London is ranked #1 for the top ten best student cities but it is a large city so where exactly are they staying? Looking for a trendy part of town to live in that doesn’t use your whole budget?
Well, we’ve got it covered. Let’s break down a few areas:
Students who attend a university in or around north London usually stay in either Finsbury Park or Camden.
Camden is very appealing because of its vibrant colours, cultural diversity, and delicious food options.
It’s a great area for shopping and is conveniently located near the northern line which helps give you access to the West End or city in just 10 minutes.
Rent can be expensive, but you can find good deals if you start looking early enough.
Finsbury Park also offers the main high street stores as well as independent vendors and has a beautiful park to relax in on nice days.
Your commute can be a breeze because Finsbury Park is located near the Victoria Line, which is widely regarded as one of the fastest tube lines in London.
This area is going through a boom, with new bars and pubs opening, offering live music and other events.
This area is great for a fun night out but also a very competitive because of the popularity if you want to get a flat in this neighbourhood, it’s suggested that you start your search as soon as possible.
If you’re a student looking to live or study in east London, look no further than Mile End.
Mile End is down the road from Liverpool Street and Aldgate which has everything a student would need from supermarkets to eateries.
Since it is located on the Central Line, you can get to central London in just 10 minutes. Housing in this area can provide some of the most affordable options for students.
Another East London location to search is the Stratford area.
This area has been heavily invested in over the years which has led to more modern accommodations being built.
This is a great area because rent can be cheap, a lot of students already live here, and you can access trendy spots like Liverpool and Old Street in just a couple stops.
Brixton is a thriving south London community that is one of London’s most popular areas for renting and for its nightlife.
If affordable pricing is enough of an appeal, the area has multiple bars, shops, and eateries.
An area in South London is Tooting, an up-and-coming community located on the Northern Line.
Tooting has a unique vibe stemming from its independent shops, world food stores and other supermarkets.
Rent is affordable here which makes it a competitive area but if you start your search from early, you can find the perfect accommodation.
Shepherd’s Bush has a large appeal to students. With one reason being the Westfield Shopping Centre, one of the largest shopping centres in Europe.
There are also some supermarkets and convenient transportation links. Around the area, competition can be high but like with other areas, if you start looking early enough, good deals can be found.
Hammersmith is another area in West London that appeals to students. the appeal comes from the transport connections that can get you further into central London or other universities.
It’s located on three lines so your commute to university or work couldn’t get any easier.
You can be located right around the corner from Kensington, Fulham and Shepherd’s Bush and be very close to Richmond, without the high cost of inner-city rent.
This is a popular area for students and professionals so start your search from early.
Cost of Living in London for Students
Along with your university tuition, you must also factor in your accommodation choice and lifestyle when calculating the cost of living.
The government estimates that, not including rent and utility bills, you will need around £104 per week for the living costs.
There are multiple factors that can cause this to vary such as how often you go out, your social calendar and even what drinks you order at the bar.
Instead of trying to break down your entire cost of living in London, just focus on the cost of your accommodation as a student.
How Much is Student Accommodation in London?
The cost of accommodation in London can depend on certain things:
- Are you willing to have at least one roommate?
- Are you living on or off campus?
- Do you have any pets?
For students in London, the accommodation cost makes up a large monthly spend, at an average of £840.
There are three options you can consider when looking for accommodation—University halls of residence, rented accommodation and private student accommodation.
Each one has its advantages and disadvantages so look at them closer:
University Halls of Residence
This accommodation, owned by universities, is the most common for international and first-year students. The halls of residence are usually close to campus and are all bills included.
You must apply for a room directly with the university. According to the Study London, University Halls of Residence normally cost around:
- Standard room: £135 – £210 per week
En-suite room: £130 – £260 per week
Studio apartment: £140 – £340 per week
Other room types can be available. You will want to finalize the accommodation price plus all the terms and conditions with your university.
- Private Student Accommodation –
- Private Student Accommodation is increasing in popularity because of the flexibility that comes with it.
- You get a lot of the same perks as University Halls of Residence, such as utilities included, social events planned, and more but have the flexibility of lease lengths and the ability to choose several flats to share with your friends or an assigned roommate.
- Private Halls can be a good place to meet people outside of your university because they can be occupied by students from other institutions.
Study London lists private student accommodation as costing around:
Standard: £160 – £250 per week
En-suite room: £160 – £280 per week
Studio apartment: £280 – £500 per week
Rented Accommodation –
- Renting a room in a shared house or flat can be appealing to many students because they see it as an opportunity to live independently.
- While this is true, there is a lot of responsibility and added costs to factor in.
- You will have to pay for utilities separately, furniture is not likely going to be included, and you will have to put down a deposit upfront.
