5 Ways to Live in London on a Student Budget

Aug 22, 2018 12:30:00 PM / by Kelly Allen

In this week's post, Kelly lists 5 ways students can live and thrive for a semester in London on a budget.

London exists as an incredible place filled with endless coffee shops, countless museums, peaceful parks, insanely gorgeous architecture, a million and one pubs, and pretty much everything you could ever really need in life. But everything has its downsides. London’s is that it’s expensive. It’s the New York City of Europe. The pound puts the U.S. dollar to shame. But fret not—it is possible to make the most of the city while living there for four months on a student budget or simply on a tight budget for that matter. Take a look at these 5 tips and London experiences to have for relatively cheap or free.

1. Limit Eating Out for Every Meal

Camden Market-1While you can find diverse food options at places such as Camden Market,
you'll save a lot by making your own food!

Just as you would while living anywhere on a student budget, grocery shopping and making food at home is the move to avoid breaking the bank. Sainsbury’s is the local grocery store that I’ve found to be the cheapest compared to others like M&S and Whole Foods (yes, they have Whole Foods across the pond). You can buy a jumbo-sized bag of pasta for £3 at Sainsbury’s. And by jumbo, I mean it would last you an entire month if you ate pasta for every meal.

2. Explore the City’s Infinite Parks

Views from Primrose HillsViews from Primrose Hill.

There are approximately…way more parks in London than you think. Walk up Primrose Hill in Regent’s Park and take in the views of the city skyline from the top while petting every dog in sight. Wander aimlessly through Green Park. Grab the food you just bought at the grocery store and picnic in Hyde Park. Take your pick.

3. Bike Around the City

 Biking around in London.

Rent a bike for 24 hours for only £2 from a Santander Cycle Station, and take on the city. No doubt the fear of getting hit by a big red bus is there, but if you’re careful, it’s a blast. Ride to Notting Hill and bike along the beautiful buildings in the area. Bike through a park. Bike to lunch. Let the bike guide you. You never know what you might stumble upon.

4. Check Out the Endless Markets

Portobello MarketThe Portobello Market in London is one main spot to check out.

From the trinkets at Portobello Market to the diverse food options at Camden Market, there’s a market for everything. Though the food may not be cheap at times, you can bargain with little shops in these markets to lower the prices of souvenirs and such. It never hurts to try. All they can do is say no, and life goes on. If they say yes, you just saved a couple quid and got what you wanted.

5. Take In Knowledge at a Museum

Pop Art in Tate MuseumYou can find international modern and contemporary art housed at Tate Modern.

There are over 50 free national museums across the UK. What a dream. You can literally walk into the Tate Modern—a giant power station turned center for modern and contemporary art—and experience world-class paintings, photographs, and performance art for free. By comparison, it costs $17 for students to get into the Milwaukee Art Museum. Take advantage of these free UK museums while you can.

Whether you’re solely studying abroad, studying and interning, or simply visiting on a budget, you’re most likely not receiving an income on your trip across the pond. So, take advantage of all the free things and cheaper options you can to ensure you make the most of everything London has to offer.

Thanks Kelly!

Kelly Allen_London

Kelly is an official CAPA blogger, sharing her story on CAPA World. A Journalism major at University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, she is studying abroad in London.

Kelly's journey continues on so stay tuned.

Learn More about the CAPA London Program

Topics: London, England, Scholarships & Financing