Last Updated on August 29, 2023
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Most Expensive Student Cities UK
Student housing is one of the banes of university life. After freshers, most second years have to deal with renting a house with their mates, followed by two years of arguments, mould and dodgy landlords.
Paying your rent and bills for the first time is a pretty expensive affair too, depending on where you go to uni. The cheapest place to rent in the UK was Belfast, with rent only costing on average £238, followed by Sheffield and Cardiff. The most expensive was London obviously, with rent averaging around £730, with St Andrews and Cambridge taking second and third place.
See below for the full lowdown.
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The Capital of Northern Ireland, student houses in Belfast are by far the cheapest in the Russell Group and in most of the UK. With the average house only putting you back £238 a month, there’ll be plenty of your student loan spare to spend on Guinness, potato farls, and any other Irish stereotypes.
Being in the north I hear has many benefits, the pints are colder, the people warmer and everything is apparently cheaper. Adding on to that list, Sheffield can also boast one of the cheapest average rents in the UK at around £297.
The Welsh capital, home of rugby, dragons, a questionable Russell Group status, shit weather, but pretty decent rent. The average house, around £310 in one of the bigger student hubs in the UK, should leave some of your loan to get juicy at the weekend.
Oasis, cotton, football – Manchester is famous for many things. I mean it always manages to get an appearance on University Challenge, which is something to brag about even if you don’t get that far. With rent averaging £310 per month, Fallowfield’s residents can sleep warmly knowing they have the same rent as their mates down in South Wales.
You thought you were gonna be the edgiest kid in Hyde Park when you started second year, all those oversized garms and Ellesse jackets didn’t come cheap. At least your rent did, with the average being £319 per month.
For a cheeky house in Jesmond the average house is going to set you back around £321 per month, which will do since drinks are so cheap. Next round of Trebles on the nearest promoter I heard.
By day you’re basking in the beauty that is Lenton, by night you’re making waves in Ocean. May as well too if you average rent is £321 per month.
You picked Soton, because it’s an all round performer, with it being a Russell Group uni, a little bit of edginess and the beaches aren’t that far away. So when the rent is averaging at £324 per month, you know you’ve bagged a decent deal here as well. Well done you.
You went here thinking that you’d hear the accent loads, and would yourself turn into a semi-northerner. At least your rent is priced around where you thought it would be at £337 per month, even if your uni life turns out to be more Surrey that Scouse.
- Norwich (UEA)
Everyone wondered why you went to uni in the middle of nowhere, but even Taylor Swift visited Norwich. Did she do it because the average rent per month is £337? Probably not but you can pretend she did.
Russell Group uni? Check. Having to take a bus into uni because you don’t actually live near the campus? Check. Mid-level rent? With the average at £344 per month, you can also check that off.
Durham’s got a reputation for being posh, what with the collegiate system and all that. But that doesn’t stop the rent from being fairly low for a major uni city. Averaging around £364 per month, you’ll be laughing at your mates at Oxbridge with all that extra cash you have. Marvellous dahling.
Look at that bridge. Look at it. It’s one of the most important points in the history of the world, thanks to the father of the industrial revolution, Isambard Kingdom Brunel. But in fairness you didn’t go to Brizz for the bridge you wavy son of a gun. The average rent is £391 per month. You can find out how many keys that’ll get you in your own time.
I bet he likes the bridge
With a swanky campus filled with gals from the home counties, the last thing that crossed your mind was second year rent. Although maybe it should have when the average monthly rent for student houses in Exeter is £402. But hey at least you have your Jack Wills wardrobe to go with your Exeter hoodie.
You thought because you’re going to Birmingham, which is in the midlands, it isn’t gonna be that much, and part of the rent is gonna be the number of times people try say Burrringham. But rent isn’t that cheap in Selly, with the average monthly rent at £405. At least you can drown your sorrows at Snobs.
Aye, in fairness you did know that coming to the Scottish capital wouldn’t be cheap, and with the average rent costing £406 per month, nearly a hundred quid more than its Welsh counterpart. The boys in Leith might think twice about that eighth pint – as if.
You came to Reading and thought fab, what a massive train station! Then you saw the rent, and now you’re secretly wondering if instead of doing environmental science you should have done agriculture to help pay off that average monthly rent of £421.
