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Cost of living in the UK

Living in the UK, and London in particular, can be pretty expensive.

To give you an idea of what you’ll spend on an average month, we’ve included a list of approximate prices for some of your general expenses.


Average cost of accommodation in London

Flat-share rental per month

One bedroom, city centre

£500 - £1,250

One bedroom, outside city

£400 - £1,000

Three bedrooms, city centre

£725 - £2,000

Three bedrooms, outside city

£600 - £1,500

Cost of food and drink

Average weekly grocery bill


Average pub meal


Average restaurant meal

Pint of beer £3.50

Average bottle of wine in supermarket


Average meal for two in mid-priced restaurant


Cost of transportation

One-way ticket on local transport


Monthly pass


Train trip to Edinburgh

£125 (standard single, off-peak)

Train trip to Cambridge / Brighton

£21.20 (standard single, off peak)

Avg mid-sized car rental for a weekend

£150 (budget carrier)

Return budget flight to Spain

£78 (standard class)

Eurostar return ticket to Paris

£100 (standard class)

Return flight to Ireland

£125 (economy)

Cost of entertainment



Monthly gym membership


West End Theatre


Club/Pub Entry


International live music/concerts



Money tips

London is known as one of the most expensive cities in the world. For an average day, we recommend you budget at least £50.00 for basic survival, which includes a dorm room, a one-day travel card and food. A bit of sightseeing or a night out could easily add £30.00 to this. If you are looking to stay in a modest hotel and eat restaurant meals you should budget upwards of £90.00 a day. Out of London, costs do drop quite quickly, especially if you have a transport pass and are able to cook your own meals.


If you eat in a British restaurant, a tip of at least 10% is seen as standard, unless the service was unsatisfactory. Waitrons are generally paid minimum wage, with much of their income coming from tips. Some restaurants include a service charge on the bill, especially with larger dining groups, in which case leaving a tip is unnecessary. It is standard to tip hairdressers’ assistants if you are especially pleased with their service. Tipping is always at your discretion – there is no need to leave a tip if you’ve simply had a pint poured at a pub, but the 10% recommendation stands at more upmarket cocktail bars.


News for all our 1st Contact clients

1st Contact is rebranding to Sable International.

For the last year we've been merging with our big brother, Sable International. In 2021, we're going to complete the rebrand.

The accountants, brokers, advisors and caseworkers that you are used to dealing with will not be going anywhere as the entire 1st Contact team will be in the same roles at Sable International. You'll still get that same great service, just under a new name.

We'll be keeping you in the loop as we prepare for the next exciting phase in this rebranding.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us directly.

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