London is an expensive city but with some planning and budgeting it should be possible to live, study and enjoy yourself.
The following information is not definitive and is intended merely as a guide to the cost of living in London:
Estimated monthly cost: every student’s outgoings are different, depending on how much rent you pay and how much you socialise. The official university guide recommends that students need a minimum of £1,265 per month (£15,180 per year).
Accommodation in London is a major item of expenditure for all students. Costs vary greatly according to location. You can visit the University of London Housing Services' postcode map to look at estimated weekly prices for private accommodation in London. You will also need to budget for temporary accommodation such as hotel or Airbnb if you decide to look for accommodation once arriving in the UK. We advise you to book at least a week’s temporary accommodation if you plan to search for a place to live once you arrive.
Gas, water and electricity may cost an additional £400+ for a calendar year for those in private housing, depending on your accommodation.
Council Tax is a charge made by local authorities on residential properties. As a full-time student, you will usually be exempt from paying this but you may be expected to make a contribution if you live with non-students. Further information about council tax.
Tenancy deposit and rent: you will need to pay a deposit of up to 5 weeks’ rent to act as security during the period of the tenancy and reserved for any damages or defaults. You will also need to pay usually one or two months’ rent in advance, though depending on circumstances this could be more (e.g. if there’s a problem with your credit check or you don’t have a UK-based guarantor).
In addition to the basic cost of living, students will need to make provision for some or all of the following items of expenditure (N.B. the figures below are estimates only):
- hotel accommodation on arrival - £300-500
- warm clothing and other clothes - £400-450
- entertainment: films, theatre, concerts etc. £325-450
- binding of thesis/report - MPhil/PhD & DrPH £200-300
- travel to other parts of the UK £400-500
- books and photocopying £350-550
It is students’ responsibility to arrange their own personal property insurance, if they wish to do so.
For further information on studying and living in the UK, visit the British Council website.