Tbf you knew it was going to be expensive when a lot of the city wasn’t even built in this millennium. But at least the buildings are pretty and the Royal Crescent is gonna be on your Insta at some point, which it may as well be since the average price per month is £425.
- Royal Holloway
I mean come on, the uni has bloody Royal in it. Rent is never going to be cheap and with the average at £463 per month, it’s gonna take a lot of dollar to sip on a cold one at Monkeys.
It was a toss up when you applied Oxford or Cambridge, and aren’t you pleased when you actually picked the cheaper place to live since your average rent per month is at £476. Still bloody expensive though, especially when your mate at Durham pays over a hundred quid less. Although you probably don’t care about the rent prices, as you’re shacked up in your cosy college room.
You did it. This is the one that matters. Forget the boat race, forget the rankings, forget punting. Your rent is higher than Oxford as the average is at £533 per month. Take that. Although you can decide if that’s a win or not.
- St Andrews
They have the oldest golf course in the world, and Kate and Wills both went here. Yeah we know it’s a bit posh but bloody hell what is up with that rent? At £544 per month, it’s the highest outside the capital.
cheapest cities in uk for students 2021
According to a survey conducted by OnePoll Newcastle is the safest UK city with a population of greater than 200,000.
- Brighton and Hove
cheapest cities to live in uK for students
UK cities that are budget-friendly for students may seem like they’re few and far between. According to the QS Best Student Cities ranking, London is the number one student city in the world this year, and unsurprisingly so, given the wide range of top universities based in the UK capital.
However, it’s no secret that, along with its captivating appeal for residents and tourists alike, the famed capital is also one of the most expensive places to live in the world.
Fortunately, there are plenty of relatively cheaper student cities in the UK that equally boast a high quality of education and lifestyle, as well as plenty to see and do.
Ranked as the world’s number one city for students overall, London is also ranked 82nd for affordability.
A historic city that is home to some of the world’s most iconic landmarks and sites, tourist attractions and cultural diversity, London is famously not the cheapest city to live or study in.
With a single person’s monthly cost of living averaging US$1,005 without rent, according to Numbeo, students who opt to study in England’s capital city can also expect to pay up to US$21,200 per year on tuition fees. However, you will find that living in London is a lot cheaper in comparison to rival metropolitan cities, such as New York, where rent is almost 32 percent higher.
London is home to 17 internationally ranked universities, with its highest-ranked institution, UCL (University College London) ranked 10th in the world, according to the QS World University Rankings 2019.
Famed for its relaxed and sunny predisposition, Brighton is a well-loved seaside resort that’s just an hour’s train ride from London. It’s ranked joint 80th for affordability and 92nd overall.
According to Numbeo, rent prices in the beachy town are over 62 percent lower than in London. Overall, monthly cost of living is about US$1,400 cheaper (including rent).
Brighton has two internationally ranked universities, of which its highest-ranked – the University of Sussex – is currently 227th in the world. Tuition fees here aren’t much cheaper than in London, with undergraduates expected to pay around US$20,600 per year.
Located in the West Midlands in England, Coventry is a charming medieval city that was once a part of Warwickshire. It’s the second largest city in its region (after Birmingham), the ninth largest in England and the 12th largest in the UK.
Coventry also ranks 71st for affordability in the best student cities index, and 44th overall. It’s home to two internationally ranked institutions, including the University of Warwick, which ranks 54th in the world. Tuition fees for international students certainly aren’t the world’s cheapest – costing an average of US$24,300 per year.
As for cost of living, Warwick University’s official page calculates this year’s on-campus accommodations to cost between US$98 and US$235 per week, depending on the hall of residence and your let length. As is the case with most student accommodations, rent at Warwick University includes heating, gas and electricity, water, a high-speed internet connection, basic cleaning, and basic contents insurance.
The stunning, mountainous capital of Scotland, Edinburgh, was the filming location for much of the popular Harry Potter movies, and is renowned for its green, picturesque sceneries, old medieval castles and Georgian architecture. It is the 16th best student city in the world and the 66th most affordable in this year’s ranking.
Home to one of the world’s most prestigious universities – the University of Edinburgh, which currently ranks 18th in the world – Scotland’s capital has three internationally ranked institutions in total, across which tuition fees for international students cost an average of US$28,000 per year.
Rent in Edinburgh is over 51 percent cheaper than in London (as estimated by Numbeo), and according to the University of Edinburgh’s official website, international applicants of 2018-19 are estimated to pay a minimum living cost (including rent) of around US$891 per month.
