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The Cost of Living in London

To live in London is to live in one of the most diverse, vibrant, and interesting cities on the planet – but all this comes at a cost. Join us as we investigate how much it will cost you to live in this world-class city.

The Cost of Living in London

London is not short of enticing reputations: diversity, pubs, jobs, royalty, history, sport, theatre, tourism, parks, jellied eels – OK, we’ll let you judge the eels for yourself. But there’s one less favourable reputation that practically rolls off the tongue when anyone is asked what they think about this world-class city: expensive.

They have a point – it costs up to 58% more to live in London compared to the rest of the UK – but it might surprise you to know that the UK capital doesn’t make the list of top 10 most expensive cities to live in in the world. According to the Mercer Cost of Living Survey 2021, the dearest destinations are Ashgabat, Hong Kong, Beirut, Tokyo, Zurich, Shanghai, Singapore, Geneva, Beijing, and Bern.

Perhaps London is more affordable than you originally thought. To help you understand how far your money will go when you get there let’s investigate the cost of living in London.

What is the annual average cost of living in London?

  • The average cost of living in London for a single person is £2,892 per month, compared to the UK average of around £2,000.
  • For a family of four, the average cost of living in London is £4,850 per month, compared to the UK average of around £3,500.

Some of the typical costs you can expect to pay in London include:

  • Rent: £2,219 per month
  • Internet 8 mbps (1 month): £23
  • Utilities 1 month (heating, electricity, gas etc.) for 2 people in 85m2 flat: £145
  • Dinner for two in a neighbourhood pub: £38
  • 1 pint of beer in a neighbourhood pub: £5.63
  • 2 theatre tickets (depending on type of seat): £40 – £188

Transport costs

Let’s drill a little deeper into public transport costs because these can mount up if you’re not up to speed with all the options available to you – and there are plenty. London is a big place, so getting from A to B – especially if B is in the centre of town for work – typically involves jumping on some form of public transport almost every day. So, how much will it cost?

London Underground

The iconic London Underground – known to locals as ‘the tube’ – provides the main transport arteries for the city. Remember, the tube is now cashless, so you will need a form of contactless payment.

Zones Travelled Single Journey Ticket Oyster / Contactless Payment Card
Adult Child† Peak Off-peak
Zone 1 £5.50 £2.70 £2.40 £2.40
Zone 1 & 2 £5.50 £2.70 £3.00 £3.00
Zone 1 to 3 £5.50 £2.70 £3.40 £2.80
Zone 1 to 4 £6.00 £3.00 £4.00 £2.90
Zone 1 to 5 £6.00 £3.00 £4.80 £3.20
Zone 1 to 6 £6.00 £3.00 £5.30 £3.30
Zone 2 to 6 £6.00 £3.00 £5.30 £3.30


Children’s fares (age 11 to 15 years) for any trip within zones 1 to 6 are £0.75 off-peak, £0.85 peak.

Peak fares apply Monday to Friday between 6.30am and 9.30am and 4pm to 7pm, except public holidays.

London Overground

The London Overground system is a suburban rail network that compliments the tube.

London Overground rail fares cost the same as Underground prices on contactless payment, as the service also uses the TfL zone price range. Peak times on the Overground are also the same.

Docklands Light Railway

The Docklands Light Railway (DLR) is an automated light metro system. Opened in 1987, it serves the redeveloped Docklands area of east London – great for anyone working in Canary Wharf. DLR fares also cost the same as Underground prices on contactless payment.


London’s double-decker red buses are one of London’s most iconic images, and it’s easy to see why: they’re everywhere – over 8,000 scheduled buses operate on over 700 different routes. This bodes well for anyone that plans on using them a lot – plus they’re cheap.

Like the Underground, Overground and DLR, London buses are all cashless, so you need a contactless payment method. A single bus fare is £1.55, and a day of bus-only travel will cost a maximum of £4.65. You can jump on unlimited buses for free within one hour of touching in for your first journey.

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