Blog post

Student cost of living in Derby

Derby is one of the most affordable cities in the UK. I have visited many other cities in the UK – including London, Nottingham, Manchester and Edinburgh – and in comparison they are all more expensive than Derby.

By Ioannis Thomas-Dimakopoulos - 22 March 2019

Derby has the advantage of its location being in the centre of the UK, which means that it’s really convenient to travel to other major cities. As an international student, it’s fantastic to be able to explore the UK as quickly and easily as you can from Derby.

Groceries and much needed coffee

Derby has a wide variety of grocery shops catering to all budgets, so your weekly spend on food and household essentials won’t break the bank. Aldi, Sainsbury’s and Asda all have great offers every week, and Aldi in particular provides excellent value-for-money. Asda and Sainsbury’s offer more branded products, but they are still affordable. It’s also worth noting that there is a large Lidl store in Derby, which many international students will already be familiar with. I spend approximately 40 pounds every 10 days on groceries, which is a significant saving compared to the costs in some of the other cities I’ve visited in the UK.

Another great perk to living in Derby as a coffee lover is the number and variety of coffee shops in the city. I was very happy to see there is a Starbucks not only in the city centre but also on the University campus. This means I can enjoy a coffee between lectures or when I’m out exploring the city. My friends and I enjoy grabbing a coffee from the University then walking over to the nearby Markeaton Park to take a break from our daily routine and enjoy the beautiful scenery.


As a student I really love to socialise with my friends in Derby city centre. I particularly enjoy the many pubs, restaurants and the cinema. Two of my favourite restaurants in the city are The Wonky Table and the popular chain TGI Fridays. The most famous cinema in town is the Derby Intu Showcase Cinema De Lux which offers a student discount. One of the best pubs, in my opinion, is the Friary.

What I love about the city of Derby is the variety of places to go, and in most cases you will be able to take advantage of student discounts which is helpful for saving a bit of extra money here and there.


Having spoken to friends and fellow students, the average cost to rent a house in Derby is approximately 700 pounds a month – which includes rent, gas, electricity and water bills. Compared to other UK cities, I feel these prices are very reasonable and there are many different options such as living in student halls or house sharing. Sharing is a really good choice and many students choose this as it is much more cost effective (approximately 500 pounds a month) than living alone, and it’s also a fantastic way to meet people. The price of halls depends on the location of the halls and also the size of the room you choose, and even though they are great social environments you can still enjoy the privacy of your own space.


When tracking your expenses, you have to log your transportation costs and how much you are going to spend on the bus or trains to go to University, or just move around the city every day. The best news for University of Derby students is the UniBus. It is easily accessible from each University site and there are many stops all around Derby city, including the train station.

Even taxis and public buses are cheap in Derby, and because of its location, you will find there are many buses that travel to a variety of villages, towns and cities at a low price.

Derby can meet every student’s expectations

It’s not easy to choose a new city to live and study in far away from your home country. But researching living options and the costs of your favourite hobbies will definitely help your decision-making process. Visiting the city in advance really confirmed that I had made the right choice to join the University of Derby. My aim was to not only study at a great university, but also to find a life which would be relatively cheap, with nice places to visit outside of my studies like restaurants, cinemas, pubs, parks and shops. I do not regret for a single second choosing Derby – it has met all my expectations and I am having a great time living and studying here.

About the author

Student Ioannis on campus

Ioannis Thomas-Dimakopoulos
Business Management student

I am from Greece and I am studying Business Management at the University of Derby. I have been a student rep for my course for two consecutive years. I want to share my experiences and my thoughts as an international student so others can relate and also to encourage others not to be afraid to take on new challenges in their lives.