The Cost of Living in Cambridge, UK: What You Should Know

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Samir Badawy

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25 October, 2023

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5 mins read

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Cambridge is one of the UK’s top educational destinations thanks to major institutions such as the University of Cambridge, which ranks second worldwide according to the 2024 QS University rankings. 

The University of Cambridge alone attracts an international student population of 20,000 students from more than 140 different countries.

That said, if you have decided to study in this student city, you should carefully consider the cost of living in Cambridge, UK.


About Cambridge

Cambridge is a British city located in the county of Cambridgeshire. Its best known for the vast number of historic campuses covering the city. The University of Cambridge alone has 31 colleges, of which 29 are available for international students. The city’s vast number of campuses, many of which are considered landmarks in the city, gives the city its reputation as a university city.

This institution is also often compared and rivalled with Oxford University, as you can see in our guide, “Oxford vs Cambridge University: Which One to Choose?

Other universities in Cambridge include Anglia Ruskin University, which ranks 501–550 based on subject rank in QS’s Subject Rankings of 2023, as well as the Cambridge Theological Federation and the Cambridge School of Visual & Performing Arts.

The city is located on the banks of the River Cam and was originally heavily involved in the fording trade. It is often known as “the only true university town in England” since the university buildings and campuses, which carry a lot of history, adorn the city’s streets and are luxurious in architecture.

University campuses, however, are not the only landmarks in Cambridge, as the city has Roman landmarks, historic religious sites, historic markets, gardens, and various museums and galleries. These landmarks include Castle Hill, where an old fort used to stand, King's College Chapel, Jesus Green, and Kettle's Yard.

Cambridge is also home to iconic religious sites such as the Great St. Mary's, a church, a historic Market Square, iconic roads such as Mill Road, and beautiful bridges, such as the Bridge of Sighs and the Mathematical Bridge.

The city also has various canals, also called Lodes, which connect the River Cam to the Great Ouse. Some of the architectural styles found in the city include Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Neoclassical, NeoGothic, and modern buildings, all of which give the city its unique nature.


Cost of Living Cambridge, UK

Compared to the United Kingdom’s capital, London, regarding the cost of living in Cambridge, the UK government suggests having at least £1,334 to study in London, whereas, for other cities such as Cambridge, you should have at least £1,023 monthly, all within a period of nine months. To live comfortably in Cambridge, a minimum of £14,600 per month is required.

Other than government financial requirements, Cambridge is 15.5% more affordable than London in terms of consumer prices and 39.3% more affordable than the capital in terms of rent. Listed below are the main costs of living in Cambridge, UK.

Please note that the cost of living in Cambridge can vary depending on various factors, such as inflation, lifestyle choices, and spending habits. The average cost of living figures mentioned below are estimates based on compiled data.



Student accommodation

£114 to £227 per week

One-bedroom apartments in City Centre 

£1,150 to  £1,500 per month

One-bedroom apartments outside City Centre 

£840 to £1,250 per month 

Utilities (Basic Utilities+Wi-Fi+Mobile)

£256 per month on average

Monthly Bus Travel

£50.50 (PlusBus monthly ticket)

Meal at Normal Restaurant

£15 per meal, on average

How Much Does Food Cost in Cambridge, UK?

No cost of living in Cambridge guide would be complete without a list of basic food prices for extra perspective regarding your living expenses. Some of the food costs in Cambridge include the following:


Cost (Average)

Milk 1L

£1.17 (on average)

White Bread Loaf (0.5 kg)

£1.43 (on average)

Rice (1 kg)

£1.56 (on average)

Eggs (12 Pack)

£2.70 (on average)

Domestic Cheese (1 kg)

£6.97 (on average)

Chicken Fillets (1 kg)

£7.15 (on average)

Beef (1Kg)

£5 to £20

Tomato (1 Kg)

£2.65 (on average)

Potato (1 Kg)

£1.1 (on average)

Onion (1 kg)

£1 (on average)

Lettuce (per lettuce head)

£0.2 (on average)


Studying in Cambridge, UK: Tuition Fees

The following tuition fees are as of 2023-2024:

University of Cambridge

 Degree Level

  Tuition Fees

Home Students (First Undergraduate Degree)

