Going Higher: Cheap as chips - or a Bradford curry

Mushy peas and stotties are not the only thing on the cut-price menu. There is well-placed accommodation, good public transport and the cheapest beer in the UK

A MAJOR reason why so many students flock to the north of England is that the cost of living is lower than it is in the south.

The most expensive item in any student's budget is accommodation and some simple comparisons - from the 1998 Virgin Alternative Guide - make the point clearly.

At King's College, London, prestigious and very central on the Strand, a place in hall will cost between pounds 38 and pounds 110 a week, depending on what meals are provided. Private rents in flats and houses accessible for King's, and that certainly does not mean in classy locations, range from pounds 60 to pounds 80 a week.

Even out on the outer fringes of London, where many of the former polytechnics are located, university housing will set you back up to pounds 60 a week and a room in private accommodation much the same.

Hall costs do not vary enormously around the country but private rents undoubtedly do. And with most students spending one or two years in the private rented sector, that can make a significant difference to over all costs. At the University of Manchester, a place in hall costs between pounds 35 a week and pounds 66, according to what is provided, and private rents are between pounds 35 and pounds 60, a considerable improvement on London.

Smaller towns can offer private accommodation at even lower rents: in Hull, Sunderland, Middlesbrough or Preston you would not expect to pay more than pounds 35, in Newcastle or Durham pounds 50 would be top whack for a privately rented room. In Bradford, reputed to be the cheapest student city in the country, a room can be had for between pounds 25 and pounds 35 a week.

With the new loans and fees regime these are differences which can be crucial to students who embark on courses with the prospect of heavy debts at the end. And the lower cost of living does not end there. In some of the larger cities like Manchester costs are slightly above the national average but in others, like Hull, Preston (University of Central Lancashire), Bradford and the northeast they are several percentage points below.

The price of a pint is a good guide and in a union bar in the north it is seldom more than pounds 1.40 and sometimes as low as pounds 1.10. The pounds 1 pint is still a not-too-distant memory in the northeast, but union bars are almost always good value and the breweries run many promotions to entice their members in.

Where the cost of living is generally low, eating out is also inexpensive. Bradford, the curry capital of England, can offer a decent meal for as little as pounds 3.50 for a main course and chappatis. Manchester, too, boasts its curry "half-mile" in Rusholme where intense competition between restaurants offers thousands of meals for under a fiver. Both Manchester and Liverpool have long-established Chinese districts were the food ranges from the cheap to the expensive but is almost always good.

You don't have to rely on local delicacies like fish and chips and stotties (don't ask!) anywhere. Even the smaller northern towns have come in to the late twentieth century and can usually offer Indian, Chinese and Italian standard fare, and cheap pizzas and hamburgers.

Only vegetarians might feel a little neglected in some of the further reaches of the region.

Public transport is often cheaper than in the south and gives relatively easy access to the mainly free recreational delights of the northern countryside, which ranges from the gentle Yorkshire Wolds to the wilder reaches of the Pennines and Lake District, while from Hull a cheap weekend can be had by indulging in a "Dutch dash" on the North Sea ferry route, with all the joys of duty free on the way there and back and Amsterdam's delights in between.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + uncapped commission: SThree: Do you have a passion...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Receptionists - Poole

    £12500 - £13520 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Located on the stunning Sandban...

    Recruitment Genius: Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30,000

    £14000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you seek a friendly workplac...

    Ashdown Group: Business Analyst - Kent - up to £33,000

    £30000 - £33000 per annum + bonus and pension: Ashdown Group: Business Analyst...

    Day In a Page

    Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

    Climate change key in Syrian conflict

    And it will trigger more war in future
    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
    Is this the way to get young people to vote?

    Getting young people to vote

    From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
    Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

    Poldark star Heida Reed

    'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
    Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

    Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

    Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
    Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
    With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

    Money, corruption and drugs

    The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
    America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

    150 years after it was outlawed...

    ... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
    Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

    You won't believe your eyes

    Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
    Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn