • List of theatres


There are a lot of tours in London, so we again suggest you keep your eyes open and browse online for more, these are some suggestions from the Visit London page.

  • List of tours

Open-top bus tours Take a hop-on hop-off bus tour to see London’s top attractions in comfort. Travel along four routes and 70 stops across London. Hop on and off as much as you like, allowing you to explore locations in more detail.

Buckingham Palace tour There are many attractions on the Buckingham Palace tours but one of the most popular is the State Rooms tour. State rooms were designed to impress and could only be found in the homes of elite aristocracy.

Total London Experience The Total London Experience in One Day is the ultimate introduction to our great city. Including – Panoramic Tour of London, see Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, entry to St Paul’s Cathedral, an extended visit to the Tower of London, a relaxing Thames River Cruise, and a flight on the London Eye.

Tower of London Beefeater Tour The Tower of London is famously guarded by Yeoman Warders who were once used to keep the prisoners inside the Tower safe. Now, you will find them outside the Crown Jewels, keeping a watchful eye on the Tower’s proceedings. You’ll get the chance to see these iconic Warders, helping you to discover more about this historic landmark on London’s north bank.

Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter Set adjacent to the working film studios where all eight Harry Potter films were made, the Studio Tour offers visitors the unique opportunity to explore two soundstages and a backlot filled with original sets, animatronic creatures and breathtaking special effects.

London by Night Tour This London by Night tour will reveal the floodlit splendour of London’s landmarks as dusk falls.

City Cruises Sightseeing Tour Discover London’s history with entertaining live commentary and take in the best panoramic views on our sightseeing tours. Enjoy a unique dining experience cruising along the river with delectable food and live entertainment or experience a thrilling 50 minute speedboat ride.

London helicopter tours Take to the skies in an exciting extended 50 minute London helicopter flight over famous London landmarks in this exhilarating helicopter tour.

Walking tours Get a closer look at London’s most interesting and unique sites with these top guided walks, and learn about the city’s long history and diverse culture with a London walking tour.

For the family / kids

Have a look at Visit London for more ideas of what to do with the family, including a selection of child-friendly shows.

  • For the family/ kids

Madame Tussauds London See famous faces at Madame Tussauds London, an interactive wax museum with more than 190 lifelike wax figures on display.

Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter Set adjacent to the working film studios where all eight Harry Potter films were made, the Studio Tour offers visitors the unique opportunity to explore two soundstages and a backlot filled with original sets, animatronic creatures and breathtaking special effects.

KidZania London Based in Westfield London, Shepherd’s Bush, KidZania London is an interactive indoor city made for kids aged 4 -14. From an airline pilot to a surgeon, firefighter to a radio DJ, kids can work, play, earn and learn whilst having fun in a range of role play activities.

London Transport Museum Discover the history of London’s transport at London Transport Museum. Explore the heritage of London and its transport system, and the stories of the people who have travelled and worked in the city over the last 200 years, before taking a peek into how future technologies might impact London as we know it.

Shrek’s Adventure! London An interactive and immersive walkthrough experience, where the whole family can journey through Far Far Away as the stars of the show.

The London Dungeon The London Dungeon is a uniquely thrilling attraction that will whisk you way back to the capital’s most perilous past. See, hear, feel and smell the chillingly amusing characters of the ‘bad old days’ as they come to life before you.

HMS Belfast Bring your explorers on board this iconic London landmark. Navigate your way around the rooms of this floating city, climbing up and down ladders to visit all nine decks. We recommend allowing at least three hours for your day out.

The Cartoon Museum The Cartoon Museum re-launched at 63 Wells Street on 1st July 2019! The design vision for the museum was led by Sam Jacob Studio, who used the language of cartoons and comics as inspiration for the new architecture. The Cartoon Museum champions cartoon and comic art, highlighting its value to culture and society.

Hollywood Bowl at The O2 Located inside The O2, the Hollywood Bowl centre has a stylish London vibe, and is the perfect stop off for fun games and delicious food and drinks. Home to 12 state-of-the-art bowling lanes, this centre isn’t one to miss.

