You may have heard that London is one of the most expensive places in the world to live in, but fortunately, Londonand by extension, Englanddoes not equate to the whole of the UK. In fact, many UK towns and cities are very liveable when compared to other cities across the globe.  

There is quite a bit to look at when considering the cost of living in the UK. Apart from tuition fees, there’s also the cost of rent, transport, and even entertainment – because if you’re living in the UK, there’s no way you should miss out on everything that this great country has to offer- from the food to the culture.  

Let’s look at some aspects of the UK cost of living, so you can best adjust your budget and prepare yourself for a new life abroad. 


Calculating Living Costs in The UK 

When looking at the cost of living in the UK, it’s best to use an online currency calculator to convert your currency to the British pound – that will give you a better idea of the true cost of living in relation to your country. 

Here’s a rough guide to the currency conversions we have used in this article, dated March 27th, 2020: 

  • AU$1,000 = £500 
  • US$1,000 = £805 
  • 1000 = £895. 

Once you have a better understanding of the conversion rate, you can better interpret how much rent, utilities and other everyday costs will affect your budget 


A Weekly UK Budget 

There are so many factors that contribute to the UK cost of living that it’s impossible to give you a set cost for each week. But a recommended starting point for a budget for a single student in the UK, per week, averages out to about £300. Let’s see how we got to this number (please note these costs are an average from across UK metropolitan cities, outside of the city centre). 


Item Cost 
Rent (one-bedroom flat) £162 
Council Tax £25 
Other Utilities (Electricity, Gas etc.) £40 
Travel Costs (if not living on campus) £14 
Food £60 
Total £301 


Students in the UK should always take advantage of student pricing to keep costs down. This can include student rates on monthly transportation passes, university dining halls, Halls of Residence living options (which are around £80 per weekand more. If you can work while studying in the UK, it will bring even further financial relief. 

Taking further costs into account, a single student should budget around £15,000 per annum for living in the UK 

This is of course not a comprehensive list, but it will give you a good starting point when it comes to determining your personal cost of living in the UK. 


Cost of Living in Different UK Cities 

As stated earlier, there’s more to the UK than England and London, and the cost of living can vary greatly between cities and countries. If you’re living within a tight budget, you will be more comfortable in a major regional city or a smaller town. The UK standard of living is largely the same, no matter where you choose to call home. 

Here are the variations in the cost of rent in London versus other major UK capitals. Price differences in food and other utilities are also similarly reflected across the UK (e.g. the cost of food in Liverpool can be up to 30% cheaper than the cost of food in London). 


City Rent Average (Monthly) 
London £1,665 
Edinburgh £1,545 
Belfast £842 
Manchester £1,212 
Cardiff £1,014 
Glasgow £902 
Birmingham £1,082 


How Much Does Education Cost in the UK? 

University tuition in the UK is another important factor in the cost of living. The UK has world-class education facilities and caps the amount that can be charged for resident students in the UK and the EU at £9,250 a year. International students will pay more – in London, the annual tuition fee ranges from £16,340 to £32,670 depending on the selected course. 


How Much Is Health Care ithe UK? 

Much like their education system, the UK also has an extensive and first-rate health care system known as the National Health Service (NHS). Citizens of the UK access the NHS for free, as do international students per their visa.  

If you prefer, you can sign up to a private health fund, which can lead to faster access to certain health services. This means that a GP check-up will set you back around £70. 

While expensive, living in the United Kingdom comes with many rewards – from its cultural melting pot, to its proximity to Europe for the keen traveller. If you’re planning on making the UK your home in the near future, check out our other tips and advice for international student living. 

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