£9,250 Per year 

Home Students (Second Undergraduate Degree)

 £9,250 to £11,670  Per year 

International students (Undergraduate Degree)

£24,507 to £63,990  Per year 

Master’s (Domestic)

£9,858 to £61,000  Per year 

Master’s (International)

£24,789 to £61,000  Per year 

Anglia Ruskin

The following tuition fees are as of 2023-2024:

 Degree Level

  Tuition Fees

Home Students (First Undergraduate Degree)

£9,250 Per year 

International students (Undergraduate Degree)

 Starting from £15,000 Per year 

Full-time Postgraduate (Domestic)

From £8,800 to £18,100 Per year  

Full-time Postgraduate (International)

From £15,000 to £18,100 Per year 


How to Save Money in Cambridge, UK

Affordable Casita Cambridge Student Accommodation Options

When looking at ways to save money in Cambridge, PBSAs can greatly minimise your rental costs, as these student housing units are usually much more affordable than private options. PBSAs also typically have all bills included, so you will not be required to pay any utility fees, which may be the case for private accommodation options.

Another benefit of dealing with PBSAs is that you will be among other students and have access to more amenities compared to private options such as lounges, study areas, gyms, cinema rooms, and many more facilities that differ depending on the buildings.

Currently, the most affordable options in Cambridge are:

The Railyard

The Railyard is currently the most affordable Cambridge student accommodation, with a starting price of £210 per week (subject to change). The room types available at this Cambridge student accommodation include en-suite rooms, studio rooms, and two-bedroom apartments.

Some of The Railyard’s features include a communal game room to keep you entertained, contents insurance and all bills included, a laundry facility, and an on-site gym, among other useful features.

Student Castle Cambridge

Student Castle Cambridge is a Cambridge student accommodation with a starting price of £293 per week for its studios. Its options include en-suite rooms, studios, and twin rooms, and it is only an 18-minute walk from the Cambridge city centre.

Some of the amenities and services offered at the student accommodation in Cambridge include all bills included, an on-site gym, social areas, contents insurance, and much more.


Most Affordable Transport in Cambridge

Cambridge is well-connected in terms of public transport and is also walkable and bike-friendly. If you would like to save money and move around freely, then your best options would be the following:


Cambridge is deemed a “Walker’s Paradise”, and has been given a walkability score of 94/100, meaning that you wouldn’t have to rely much on a car. Walking is not only eco-friendly but also an enjoyable way to move around, as you get to marvel at the beautiful structures decorating Cambridge’s cities.


Cycling is another affordable way to move around the city and also has various beautiful bike paths that provide scenic views, such as the Cambridge to Waterbeach bike route and the Cambridge to St. Ives bike route, among others. 

You can choose to either buy your own bike, which will save you money in the long term, or use a bike-sharing service. A second-hand bike could cost you as little as £50 or less, depending on the bike’s condition.


Most of our properties have various bus stops within a 10-minute walking distance. Commuting via buses is also cost-effective, as bus providers offer bundles that can limit your daily commute spending to as little as £2.5 a day. One of those bundles is the PlusBus monthly bus ticket, which costs £50.50, rounding up to £2.52 per day, or £534.50 annually, which will cost £2.22 per day.


Cambridge is a wonderful city to study in; it offers world-class education and showcases marvellous structures and stunning campuses. It does, however, come at a cost that is manageable. 

All you’ll need to do is find affordable and all-inclusive accommodation, budget your expenses, and use the bus or bicycle to move around. You can also lower your cost of living in the UK by following the tips mentioned in the Tips to Reduce the Cost of Living in the UK guide.

Besides getting to know the costs of living in Cambridge, you could also make use of our other UK-related guides, such as Explaining the UK Grading System and A Student Guide to UK Intakes.


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Frequently Asked Questions

What salary do you need to live in Cambridge?

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It is reported that in order to live comfortably in Cambridge, you would need a salary of £35,000 per year or a £19.81 hourly wage.

Is it cheap to live in Cambridge?

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According to Varsity magazine, Cambridge is the second-most expensive city after the UK capital in terms of private rent.

Is Cambridge cheaper than London?

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Cambridge is 39.3% cheaper than London in terms of rent and 15.5% cheaper than London in terms of consumer prices.