travel & accommodation
Organising accommodation before you depart for the UK is essential. Your institution may have pre-booked accommodation for you, or you might need to organise this yourself.
Most institutions will ensure that they can offer accommodation for international students for at least their first year, but this isn't guaranteed. When you are accepted on a course, you will likely be sent an accommodation pack and details of an accommodation office with staff that can help you find housing. Institutions strongly advise students to take advantage of this resource, as accommodation officers will have the information and contacts to help you find affordable and well-located student accommodation quickly.
When researching your accommodation choices, you may wish to consider:
- How close is it to the institution?
- What public transport links are there?
- How close is it to shops and services?
- How big is your room?
- How many people are sharing your bathroom/kitchen?
- How much is the rent and bills?
Below are some of the main types of accommodation available to students:
On-campus/halls of residence
Approximate cost: £50-150 per week
On-campus accommodation comes in various forms, ranging from shared or private rooms to one bedroom flats, and can be catered or self-catered with private or shared bathrooms. The majority will have a kitchen, typically shared by four to eight students, though some accommodation is catered and food will be served in a dining hall. You may be able to choose to live in a single-sex residence.
On-campus accommodation is a popular choice for students as most campuses are located near the institution and provide services such as shops and laundry. It's also a great way to meet people and share your experience with other students. Basic facilities and bills will be included in your rent, which varies greatly according to location and room type. Students should apply for accommodation as early as possible to secure their preferred room type.
In cases where an institution has no halls of residence or places in halls are limited, they may offer institution-owned houses. In these, students are provided a study room in a shared house with other students. Rent varies and does not always include bills.
Approximate cost: £50-150 per week
You may be offered the opportunity to live with a host family during your studies; this is the most common type of accommodation for language students. It's a great way to practise speaking English and learn about UK culture. You will be allocated your own private room and will be treated as a member of the family - sharing other facilities and being included in their activities. Students are also normally given morning and evening meals. You may be expected to help with household chores, and sometimes may also need to contribute financially to bills and accommodation costs.
Approximate cost: £50-150 per week (more if not sharing), plus bills
Alternatively you can rent a private flat, or room in a shared house; this usually entails your own private room with shared kitchen and bathroom facilities. This option often suits those wanting independence. In most cases bills will not be included in the monthly rent; you will need to agree how you are going to share these, as well as the cleaning duties, with your other housemates.
You should be aware that there may be a minimum lease; often six to twelve months, and a deposit is usually required to cover possible damage, which is refundable when the tenancy ends. Students wishing to privately rent are advised to arrive in the UK a few weeks before their course starts in order to secure a place, as most landlords will not reserve accommodation without signing a contract. It is advisable to make sure you have seen the accommodation before handing over any money. Consult your institution's accommodation office for advice about renting privately.
Travelling to your accommodationIt is a good idea to have onward travel to your institution or accommodation arranged before departing for the UK. You are advised to carry the address and phone number of your accommodation in your hand luggage to make it easier to ask for directions or to get a taxi.
Most airports have taxis readily available outside the terminal or have an office that will book taxis. Taxis are normally the easiest and most direct way of getting from the airport but can be more expensive than public transport. The UK's public transport network is different in each area, but usually there will be buses or trains that depart from the airport. It is advisable to research the best mode of transport and book tickets before departing for the UK.
There are a large number of airports in the UK. Here is a guide to the country's major international airports:
- There are coaches from Heathrow run by National Express to over 500 destinations, as well as local buses to central London and to nearby rail stations
- There are express trains into London, and the London Underground Network also serves the airport - the journey into central London should take less than an hour
- Taxis and minicabs are available from the airport. A journey to central London should take around 30-60 minutes and will normally cost around £50-55
To find out more, visit www.heathrowairport.com
- There are coaches to over 400 destinations operating from the airport, as well as local bus services to the surrounding areas
- The airport is 30 minutes from central London via the non-stop Gatwick Express, and also has rail links to destinations all around the UK
- Taxis are available with the airport's partner - a journey to central London takes approximately an hour and costs around £70
- There are coaches and buses to a number of local and other UK destinations, including London
- Direct trains are available to London and the Midlands, with connections available to other destinations
- There is one taxi service available from the airport to London. Fares are quoted in advance - a journey to London will take around 70-80 minutes and will cost around £80, depending on the final destination
- There are a number of local and regional bus services available from the airport, as well as National Express coach services to most major destinations in the UK
- There are train services available from the airport to a number of destinations, mainly in the North of England. For other destinations, connections can be made at Manchester Piccadilly station. This can be accessed by train or the tram system, Metroline
- Metered taxi services and private hire taxis are available from the airport
- There are a number of bus services to Glasgow city centre and nearby areas. Coaches to further afield destinations can be taken from the bus station in central Glasgow
- The nearest train station is Paisley Gilmour Street, which is a mile from the airport and can be accessed by bus or taxi. Trains run to Glasgow central, where onward connections can be made
- There are metered taxi services available from the airport. A journey into Glasgow city centre should cost around £20
- There are a number of bus services to central Edinburgh and local areas. Coaches to long-distance destinations can be taken from the bus terminal in Edinburgh
- There are two main train stations in Edinburgh city centre, which can be accessed from the airport by bus or taxi
- There are three taxi service operators that can be accessed from the airport. An average journey to the city centre takes around 25 minutes
- Buses are available from the airport to the city centre
- Train services are available from a nearby station to Cardiff Central and Bridgend. A free shuttle is available between the station and terminal
- There is a taxi service available from the airport, which runs 24 hours a day. A taxi from the airport to Cardiff Central takes about 30 minutes and is approximately £20
To find out more, visit www.tbicardiffairport.com
- There are a number of bus and coach services available to Belfast, Lisburn and Londonderry, where more services can be accessed to other destinations
- There is a taxi service offered from the airport to local destinations, and a taxi share service is also available
To find out more, visit www.belfastairport.com
Useful travel links
For more information about airports in the UK, visit - www.airportsinformation.co.uk
Public transport in London:
Transport for London
Coach services across the UK:
Trains in England:
Trains in Scotland:
Trains in Northern Ireland:
Trains in Wales: