Living in London - The Courtauld Institute of Art

Living in London

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Student Life

Living in London


Student Life

Living in London

Our Vernon Square and Somerset House buildings will be closing in light of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak – find out more here.

The Courtauld was originally located in Portman Square, Marylebone. In 1989 we moved to Somerset House, Strand, and, from January 2019, we moved to our new home at Vernon Square, King’s Cross, until 2022. This move marks the start of our exciting transformational Courtauld Connects project.

The Courtauld’s location at Vernon Square ensures that we continue to be in easy reach of all the capital’s major museums, galleries and libraries. Find out more about our new neighborhood.

Cost of living

Living in London, one of the most exciting, global cities in the world, means you have access to all manner of cuisines, cultural activities and shopping, and whilst London can be expensive, as a student you’ll have access to discounts on everything from public transport to theater tickets. It is important to budget to ensure that you have enough money to live on while you complete your studies, and your cost of living as a student will depend largely upon your lifestyle choices. Even on a limited budget you can make the most out of your time in the city.

There are a variety of resources available to help you plan your budget. Many retailers and entertainment venues will offer discounts or concession prices when you present your student ID.

International Students

International students requiring a visa to study in the UK are required to demonstrate sufficient funds to cover expenses before you arrive. Further information can be found on the UKCISA website.

You may also find it useful to take a look at the Plan your Stay section at


£220 p/w

This amount is based on the average cost of rent at Duchy House and Intercollegiate Halls. Privately rented accommodation varies considerably but will often not include the cost of utilities and will sometimes require a more extensive transport budget.

See our Student Accommodation page for more information



There are many things you can do to help reduce your food budget; shop locally, buying your groceries in a group with flatmates, and preparing your lunch yourself rather than eating out.


£15 p/w per person in shared accommodation

If you are not living in student accommodation, you will likely be responsible for paying utility costs (gas, electricity, water and phone/broadband, if applicable), though properties are sometimes advertised inclusive of utilities. If you are living in a shared house, you should ensure that every tenant’s name is on each utility bill so that liability for payment is shared.

TV Licence

£150.50 – per year

If you are living in student accommodation and plan to have a TV in your room, you will need to purchase a TV licence (however, if you are living in a shared property with a communal TV, then the cost of the TV licence can be shared). If you do not have a TV licence, you risk legal action and a fine of up to £1,000.


£23 p/w or £88.40 p/m for a Zone 1-2 Travelcard (with student discount) – 2017/8 costs

Whilst most halls of residence and teaching facilities are within walking distance, London is a large city, and you will often find yourself needing to travel around quickly. As a student you are eligible to receive 30% off the cost of public transportation throughout London. Purchasing a Travelcard means that you can travel as often as you like within the zones for which you have purchased your Travelcard. If you do not plan to travel afield often, it may be more cost-effective to pay as you go and top up when travel is necessary.

Books, Supplies & Photocopying

£165 p/a as needed; £4 p/w for photocopying

The books and supplies you will need vary based on your course of study and any items you require for your research. The Courtauld is usually able to supply plastic folders for essay submissions.

Field Trips

 £250 p/a

Cost varies depending on the course and destinations. First-year BA students are not normally taken on trips abroad. The Courtauld provides a travel grant which contributes toward the cost of flights and accommodation.

Transportation Discounts

As a full-time student, you are eligible to receive discounted travel from Transport for London and National Rail.

You may apply for your 18+ Oyster photocard online ( You’ll receive it in the post once your application is approved both by TFL and Student and Academic services.

You may also apply for your 16-25 Railcard, which entitles you to discounted train travel outside London, online or by picking up an application from a National Rail station. If you are over 25 and a full-time student, you are still eligible for this card, but you will need to bring a hard copy of the application form to us for certification.

You should not apply for student rail/Oyster cards  until after you enrol, as your application cannot be approved until you begin your studies.

Other Useful Information

If you wish to open a student bank account, you will need a letter from us to confirm your student status.  You may request this letter only at enrolment or later.

If you do not live in student accommodation, in order to claim your Council Tax exemption you will need to provide a letter to your local council stating that you are a full-time student. If you fail to provide this letter to your local authority, you may face legal action. You may request this letter only at enrolment or later.

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