The United Kingdom is famous for its world-class education system and attracts international students from all over the world. It’s the most popular study destination for affordable UK cities outside the United States. However, despite the high-quality education and potential for future opportunities, some students simply cannot afford to study in the UK. In addition to university tuition, they have to pay for accommodation, food, transport, and more. This sometimes discourages international students on a budget from even submitting applications.

A city like London is home to some of the best universities in the world, including the University of London (UCL) and the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). However, it’s also known as one of the most expensive cities in the world and may not be suited for international students on a tight budget.

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Fortunately, London isn’t the only city with impressive universities. There are many affordable UK cities to choose from. These affordable UK cities offer world-class educational institutions and a great lifestyle. Learn about the cheapest cities in the UK for international students here.

Most Affordable UK Cities

If you’re an international student who can’t afford to live in an expensive city like London, don’t worry. Check out these affordable UK cities that you may call home for the next few years!

1. Cardiff

The Welsh capital city is one of the cheapest cities in the UK for international students to reside in when completing their education. It is home to the prestigious University of Cardiff, which is a member of the Russell Group. In addition to an excellent education, international students can benefit from the high number of part-time jobs available. Living abroad can get pricey, but working part-time can help you manage bills as well as take on additional responsibility. Cardiff is a great city to consider for this.

The rent in Cardiff is also lower than in other university cities, and the city boasts affordable transportation. Therefore, it’s not essential to get an apartment close to your university or place of work. Even if you live far away from places you frequent, getting around won’t cost you much. In fact, according to the 2021 NatWest Student Living Index, Cardiff has the second-lowest monthly rental of all the UK university cities.

2. Cambridge

If you’ve thought about studying in the UK, you’ve likely heard of the University of Cambridge. It was ranked 6th in the world by Times Higher Education (THE) and is one of the most well-known universities in the world. However, what many people don’t know about Cambridge is that it’s one of the more affordable UK cities. According to the 2021 NatWest Student Living Index, Cambridge is the second-most affordable student city in the United Kingdom. In addition to excellent graduate prospects, the city has affordable rent and travel expenses.

3. Glasgow

Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and has some amazing universities, including the University of Glasgow and the University of Strathclyde. Students benefit from an excellent education and take advantage of the rich history and architecture. The city has a lot to offer, from the Scottish Ballet and Scottish Opera to the National Theatre of Scotland and a host of museums.

In addition to this, it’s also one of the most affordable UK cities, coming in third on the 2021 NatWest Student Living Index. The port city has affordable accommodation options and fairly cheap public transport, making it great for students on a budget.

4. Birmingham


Birmingham is one of the cheapest cities in the UK for international students and also home to well-known universities such as The University of Birmingham and Aston University. The international tuition fee is on the lower end for both institutions, and living costs in Birmingham are also relatively low. The 2021 NatWest Student Living Index has ranked Birmingham the 5th most affordable UK city. While takeout is more expensive in Birmingham than in other UK cities, the city has a great public transport system and reasonable accommodation costs.

5. Newcastle Upon Tyne

Newcastle is a popular university city known for three internationally ranked universities, including Newcastle University and Durham University. North England is known to be cheaper than Southern England, and Newcastle is a prime example of this. While the tuition isn’t the lowest you’ll find in the UK, Newcastle boasts low rent and affordable public transport. It’s also known for being extremely friendly, so you’re sure to like the atmosphere.

6. Manchester

Manchester is the 10th-most affordable UK city for students. This isn’t just because of its low cost of living. It’s also because the tuition at highly ranked universities like the University of Manchester is much lower than at other institutions. Since Manchester is one of the UK’s larger cities, you’ll find plenty of conveniences, including affordable transport and accommodation. In addition to this, the city also boasts industrial heritage, the Museum of Science and Industry, and one of the most well-known football stadiums in the world, Old Trafford.

7. Nottingham

Nottingham is home to two highly-ranked universities, the University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University. The historic city has many sights, including the Nottingham Castle Museum and the Nottingham Contemporary Art Gallery. In addition to lower tuition than other institutions, students choose Nottingham because of its high-quality yet affordable accommodations and elaborate transport system. Because of this, it’s the eighth-most affordable UK student city.

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If you’ve been afraid of applying to the United Kingdom for university or graduate studies because of the high cost, don’t be. While large cities like London are expensive, this isn’t the case for all cities. This list has detailed some of the most affordable UK cities for international students. In addition to an excellent education, you can enjoy the post-graduation prospects a UK degree can offer, including lucrative jobs and opportunities for further study.

Reach out to our representatives for information on how and when to apply to UK universities; they can guide you through the entire process.


Is it affordable to live in Nottingham?

Although there are undoubtedly places within the UK that are more affordable, the price of rent in Nottingham is a fantastic deal when compared against that of London. The average monthly rent in London is almost 56.81% higher than it is in Nottingham! If you are set on making Nottingham your home, renting is surely one of the options available to you.

Is University of Cardiff a prestigious university?

With more over 100 internationally recognized research specializations, Cardiff University is a renowned research university. It is one of the top 30 universities in the UK, and ranked number two in the UK for research output, and is ranked number 160 globally.

What makes the city of Cambridge exceptional?

One of the oldest and most prominent universities in the world is located in Cambridge, giving the city a long intellectual heritage and lots of incredibly beautiful structures

Is Birmingham a desirable city to work in?

If you have the abilities that meet the city’s key sectors of the economy, Birmingham might be a perfect fit. If you do not work in one of these industries, keep in mind that Birmingham has a robust economy, making it far simpler for you to get employment than it would be in an area in the North or South of England.