Student Accommodation in the UK: A Beginner's Guide!

Student Accommodation in the UK

Great news, you’ve got your offer, and you’re ready to look for student accommodation in the UK. Finding cheap student accommodation is one of those big steps you’ll need to look into when choosing to study overseas.

There are different options available to you, whether the location is a crucial factor or you’re looking for something more cost-effective.

We'll give you the lowdown about your different options so that you'll be well prepared for your arrival.

University accommodation for students is a great way to meet new people when settling into a new country.

Campus/University Accommodation

Campus accommodation is the easiest choice. It’s owned and operated by the university, and everything is usually bookable via the university website or portal. The university website will have all the details of their accommodation, which makes it easy to find.

Student Halls of Residence

You’ll usually find that university accommodation - sometimes known as student halls of residence - is based on campus, or just a few minutes walk away or you can take advantage of convenient transports links.

The setup can vary:

  1. Studio apartments: You'll live alone, but they often come with a bed, your bathroom, kitchen, and living space. However, this will be the most expensive option.

  2. En-suite rooms: You’ll have your bedroom and en-suite bathroom. However, there will be a shared kitchen and living area with usually around five other students. Your room will have a lock, so safety and security are nothing to worry about. You’ll also have the option to choose same-sex flatmates if you’d like. In terms of cost, this would be somewhere in the middle.

Cheap Student Accommodation

The most cost-effective option when booking student accommodation in the UK is to go shared entirely. You’ll have your own space to sleep and study (again, this will be locked for privacy reasons), but your bathroom, kitchen, and living space are shared with around five other students.

University accommodation for students is a great way to meet new people when settling into a new country.

Sharing a living space with new people will teach you different cultures and other ways of life. The social aspect is invaluable if you're looking to become a 'Global Citizen!'

Learn More

Student Accommodation in the UK

2. Catered Student Halls of Residence

You may find that the university you choose offers catered student halls of residence. Much like the above, it'll be owned and operated by the university and the layout and setup will be similar to your standard student halls of residence. The only difference is that you won't have a kitchen to cook in.


These catered residences offer freshly cooked, varied menus and cater to a range of diets. Usually, two or three meals a day will be included in the cost of your accommodation - a good option if you're not used to cooking for yourself!

Student Accommodation in the UK

You may even find that gyms, pool tables, table tennis, and social areas are common within private accommodation.

Private Student Accommodation in the UK

A trendy choice among international students when considering student accommodation in the UK.


There are more and more private student halls of residence popping up across the country to meet the growing student population demand. You may even find that gyms, pool tables, table tennis, and social areas are standard within private accommodation with newer complexes.


When it comes to private accommodation, it’s almost identical to university accommodation. Cost, setup, and locations will be similar, and it’s only available to students. The only real difference is that a private landlord owns it, so you won’t be able to book it via the university.

Where to Find

Keep an eye out for student letting websites - they’ll usually have all of the options available for private accommodation.

Shared Housing

Shared housing is the cheapest option available but may add 10-15 minutes to your morning commute. This is where a group of students, ranging from 4-12 will share a house close to the university. You’ll each have your bedroom, but the kitchen, bathrooms, and living spaces will be shared.

You'll have to sign a tenancy agreement, which is a legally binding document. This will outline the terms of your stay. If you feel uneasy about signing a legally binding document in a new country, have a chat with your international student advisor or any current international student that will be able to offer a helping hand.

Usually, the contracts are on a 1-month rolling basis, unlike the two options above, for the entire academic/calendar year. The good thing about this is that if a room becomes available in one of your friend's houses, you can live with them - but you’ll become friends with your current housemates anyway.

Utilities such as gas, electricity, water, and internet are usually not included in shared housing, whereas the other two options will have these included in the price. However, setting these up yourself (it’s fairly easy), can be more cost-effective!

Be sure to check out the university website, speak to the university representatives, join the Facebook groups and talk to us - we’ll make sure you find the perfect student accommodation in the UK!

Student Accommodation in the UK

Alternative Option

There is one last scenario you may face when studying abroad, and it's very rare.

You haven't managed to book any accommodation, and you are due to travel. Of course, this is not an ideal situation to be in, but help is at hand.

You'll have to look at some short-term, temporary options for a place to stay while you find somewhere more permanent.

Your best option is to look at nearby hotels, Airbnb, or any short-term serviced apartments in cases such as this.