Find out what life is really like at Durham University

CollegesDurham CityStudent experienceUndergraduate

Cost of living in Durham

Going to university and moving away from home is a big stepping stone into adult life. In particular, you are in charge of your own finances and budget. Luckily, I’m here to provide a general insight into the cost of living in Durham.

Accommodation costs and food

First of all, the cost of living in the North of England is typically lower than living in the South. Durham University has a collegiate system with ten catered colleges, four self-catered colleges, and two colleges that are both catered and self-catered. A catered college can cost between £7,500 – £8,500 (for specific prices see the link at the end) but the good thing is you don’t have to worry about the cost of grocery shopping every week!

Self-catered colleges are a little cheaper, £5,500 – £6,000 but you do have to buy food groceries yourself. But no need to fret, Durham has plenty of shops that provide food groceries at student-friendly prices:

  • Lidl
  • Tesco
  • Sainsbury’s
  • Iceland
  • Poundland

If you decide to live out of college in private student accommodation, you may expect to pay anywhere between £50 and £150 a week for rent depending on where you live and the type of accommodation you choose.


The main mode of transportation for students is walking, this is free and keeps you fit, it only takes 30 minutes to walk from one end of the city to the other! Cycling is also popular, many students bring their bikes from home, or taking the bus, Durham has many bus stops dotted around the city and near student accommodation. Buses are a convenient form of transport in Durham as the cost for a day student ticket can be as little as £1 on Arriva busses. Much cheaper than taking a cab!

As for travelling out of Durham – for example to Newcastle, which is one of Durham’s neighbouring bigger cities – it’s usually about £7 but students can get discounted train travel with a 16-25 railcard. It’s either £30 to buy for a year or available as a free incentive on particular student bank accounts so make sure to check that out too!

lots of dining out options in Durham


My favourite thing about going out in Durham is the cheap cinema tickets, they are approximately £6 per person! There’s also a student theatre, The Assembly Rooms that averages around the same price.

There are also plenty of restaurants that do student discounts or are generally quite cheap. A meal out could be as little as £5, but it can of course cost a little more depending on where you will be dining and what you choose to eat. A great night out can be spent in the College bars too at a reasonable cost. There are nightclubs in Durham that offer student nights which are generally cheaper.

Durham is a student-friendly town! There are plenty of shops that have student discounts accessible via Unidays or Studentbeans. I find generally the cost of living isn’t that expensive as long as you don’t overspend on non-essentials!

Find out more

About college costs and living costs in Durham.

To see what life is like as a student in Durham follow @thedurhamstudent on Instagram.

Cynthia Lawson

Hi! My name is Cynthia. I am currently a third-year undergraduate studying Criminology BA at Durham University. In Durham, each student is assigned a college and I was assigned to unarguably the best college at Durham -Collingwood!
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