By Théa Dubois – last updated on 20th April 2024

Table of Contents

  1. Universities in Leeds
  2. Accommodation for International Students in Leeds
  3. Cost of Living for International Students in Leeds
  4. Leisure and Culture
  5. Transport Options
  6. Why Choose Leeds for Your Studies?

Nestled in the heart of northern England and 30 miles from the UK’s second city, Manchester, Leeds is a vibrant and diverse city revered for its excellent universities, attractions, shops, and nightlife. Leeds holds a magnetic allure for international students considering studying in the UK, from historic quarters and modern neighbourhoods pulsating with energy and culture to its world-renowned universities and student accommodations, providing prospective international students with the opportunity to immerse themselves both culturally and academically.

Check out our student’s guide to Leeds for an in-depth look at the many activities awaiting you in Leeds.

Universities in Leeds

Known for its excellent universities, Leeds attracts students from across the world to attend their courses, offering unparalleled teaching and quality research, making it the ideal place for international students. Many of the universities also offer scholarships specifically for international students, providing great incentives to study there!

Find out how many universities there are in Leeds here to get a comprehensive overview of the different colleges available in Leeds.

University of Leeds

University of Leeds exterior shot on a cloudy day.

Founded in 1904, the University of Leeds stands out as a beacon of academic excellence as a Russell      Group university. It is a globally recognised institution in the UK for its pioneering research initiatives. The university offers an array of subjects spanning engineering, business, humanities, and sciences at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, providing a dynamic learning environment tailored to the needs of students worldwide.

As of 2024, the University of Leeds has:

Leeds Beckett University

Leeds Beckett University exterior shot, showing its lawn and building on a cloudy day

Established in 1824, the Leeds Beckett University was formerly known as Leeds Polytechnic, and focuses on student employability in popular subjects for international students like business, law, and the arts.

As of 2024, Leeds Beckett University has:

Leeds Trinity University

Leeds Trinity University exterior shot on a sunny day with students walking past

Established in 1966, Leeds Trinity University is a small, friendly university offering courses at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. Their tight community provides the perfect environment for those wishing to make friends easily at university away from home. The university specialises in the liberal arts and humanities.

As of 2024, Leeds Trinity University has:

Leeds Arts University

Leeds Art University exterior shot at night time.

Although Leeds Arts University is small, it has a huge global reach with university partners around the world. With a range of subjects, from fine art, fashion, and illustration to graphic design and photography, this university is perfect for those wishing to study art internationally.

As of 2024, Leeds Arts University has:

Accommodation for international students in Leeds

The positives of Leeds as a city for international students is that it offers a diverse range of student accommodation options at a relatively low price compared to London. Renting in the city is a great opportunity for international students as it allows you to immerse yourself in Leeds as if you were a local, while still being near to your university campus facilities. Additionally, renting in the city provides more flexibility and independence.

Areas such as Meanwood, Headingley and Woodhouse are popular among international students, as they boast vibrant communities filled with culture and situated within proximity to the University of Leeds.


Meanwood is located north-east of Leeds’ city centre and is home to a mix of students, families, and young professionals. Attracting people from all areas of life and providing just the right amount of excitement and tranquillity, it was initially established as a small village boasting wonderful green areas and has since expanded into a larger community that still holds its charm today. This is a great area for those wanting a quiet lifestyle amid the chaos of moving abroad.

  • Great for a village-like feel, long walks, and amazing eats.
  • A 15-minute bike from the University of Leeds.
  • Contains unique restaurants and stores, as well as the Meanwood Valley Farm which would make a great place to visit to immerse yourself in the village life.


Headingly cricket ground on a match day with audience on a cloudy day.

Headingley is the number one spot for students due to its affordable housing and culturally rich environment, as well as its proximity to higher education institutions. Headingley also has, in many students’ opinions, the best British Sunday roast at Man V Roast to truly immerse yourself in British culture. If you’re looking for a suburban feel while still hoping to be near university, this is the best area for you.

  • Great for cultural immersion, local food, suburban feel
  • A 9-minute bike to the University of Leeds.
  • Boasts several local restaurants, bars, and trendy outlets.
  • Near Hyde Park, which is a very multicultural part of Leeds, containing Muslim and Hindu communities.

Woodhouse and City Centre

Woodhouse area in Leeds, pictured on a sunny day.

The area of Woodhouse is home to the University of Leeds and is a short walk from the city centre, making it the ideal place for international students wanting to experience both city living and university      life.

  • Great for city living and green spaces to play sports.
  • A 2-minute walk from the University of Leeds.
  • The highlight of Woodhouse would be Woodhouse Moor, where students often go to enjoy vast greenery in the summer.
  • Extremely student-friendly with discounts at local pubs and shops.

