Living in London - The Courtauld Institute of Art

Living in London

Search for:

Student Life

Living in London


Student Life

Living in London

Living in London

The Courtauld was originally located in Portman Square, Marylebone. In 1989 we moved to Somerset House, Strand, and, from January 2019, we moved to our new home at Vernon Square, King’s Cross, until 2023/24. This move marked the start of our exciting transformational Courtauld Connects project.

The Courtauld’s location at Vernon Square ensures that we continue to be in easy reach of all the capital’s major museums, galleries and libraries. Find out more about our neighbourhood.

Cost of living

Living in London, one of the most exciting, global cities in the world, means you have access to all manner of cuisines, cultural activities and shopping, and whilst London can be expensive, as a student you’ll have access to discounts on everything from public transport to theatre tickets. It is important to budget to ensure that you have enough money to live on while you complete your studies, and your cost of living as a student will depend largely upon your lifestyle choices. Even on a limited budget you can make the most out of your time in the city.

There are a variety of resources available to help you plan your budget and make the most out of the money you spend. Many retailers and entertainment venues will offer discounts or concession prices when you present your student ID and there are also multiple apps and websites dedicated to student discounts.

Here are a few resources suggested by our students:

Note: we have no affiliations with these providers, and there are certainly alternatives.

Budgeting information

Accommodation – recommend budget: £220 per week

This amount is based on the average cost of rent at Duchy House and Intercollegiate Halls. Privately rented accommodation varies considerably but will often not include the cost of utilities and will sometimes require a more extensive transport budget.

See our Student Accommodation page for more information

Utilities – recommended budget: £150.50 per year

If you are living in student accommodation and plan to have a TV in your room, you will need to purchase a TV licence (however, if you are living in a shared property with a communal TV, then the cost of the TV licence can be shared). If you do not have a TV licence, you risk legal action and a fine of up to £1,000. More information.

Food – recommended budget £50 per week

There are many things you can do to help reduce your food budget; shop locally, buying your groceries in a group with flatmates, and preparing your lunch yourself rather than eating out.

Music Events / Entertainment – recommended budget £20-50 per week

It is important to budget your money so that you still get to do some of the things you love and socialise with your friends / peers. Take a look at our student recommendations below to find  some resources you can use to find out about music events and nightlife in London, as well as some tips on how to save on these experiences.


Whilst most halls of residence and teaching facilities are within walking distance, London is a large city, and you will often find yourself needing to travel around quickly. As a student you are eligible to receive 30% off the cost of public transportation throughout London. Purchasing a Travelcard means that you can travel as often as you like within the zones for which you have purchased your Travelcard. If you do not plan to travel afield often, it may be more cost-effective to pay as you go and top up when travel is necessary.


£24.50 p/w = 7 days travel within Zones 1-2 (by Tube, DLR, London Overgrounf and TfL Rail services) – with an 18+ Student Oystercard.

£94.10 per month = 30 days of travel within Zones 1-2 (by Tube, DLR, London Overgrounf and TfL Rail services) – with an 18+ Student Oystercard.

£980 per year = 1 year of travel within Zones 1-2 (by Tube, DLR, London Overgrounf and TfL Rail services) – with an 18+ Student Oystercard.

Note that the more you pay for upfront the cheaper the daily cost. However, it may not be necessary to purchase a year’s travel up front, especially if you leave London for Winter/Easter/Summer breaks – you may only need inner-city transport for around 9 months of the year.

Also, note prices increase if you need to include more zones in your travelcard. The prices above are based on 2019 figures, see the full price list here for those with an 19+ Student Oystercard.


There is more general information on the TfL website too:

Cross-UK Travel

If you think you may be travelling outside of London frequently too – to see family etc. then it may be worthwhile purchasing a 16-25 Railcard which costs £30/year and offers 30% discount on train travel across the UK. There are also often offers on restaurants, hotels and other experiences, which can be sought with the card.

If you are over 25 and a full-time student, you are still eligible for this card, but you will need to bring a hard copy of the application form to us for certification.


Books, Supplies & Photocopying


You will not need to purchase the majority of books needed for your study. Any required reading as part of your course / modules will either be available in the Courtauld Library or downloadable as PDF from the VLE.

However, when conducting wider research you may need books that are not available at the Courtauld. First, take a look at Jisc Library Hub to see if any of the books are available in other University of London library, the British Library or those attached to the V&A and Tate – all of which you can get access to for free. It is also possible to ask the Courtauld Book Library team to see into purchasing the book for the library, see here for more information and guidance on how to obtain books from our library staff.


Photocopying / Printing

Printing costs incl. photocopying are as follows:

Black / White:

A4 = 5p

A3 = 20p


A4 = 20p

A3 =40p

Here is more information about printing services


Field Trips

£250 – per year

Cost varies depending on the course and the destinations. BA students are not usually taken on trips abroad until Third year, unless they take part in a uni-wide trip during the summer.

The Courtauld provdes a travel grant for all students which contributes towards the cost of flight and accommodation of up to £250 within Europe and £500 international. Details about this grant will be provided when travel is brought up as part of your module.


Tips from our students…

Private Rentals 

For students looking for rented accommodation websites such as Open Rent, Rightmove and Spare Room may be a good place to start your search. There is also a student run Facebook group regarding accommodation questions, where you may also be able to find a room or other students to live with.



For those that are moving out for the first time and are worried about what to cook, how to cook or some of the cookware you may need, there is a great document here that describes some essentials for student kitchens – created by Mob Kitchen a London based team of chefs who post easy and tasty recipes online frequently.



Nightlife / Restaurants / Events

  • Resident Advisor (search London nightlife and music events – online or via. Mobile friendly app)
  • Fever (search a range of events in London – online or via. Mobile friendly app)
  • The Infatuation London (a great resource to find new and local restaurants around London)


Art and Film offers

  • BFI 25 & Under special priced tickets (British Film Institute offer £3 cinema rickets plus other events)
  • ODEON Cinema (students can get £5 tickets any time or day of the week)
  • Uniqlo Tate Lates ( Usually on a Thursday evening – Tate teams up with Uniqlo to hose Tate Lates: a great place to meet likeminded students, discover art and socialise – almost always free too!)
  • Art Rabbit ( an app and website that helps you search all contemporary art events in your city)

Other Useful Information

International students requiring a visa to study in the UK are required to demonstrate sufficient funds to cover expenses before you arrive. Further information can be found on the UKCISA website.

You may also find it useful to take a look at the Study UK website, which provides a plethora of information for international and EU students, specifically the Moving to the UK sections.

If you wish to open a student bank account, you will need a letter from us to confirm your student status.  You may request this letter only at enrolment or later.

If you do not live in student accommodation, in order to claim your Council Tax exemption you will need to provide a letter to your local council stating that you are a full-time student. If you fail to provide this letter to your local authority, you may face legal action. You may request this letter only at enrolment or later.

Share This

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Close