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 History of 56 Prince's Gate

History of 56 Prince's Gate

In 1851, the Great Exhibition organized by Prince Albert, which was really the first World's Fair, was held in Hyde Park. The centrepiece was the magnificent Crystal Palace which was so large it was actually built around fully grown trees. Between May and October over 6 million people attended the exhibition. The Exhibition was profitable and the £186,000 returned was used to build the network of cultural and educational institutions that surround us. Exhibition Road was one of the thoroughfares constructed to bring visitors from the South Kensington Railway (now Tube) Station to the exhibition.

Some of the profits from the exhibition were used to purchase land and stimulate development in the area south of Hyde Park. One of London's leading builders began the construction of a series of fine residences, beginning on Kensington High Street just opposite the Prince of Wales' Gate into Hyde Park, and he named this development "Prince's Gate." (The apostrophe is often – but incorrectly – omitted by many Londoners these days.) The development was so successful that the project "turned the corner" down Exhibition Road and ultimately extended to Number 72. All of the original buildings looked like the one we are in, but German bombs destroyed some of them during World War II and they have been replaced by more modern structures.

Number 56 Prince's Gate was constructed in 1875 for Sir Bernard Samuelson, a prominent industrialist and Member of Parliament. He served on the education committee and was active in a number of environmental issues. The house was originally used in a similar way to the Victorian era mansion in the television series "Upstairs, Downstairs." The lower level would have contained the kitchen and the work areas for the servants. The room that is now the office on the entry floor was probably the Morning Room. The Library retains its original function. The large rooms on the first floor (using the European convention for designing floors) would have served as the family's living and formal dining rooms. The family's private rooms would have been on the second floor, with the children's rooms on the third. The fourth floor (which now contains the visiting Faculty Flats), with lower ceilings than the rooms in the rest of the house, would have been the servants' quarters.

After World War II ended, Count Antoine Seilern of Austria moved to 56 Prince's Gate and hung in this house what has been described as the world's finest collection of art in private hands at that time. Reubens' magnificent The Family of Jan Brueghel the Elder was considered the centrepiece of the collection which also included a number of other works by Reubens and paintings by Pieter Bruegel, Cezanne, Degas, van Dyke, Manet, Morisot, Parmigianino, Pissarro, Caravaggio, Renoir, Teniers, Tiepolo, Tintoretto, Titian, Fra Bartolommeo, Canaletto and drawings by Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt, Picasso, Watteau, and Durer. The Count was also an accomplished hunter and while art treasures filled the walls of the rooms, his numerous big game trophies adorned the staircase.

Count Seilern was also a qualified pilot and bred and raced horses. While pursuing his education, he dabbled in forestry, engineering, business and banking. However, his focus shifted when he enrolled in the University of Vienna in 1933. There he studied philosophy, psychology, history, archeology, and principally, art history, earning his doctorate in 1939.

After his death on July 6th, 1978, his collection of paintings passed to the Courtauld Institute of Art or to London University and these paintings may be viewed at the Courtauld Institute's galleries on the Strand. They are together called the Prince's Gate Collection. A copy of The Family of Jan Brueghel the Elder, painted by Dewey Franklin hangs in the office today. Mr. Franklin is also the artist who painted the murals on the Student Centre walls prior to the renovations.

At the time of the Count's death, his paintings hung in a virtually unsecured building, watched over only by an elderly caretaker couple. The National Westminster Bank, as executors of his estate, installed the security system of barred windows and closed circuit TV surveillance system which you find here today.

Shortly after the close of the Great Exhibition, the Normal School of Science was established in the area directly west of Exhibition Road. It quickly became Imperial College of Science and Technology. "Medicine" has been added to the college's name in more recent years. Its faculty boasts of several Nobel laureates and it can be described as the "MIT of the UK." The young H. G. Wells entered the school in 1884 and wrote that he came shy and overawed: "When I first took my fragile, unkempt self and my small black bag through its portals, I had a feeling of having come at last under definite guidance and protection."

As a result of the resources given to this neighbourhood on behalf of the Great Exhibition, this area has become home to the world's greatest concentration of outstanding museums. These include the Victoria and Albert Museum (known as the "V&A"), the Natural History Museum, the Museum of Science and Technology, and the Geological Museum.

Royal Albert Hall, scene of world-class concerts and exhibitions, is located on Kensington Gore, just one block west of Exhibition Road. Located directly across from the hall is the Prince Albert Memorial honoring him for his outstanding, early efforts in developing this area.

One of the most notable buildings in the area is the Brompton Oratory, now known as the London Oratory, completed in 1884. Its Italian Renaissance style interior immediately became the talk of London. Cardinal John Henry Newman, who served there, is represented by a statue outside the building.

South Kensington has also been home to many notable people, especially poets and writers. Robert Browning lived in this neighbourhood (29 De Vere Gardens) for the last two years of his time in England before leaving for Venice, where he died. His near neighbour, Henry James, who lived at 34 De Vere Gardens, wrote that he believed, "I shall do far better work than I have ever done before."

At Hyde Park Gate the legal writer, Sir Leslie Stephen, the first editor of the Dictionary of National Biography, was living at number 22 when his daughter Virginia – who was to become Virginia Woolfe – was born. Sir Winston Churchill died at number 28 in 1965. James Joyce lived at 28b Campden Grove, but left saying that their street was full of mummies and should be renamed "Campden Grave." Matthew Arnold came here in the 1850's and wrote 'Lines Written in Kensington Gardens.'

