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Accommodation and Transport

London is a fantastic city to live in. This page contains advice about finding accommodation and different transport options, and is aimed at students moving to London for the first time.

The view of London from Chester Beatty Laboratories, Chelsea (Andy Roast for the ICR, 2014)

Finding accommodation

Students at the ICR have a range of accommodation options. Although the ICR does not have any student accommodation of its own, there are some great services available to its students looking for a place to live.

An accommodation booklet (PDF) has been produced with input from current ICR students to help incoming students with their search.

As members of the University of London, full time students at The Institute of Cancer Research may apply to join a waiting list for a place in intercollegiate halls. Other accommodation services available include Goodenough College.

There are also plenty of online services offering private rented accommodation and house shares. Zoopla, Right Move and Gumtree all list properties available near the Chelsea or Sutton site.

Transport options

ICR shuttle bus

A regular shuttle bus service transports ICR staff and students from Sutton station to the Sutton site for free. The shuttle bus service also provides free transport between the two sites (Sutton and Chelsea).

Public transport

The Transport for London (TfL) website shows all London bus, tube and train timetables, as well as regular traffic updates. You can plan a journey and also add favourite journeys for quick access in the future.

As a full-time student you can get a 30% discount on your travel cards by registering for an 18+ Student Oyster photocard. This will make it cheaper for you to travel in and around London. To do this, you will need to wait until you are enrolled at the ICR and have your enrolment number.

TfL also accepts contactless payments from the following bank cards issued in the UK - Visa, MasterCard, Maestro, and American Express. You will know if you have contactless payments by a symbol on your bank card that looks like sound waves.

Using a mobile payment to pay as you go is the same as using a contactless card. You can make mobile payments with devices such as phones, watches, key fobs, stickers or wristbands. See the TfL webpage for further information.

Please be aware that buses no longer accept cash fares, so you must ensure that you pay using an Oyster card or a contactless card.


You can hire a bike from as little as £2 with Santander Cycles. Simply go to a docking station with your bank card and touch the screen to get started. You can return it to any docking station in London. Find a docking station near you. You can also download the Santander Cycles app on your phone.

You can sign up for a free Cycle Skills session, whether you’re a first-time rider or a regular cyclist looking to improve your skills. You can also find advice about protecting your bike from theft, cycling safety, and more, on the

Black cabs and minicabs

Black cabs are in the traditional cab design (and often appear in advertisers’ colours rather than the traditional black). They can be hailed on the street and the orange light on the roof indicates they are available. They are licensed and considered by many to be safer to use than a minicab.

Minicabs are licensed private hire vehicles which must be booked in advance. Minicabs are not allowed to pick up passengers when hailed on the street although many will do. It is strongly advised that minicabs are not hailed on the street as it is also possible that the driver and vehicle is unlicensed and may be a danger to you.

You can find phone numbers for local taxis and minicabs on the Yellow Pages website. The reception desks at Chester Beatty Laboratories in Chelsea and the Brookes Lawley Building in Sutton also have numbers of local firms.

Alternatively, to find a taxi near where you are, text CAB to 60835, and the phone numbers for two local licensed minicab operators will be sent to your mobile phone. The service is provided by Transport for London and can be used in any part of London, 24 hours a day.


Uber is a taxi service which operates in London using an online app. You order your cab through the app and it comes directly to you and knows exactly where to go. Payment is made to your account. You will need to set up an account with Uber on your smartphone before using the service.

Rail travel

A 16-25 Railcard is available for purchase if you’re aged between 16 and 25, or if you’re over 25 and in full-time education. The railcard saves you 1/3 on rail fares throughout Great Britain.