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Living Costs

Living costs are typically much lower in the North of England than they are in the South, however, your own budget will depend on your lifestyle. 

Below we’ve included some key expenses with some example costs to give you an idea of how much money you will need. 


Both Durham City and Queen’s Campus are compact enough to walk or bike around. To assist all staff and students, the University now has in place an arrangement with Arriva to allow unlimited travel throughout the day on any of their bus services within the Durham District Zone for just £1.50 per day. Please show a valid campus ID card to gain the discounted £1 ticket. Further details and additional ticket options are available on the Arriva website.

Students can also get discounted train travel with a 16-25 railcard, which can be purchased for £30. The rail fare between Durham City and Newcastle is around £6.00. Discounts are also available on other destinations including London, Manchester, Liverpool, and Edinburgh. 


Remember that there is no need to go out and buy every book on your reading list. There will be copies of all course books in the library. If you really want to have your own copy of the books, look out for cheaper second-hand versions on Amazon/eBay or from previous students selling their books. 


Depending on the college you are allocated to, you may be either fully catered (meals are provided in college every day) or self-catered (you must prepare all of your own meals). To help students, we currently offer free breakfast clubs and a surplus food initiative. Please see our cost of living hub.

Private housing costs 

Rent costs vary depending on where you live, how many people you share with and whether your bills are included. More information on private accommodation.

Keeping in touch 

A mobile phone contract typically costs between £10 and £50 a month depending on what type of phone you opt for and how many minutes and texts you need. 

If you have a smartphone, you can use WhatsApp, Skype, and Viber to keep in touch with friends and family for free as long as you have a Wi-Fi connection. 


Here are some typical costs of popular leisure activities: 

  • Cinema tickets – from £5 (at the Gala Theatre) 
  • Durham Student Theatre – Tickets for students approx. £6 
  • Local attractions: Durham Castle, free for Durham University students; Cathedral, free; Botanic Gardens, free for Durham University students; Oriental Museum, free for Durham University students. 
  • Meal out – students can dine for as little as £5-10 with student discounts in local restaurants and bars. For a standard meal out expect to pay between £5-10 for a starter, £10-15 for the main course, and around £5 for a dessert. 
  • Lane 7 Bowling - approximately £7 with a valid NUS card


Durham University makes every effort to ensure that the information published on this page is accurate. However, the University cannot guarantee the information may not be altered owing to circumstances beyond the University’s reasonable control. Such circumstances include (but are not limited to) change in Government policy, or change of law. Any changes will be incorporated into the University’s website as early as possible.