While none of the preceding wrote much about the Kensington area, T. S. Eliot's Four Quartets was originally named "The Kensington Quartets." After the breakup of his first marriage in the early 1930's, he lived in a boarding house at 33 Courtfield Road in South Kensington. His neighbour there, Miss Bevan, had a tabby cat that became the inspiration for Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, the text used for the lyrics of the musical Cats. You might recall that Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer live in Victoria Grove, which is just off Gloucester Road. Eliot was attracted to St. Stephen's Church on Gloucester Road, moving into the clergy house in 1934 and living there for six years. He was a churchwarden at St. Stephen's from 1934 until 1959. In 1957 he remarried and moved to 3 Kensington Gardens, where he died in 1965.

Not far away is Holland House, originally erected in 1607 by Sir Walter Cope. It was acquired by the Holland family and Lady Holland, who married Joseph Addison, founder of the Spectator, in 1716. Addison was the first to popularize the poetry of the then unknown John Milton. During the Victorian era, Holland House was the focus for parties that attracted Byron, Dickens, and even Victoria and Albert. After the Holland family line came to an end, the Ilchester family took up residence, and Lady Ilchester is believed to have been the model for P. G. Wodehouse's Aunt Dahlia. (In The Mating Season he remarked, 'In this life it's not Aunts that matter, but the courage that one brings to them.')

The road leading into Kensington Square from the northeast is Young Street where William Makepeace Thackeray lived at number 16 from 1846 to 1853. It was during this time in which he wrote his first novel, Vanity Fair. From there he moved to 36 Onslow Square. In 1862 he finally moved to number 2 Kensington Palace Gardens.

Almost opposite the Kensington High Street Tube station is a path called Kensington Church Walk. Just off it is the house in which Ezra Pound lived from 1908 to 1911. The church, St. Mary Abbots' spire is 278 feet tall, the highest in London. Thomas Hardy wrote about the opulence of the congregation there in 1888, "When the congregation rises there is a rustling of silks like the Devil's wings in Paradise Lost." G. K. Chesterton was married in St. Mary Abbots in 1901, as was Ezra Pound in 1914. J. M. Barrie lived in Campden Hill Square as did Llewelyn Davies, whose children inspired the story of Peter Pan. Barrie also wrote a short story, Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens. Kenneth Grahame lived at 16 Phillimore Place between 1900 and 1906, when he was employed at the Bank of England. Stories he told to his son Alastair became The Wind in the Willows.

Many embassies and consulates are also located in the neighbourhood, with 5 embassies or consulates alone having Prince's Gate addresses. (The other great concentration of embassies is along "Embassy Row," just behind Kensington Palace, which is found at the westernmost end of Hyde Park.

Today, the Knightsbridge area is also known all over the world for its fine shopping. The giant Harrods department store serves as the centrepiece. However, virtually every other well known fashionable outlet is represented in the area.

In addition to the many educational and cultural resources mentioned above, Pepperdine students can take advantage of the recreational facilities offered at Imperial College, in Prince's Gardens (out the back of the house), and Hyde Park. Each of these places offers a diverse range of optional activities from swimming to horseback riding to simply basking in the rare moments of English sunshine.

Pepperdine purchased this house in the late eighties and refurbished it to suit students for living and studying purposes. London program faculty and staff are proud to call 56 Prince's Gate their home and encourage students, faculty and all other visitors to fully take advantage of all the magnificent opportunities and resources that South Kensington and this house have to offer! Pepperdine is now, and always will be, a part of the great history that encompasses 56 Prince's Gate!

Pepperdine closed the London house for six months from March to September 2008 for a major refurbishment. The remodel project consisted of new infrastructure including electrical, mechanical and heating services. Amongst the changes are two new bathrooms on the 2nd and 3rd floors and one new en suite bathroom on the lower ground floor. New bedroom furniture provides increased comfort and storage for students. The student kitchen has been expanded to accommodate three separate cooking stations. The furnishings were updated and the house was completely redecorated. The classrooms have been expanded to include video conferencing capabilities and new projection systems. Students will now be able to use the internet more effectively because the bandwidth was expanded to 100 MB to accommodate faster computer speeds, internet, telephone and television. The house maintains its historic character of an English Grade II listed building, and all noteworthy features were retained. The London house began as a living-learning center and today continues to be a place of learning and of residence for both Seaver and Law Students.


56 Prince's Gate is surrounded by some of the most significant educational resources in the world. Your new home is across the road from Imperial College, and less than five minutes walk from the Royal College of Art, the Royal Albert Hall, the Royal College of Music, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum, Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens.

56 Prince's Gate contains the classrooms, library, offices, dorm rooms, and faculty apartments for the London Programme over its six floors. At the rear, the house opens through a patio onto a small park. The student centre provides access to a kitchen area and a student lounge containing a large flat screen television with British and American channels, Apple TV, a DVD player and a large collection of DVDs. The house has high speed WiFi throughout.

 Program Office

The Program Office is located on the ground floor of 56 Prince's Gate.

Living in London


Arriving in the United Kingdom

Students will work with Corniche Travel to book the most economical and direct roundtrip flight available from the closest major international airport to their permanent address to the Heathrow Airport and back based on the established program dates.  Most adults with a US passport will be able to enter through the electronic gates by scanning their passport. Some countries, such as those in the European Economic Area, Canada, Australia, Japan, Switzerland, Singapore and South Korea, may also use the e-gates. If the e-gates cannot read your passport properly, or if you are directed to see a border official, you may need to present your passport, your UK entry letter and any letters relating to your visa (if applicable). You will need to carry paper copies of all of this documentation with you. 

After Border Control, you will need to pass through Customs. You should pass through the green gate posted "Nothing to Declare"  since, as visitors, you can expect to consume or carry out whatever you bring in.

Transportation to Your Facility

Students on the group flight will be met at Heathrow Airport by a member of the Pepperdine London staff. The staff member will be waiting for you in arrivals holding a Pepperdine sign. Once you have passed through customs and into the main arrivals area, please look for the staff member. If you are on the group flight, please do not make your own way to the house.

