Cost of living

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.

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 £2,500+* for a calendar year for those in private housing, depending on several factors including your accommodation, the number of people you live with, your usage of the services etc. As per the University of London Housing Services’ private housing guide, you may end up paying more over the year for your utilities and so keeping some extra money aside will be beneficial.

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).

Additional Costs

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 rough estimates only as calculated by us) :

  • hotel accommodation for 1 week on arrival £600 – £1050
  • warm clothing and other clothes £500-550
  • entertainment: films, theatre, concerts etc. £500-650
  • 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.

* This figure was derived from the average annual gas & electricity cost for a 3 bedroom house provided by British Gas and the average annual bill for water and sewerage charges across England and Wales households as provided by Discover Water.