Eating & Drinking

Here is a small selection of restaurants, do have a look further yourself however as there are so many restaurants catering to all kinds of tastes around London. For vegetarians, vegans, gluten free or other dietary requirements do look at the menus; aside from (some) pubs most places in the UK offer options for all sorts of dietary requirements. Though we have marked some specialist vegan/vegetarian restaurants with a green icon  on this list. Also don’t forget to visit Chinatown while you’re nearby! Some useful resources when exploring on your own are The Culture Trip, and Timeout.com.

  • Eating & Drinking

Roti King Chef and founder Sugen Gopal opened his first Roti King in Euston in 2014. For 8 years the restaurant has served its iconic Roti Canai at affordable prices to foodies in the know.

 Busaba Bloomsbury Busaba is modern Bangkok eating in the heart of London. As in Thailand, our dishes are made to share, and include a flavoursome selection of freshly prepared salads, Pad Thais, curries and more. With a large portion of our menu being plant-based, they aim to feed the soul, body and mind.

Saravana Bhavan Specialising in Indian cuisine, their menu reflects the diversity of India, steeped in the classics from North and South regions that best compliment the cuisine.

Punjab, Covent Garden They are the oldest North Indian restaurant in the UK, serving distinctive Punjabi cuisine to generations of diners in Covent Garden.

Hiba Hiba means “a lovely surprise” and they aim to deliver that and more! They are a family owned and run business, bringing London the tastes of Palestine and Lebanon.

Quality Chop House The Quality Chop House celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2019. Their menu is contemporary whilst simultaneously respectful to and proud of the site’s ‘meaty’ past – in fact, they even opened a butcher’s next door!

Quality Wines They are a neighbourhood restaurant (and attached wine shop) with an ever-changing blackboard menu of Mediterranean-inspired dishes.

Indian YMCA Restaurant The restaurant is open for breakfast from 7.30am – 9.15 am, for weekday lunch from 12.00pm to 3.00pm, dinner from 6.30pm to 8.30pm.

Lahore Kebab House They’ve won several awards several times in a row for eg. the best kebab house in the UK. They’ve been cooking up a storm since 1972 and have grown from a small diner in a well known family restaurant keeping their consistency and quality game as strong as ever.

The Rum Kitchen At Rum Kitchen they try to honour the essence of the carnival, the most famous all day party. They believe rum cocktails can make anyone dance, jerk BBQ is the tastiest way to cook food and their amazing DJs help bring the carnival soundtrack to their guests.

Santa Maria Pizzeria A traditional Neapolitan Pizzeria with a commitment to bring authentic Neapolitan pizzas to London and keep the prices affordable for everyone, they have several locations around London.

Bao Each BAO location represents a different slice of culture in Taiwan. Start your journey by clicking on the buildings on the map on their website.

Padella Savour fresh pasta specials at this Borough Market restaurant run by the team behind Islington’s Trullo.

Flat Iron Head to Flat Iron in central London and tuck into a perfectly cooked flat iron steak. A less well-known cut than fillet or sirloin, flat iron challenges the perception of steak as an expensive meal. Pair your flavoursome steak with some tempting side dishes.

Brasserie Zédel Located in the heart of Piccadilly, Brasserie Zédel is a grand and bustling Parisian brasserie. With a relaxed and lively atmosphere, it is perhaps best known for serving traditional French food at remarkably good value.

Patty and Bun Offerings such as the signature ARI Gold Cheeseburger or vegetarian portobello mushroom burger can be teamed up with a range of mouth-watering side dishes. Only the freshest ingredients are used to create simple, well loved dishes.

Hoppers Soho Hopper and dosa are at the heart of the menu at this intimate Soho eatery, where walls are adorned with Sri Lankan poster art and Tamil comic imagery.

Breddos Tacos Influenced by Mexico’s roadside taquerias, Breddos Tacos serves up tacos and tostadas in a hip setting.