By Tube (Underground) from Heathrow Airport

The least expensive option is to travel by Underground from Heathrow airport to London. Buy a ticket to Zone 1 (it will cost around £6) and take the Piccadilly Line (it's the only line that runs from the airport). Get off the Tube at South Kensington station. Go up the stairs and through the barriers, and then turn directly right and walk down the steps into the tunnel. Follow the tunnel all the way until the end, and then come up the steps. Cross over the road and then turn left and walk up the street. The London House is number 56, on your right-hand side. Plan for about an hour of travel time. Warning! You will have to carry your suitcases up the steep steps at South Kensington station as there is no lift.

By Taxi From Heathrow Airport

The easiest, albeit more expensive, way to get to Prince's Gate is by taxi. You can either take a "Black Cab" or you can pre-book a mini cab.

We use to pre-book taxis. The fare from Heathrow is fixed at around £30. You will need to enter your flight number and arrival time into the website and also the Pepperdine house address  (56 Prince's Gate) and postcode (SW7 2PG). The driver will meet you in arrivals holding a sign with your name on it and they will help you with your luggage. 

If you do not pre-book and instead take a black cab, the fare will likely be about £50, depending on traffic. Black cabs run on a meter and they should take credit cards. Uber is also more expensive than a pre-booked mini cab here. Depending on traffic, you should plan for about 35 – 40 minutes of travel time.

By the Heathrow Express Train

The fastest way is to take the Heathrow Express train from the airport to Paddington station in central London. From Paddington station you can take a taxi to 56 Prince's Gate or you can ride the District or Circle Line to the South Kensington tube station. A one-way ticket costs £20 on the Heathrow Express.

By Taxi from Gatwick Airport

A pre-booked taxi from Gatwick Airport is about £60. Black cabs do not run from Gatwick Airport as it is so far out of London.

By Gatwick Express Train from Gatwick Airport

Take the Gatwick Express train to Victoria Station for approx. £20. Then take the District or Central line tube heading west to the South Kensington station. Follow the instructions given above. Alternatively, the cab fare from Victoria Station to 56 Prince's Gate should be around £10.

Getting Around the City

Only 60% of Londoners have a car, so London is a very easy city to navigate using public transport. As well as the Underground (the Tube), we have an extensive bus network. Trams operate in South London and mainline trains leave from eight stations to all parts of England, Scotland, Wales and even France and Belgium. The Pepperdine house is located in South Kensington, within easy reach of three Tube stations and numerous buses.

All Londoners use an "Oyster" card. This is an electronic card which can be purchased from any Tube station for £5. You then simply load money onto the card using a credit or debit card or cash at any of the stations and swipe it every time you enter or exit the Tube station. The card is a smart card and will deduct money according to how many journeys you make.

Almost all of the sites you will want to visit are located in Zone 1 of the fare system. A single fare in Zone 1 is £2.40. A daily price cap is in places meaning that you will never be charged more than £7.20 in one day. 

There is also an 18+ Student Oyster Card which gives you a 33%, meaning unlimited travel for just £25 per week. 


What are your smartphone options?

  • We require students to secure a smartphone with an international calling and data plan or an in-country call and data plan in order to take advantage of all International SOS applications (our travel assistance provider) and to be able to be reached in cases of emergency. Please consider one of the following options:

U.S. Options

  • Use your existing smartphone. This may be possible depending on your carrier and smartphone. Contact your cellular provider to understand how your phone would work abroad and about any international calling and data plans available.
  • Purchase a new U.S. smartphone with global service (e.g. google phone plan, select T-Mobile, and select Sprint offerings).
  • Purchase an international sim card similar to one found at Cellular Abroad. Please visit this page to learn about unlocking your smartphone and contact your current provider to know if your phone can/should be unlocked and how to do so.

London Options

  • Purchase a British sim card when you arrive in London. Sim cards cost 99 pence. Programme staff will assist with this during orientation. GiffGaff is currently the most popular company to use. You can change or cancel your plan at any time. Options include:
    • £6/month: 500 MB data plus unlimited minutes and texts.
    • £8/month: 2 GB data plus unlimited minutes and texts.
    • £10/month: 6 GB data plus unlimited minutes and texts.
    • £12/month: 10 GB plus unlimited minutes and texts.
    • £15/month: 15 GB plus unlimited minutes and texts.
    • £25/month: Unlimited data, minutes and texts

*Please Note: These prices are as of August 2020, and are subject to fluctuation.


You've probably just arrived, and calling home is of the utmost importance so read on to find out how to operate telephones in the London House. And note that you can place these calls from the house's own authentic London telephone booth!

Dialling Instructions

  • When dialling to the US from the London house:
  • Dial the international calling code 001
  • Then the area code
  • Then the number
  • For example: To call the Pepperdine switchboard from the London house – 001 310 506 4000

We do not charge our students for local or national phone calls, due to the internet phone line that we have.

When dialling the London House from outside England:

  • First dial the international calling code (either 011 from the USA or 00 from Europe)
  • 44 (England's country code)
  • Then 20 (London's city code) followed by the local 8-digit number
  • For example dialling the program office from the USA – 011 44 207 581 1506 or from Europe – 00 44 207 581 1506

International Calls

  • Operator Services : 100
  • International Operator: 155
  • International Directory Enquires : 192

Important Local Numbers:

  • Emergency : 999
  • Dr. Boreham and Dr Rowley : 0207 225 1544
  • Ross Nye Riding Stable : 0207 262 3791


Many students prefer to use WhatsApp, an app that allows you to make international phone calls, video calls, and texts at no additional charge. This is typically used as an alternative Text and FaceTime in many European countries.

Student Mail

Student mail is distributed into mailboxes on a daily basis.