- If you do go with this option, look for second-hand furniture to cut costs.
- The price for rented accommodation can vary greatly depending on the type and area of London in which you live.
- For even more information on this, check out our full guide on finding a flat in London.
- We broke down some of the most popular areas to live in across London and prices will vary depending on which location you choose but according to Study London, on average, a small studio apartment in London can cost from £120 per week to over £1,000 per week.
- A room in a shared house costs on average around £150 per week.
Shopping & Eating Out
- Besides your rent, most of your money will be spent on food and social activities.
- Luckily, once you have a student ID, there are many student discounts available.
- Check your universities website for a list of retailers who offer a student discount or don’t be afraid to ask at check out.
- For social activities, use sites like Visit London to find free things to do.
- Visit London also lists thousands of student discounts available for anything you need—from travel to books and cinema tickets to eating out.
- Your university publications are also a great resource for student activities as well as local happy hours or discounted events.
- Constantly looking for student discounts and free events will help you manage your overall cost of living in London.
Chapter 4: Working in London as a Student
- Whether you are trying to save up money or build your resume for your future career, it is important to gather work experience while you attend university.
- Luckily, there are many options for student employment in London.
- Check with your university on what student employment options they have.
- Factor in the commute time and transportation costs when thinking about jobs outside of your university.
Here are job options for students in London:
- Delivery driver
- Social Media Assistant
- Office Administrator
- Security Guard
- Many, Many Others
Besides using your university as a resource, there are plenty of websites out there to help you locate part-time and full-time positions.
We’ve also created a separate guide on how to find a job in London.
Chapter 5: Transport for London Students
Navigating around London as a student has become more convenient over recent years.
While the different options seem intimidating, it’s actually very easy to navigate the public transport in London once you understand it.
You can apply for an 18+ Student Oyster Card where you can save 30% on the adult rate for buses and trams.
You can even receive a discount for a Railcard that gives you access to the tube, London underground, and other rail services in London.
This will save you money as opposed to just paying as you go. Some of the main requirements for this discounted card:
- You’re 18 or older
- Live in a London Borough during the duration of the card
- Enrolled at a school, college or university registered on the TFL scheme
- For further information about the requirements and questions you might have, visit London’s Transportation website.
- City App
- Citymapper will become your new best friend when you are trying to get from point A to B. Fill out your current and final destination and it will generate the best route to take.
- The app considers Tube closures and also combines bus/tube routes to give you the quickest options.
- And for those rainy days, it even displays a rain safe option to help reduce your exposure to the rough elements.
Buses: Refer to your mapper app when you are trying to go somewhere new. If you’re getting around by bus, they have big numbers on the front and side so you can clearly see which bus is the one you need. After boarding the bus, remember to tap your Oyster card first and find your seat.
Tube: Looking at the tube maps can seem a little overwhelming, however, you will get the hang of it after using it for a few weeks. Use your city mapper app to find out where you’re going and follow the easy steps.
Chapter 6: Student Nightlife in London
London is boasting with iconic landmarks, historic shopping districts, legendary eateries and more but it doesn’t stop there.
Londoners also experience some of the best nightlife, from the wild fresher’s parties to post-exam bashes and everything else, you will be hard-pressed to find a weekend in London where there are not events going on.
Whether you’re looking for a VIP club experience or something a little less lower key for those on a budget, the London nightlife has something to offer everyone.
Follow different pages on social media to see what events are happening at your university.
This is a good place to start for those who are on a budget because university-sponsored events are normally free or cheap for students.
There will be campus-wide events that can help you interact with multiple people at once or you can find specific events for certain smaller groups, relating to your major or other interests.
Night On the Town
As for the actual nightlife on the town, each district has something different to offer. Chelsea, Covent Garden and Kensington are the more expensive districts to drink but you won’t be short on entertainment.
- Chelsea is where the cast & crew from the famous ‘Made in Chelsea’ hang out.
- If you are looking for cheaper options, try out Brixton or Soho. Soho is said to be “the spot” in the best city for nightlife.
- You will find a great balance between London prices and an incredible atmosphere.
- Elephant and Castle and Shoreditch are great areas for younger students or anyone looking for a more odd vibe.
- The venues in these districts, especially Shoreditch, are not your typical London bars but are great if you enjoy live music, craft beer and hipster personalities.
- For an even quirkier night out, check out some of the places in King’s Cross.
- One bar, Drink Shop Do, lets you do different activities like tie-dying clothes, learning the latest dance moves or candle making while drinking.
Before You Go!
London offers many exciting opportunities for students.
It can be competitive and costly to live in this great city but hopefully, this guide makes the transition easier.
Find the perfect university, accommodation and job and then enjoy your time here.
There are many hidden gems around the city and new events happening all the time.