Sushisamba offers a host of inviting dining and drinking experiences: from the bar with its ‘living canopy ceiling’, the exposed kitchen and high energy sushi bar, to the terrace overlooking The Piazza below, and the private dining room with its own entrance and terrace.

Blanchette Bringing French flair to Soho, Blanchette serves modern takes on classic Parisian dishes in elegant surrounds.

Monmouth Kitchen Monmouth Kitchen serves a selection of contemporary Peruvian and Italian small plates, complemented by reserve wines and signature cocktails.

Bob Bob Ricard Serves classic British & French menu to an eclectic clientele in London’s most glamorous all-booth dining room. Equipped with a “Press for Champagne” button at every table, it is famous for pouring more champagne than any other restaurant in Britain.

Rochelle Canteen Their cooking is both classic and modern European, meaning we take influences from Britain and further afield to Europe. They let our produce speak for itself, a gentle approach, the simplicity a result of both quality produce and beautiful cooking.

Duck & Waffle High up on the 40th floor of Salesforce Tower London (formerly Heron Tower), all-day dining Duck & Waffle in Liverpool Street serves European and British cuisine, with fantastic views over the City.

Balthazar Indulge in bistro food and good wine in chic surrounds at classy all-day brasserie Balthazar in Covent Garden.

Dean Street Townhouse Breakfast dishes range from healthy grains and fruit, to kippers or a full English; while lunch or dinner includes the likes of dressed crab, Dover sole or all-time British classic mince and potatoes.

Temper Savour smoky flavours with a South American twist at Temper Soho, which serves meat and fish cooked over its fire pit in the centre of the restaurant.

Smoking Goat Sample lesser-known Thai dishes, with an emphasis on smoked meats, at this Shoreditch hangout that pays homage to the late-night bars of Bangkok.

Kiln Like its sister restaurant, The Smoking Goat, a few streets away, the emphasis here is on flavour-packed regional Thai fare that you’d expect to encounter on streetside eateries in Thailand.

The Barbary Journey through a story of trade and travel as you experience North African and Mediterranean flavours at The Barbary.

Genesis Genesis is a 100% plant based alchemy restaurant concept.

The Gate Islington Just moments from Upper Street and Sadler’s Wells, The Gate boasts a menu featuring solely vegetarian and vegan food.

Rasa N16 Created from the childhood memories of owner Das Sreedharan, which were spent tending a vegetable plot in Kerala and feasting on the fruits of his labour, this cosy spot in Stoke Newington is a haven for vegetarians.

Temple of Seitan London’s first cruelty-free fried chicken shop, Temple of Seitan is famous for its vegan fried chicken.

Mildreds Mildreds serves a selection of veggie and vegan food with international influences, from organic energising detox salad to mushroom and ale pie with fries and mushy peas.

The Frog Michelin starred Frog by Adam Handling is a place to really submerge yourself in a theatrical show. You’re facing the kitchen, the chefs come to your table and you are able to really interact with every member of the team.

Eating & Drinking

This selection is more general around all of London, as recommended by Visit London.

Shrimp & Grill Tuck into comfort food from America’s Deep South at Shrimp & Grill restaurant in London’s West End.

Jungle Cave Jungle Cave is an exotic jungle-themed restaurant in Piccadilly Circus that recreates the sights and sounds of the Amazon rainforest – perfect for families, couples, groups or big kids.

Hard Rock Cafe The freshly prepared American cuisine includes mouthwatering steaks, sizzling fajitas and succulent burgers.

All Star Lanes Immerse yourself in a 1950s-style bowling experience in one of the 14 lanes in the main hall. You’ll find a selection of tasty American dishes in the Lanes Kitchen restaurant or head to the bar for a classic retro cocktail or two.

Giraffe Take your tastebuds on a trip around the world at Giraffe, a family-friendly restaurant chain serving up food inspired by international cuisine.