 House Facilties


During the academic year, classes are generally held on Monday through Thursday. There will be some Fridays when you have classes or other academic commitments. The classrooms are available for independent study or group meetings and projects when classes are not in session. When classes are in session, please refrain from making noise on the first or adjoining floors. Be aware that sound echoes in the stairwell.

  • No food or drink (except bottled water) is permitted in the classrooms or Library.
  • Please be respectful of the furnishings in the Library and classrooms, especially the leather chairs. Do not lean back in the chairs or write on the leather table tops. Never drag the tables – if you need to move them, be sure to lift them with two people.

Study Room

A small room next to the smaller classroom may be used for individual study, faculty tutorials or group Bible study.


The Library is a 24-hour quiet zone set aside for reading, writing, and studying only. Please do not remove newspapers, magazines, or reference books from the library. Please return books to correct section after use. Eating is not permitted in the library – only water may be brought in.

Student Rooms

Please respect the needs of others for quiet, solitude, and privacy. Defer to those who are sleeping and reading, especially after 11pm. Do not handle the belongings of others. Respect each other's space.

Student Kitchen

The kitchen is for the use of all students. Please participate in keeping it clean. Dishes should be scraped of waste food (into the bin please!), rinsed and placed into the dishwasher. Please clean up after yourself so the next person can have use of a clean kitchen.

Student Lounge

The Student Lounge is for the enjoyment of all students. Be respectful of students who live in rooms adjacent to the student lounge and monitor noise levels so they can have a peaceful environment. Noise from the Student Lounge can bother neighbours so beware of loud music in the late evening hours. 


There are washers and dryers in the laundry room located in the front of the House, through the basement door. Irons and ironing boards are also provided in this room – the use of irons anywhere else in the house is not allowed.

There are two washers and two dryers available for student use. The cost is roughly £1.50 to wash and £1 to dry. Detergents are very different from those sold in the United States. Read the labels carefully before purchasing so as not to confuse detergent and softener.


A light breakfast is provided in the house seven days a week which includes crumpets, muffins, bread, bagels, cereals, yoghurt, juice, milk, jam, Nutella and fruit. Group dinners are provided at local restaurants, usually on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. Students receive money through a digital disbursement to an American debit account of their choosing for five lunches and two dinners during the week. The funds can be used in any restauant, cafe or shop or students may withdraw cash from their card at any ATM to purchase food. Many budget-conscious students prepare some of their meals in the student kitchen which contains three stoves, three microwaves, four student refrigerators, and three dishwashers.


What do you need? What should you leave behind? How will you ever get all of your things into the suitcases the airline will let you check in? The answer to all three of these very valid questions is "Less is definitely more!" Do not take too much and choose carefully what you do take.


If you are receiving any packages from the U.S., always ensure that they are clearly marked 'PERSONAL ITEMS FOR AN INTERNATIONAL STUDENT STUDYING ABROAD' otherwise you will be charged import duty and taxes. If anyone sends you a parcel and the Customs Declaration Form values it at more than about $30, you will be charged import duties – these can be reclaimed but it is a complicated process!


Typical Luggage Allowance

Policies on maximum number of checked luggage, dimension and weight restrictions, as well as extra baggage fees vary from airline to airline. It is the student's responsibility to check with their airline for these luggage restrictions. Most airline carriers charge a fee for each piece of checked luggage. Fees vary by airline, and it is the student's responsibility to be prepared to pay these fees at the airport.

What to Take

During the week, students have a schedule much like Malibu. Classes and meals will take up most of the day, but evening activities may vary. The most common student dress is casual – jeans or khakis, long-sleeved shirts, sweaters and sweatshirts. It is much colder and damper in Europe in the fall and winter than it is in Malibu. (But there will be enough warm days to justify taking a few short-sleeved t-shirts.) England's climate is mild and damp. Temperatures inland don't often get below freezing in winter (December to February), or much above 86°F in summer (June to August). The north is the coldest area; London and the South East are the warmest. You can expect cloudy weather and light drizzle in any part of England at any time. Bring a fold-up umbrella!

Take clothing that can be layered. Start with jeans or slacks and a long-sleeved shirt. For really cold weather, add an under layer of thermal or silk underwear (one bottom and one top should be sufficient) and a top layer that is lightweight and warm (a hoodie or polar fleece pullover), which you can add or remove, depending on the temperature. The outer layer (coat) needs to be waterproof and warm. A winter coat, or ski-type jacket, is ideal for very cold weather and travel. Three pairs of shoes should cover it: waterproof comfortable walking shoes are absolutely necessary (think miles and miles of walking and uneven rocky surfaces), athletic shoes for daily wear, and nice shoes for dressy occasions. Waterproof sandals or flip flops are a good idea for getting to wear in the showers and bathrooms both in the house and when traveling.

One of the most obvious cultural differences between Europeans and Americans is dress. When Europeans go out at night, even to a local restaurant, they tend to dress up. You should too, even when traveling. This doesn't mean formal wear – nice slacks or jeans and a sweater are fine for all but the fanciest restaurants. Dress to blend in with your country's culture. Londoners are seldom seen on the street wearing shorts and tank tops, even in summer, unless at beach resorts. If you must wear a pair of shorts and a tank top, please save it for the beach or inside the house – especially women for safety reasons!

