5 Most Affordable Cities for International Students in the United Kingdom

A world-class city like London may have some of the best colleges and universities, but it can stretch the average student budget. Luckily, many cities in the United Kingdom are affordable and home to reputable schools. If you’re looking to save money during your time abroad, keep reading! Today, we’ll spotlight the United Kingdom’s five most affordable cities, per data collected by Refinery29, The Advisor Coach, and Expatisan in 2021. 

If you’re also considering studying in Australia, Canada or the United States, read our blogs on the five most affordable cities in these countries.

A photo of a street in Derby, Derbyshire.

Courtesy of Visit Derby.

5. Derby, Derbyshire

Carving out the fifth spot on our list is Derby. This city is an excellent study abroad destination for all of you history lovers! Derby is the UK’s most central city and is renowned for stimulating Britain’s Industrial Revolution with some of the country’s first spinning mills and factories. Today, Derby is more than just a hub for industrialization. Here, international students can enjoy a variety of entertainment venues, museums, and sightseeing spots. You can escape the bustle of Derby and spend an afternoon walking along the Derwent River. Or make your way to the Derby Cathedral Quarter, where you can roam around the upscale shopping and restaurant district, taking in architecture dating from the Industrial Revolution. International students can expect to pay an average of £500 a month in rent.  

Fun Fact: The world’s second-largest aero-engine manufacturer, Rolls-Royce, is based in Derby.

A photo of Blackpool, Lancashire.

Courtesy of Visit Britain.

4. Blackpool, Lancashire

Blackpool is a large seaside resort situated on the Irish Sea coast of England. With a population of 138,380, this mid-size city always has something fun and exciting to do! One of the city’s more famous spots is Blackpool Pleasure Beach, the United Kingdom’s most ride intensive theme park and the perfect spot for all of you thrill-seekers! If rollercoasters aren’t your thing, don’t worry. You can spend a night out at the Vegas-style VIVA Blackpool or a day lounging on one of the city’s famous beaches. With the average cost of rent sitting at £481.25, students can spend less time worrying about their finances and more time enjoying their time abroad.

Fun Fact: Blackpool’s Tramway network is over 130 years old.

A photo fo Dundee, Angus.

Courtesy of Visit Scotland.

3. Dundee, Angus

Dundee is Scotland’s fourth-largest city and experiences more hours of sunshine than any other Scottish city. Here, students can spend their free time wandering around the Waterfront, trekking up Dundee Law, or grabbing a pint at one of the city’s charming pubs. Students can anticipate paying an average of £462.50 in rent, £80 in transport, and £74 a month in food costs. So, if you’re considering studying in Scotland but its reputation of rain and grey clouds isn’t ideal, then Dundee should be on your radar. 

Fun Fact: In 1832, the first radio broadcast was sent from Dundee.

Consider studying at the University of Dundee.

A photo of a marina in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire.

Courtesy of Visit Stoke.

2. Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire

Located in central England, Stoke-on-Trent is the home of the UK’s pottery industry and is often referred to as the Potteries. Stoke-on-Trent seamlessly blends technology, commerce, and art through craftsmanship, and prides itself on being a creative city that produces beautiful things. International students can visit Trentham Estates’ Shopping Village, award-winning Italian Gardens, and Trentham Monkey Forest, where you can explore its woodlands alongside 140 free-roaming Barbary apes. With a cost of living that is 40% lower than London’s, students can expect to spend £459.38 a month on rent. 

Fun Fact: Stoke-on-Trent residents are referred to as “Potters.”

A photo of Bradford, West Yorkshire.

Courtesy of Welcome to Yorkshire.

1. Bradford, West Yorkshire

The most affordable city on our list is Bradford. It’s affectionately referred to as the United Kingdom’s “curry capital” due to its reputation for having some of the finest curry restaurants in the nation. Beyond its delightful curry dishes, Bradford has something for everyone to enjoy. You can spend your downtime exploring its scenic countryside and the city’s rich heritage. Locals recommend making your way to the Alhambra Theatre to view one of the many performances held there every year. International students can expect to pay an average of £443.12 a month in rent—an extremely affordable rate for the big city feel and benefits Bradford boasts. 

Fun Fact: Almost a quarter of Bradford’s population is under sixteen, making it the youngest city in the UK.

Consider studying at the University of Bradford.


These five UK cities prove that you don’t need to choose between affordable living and a great education. Begin your study abroad journey in one of these cities to reap the benefits of both!

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