Pizza Pilgrims & Friggitoria The second permanent venue from the Pizza Pilgrims stays true to the owners’ love of Neopolitan street food. As well as a selection of pizzas, this Kingly Court eatery boasts new recipes and seasonal specials, such as arancini stuffed with slow-cooked ragu, and fried calzones.

Poppie’s Fish and Chips The menu includes mouth-watering fresh fish cooked in crunchy batter, served with golden chips and classic mushy peas. Poppies only buy fish of the finest quality which is prepared on the premises by their onsite fishmonger.

Shake Shack Originally launched in New York’s Madison Square Park in 2004, Shake Shack is known for its burgers, flat-top dogs and frozen custard, available as shakes and concretes (blended frozen custard with mix-ins).

More recommendation lists

Thames dinner cruises
Quirky restaurants
Afternoon tea
Restaurants with a view
Picnic spots
Outdoor dining
Romantic Restaurants
London food markets
Street food
Cheap restaurants
Michelin-starred restaurants


It’s hard to put down everywhere one could possibly go on a night out in London, so we encourage you again to do your own research, or just go for a walk and see where it takes you! Here is a short list of places you might want to try.

A note on price range: clubs and bars will be pricier than pubs, sometimes pubs will be a quiet sitdown experience, other times they may offer live music at a much cheaper price than the big clubs, it is worth doing your research on what’s going on during the conference week!

Some good resources are londonist.com and thelondoneconomic.com

  • Nightlife

The Doric Arch Their traditional pub food is a source of great pride to them: expect to find succulent sausages, delicious weekly specials, delectable desserts and a kids menu offering classic treats for smaller appetites.

The Eagle When The Eagle was founded in 1991, the time was ripe for a casual, good value approach to dining using top quality ingredients that until then could only be found in expensive restaurants.‘Big Flavours and Rough Edges’ was the title of the cookbook. It summed it up, The Gastropub was born.

The Blue Posts The Blue Posts is a free house specialising in British craft beers with rotating taps of independently brewed cask ales, lagers and ciders. They have been open since 1739, hidden away on the edge of Soho and Chinatown.

Fabric Fabric is a legendary mega-club, playing a variety of electro, house music, breakbeat, and drum’n’bass.

Heaven Heaven is one of London’s largest and most famous gay clubs. Heaven loves DJ’s and live bands.

Ministry of Sound Ministry Of Sound is one of London’s most popular nightclubs. They host nights featuring house, techno and occasionally indie rock and drum and bass.

Printworks London Housed on the vast site of a former printing works, this south east London music venue has quickly become one of London’s top club venues since its opening in 2017.

Studio 338 Music and arts venue based on the Greenwich Peninsula that includes one of the largest terraced arenas in Europe.

XOYO Since first opening in 2010, XOYO has been one of the top places to see great music in London. The lineups you will find at this excellent venue are chosen based on merit rather than genre, and as a result the acts at XOYO are joyously eclectic.

Electric Brixton This is one of South London’s best dance venues, hosting regular drum’n’bass, electronica and dance nights, plus big-name DJs and live acts.

The Camden Lock Tavern The Lock Tavern serves a variety of beers, wines and spirits as well as traditional English dishes. There are two bars, one modern, one traditional.

Old Street Records Immerse yourself in their weird and wonderful world house of fun, featuring live music from the FunkChan Band, creepy cocktails and spine-chillingly good times.

Rooftop Situated in the heart of the city and at one of London’s most iconic landmarks, The Rooftop, is an oasis set high in the sky overlooking Trafalgar Square and London’s spectacular skyline.

The Marquis pub Located in Covent Garden, with its vast collection of vinyls, regular live music and events, The Marquis is a must visit for anyone in the area looking for a fun bar with a great atmosphere.

Simms bar Located a few minutes walk from Oxford Circus station and Tottenham Court Road Station, they have a notoriously eclectic musical taste; ranging from disco to funk to 80’s to hip-hop.