Suggestions from Program Alumni

  • Practical clothes that are dark-colored, machine-washable, wrinkle-resistant, and colorfast will last longer and be more comfortable. Keep in mind that storage space is more limited in the London bedrooms than it is in the Malibu dorms.
  • Don't take too many shoes. You'll be much happier with a few pair of versatile, comfortable shoes than a suitcase of shoes to match every outfit.
  • You can find personal products like toothpaste, shampoo, soap, etc. overseas – often even the same brands. However, bring your favorite product if you can't live without it. If you wear contact lenses, you may want to take along a supply of lens solution. The brands overseas may differ slightly from those in the U.S. If you plan to travel frequently by rail, it is helpful to bring a couple travel-sized bottles of antibacterial gel to wash your hands with.
  • Cathedrals and other religious sites often require modest attire, which is defined both for men and women as covered shoulders and long pants (or skirts). Women may wish to carry a large, lightweight scarf during warm weather so they can quickly cover their shoulders.
  • If you are on medication, bring a supply from home. U.S. prescriptions will not be filled overseas without a visit to a U.K. doctor and authorization from them. Generic brands of aspirin, cough syrup, etc., may be found locally, but not always the brands you prefer. Some medications that are sold over the counter in the U.S. require a prescription in London such as Robitussin DM cough syrup and Neosporin. You may wish to bring these items with you. When traveling with a medication, keep it in its regular prescription container and keep a copy of your doctor's prescription with you. If you must take medication by injection (i.e. insulin) please carry your doctor's letter describing your condition and inform Pepperdine's staff overseas immediately upon arrival.
  • BED LINENS  ARE PROVIDED in the London house but you need to take your own washcloths. We have some towels available which have been left by previous students, or you can bring your own. When you travel, you will find that many hotels do not provide washcloths. (If space is an issue, you can always get towels overseas. Just take one and purchase more if you need them.)
  • When packing, roll your clothes! It fits better this way in suitcases.


  • Slacks or jeans
  • Long-sleeved shirt
  • Warm sweaters/polar fleece pullover/sweatshirt
  • Warm coat (which you may need to wear over dress clothes) and/or jacket
  • Warm, water-proof shoes or boots
  • Walking shoes
  • Underwear, warm socks
  • Cold-weather gear: thermal underwear or heavy knit tights, gloves/mittens, warm hat or scarf
  • Warm pajamas and a lightweight robe
  • Slippers or sandals – bare feet aren't allowed in our houses or in hotel lobbies
  • Some special occasion wear (theatre, opera, banquet, a date!?!)

Other Essential Items

  • Textbooks
  • Emergency envelope (see the Student Handbook for details)
  • Travel alarm clock
  • Lightweight towel and washcloth (at least one of each; more can be purchased locally)
  • Backpack for weekend travel
  • Money belt or passport pouch (to store valuables under your clothes)
  • Umbrella (as collapsible as possible)
  • Small flash drive
  • Spare contacts or glasses
  • Supply of prescription medication
  • Camera!

A Few Tips

  • Don't put film in your checked baggage, as the screening equipment will damage it.
  • Avoid over-packing your bag so that the airport security screener will be able to easily reseal your bag if it is opened for inspection.
  • Avoid packing food and drink items in checked baggage.
  • Place identification tags with your name and phone number on all of your baggage, including your laptop computer. It is a good idea to place an identification tag inside your baggage as well.
  • Pack one change of clothing and necessary toiletries in your carryon luggage. Suitcases do not always arrive when you do.
  • Roll your clothes instead of folding them. This saves space and leaves room for overseas purchases.
  • Wear your bulkiest, heaviest shoes and your coat or jacket on the plane so you won't have to pack them.
  • Use the space inside your shoes for small items (socks, toiletries, etc.)
  • Don't forget to save space for your books!
  • DO NOT pack money or credit cards in your checked luggage.
  • Save space for your return trip – try to bring one suitcase half full. 

Do Not Bring

  • Linens
  • Expensive jewelry or other valuables
  • Too many shoes
  • Sophisticated electronic equipment
  • Curling irons, straighteners, hair dryers (they are not compatible with UK voltage)
  • Things on the list above that you'd rather buy overseas
  • Anything you don't absolutely need

 Electrical Appliances

Voltage and plugs differ in Europe. Using an American appliance (110 volts) on European electricity "fries" the appliance and shuts down the electricity circuit on your floor in the house. Voltage converters that are sold widely with plug converters do not work very well – in spite of manufacturers' claims. Using them for such things as radios and stereos may mean damage to the unit. Do not bring sophisticated electronic equipment that might be damaged by even the slightest voltage change, unless they are battery operated (and bring a good supply of batteries!).

The following electricity standards apply:

Continental Europe : 220v/50hz (round, 2-pronged plug)
United Kingdom : 220v/50hz (3-pronged plug)

DO NOT bring American hairdryers, hair straighteners, or curling irons since they are already provided for you at the London house. European versions are readily available and reasonably inexpensive. We have some adaptors or converters which have been left over from previous students at the house, and during orientation we will show you where you can purchase one.

 Student Employment

Please note: Only students attending the London program for the full academic year and who, therefore, have a student visa are eligible to work most positions.

Resident Advisors

One male and one female RA are hired and trained by the IP Office prior to departure. RAs are expected to work together with the Programme Director, Assistant Director, Faculty-in-Residence and IP Office to create a strong learning community, maintain Pepperdine standards, and promote the IP mission statement within the group. Through planning events, acting as a leader and working as a liaison between the students and the Programme Staff, RAs are essential for the development of community within the house.

Media Coordinator

One IP Media Coordinator (IPMC) is hired and trained by the IP Office prior to departure. The IPMC acts as a liaison to the IP Office for collecting photos and video footage from the program and then creating videos from that footage. The IPMC creates two end-of-the-semester videos, an Orientation House Tour video, a service-oriented video, and a 5-minute video to be shown at The Return the following Fall semester. Additionally, they are responsible for creating two "check in" videos per month while abroad. These videos are posted onto both the IP and program-specific Vimeo sites: and

Library Worker

The library worker is hired on the Malibu campus before departure for the program. This position serves as a resource for managing and organizing the library resources at the facility, and helping students to more effectively use online library resources provided by the Pepperdine University Libraries.

