When studying abroad, one of the biggest things you’ll consider is the location. Where do you want to spend your university experience? Don’t worry, the cost of living in the UK is generally lower and more affordable than others.

Everywhere is different and has its own unique history. Plus, if you study in one of the cities we’ve mentioned below, like Newcastle, you can quickly and easily visit all of the others by train. Here are the five most affordable cities in the UK for international students:

international students

Newcastle Upon Tyne

The capital of the North East, Newcastle is a thriving student city. Rated the number one place in the world to visit in 2018, Newcastle has a vibrant and diverse culture. Most importantly, the Newcastle University campus is right in the middle of the city.

Newcastle is known as ‘the smallest big city in the world’. This is because the city is so conveniently accessible that you can actually walk it in 15 minutes, so you can spend less money on transport. However, regardless of size, the city has lots to offer and is well-known for its friendly people and welcoming community.

Here are some affordable things you can do in and around Newcastle: 

  • visit the Angel of the North, one of the most famous landmarks in the North East
  • have a walk around Grainger Market. Filled with local produce and people, it’s an affordable way to get to know the city
  • enjoy a classic movie at the Tyneside Cinema and stop by the Tyneside Bar Café for delicious food

The cheapest available rent is 65% lower than in London*. With relatively cheap living costs and a well-connected transport service to the rest of the UK, it makes it one of the most affordable places to study for international students. 

*Cost of living calculated from Numbeo 

You can also view this infographic to see the average prices around the UK.


Leeds has become an increasingly popular place to study and students are a huge part of the city because of the five universities. The cost of living in Leeds is only 19.83% lower than in London*, but its transport links are what make this city so budget-friendly. 

Here are some affordable activities you can enjoy in Leeds: 

  • take part in the Geocaching treasure hunt and find some hidden objects along the way
  • Leeds is a city filled with art and you can see it for free by following the Academic & Civic Art Trail. It will take you through the grounds of the University of Leeds
  • go to Victoria Gardens as they have one of the coolest free things to do in Leeds -  such as giant chess!


Liverpool is a maritime city in North-West England and its waterfront is a world heritage site, just like the Taj Mahal and the Great Wall of China. It has more museums and galleries than anywhere else outside of London, so there are lots of free things to see and do.

The cost of living in Liverpool is 23.20% lower than London* and the city was the European Capital of Culture in 2008. 

Here are some affordable activities you can enjoy in Liverpool: 

  • take a walk around the Royal Albert Dock. On a warm summer day, there are lots of free events to take part in
  • visit Formby Beach where you can build sandcastles and enjoy coastal walks
  • for those interested in architecture, you can visit the Liverpool Cathedral and admire the beautiful building. It’s actually the biggest in the UK!


As the largest city in the West Midlands of England, Birmingham is a great place to study in the UK. Because the city is so large, you’re likely to spend more money on public transport to get around.

However, the cost of living in Birmingham is almost 22% lower than in London*, whilst only being a two-hour train ride away from the capital. 

Here are some affordable activities you can enjoy in Birmingham: 

  • Birmingham’s Ikon Gallery has free admission and has two floors of exciting exhibitions
  • the city is the birthplace of the delicious balti curry and a great place to sample these delicious flavours with friends
  • Birmingham has nearly 600 parks and public green spaces which are perfect for studying in the sun


This northern city has a population of 2.5 million and is one of the most diverse cities in Western Europe. The cost of living in Manchester is 17.13% lower than in London* but has all the benefits of a major, thriving city. 

Here are some affordable things you can do in Manchester: 

  • feel inspired in the Museum of Science and Industry set in the world’s oldest railway station
  • visit the botanical gardens and explore 21-acres of gardens and unusual plants
  • football fans will enjoy the National Football Museum, with impressive displays and interactive activities all year round

What do all these afford cities have in common? They all have universities that are part of the prestigious Russell Group. With world-class teaching and modern facilities, you can get an excellent education from any of these universities.


From arts and culture venues to bars, pubs and clubs, it is not surprising that Newcastle has been named the number one place to visit in the world. Find out more about life in Newcastle.