Here are the Cheapest vs Most Expensive Cities to Live in the UK as a Student

Which UK cities are the cheapest for students? Here's a list to help you budget 👇

Student town in the country or seaside campus on the coast? When it comes to choosing where to study, the decision can feel a little daunting. However, if there’s one factor that’s bound to influence your choice; your budget. It’s no secret that some cities in the UK are more expensive than others when it comes to the cost of living.

To save you a few hours, we've done the research and found the cheapest places to live as a student in the UK. We based this research on the lowest average rent in the postcode surrounding the city's main university campus, coupled with the average cost of living in each city.

Below, we’ve rounded up the results to give you a quick breakdown on the cheapest student cities compared to those on the more expensive side. Check them out!

💸 The cheapest student cities

📍 Cheapest: Liverpool

Average monthly rent cost: £489

Average monthly cost of living: £405

Overall weekly cost: £206

In the top spot is Liverpool’s L7 postcode, home to the University of Liverpool. Here, the average rent cost per month is £489, while the cost of living for students at the university is estimated at £405 per month. Together, that brings your budget to a monthly total of £894; or £206 per week.

So, if you’re on the lookout for the cheapest student cities, this one should definitely come into consideration. Beyond affordability, Liverpool has plenty to offer in the way of student life. From shopping and dining to music, theatre and bars-a-plenty, the city is rich in culture and brimming with things to do.

📍 Leicester

Average monthly rent cost: £648

Average monthly cost of living: £283

Overall weekly cost: £215

When it comes to the least expensive UK cities, our research puts Leicester second place. With an average cost of £648 in the LE1 postcode and a total living cost of £283, your total monthly costs will start at £931, making Leicester a great choice for students on a budget.

Bursting with heritage and buzzing with bars and clubs, Leicester is favoured by both history buffs and students looking for a vibrant nightlife. Add in beautiful architecture and a thriving arts scene and it’s easy to see why this city wins the hearts of soon-to-be students.

📍 Durham

Average monthly rent cost: £744

Average monthly cost of living: £191

Overall weekly cost: £216

Next up on our cheap UK university list is Durham University, or the DH1 postcode in Durham, where the main campus is situated. The average cost of living in Durham is only £191 per month, including groceries, takeaways, nights out, travel, bills and books for your course. The average rent is a reasonable £744, which brings the total monthly cost to an affordable £935 per month.

Besides the university’s reputation for exceptional teaching standards, Durham is a straight up charming place to live. The place is steeped in history and offers much in the way of breath-taking attractions and stunning scenery.

📍 Lincoln

Average monthly rent cost: £698

Average monthly cost of living: £244

Overall weekly cost: £217

Lincoln’s eye-catching architecture, student-centred community, buzzing night life and welcoming atmosphere keeps this city thriving with students from across the world. Affordable living costs don’t hurt, either.

In the LN6 postcode where the University of Lincoln is based, the average cost of monthly rent is £698. The cost of living, including wild nights out and cosy nights in (and everything in between) is just £244. That brings the total to under £1,000 per month, which is ideal when you’re living on a budget.

💸 The most expensive student cities

📍 Reading

Average monthly rent cost: £928

Average monthly cost of living: £350

Overall weekly cost: £295

Reading is a brilliant place to study. Not only are you a short train ride from London, but you’ll get to benefit from a bustling town centre, beautiful green spaces and a warm and welcoming atmosphere from the city’s diverse population.

Property prices in Reading are still fairly affordable, and you can expect the average rent to fall around £928 when you rent in the RG1 postcode. The cost of living in the city of Reading is just over £350 a month.

It isn’t the cheapest, but it’s still not the priciest, and offers plenty of transport connections to the rest of the UK.

📍 Essex

Average monthly rent cost: £932

Average monthly cost of living: £368

Overall weekly cost: £300

The world’s longest pier, beautiful British beaches and London on your doorstep: these are just three of many reasons to make Essex your home while you study. The University of Essex is a truly international uni, so you’ll get to mingle with people from across the world.

Of course, it’s worth noting that Essex – or more specifically, the CO4 postcode where the main university campus is – isn’t as cheap as other locations in the UK. The average rent here is around £932 per month, while the cost of living per month is around £368. If you can afford it, you won’t regret studying in the heart of this cultural melting pot.

📍 Edinburgh

Average monthly rent cost: £931

Average monthly cost of living: £370

Overall weekly cost: £300

If you do have a bit more flexibility in your budget and you’re looking at Edinburgh as a potential city to study in, you’ll be pleased to know that the Scottish capital recently topped the list of the UK's happiest cities! Home to Fringe Festival and a thriving social scene, this place is rich in culture. In short, you’ll never struggle to find something to do. If you do plan to live in the EH8 postcode where the University of Edinburgh is based, you’ll be looking at a cost of just over £1,300 per month including rent and general living expenses.

📍 Strathclyde

Average monthly rent cost: £877

Average monthly cost of living: £433

Overall weekly cost: £302

Although the surrounding areas of Glasgow are among the least expensive places to live in the UK, the G1 postcode where the University of Strathclyde’s campus sits does come with a higher cost of living.

Including accommodation, transport, food, social activities and course materials, you’re looking at a monthly outlay of about £1,310. That said, you don’t have to live in the G1 postcode to study at the well-esteemed Strathclyde University, and there are plenty of affordable properties that will keep your monthly costs lower overall.

At UniHomes, we help students stick to a budget by bundling up the cost of utility bills into the monthly rent. So, when you rent through us, you won’t have to worry about unexpected costs later down the line!

Find out more about going all inclusive here.

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