Accommodation in UK

Accommodation in UK is the first and the biggest challenge you’ll have to tackle as a foreign student.

Most common types of accommodation for international students in UK are:

  • University Dorms
  • Private Dorms
  • Apartment
  • Rooms in private houses

However, selecting one that will match your desires and most importantly, your financial resources, is hard. Plus, you’re short on time, because classes will soon begin. With that said you need a plan ahead.


Cost of accommodation in UK varies to a large degree. Even in the same city, the range of accommodating costs can be very large. Naturally, as an international student saving as much money as possible is a priority for you. And knowing that rent is the highest expenditure you’ll have when studying abroad, finding an affordable accommodation will alleviate a great financial burden to you.

But, to get the best deal of accommodation in UK you need to make some compromises in the first place. Said otherwise you have to adjust your preferences to your financial capabilities if you don’t want the cost of rent amounting to a huge amount of money.

London is the biggest and by far the most expensive city to live in UK. The cost of accommodation at the city center is higher than in suburban neighbourhoods which is a common trait for big cities. If the campus of your university is located near downtown areas, then you should not attempt to find an apartment in the area around.

For instance, renting a one-bedroom apartment in the city center of London will cost you £1,646 on average. With a bit of luck, you can find something around £1,200. The same apartment in the periphery has a monthly rent of £1,185 on average. Bigger apartments cost way higher than this, so in those cases, you should find roommates with whom you’ll share the apartment and the renting cost.

The table below shows the average monthly rent for ten cities in the UK:

City Rent for a 1-bedroom apartment in the city center Rent for a 1-bedroom apartment outside the city center Rent for a 3-bedroom apartment in the city center Rent for a 3-bedroom apartment outside the city center
London £1,730 £1,235 £3,320 £2,050
Edinburgh £770 £605 £1,380 £1,050
Cardiff £700 £540 £1,190 £910
Belfast £630 £435 £960 £650
Manchester £755 £545 £1,345 £840
Liverpool £660 £470 £1,018 £665
Glasgow £620 £445 £1,230 £850
Cambridge £1,030 £820 £1,700 £1,300
Oxford £1,060 £870 £2,050 £1,500
Bath £800 £680 £1,430 £1,000


As you can expect urban areas have higher rent prices than rural parts of UK. But even within urban areas, there are still affordable options for foreign students, which can easily be found by carrying a little research ahead.

In downtown areas, you can hardly find a cheap accommodation place to rent. In contrast, apartments and private houses in the periphery have lower rent prices. Aside from minor disadvantages like the distance from the city center, they are quieter, safer, less overloaded with traffic and many students reside there so it’s a great opportunity to socialize.

Well, you may have to commute daily to attend classes, but the total cost of your bus ticket won’t equal the rent you would be paying if you live in the city center. Moreover, there are different convenient types of transportation like the bicycle.

Furnished apartments

Naturally, you have to minimize the cost of renting as much as you can. But, to the limit you won’t have to sacrifice your needs for a comfortable place to live in, just to save some money.
Furnished apartments are a perfect option for people who are studying abroad because they don’t need to buy items of furniture on their own, which they will be selling when returning back home.

The good news is that the cost gap between furnished and unfurnished apartments is very small. Also, landlords of furnished apartments take care that their apartments have everything in place in order to be the first choice of incoming foreign students. So it is highly preferable you always seek furnished apartments. Usually, you can ask a landlord or an agent to do it for you.
If you need to know if an apartment is furnished, you can check out Gumtree.

Does my university help me accommodate?

Nowadays the number of students who go abroad to seek a university degree is trending. To accommodate as many international students as possible UK universities have increased the number of residence halls. However, there are no places for everyone, unfortunately. And these students have difficulties finding a place to live in.

To tackle this issue universities are trying hard to establish certain bodies incorporated into their campus to help their incoming foreign students find a convenient place to accommodate. The majority of universities in UK already offer these services. After getting admitted to a University you can personally contact them and ask if they offer you such help. They can arrange everything before you even arrive in UK.

Tips for finding a good accommodation in UK

1. Do your research

Having a general idea at which part of the city you would like to live and what are the available options to you, it helps you solving this issue in no time.

Nowadays, making a research is an easy task. You can just sit in your living room and start browsing the internet. There are many useful resources, including many websites for housing in UK.

You can investigate the trend of rent prices and get a feeling of where it can be cheaper and convenient for you. Also, you can join online students’ forums where you can freely ask students who have already gone through this before you.

2. See if there are private dormitories around

At university dormitories, there are not enough places for every incoming foreign student and therefore many private dormitories get built to accommodate the rest.

In cities where the flux of international students is large, there are probably many of them around. You must really give priority to them because they are cheaper accommodation facilities than private apartments and offer similar conditions as university dorms.

These facilities also have their own libraries, cafeteria, residence halls and additional facilities for practicing other activities like sports. Besides this, it is a great opportunity to socialize with students. In other words, it will be a typical warmth students’ environment.

3. Arrange everything before you arrive

As a student, timing is everything to you. If you achieve to arrange everything in time you can fully concentrate on your studies, which really should be your only concern.

Though it may be hard to arrange your accommodation from your home, it is much better if you at least make a checklist of sources and bodies you will contact to address your accommodation request when arriving in UK.

Your first port of call should be your university. Their international student office will certainly help you with your research or will carry it on its own.

Hint: If you’re doing online research, always make sure you’re getting information from reliable resources. Unfortunately, there may be scam websites which are trying to benefit from you while causing harm in the process.

4. Find roommates

If you have no other option rather than occupying a private flat or apartment we suggest you share it with someone else. Whether it is London or a much cheaper place to accommodate in the UK, renting price are too high to handle alone for a student.

5. Make sure the accommodation includes everything you need

Before deciding to choose an accommodation place over other options always make sure it contains everything you need. Surely the price is important, but you must aim to get the best deal. If there are no basic conditions for life you must not rent it.

6. Collect information about the location

Location of your accommodation is very important. Besides, it can determine the rent price to a certain degree it will also have other advantages along the way.

First, it can be the distance from your campus. Naturally, you should try to find one apartment as much near as possible.

Also, you can see if there is enough accessibility to the downtown areas. If you commute daily to your university you want to find a neighbourhood where there are bicycle tracks so you can drive safely. Further on, you can seek if there are stores where you can shop.

Student Accommodation Websites