Kitchen Workers

The London programme hires students to work in the kitchen in the mornings and evenings - setting up and clearing away breakfast, stock-taking and maintaining a clean and tidy environment.

Office Assistant

We hire an Office Assistant on an occasional basis as needed.

Social Media Coordinator

We hire a Social Media Coordinator to assist with collecting students' photos and testimonies and running our Instagram page

Service Coordinator

There are various unpaid positions available as well, such as the two SGA representatives who are elected by the rest of the program participants every semester and the Spiritual Life and Service Committees which are made up of volunteers.

 Service Opportunities

Service Opportunities are posted on the Team London Volunteering website. In addition, students often work with local churches such as All Souls and HTB, on various projects, and in a local charity shop.


 Cultural Activities

There are many cultural activities to participate in London. The Humanities and Fine Arts classes visit a museum every week as part of their course. The English class take four theatre trips per semester. We also organise trips to Stonehenge, the British Museum, Windsor Castle and Oxford over the course of the year. We subsidise applications to the HOST program, where students can choose to spend a weekend with a British family in various locations across the UK.




Rabbie's Trail Burners:

Day Trips

There are many places you can visit within a day from London. Details of the best way to travel to these places are available at the London House. Options include:

  • Windsor Castle
  • Winchester
  • Brighton
  • Canterbury
  • Dover
  • The New Forest
  • Stonehenge
  • Bristol
  • Bath
  • Oxford
  • Cambridge
  • Cotswolds
  • Stratford upon Avon
  • York


Trains depart from various mainline stations in London - King's Cross, St Pancras, Euston, Paddington, Waterloo, Liverpool Street, London Bridge and Marylebone. These are all in Zone 1 and all easily accessibly by Tube from the Pepperdine House.

Train information, such as journey times and fares, can be found by calling 08457 48 49 50 or visiting can also book tickets this way. Train tickets come on sale approx. three months in advance. The earlier you book them, the cheaper they are. The fares I have quoted in here are the fares you would generally get by booking a couple of weeks in advance.

There are various deals and discounts available. If you are under 25, you are eligible for a 16-25 Railcard. These cost £30 and are available from any mainline station (listed above). This card entitles you to a third off the ticket price. So if you are planning a trip to Scotland, and the fare is over £70 it will pay for itself from the first purchase. The card is valid for one year.

There is also the BritRail Pass, which is available to all non-residents of the UK (so you would need to have this sent to your American address and have someone forward it on to you). There are different passes, such as the LondonPlus pass (valid in the area around London, i.e. Canterbury, Oxford, Brighton, Cambridge, Windsor) and the Britrail FlexiPass which is valid all over the country. 

Coach Companies

A coach is a large bus used for longer journeys (like a Greyhound). Coaches are usually cheaper than the train but they take longer. The main coach station in London is located at Victoria station. To get to Victoria from the Pepperdine house, simply take the district or circle line two stops to Victoria. To find out coach times and prices, visit If you are under 26, you can buy a Young Person's Coach Card for £10 which will give you a third off all fares for one year.

Another coach company is Megabus. They do not have as many destination options as National Express but they are often a bit cheaper.

International Airports

Heathrow Airport

Heathrow is the closest airport to the Pepperdine house as well as the easiest and cheapest one to get to. Simply take the Piccadilly line from South Kensington to Heathrow airport (make sure you get off at the right terminal). With an Oyster card, it costs £5.10 if you are travelling at peak time (Monday-Friday between 6.30am and 9.30am and between 4pm and 7pm). At off peak times and at the weekends it costs £3.10.  A taxi to Heathrow airport costs around £25-£30.

Gatwick Airport

The easiest way to get to Gatwick airport is to take the Tube two stops to Victoria station. This costs £2.40. At Victoria station, follow signs for National Rail. Buy a ticket for either the Gatwick Express or the regular Southern train. The Gatwick Express departs every 15 minutes and the journey time is 30 minutes. A return ticket costs approx. £28. Trains run from 4.30am until midnight. The Southern train takes between 30 and 50 minutes and also departs regularly. The Southern train is slightly cheaper than the Gatwick Express. All trains arrive into Gatwick's South Terminal. A taxi to Gatwick airport costs around £50.

Stansted Airport

Trains to Stansted Airport depart from Liverpool Street station. From South Kensington, take the circle line clockwise to Liverpool Street station. The fare costs £2.40 with an Oyster card. At Liverpool station follow signs for National Rail. Buy a ticket to Stansted Airport. A return ticket costs around £26. Trains runs from approximately 4.30am until 11.30pm. During the day they are as frequent as every 15 minutes.  A taxi to Stansted Airport costs around £60.

Luton Airport

Luton is the most complicated airport to get to. First, you need to take the Piccadilly line from South Kensington to Kings Cross St Pancras. This costs £2.40 with an Oyster card. Then follow the signs for St Pancras station. At St Pancras, buy a ticket to Luton Airport. The train takes between 35 and 55 minutes and a return ticket costs approx. £22. You need to get off at Luton Airport Parkway station and then take the free shuttle bus to the airport.  A taxi to Luton costs around £55-£60.

London City Airport

London City is a small airport, mainly used by businessmen. It is the second closest airport to Pepperdine after Heathrow. To get London City, take the district or circle line to Westminster. Then change to the Jubilee line and take it eastbound to Canning Town. At Canning Town, take the DLR (Docklands Light Railway) to London City Airport. The total journey time is around 45 minutes and the cost is £3.30 with an Oyster card.  A taxi to London City Airport costs around £25-£30.