As the largest city in the West Midlands area of England, Birmingham is a major business hub, displaying several inspiring 18th century landmarks that proudly echo its significantly historic role in the era of the Industrial Revolution.
Having been ranked as the 51st best student city in the world, it’s also the 64th most affordable. Birmingham is home to one of the world’s most highly-regarded institutions, the University of Birmingham (ranked joint 79th), as well as Aston University, and average international fees are around US$21,400 per year across both universities.
Students will find that, overall, the cost of living index in Birmingham is almost 22 percent lower than in London, according to Numbeo.
In the western Lowlands of Scotland lies the port city of Glasgow, renowned for its classical art nouveau architecture and a wealthy heritage which lays claim to its trade and shipbuilding past in the 19th and early 20th century. Today, Glasgow is a cultural hub, boasting some of the Scottish nation’s most acclaimed museums and institutions of the arts; the Scottish Opera, Scottish Ballet and National Theatre of Scotland.
Ranked 59th for affordability and 43rd overall, Glasgow is also home to two universities which are ranked within the world’s top 300, of which the highest-ranked is the University of Glasgow (joint 69th).
Tuition fees at both of the city’s ranked universities average US$23,800 per year, while the general cost of living in Glasgow is only slightly lower than that in Edinburgh (eight percent, according to Expatistan). Glasgow is 38 percent cheaper than London, with rent costing over half the amount it does in the capital (56 percent).
Situated in the heart of England, Nottingham, affectionally titled ‘Queen of the Midlands’, is well-renowned for its famous affiliation with the legendary tale of Robin Hood. With the historic city’s eminent Nottingham Castle Museum sitting at its pinnacle, as well as the Nottingham Contemporary art gallery, there is plenty to see and do here.
According to this year’s ranking, Nottingham is the 57th best city for affordability and is ranked 47th overall.
Nottingham is home to two internationally ranked institutions; the University of Nottingham is the most noteworthy, ranked joint 82nd in the world. Tuition fees for undergraduate students average just US$18,900 per year across both ranked universities, which is cheaper than all the universities listed so far. Additionally, the Telegraph recently named the University of Nottingham as the second-cheapest institution for studying in the UK, with an average total weekly spend of approximately US$235 (about US$940 monthly).
The city of Newcastle lies on the River Tyne in the north-eastern region of England. Having been a major center for shipbuilding and manufacturing during the Industrial Revolution, it’s now a hub for business, sciences and the arts.
As a university city, Newcastle is ranked 56th in the world and 54th for affordability. It’s home to three internationally ranked universities, of which two are in the top 300 (Newcastle University in joint 141st place and Durham University in joint 74th).
Student life in Newcastle is frequently praised due to the city’s well-known friendly atmosphere and relatively cheap living costs. Although tuition fees here aren’t inexpensive, averaging US$22,100 per year, the cost of living is 39 percent cheaper than in London, with the cheapest available rent 65 percent lower than in the capital, according to Expatistan.
Manchester is the UK’s second biggest city and is also ranked as the second most affordable UK city for students. Globally, it’s ranked 51st for affordability, and 24th overall.
A major north-western city with a vast industrial heritage, it was once a textile powerhouse, and fragments of this can be seen in the still-existing 18th century canal system in the Castlefield conservation area, as well as the interactive Museum of Science & Industry. Manchester is also home to one of the world’s most iconic football stadiums, Old Trafford, home to Manchester United.
Students who wish to study at any one of Manchester’s internationally ranked institutions, including its highest-ranked university the University of Manchester – which is ranked 29th in the world – can expect to pay around just US$16,100 per year on tuition fees. Cost of living is estimated to be approximately US$1,137 per month, according to the University of Manchester’s official website.
Nicknamed the ‘Granite City’ after its long-existing grey-stone buildings and walls, Aberdeen is a port city located in the northeast of Scotland. The city’s most monumental landmark is the Marischal College – a Victorian structure that has acted as the headquarters of the City Council since 2011.
Aberdeen is ranked 55th in this year’s Best Student Cities ranking, but is the only UK city in the top 50 for affordability, ranking 47th.
Home to the fifth oldest university in the UK, the University of Aberdeen (joint 172nd in the world), the city is also one of the most affordable for students, with the monthly cost of living estimated to be over US$3,215 cheaper than in London.
