London vs Birmingham: Which is Best Student City?

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London vs Birmingham

London and Birmingham are two of the UK’s most sought-after cities for international students. Ranking 1st and 7th respectively in the QS Top 10 Best Student Cities in the UK, both London and Birmingham have so much more to offer than just quality education and a comfortable lifestyle to cherish for a lifetime. London, the capital city of the United Kingdom, or the Big Smoke, is known worldwide for its famous world-class universities, nightlife, diversity, art, culture, and being the hub of budding/growing businesses. On the other hand, Birmingham is one of the most desirable and peaceful places in the UK to live in. The city has a lively economy, affordable cost of living than London, a student-friendly atmosphere, and is home to Cadbury World. Confused about where to pursue your higher education in London vs Birmingham? Here’s a blog to erase all your confusion regarding where to study in the UK between London vs Birmingham in 2023. 

London vs Manchester – Which is the Best Student City?

Cost of Living in London vs Birmingham

To begin with, what can be the cost of living for an international student in London vs Birmingham? Listed below are the average costs (as of the moment) of the general required services available in both cities.

ExpensesCost of Living in LondonCost of Living in Birmingham
Single Bedroom 
Apartment Rent (City Centre, Outside Centre)
£1,696.94 (₹1.73 Lacs),  
£1,291.64 (₹ 1.32 Lacs)
£739.00 (₹75,676), 
£567.20 (₹58,083)
Utilities (Basic + Internet)£220.1 (₹22,528) £184.03 (₹18,845)
Sports and Leisure £70.28 (₹ 7,196)£47.51 (₹4,865)
Taxi Tariff (1 Km)£1.70 (₹ 174)£1.12 (₹114)
One-Way Ticket£2.80 (₹ 286)£2.40 (₹245)
Inexpensive Meal (for 1)£15.00 (₹1,536)£10.00 (₹1,024)
*The data is taken from

Conclusion: Based on the above table, an international student would need around £3,088 per year (₹3.16 Lacs) to maintain a standard of living in Birmingham while in London it’s about £4,800.00 per year (₹4.91 Lacs).

Get to know about the Cost of Studying in the UK!

Top Universities in London & Birmingham 

How can we forget to compare the top universities that these two cities house? There are around 40 universities in London that provide courses in a variety of fields of study. Undergraduate, postgraduate, and foundational courses are being offered at these universities that are of excellent quality along with numerous universities receiving gold awards for teaching excellence. The city of London is home to some of the best universities out there including:

  1. University College London (UCL)
  2. Imperial College London
  3. Queen Mary University 
  4. SOAS – School of Oriental and African Studies
  5. University of London
  6. Queen Mary University of London
  7. King’s College London (KCL)
  8. Brunel University
  9. Birkbeck College
  10. The Royal Holloway University of London

Note: The average annual cost of studying in London is estimated to be at least £17,000 per semester (₹17.5 Lacs).

On the contrary, the standard of education and teaching in Birmingham is considered to be one of the best in the world. Hence, if students pursue higher studies from universities in the UK especially those situated in Birmingham, it’ll help them to find a suitable career and future for themselves. Birmingham has become a popular study-abroad destination for its low cost of living and is the safest city in the UK. It is the second-largest city in the UK and home to some of the top universities in the country, including:

  1. University of Birmingham
  2. Aston University
  3. Birmingham City University
  4. Newman University
  5. University College Birmingham
Courtesy: Atousa

Note: The average annual cost of studying in Birmingham is estimated to be about £13,200 per semester (₹ 13.6 Lacs). 

Student Life in London vs Birmingham 

London is a cultural hub, with a variety of activities you can undertake, including silent art exhibitions, active rock climbing activities, and so much more. The city has restaurants that are open 24/7 and its transport system is a gem of the city, with an underground train system (known as the Tube) and buses running across the entirety of London. Did you know that only 57% of Londoners are British by birth? The rich international environment includes people from other countries and cultures such as France, India, China, Turkey, Brazil, the United States, Poland, and more. London is for sure the perfect place to establish a global network of friends or future business partners.