Study Inn Brotherton House

Study Inn Sapphire student studio in Leeds, featuring a student drinking a coffee in her room.

If you do decide to study in Leeds, private student accommodation is often cheaper and provides a lot of useful services that can help you feel more at home while away from home. Our student accommodation at Study Inn, located in the city centre, even provides additional facilities such as a gym, a spa, and a bowling alley to unwind after a long day of lectures and seminars!

  • Offers a range of studios and en-suite rooms 
  • Located in the city centre, it is surrounded by restaurants and parks
  • 11 minute walk from University of Leeds
  • 10 minute walk from Leeds Beckett University 

Brotherton House welcomes students from more than 35 countries every academic year, fostering a richly diverse and truly international community within its accommodation.

Cost of living for international students in Leeds

Leeds is a great city for international student living due to its abundance of activities, universities, and services, while still maintaining a decent cost of living compared to cities like London. Did you know that as of 2024, Leeds is 22.6% less expensive than London? The estimated living costs for a single person (minus rent) is around £780. One sure way to lower your expenses as a student is to limit eating out, as well as to take advantage of student discounts on bus and train fares.

ItemMonthly Cost (GBP)London Average (GBP)
Eating Out£468£500

Leisure and culture

Studying in Leeds offers an abundance of exciting activities catering to the diverse interests of international students, from its eclectic culinary scene featuring Asian, European, and Middle Eastern cuisines that students can find comfort in while away from home, to the ample shopping and event spaces around the city.

Headrow House

Good for: Drinking, celebrating, and partying.

What is it: An event space, restaurant, roof terrace and bar, Headrow House is a space for fun that changes weekly. Enjoy a variety of entertainment from comedy nights to concerts at a student friendly budget, ranging from £5 to free! If you’re feeling peckish, you can head over to the Ox Club, an award-winning grill restaurant. Overall, this is the perfect spot to get your culture fix!

Trinity Shopping Centre

Trinity Shopping Centre in Leeds, interior shot on a busy day with lots of visitors walking past.

Good for: shopping, a day out with friends.

What is it: The go to retail and entertainment area in Leeds, boasting over 120 national and international brands that will provide you with the ultimate retail therapy when you’re feeling home sick. If you’re not feeling another shopping spree, the centre also has a cinema and a range of bars and restaurants! And if you’re cutting down on your spending entirely, it’s not abnormal for university students to just roam around the mall and talk while window shopping.

The Otley Run

Good for: Drinking and participating in British culture.

What is it: The Otley Run is a fantastic way to discover some of Leed’s most popular areas while bonding with your new friends. The event usually starts during fresher’s week, which is in the first week of term and thus the best time to pop some beers with your new university mates! Starting in Headingley, you can work your way past the University of Leeds before finding yourself in the city centre, where you would have walked past countless pubs and shops. Leeds students will say this is an essential experience for those seeking to immerse themselves in British culture while studying abroad.

Transport options

As an international student studying in the UK, transporting yourself to and from university in a foreign city can be daunting, but worry not, for we have outlined the most convenient ways to travel in Leeds! There are several transport options such as buses, trains, and shuttles which will make your journey to university that much easier. Moreover, Leeds Beckett University has a unique offer where you can park on their Headingley campus and get a free university shuttle to their city campus.

UniversityClosest StationWalking duration
University Of LeedsLeeds Railway Station20 Mins
Leeds Beckett UniversityLeeds Railway Station15 Mins
Leeds Trinity UniversityHorsforth Train Station18 Mins
Leeds Art UniversityLeeds Railway Station11 Mins

Each station is connected by a bus route and has access links to the rest of the UK by train.

Getting to Leeds

  • Train: Leeds Railway Station is a large, well linked railway with links to Manchester (49 m), London (2h16m) or Birmingham (1h57m).
  • Air: Leeds Bradford airport is just 9 miles from the centre, and you can either drive to the airport or use the A1 shuttle bus. The airport has direct flights to most countries in Europe such as France, Netherlands, Turkey and Germany. If you need to fly internationally, Leeds is also close to Manchester International Airport and well linked by train.
  • Car: Leeds is uniquely located with drive times ranging from 3h30m to London, 4h10m to Edinburgh, and 1h from Manchester or Sheffield.

Why choose Leeds for your studies?

Leeds is the perfect city for international students due to its numerous universities, boasting exceptional rankings and opportunities for students. Besides its amazing universities, the city also offers fun and unique experiences, ranging from amazing international cuisines to immersive experiences to take part in and make lifelong friends abroad! Despite being a large city in the UK, Leeds’ cost of living provides a more affordable student lifestyle compared to London and has amazing transport links allowing you to explore the rest of the UK while you’re here.

Ready to experience the best of international student living in Leeds? Contact Study Inn today for inquiries or to book a viewing.