Across Aberdeen’s two internationally ranked universities, tuitions fees average US$17,900, which is cheaper than most UK universities.
cheapest place to live in uk rent
Where has the cheapest rent in the UK?
- Shildon, DL4, £376pcm
- Ferryhill, DL17, £377pcm
- Bishop Auckland, DL14, £377pcm
- Willington, DL15, £387pcm
- Lancashire, BB11, £394pcm
- Keighley, BD21, £395pcm
- Hull, HU3, £399pcm
- Bridlington, YO15, £404pcm
- Hartlepool, TS24, £409pcm
- Ashington, NE63, £413pcm
While there’s no doubt renters can save money in the suburbs, the median monthly rent in England is £700, with the North East having the lowest recorded prices. This doesn’t include Northern Ireland or Scotland. Let’s take a look at the cities bringing that number down:
1.Shildon, County Durham, £376pcm
Claiming top spot is Shildon, Britain’s most affordable town to both rent and buy in. It’s just 13 miles outside of Durham, for those looking for somewhere quieter, outside of the hustle and bustle, but not too far away.
Here, rent is just £376 a month on average in the DL4 postcode.
2. Ferryhill, County Durham, £377pcm
Not far behind is Ferryhill, the 12th largest town in County Durham. Here, renters living under the DL17 postcode pay an average of £377pcm. It’s a great choice if you’ve looking for a cheap rural area.
3. Bishop Auckland, County Durham, £377pcm
A market town and civil parish, Bishop Auckland is home to Auckland castle, great walking spots, and average rent prices of £377 a month in the DL14 postcode. It’s much easier here to save for a house deposit than further down south.
4. Willington, Derbyshire, £387pcm
It’s not just an average rent cost of less than £400 a month that Willington has to shout about. The village is rich in wildlife and heritage, part of the Peak District.
5. Lancashire, North West England, £394pcm
Picture Lancashire and you might conjure up images of lakes, scenic views and Furness Abbey. However, what you may not know is that it boasts low rent prices too – averaging £394 a month, where the postcode is BB11.
6. Keighley, City of Bradford, £395pcm
A former mill and market town, Keighley is famous among steam enthusiasts for its lovingly restored railway. Rent here is just £395 pcm on average if you live in the BD21 postcode.
7. Hull, East Yorkshire, £399pcm
Also known as Kingston Upon Hull, this port city is home to a number of points of interest, such as museums and art galleries. It’s not just a tourist spot though! Residents living in the HU3 postcode can enjoy rent costs of £399 a month.
8. Bridlington, East Riding of Yorkshire, £404pcm
A town on the Holderness Coast of the North Sea, the town has earned the nickname ‘the Lobster Capital of Europe’. Those who rent a home in the YO15 postcode can expect to pay around £404 a month.
9. Hartlepool, County Durham, £409pcm
A port town just 8 miles north of Middlesbrough, Hartlepool offers rental prices of around £409 a month in the TS24 postcode. Meanwhile, TS27 & TS26 have average rents of £410pcm.
10. Ashington, Northumberland, £413pcm
The highest in this top 10 cheapest places to rent list, but still much lower than the UK average, is the NE63 postcode in Ashington. Once a centre of the coal mining industry, it’s one of the largest towns in Northumberland.
Average monthly rent – broken down by postcode
The above averages are based on specific postcodes. Of course, within the same area, costs of rent differ, let’s break it down further:
|#||Postcode||UK City||Average monthly rent (£)|
cheapest place to live in london for students
Unsurprisingly, the most expensive place to rent in the UK is the nation’s capital, which has a median monthly rent of £1,425.
However, it doesn’t have to be that expensive. Here are the cheapest places to rent in London:
- Barking & Dagenham
- Waltham Forest
|Area in London||Average Asking Rent (pcm)||Average Asking Rent for 1-Bedroom Flat (pcm)|
|4. Barking and Dagenham||£1,260||£999|
|9. Waltham Forest||£1,465||£1,064|
Bear in mind this just looks at rental prices alone (data collected by comparemymove).
In London, without rent included, the average cost of living for a family of four is £2,980 a month. A single person is looking at around £840 – without rent.
However, the median weekly pay for London residents who are full-time employees is £716, which is the highest in the country. This obviously has variants, including age and sector.