Having said that, studying in Birmingham is quite an enriching experience for students. From its rich lifestyle to unique world heritage sites, cheap transportation facilities and incredible food alternatives, life in the city are enjoyable and affordable. 

Did you know that around 40% of Birmingham’s residents belong to an ethnic community, like Irish, Indian, Chinese, Pakistani and Arabs? 

Career in London vs Birmingham 

London’s great international business and commerce-friendly environment attracts businesses from all over the world, providing exceptional career opportunities for your future. These include banks, media companies, publishers and various other businesses out to hire new employees. Renowned companies include some of the top leading brands like BBC, Marks & Spencer, Calvin Klein, Coca-Cola Enterprises, HSBC Bank, Paramount, Porsche, etc. Universities themselves advertise internships in some of the top international companies and MNCs. Employees in London have an average salary package of around £39k per annum (₹39.93 Lacs). The city has great prospects for a substantial pay rise in the future as the average salary in London is almost 53% higher than graduate salaries.

On the other hand, several employment opportunities are available in the service sector, education and health, financial and other sectors in Birmingham city. Local universities have strong collaborations with local business partners which offer students the possibility for internships or full-time work opportunities after graduation. The average salary package in Birmingham is around £30k per annum (₹30.7 Lacs). Some of the home-based and multinational companies in Birmingham include Severn Trent, IMI, Jaguar Land Rover, AT&T, O’Neal Steel and more. 

Explore the Top High Paying Jobs in UK and Part-Time Jobs in UK for International Students!

Famous Tourist Attractions

If you think that this blog on London vs Birmingham is only about education, universities and student life, then here’s a bonus section for you all. If you’re thinking of roaming around London on a day off and visiting some spectacular places, you’re in luck. London is home to some of the most beautiful tourist attractions like:

  • The Big Ben
  • London Eye
  • Buckingham Palace
  • St. Paul’s Cathedral
  • British Museum 
  • Tower of London
  • SEALIFE London
  • Warner Bros. Studio Tour of Harry Potter, and more! 

London also has a hop-on-hop-off bus tour service, which will take you to some of the city’s greatest attractions, accompanied by a live or audio guide. 

If you think that London is the only famous tourist attraction in the UK, then it’s high time to explore Birmingham city too. Birmingham is a great place to begin exploring the Cotswold and Malvern Hills area. Its canals, built as a byproduct of the Industrial Revolution and responsible for the city’s success, serve as an extensive network for pleasure boating. The city has more canals than Venice. If you’re an alien international student in the midst of the city of Birmingham, don’t forget to explore and visit the following:

  • Victoria Square
  • Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery
  • Birmingham Botanical Garden
  • Thinktank, Birmingham Science Museum 
  • National SEA LIFE Center
  • Jewellery Quarter
  • St. Philip’s Cathedral

Study in UK’s Beach Towns and Breezy Cities!

1. Where is better to live London or Birmingham?

London offers better career opportunities and a lower unemployment rate. London has a lower crime rate than Birmingham. The weather in Birmingham and London is similar. Both cities have well-known sites that let you engage in a variety of activities.

2. Is it cheaper to live in Birmingham or London?

Birmingham and London Cost of Living Comparison
If you rent in both locations, you would need about 5,987.8 pounds in London to maintain the same standard of living as you could with 3,600.0 pounds in Birmingham.

3. Is Birmingham more expensive than London?

Does Birmingham cost more than London does? In general, the cost of living in London is higher than it is in Birmingham. But compared to Birmingham, London’s earnings are noticeably greater. Due to the high expense of living, the majority of people who work in London live in suburban locations close to the city.

Whether you study in London or Birmingham, both the cities have their pros and cons. While Birmingham is undoubtedly more affordable than London, the latter holds a unique reputation and worldwide recognition. But, both cities provide top-quality education and thriving student life. Confused about which city to choose London vs Birmingham? Connect with our experts at Leverage Edu and kickstart your study abroad journey. Call us at 1800572000 to book your FREE counselling session today. 

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1 comment
  1. Thank you for sharing us. Birmingham is the best place for students. Is there lots od students accommodation, eating places and many more things.

  1. Thank you for sharing us. Birmingham is the best place for students. Is there lots od students accommodation, eating places and many more things.