Going Higher: Resort to areas far from the tourist traps

While Wales and the south-west are cheaper than London, some towns can still be costly because of the holiday market. If you are on a budget, consider studying in a more remote area

WALES IS a cheaper area for students to live than London or the south east of England, although not perhaps as economical as the north.

The south-west of England, while cheaper than the south-east, is more expensive than Wales and there are also marked differences depending on the particular location of the university city.

Exeter and Plymouth are likely to be slightly more expensive than the Welsh universities and, because it is a holiday and retirement centre, Exeter is the most expensive of them all.

Living costs in Swansea and Cardiff are comparable.

Students are able to live in areas close to the university and do not have significant day-to-day travelling costs. But the nearer to campus the accommodation, the higher rents are likely to be.

Private rents in Exeter are slightly higher because of the holiday market.

In the past 10 years the university has invested pounds 30m in student accommodation. Today it has some 4,500 beds catering for about half the student population. In the last academic year the weekly rent for a standard room in a hall of residence was pounds 79.45, including meals.

An en-suite room without meals costs pounds 65.45 and a standard self-catering room costs up to pounds 49 per week.

Rents for private rooms in the city vary between about pounds 43 and pounds 46 a week. These prices put Exeter near the top of the "most expensive university accommodation" league table. For comparable figures for the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, halls of residence for standard single self-catering accommodation are pounds 37.68 to pounds 47.67 a week, while en-suite accommodation comes in at between pounds 47.11 and pounds 54.60. Catered accommodation works out at pounds 62.37 a week.

A standard university room at Bangor costs up to pounds 38.50; an en-suite pounds 45.42.

Catered en-suite accommodation at Bangor costs pounds 61.13. Standard catered accommodation at Swansea ranges from pounds 51.75 to pounds 66.40.

The range in Cardiff is from pounds 54 for a standard catered room to pounds 62 for en-suite. For a room in a rented house in Swansea, expect to pay between pounds 35 to pounds 39 per week.

The average private rent in Bangor is pounds 38, in Cardiff pounds 40, in Lampeter pounds 35, in the University of Glamorgan pounds 35, in Aberystwyth pounds 40 and in Plymouth pounds 38.

Whereas drinking on campus is reasonably cheap everywhere, eating out in Exeter is quite expensive. Popular eating places for students include the American Diner, for US and Mexican food, Herbie's for cheap vegetarian food, and On the Waterfront.

In Bangor, the students' union runs three cheapish catering outlets, a stationery and confectionery shop, a travel shop and a second-hand bookshop. The university's Ceris Diner is used by students from the halls of residence.

The town has a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant, three or four Indian restaurants, several Chinese take-aways and kebab houses, a pizza shop and four chip shops.

There is also a popular Lebanese restaurant, the Baalbek. Student bars include Jock's bar, the Main Bar and the Ffriddoedd bar.

Aberystwyth is a fairly cheap place to live, partly because there are not many opportunities to spend a lot of money.

There are quite a few secondhand shops. Ystwyth Books sells new and used books. Stewart's Seconds sells second-hand clothes. The Subway sells retro- style clothes from the Seventies and Eighties.

Popular student eateries include the Agra, the Pier Tandoori, Little Italy, Gannets bistro and Piper's Corner. Pantri Tangwen, a deli and eat- in cafe, is also popular with students. There are also several excellent Chinese take-aways, and cheap "pub grub" is to be found in The Glen and Lord Beechings pubs.

The Istanbul Kebab is also popular with the city's students.

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