Wembley Church of Christ
92 Barnhill Road
Tube Station: Wembley Park (Zone 4)
Tel: 020 8904 9667

Sunday Services: 11:00am, 1:15pm

All Souls Church (Church of England)
Langham Place, W1
Tube Station: Oxford Circus
Tel: 020 7580 3522

Services: 9:30am, 11:30am, 6:30pm

Holy Trinity Brompton (C of E)
Brompton Road
Tel: 020 7581 8255

Family Services: 9:30am
The Vestry: 11:30am
Informal Services: 5:00pm, 6:00pm

St Paul's Cathedral (C of E)
St Paul's Churchyard, EC4
Tube Station: St Paul's
Tel: 020 7236 4128

Sunday Services: 8:00am, 10:15am, 11:30am
Evening Service: 6:00pm
Evensong: 3:15pm

Westminster Abbey (C of E)
20 Deans Yard
Tube Station: Westminster
Tel: 020 7222 5152

Services: 8:00am, 10:00am, 11:15am, 6:30pm
Evensong: 3:00pm

Russian Orthodox Cathedral
Ennismore Gardens, SW7
Tel: 020 7584 0096

Sunday Service: 10:00am
Saturday Vigil: 6:00pm

Brompton Oratory (Roman Catholic)
Brompton Road, SW7
Tel: 020 7589 4811

Sunday Services: 7:00am, 8:00am, 9:00am* 10:00am, 11:00am*, 12:30pm, 4:30pm, 7:00pm
*High mass service in Latin

The American Church in London
79a Tottenham Court Road, W1
Tel: 020 7580 2791

Sunday Service: 11:00am

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormon)
64 Exhibition Road, SW7
Tel: 020 7584 7553

Sunday Service: 9:00am

Hillsong Church London: Dominion Theatre
Dominion Theatre
268-269 Tottenham Court Rd W1T
Tube Stops: Circle/District to Northern
Tel: 44 20 7384 9200

Sunday Services: 11:00am, 1:15pm, 4:00pm, 6:15pm

Christ Church Kensington (C of E)
Victoria Road, Kensington,
London W8 5RQ
Tel: 020 7937 6667

Sunday Services: 11:00am, 5:00pm

 Places to Visit


The nearest bookshop, Waterstones, is located on Kensington High Street, 20 minutes walk from the Pepperdine House.

The majority of the texts required for your classes can be bought once you are in London at the Pepperdine House. We sell used copies at the start of each semester, which we then buy back again at the end of the semester.

You can also order book from and have them sent to the Pepperdine House (56 Prince's Gate, London, SW7 2PG)

Dining Out

Dining out can be quite expensive in London, and McDonalds and Starbucks are often more expensive in the UK than in the States. We will provide you with more information and suggestions for dining out locations upon your arrival to the London programme. We also suggest speaking with alumni of the London program for suggestions on where to dine. Also, buying your food from a supermarket is a less expensive alternative.


Most shops are open from around 9:00am – 6:00pm or 7:00pm. The shops on Oxford Street are often open until 9:00pm. Sunday opening hours vary, but generally due to Sunday Trading Laws, shops are open from 11:00am – 5:00pm. Smaller, convenience shops, such as Tesco Express near the London House, are open 7:00am – 11:00pm every day. Banks are closed on Saturday afternoons and all day Sunday.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I request a roommate?
A: We usually allocate room mates in advance. Prior to your arrival in London, we will send you an optional questionnaire and use this to create a rooming list.

Q: Will Pepperdine arrange for my transport to the house from the airport?
A: Pepperdine arranges for a bus to meet all the students on the group flight. If you are not arriving on the group flight, you need to make your own way to the house, at your own expense. If your flight arrives at the same time as the group flight you may be able to meet up with the other students in the arrivals hall and join them on the bus.

Q: Should I bring a hairdryer with me?
A: No, do not bring a hair dryer or straighteners with you. England is 240V and so your appliances will be ruined if you try and run them in England. The Pepperdine house has hairdryers and straighteners on every floor. Likewise for your laptop, you will need to purchase a converter

Q: Should I bring two large suitcases?
A: We advise you to bring one large suitcase and one small suitcase. When we go on the field trips, and when you travel at weekends, you will only need a small suitcase.

Q: Should I bring a towel and shampoo?
A: Towels are provided at the Pepperdine house. You will need to have your own shampoo and shower gel. On our first evening in London, at orientation, we take you to the local shops where you have the opportunity to buy all your toiletries. We also have a
box of toiletries left over from previous students to tide you over until you have chance to go shopping.

Q: Can I fill an American prescription in England?
A: Medication in England is often different to what you have at home. Some drugs which are "over the counter" in America are only available on prescription in England – and in some cases are not available at all. We advise you to bring all prescription medication with you. If you are unable to bring it with you, you will need to make a doctor's appointment with an English doctor (we can help you with this) and then they will issue you with a British prescription.

Q: Should I bring travelers' checks with me?
A: No. Travelers checks are no longer widely used in England. You can use your ATM card to withdraw cash from the machines or to pay for things in shops and restaurants. If you have a Bank of America account, you can use a Barclay's cash machine and you will not be charged the usage fee.

Q: I am a vegetarian/I have allergies. Can I still go to group dinner?
A: All our group dinners in London and on the field trips will have vegetarian options. Prior to your arrival in London we ask you to let us know of any food allergies and we will make sure that there is always something you can eat.

Q: Should I buy an Oyster card (travel card) in advance?
A: You can if you want to, however at orientation, we will take you down to the station and help you to buy your Oyster card. There is also the option of the student Oyster card. 

Q: Can my parents send me things?

A: Your parents need to write "personal items for international student studying abroad" on the outside of any package that they send to you. This is to help avoid customs fees. They should not send you anything which is obviously new. Sending electronics such as iPhones and cameras is also not advised as the import fee will be very high. 

