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Living in London

Planning your student budget in London

By Halls 09 Aug 2022

As the cosmopolitan capital of England, it's no surprise that London is the most expensive city in the UK.

Life in London as a student can be challenging but just because it comes with a higher price tag doesn't mean that your money isn't manageable. Of course, you'll need to be able to cover all of the essentials like groceries and travel but it would be nice if you had some spare cash for all of the iconic attractions too. 

The best way to manage your money in the big city is to be prepared. To give you a helping hand, we've done the research and calculated how much it will cost to get around, eat and enjoy yourself in London! 

Travel

One of the first things you're going to want to know when you get to London is how to get around. Whether you choose to hop on the train, catch a bus or take a stroll, you should be able to get from A to B in no time. 

The fastest and cheapest way to travel in the city is by the London Underground, dubbed by locals as 'The Tube'. The prices of your travel will differ depending on where you live but a weekly tube ticket for all zones is £44.90. As a student in London, you can buy a student Oyster card to get 30% discount on student travel cards, bus and tram passes. Choose what payment method is best for you and your budget.

London underground sign next to Big Ben

Food

Food is definitely an essential and you'll need plenty to fuel you through your studies. How much you spend a month will depend on the type of accommodation you're in, whether that's catered, self-catered or private. But we recommend that you leave around £100-£300 a month to cover your groceries.

If you're worried about over-spending, shopping at local markets or doing a group food shop with your flatmates can help save you some money (and stop you from arguing over the fridge space). Don't forget to treat yourself to a meal out and a cheeky takeaway now and again. 

a man standing grocery shopping

Exercise

Playing sport or heading to the gym is a great way to work off some steam at university. We offer lots of sports facilities on campus that you can access for discounted student prices - or use them for free if you're a member of one of our Students' Union societies or clubs!

If you prefer to workout outside of uni, you can find Pure Gyms dotted across the city with varying membership prices, from £15-£40. So you should be able to find somewhere that fits into your budget.

people running on treadmills

Entertainment

We know you'll be working hard during your time with us so make sure you spend some of your time enjoying all of the amazing attractions London has to offer. There are lots of things to do for free, like visiting museums and galleries, but there's also some unmissable attractions that cost a bit extra:

  • London Eye - from £32.50
  • Buckingham Palace - from £19.50
  • Westminster Abbey - £22

If none of these attractions are your cup of tea, there are some other venues that shouldn't go unnoticed:

  • Warner Bros. Studio Tour - £49.95
  • The View at the Shard - £28
  • Madame Tussauds - £33.50
London Eye

Overall, you should aim to have a monthly budget of around £1,200-£1,300 for all of your living expenses, but remember this is just a guide. For more advice on your student budget, funding and your finances don't hesitate to contact the Financial Support Office

London is one of the most visited and thrilling cities in the world - don't miss out! 

Topics

London, Budgeting,

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