All Bar One They’re there from your morning coffee to those Saturday night Espresso Martinis and everything else in between. Their menus are created so you can graze over tapas or sip on those scroll-stopping cocktails to your heart’s content.

Comptons Comptons is a Soho institution, a traditional pub serving decent beer and wine. Comptons is also a popular gay bar with plenty of entertainment, from dj nights and cabaret to live sports screenings.

Royal Vauxhall Tavern Renowned for its entertainment, from bingo to cabaret, the Royal Vauxhall Tavern has been pulling in the crowds for decades.

Dalston Superstore Dalston Superstore is a diverse and eclectic LGBT venue and a jewel in the crown of Dalston’s nightlife scene.

The Village The Village opened in 1991 and has since established itself as one of Soho’s premier gay bars. Popular as a pre-club meeting place, entry is free and entertainment includes DJs and camp karaoke.

More recommendation lists

Karaoke barsCabaret and Burlesque nightsStand-up comedyJazz clubsLive music barsActivity bars


London is a central location in the UK for the biggest concerts each year, you can browse what’s on offer and purchase tickets on Ticketmaster and on Songkick.

For June 2024 there are already lots of events up on offer, including the ABBA virtual concert ABBA Voyage, Shreyl Crow on the 18th of June, Foo Fighters on the 20th and on the 22nd, Taylor Swift on the 21st, and Green Day on the 29th.


Here are some options for childcare near the conference venue. SOAS also has a student childcare information page, which is worth looking at: though the childcare providers are listed as full-time care it is worth contacting them to see if they also offer ad-hoc care.

Childcare in the UK is unfortunately expensive, the range will be between £40 and £80 per day, with the closer creches to the venue being more expensive due to the central location; nannies seem to cost on average £15 per hour.

Tigers Childcare – found at 3 Bodley Wy, London SE17 1FN, a 35 minute bus / tube journey from the conference venue. See the informationbrochure and registration form: they recommend registering early to secure a place.

Snuggles childcare is a nanny service providing temporary nanny services: their prices range from £15 per hour for bookings before 6pm, to £18+ per hour for special requirements (newborns, medical requirements).

Childcare.co.uk is a useful website that connects parents with local childcare providers and sitters, you’ll need to create an account and provide some information, and we’d recommend organising this early, but could be very helpful.


Districts, boroughs, zones?

London is a massive city, with the size there comes the need to differentiate the areas. It is useful to think of it as a collection of villages that merged into a city rather than a conventional city: the conference venue is in the Bloomsbury district, this is part of the Camden borough, and zone one in the tube.

Zones are straightforward and indicate distance from the centre, you will see the delineation marked on the tube map itself: the centre is zone one, the further you get from the centre the cheaper the tube is, as well as accommodation etc, but the furthest from the venue you are. Boroughs are larger areas that encompass several districts, but you’ll most likely hear individual districts referred to instead: Soho, Covent Garden, Victoria.


We wouldn’t advise driving around London. The traffic is notorious and difficult to navigate, those who tend to know about it best are cab drivers and bus drivers, even locals struggle driving and will avoid it if possible. There is also a daily congestion charge of £15 on incoming vehicles in all areas within the North and South Circular Roads. Most vehicles also need to meet the requirements of London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) or pay a daily £12.50 charge.


The currency in the UK is GBP and Euros are rarely accepted anywhere. Since the pandemic, it is very rare that any service would ask for cash only; card and contactless, google pay, apple pay etc. are usable everywhere from market stalls, to buses, to tube stations. You may need coins to pay for public toilets however, which are not free in the centre or at the stations.

It is worth noting that London is the most expensive city in the UK, by quite a margin, so it is advisable to come prepared and book things like accommodation well in advance to the conference.

Plug Sockets

Remember to pack adaptors, you will need a British three-prong adapter (if you have US/European three-prong bear in mind it is a different shape) if you have devices that use other plugs. British sockets also have a switch on them, make sure you switch it on to allow electricity flow and switch it off again before you unplug your device.