Visiting London

 General Info

Facts and Statistics

  • Location: Western Europe, islands including the northern one-sixth of the island of Ireland between the North Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea, northwest of France
  • Capital: London
  • Climate: temperate; moderated by prevailing southwest winds over the North Atlantic Current; more than one-half of the days are overcast
  • Population: 60,776,238 (July 2007 est.)
  • Ethnic Make-up: white (of which English 83.6%, Scottish 8.6%, Welsh 4.9%, Northern Irish 2.9%) 92.1%, black 2%, Indian 1.8%, Pakistani 1.3%, mixed 1.2%, other 1.6% (2001 census)
  • Religions: Christian (Anglican, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist) 71.6%, Muslim 2.7%, Hindu 1%, other 1.6%, unspecified or none 23.1% (2001 census)
  • Government: constitutional monarchy

Language in the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom does not have a constitutionally defined official language. English is the main language (being spoken monolingually by more than 70% of the UK population) and is thus the de facto official language. Other native languages to the Isles include Welsh, Irish, Ulster Scots, Cornish, Gaelic and British Sign Language. Immigrants have naturally brought many foreign languages from across the globe.

British Society and Culture

The United Kingdom

The United Kingdom is comprised of four countries: England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. It is important not only to be aware of these geographical distinctions, but also the strong sense of identity and nationalism felt by the populations of these four nations. The terms 'English' and 'British' do not mean the same thing. 'British' denotes someone who is from England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. 'English' refers to people from England. People from Scotland are 'Scots', from Wales 'Welsh' and from Northern Ireland 'Irish'. Be sure not to call someone Welsh, Scots, or Northern Irish 'English'.

The Class System

Although in the past few decades, people from varied backgrounds have had greater access to higher education, wealth distribution is changing and more upward/downward mobility is occurring, the British class system is still very much intact although in a more subconscious way. The playing field is levelling but the British still seem to pigeon-hole people according to class. Class is no longer simply about wealth or where one lives; the British are able to suss out someone's class through a number of complex variables including demeanour, accent, manners and comportment.

A Multicultural Society

Formerly a very homogenous society, since World War II, Britain has become increasingly diverse as it has accommodated large immigrant populations, particularly from its former colonies such as India, Pakistan and the West Indies. The mixture of ethnic groups and cultures make it difficult to define "Britishness" nowadays and a debate rages within the nation as to what now really constitutes being a Briton.

The Stiff Upper Lip

The British have been historically known for their stiff upper lip and "blitz spirit" as demonstrated during the German bombings of World War II. This 'grin and bear' attitude in the face of adversity or embarrassment lives on today.

As a nation, the Brits tend not to use superlatives and may not appear terribly animated when they speak. This does not mean that they do not have strong emotions; merely that they do not choose to put them on public display. They are generally not very openly demonstrative, and, unless you know someone well, may not appreciate it if you put your arm around their shoulder. Kissing is most often reserved for family members in the privacy of home, rather than in public. You'll see that the British prefer to maintain a few feet of distance between themselves and the person to whom they are speaking. If you have insulted someone, their facial expression may not change.

The British are very reserved and private people. Privacy is extremely important. The British will not necessarily give you a tour of their home and, in fact, may keep most doors closed. They expect others to respect their privacy. This extends to not asking personal questions. The question, "Where are you from?" may be viewed as an attempt to "place" the person on the social or class scale. Even close friends do not ask pointedly personal questions, particularly pertaining to one's financial situation or relationships.

There is a proper way to act in most situations and the British are sticklers for adherence to protocol. The British are a bit more contained in their body language and hand gestures while speaking. They are generally more distant and reserved than North and South Americans and Southern Europeans, and may not initially appear to be as open or friendly. Friendships take longer to build; however, once established they tend to be deep and may last over time and distance.

 Housing and Residence Life

Abba Queen's Gate Hotel
31-34 Queen's Gate, London, SW7 5JA

Tel: +44-207-584-7222

Recently refurbished four star hotel two streets away from the Pepperdine House. It has 90 bedrooms spread across four Victorian town houses. 

The Rembrandt Hotel
11 Thurloe Place, London, SW7 2RS

Tel: +44-207-589-8100

Large four-star hotel opposite the Victoria and Albert Museum. 

Frasier Suites Queens Gate: London

39B Queen Gate Gardens, London, SW7 5RR

Tel: +44-207-969-3555

Luxury serviced apartments in Queens Gate Kensington range from studio to one and two-bedroom accommodation types.

Holiday Inn: London

27 Cromwell Road, London, SW74DN

Tel: +44-871-942-9100

Hotel is just steps from the tube and museums. 


Visitors to the London House are permitted in the Reception area only, except in special cases, where prior permission has been granted. Upon receiving the permission of the Director or Assistant Director, guests accompanied by their host may take a 30-minute tour of the house. Guests are never permitted in student bedrooms without the permission of the Director.

Each student may have one guest, per semester, at group dinner. This privilege is NOT transferable between students. All other guests may accompany the group but must pay the £16 dinner charge.

Guests may not enter the London house without permission. We do not permit guests to stay overnight in the house.

Though alumni are not permitted to stay in Pepperdine's International Program facilities, tours may be requested and are dependent upon the availability of the International Program staff. If you are interested in attending an alumni trip held at your International Program site, please contact the Seaver College Alumni Relations Office to find out about upcoming Pepperdine Alumni Travel trips.
Phone: 310.506.4348

Guests/Visitors From International Programs Staying at Another Program Facility

  • London students willing to permit students from another Pepperdine international programme site to sleep in their beds may in turn request permission to stay in the Florence, Lausaanne or Heidelberg houses.
  • Students must request permission online, however availability varies and space is not guaranteed.
  • Each week, the Resident Advisors (RAs) will solicit names of anyone willing to have students stay in their beds. RAs and the Assistant Director will coordinate all housing requests.