Living in the UK


Many students find that the British climate affects them a lot – in winter it can be cold and grey and wet but the good news is that from March it starts to stay lighter for longer and in the summer it can be light until after 9pm – which means you can do more activities in the evening. The average day-time temperatures in the North West of England are: Summer 19 ºC and Winter 5 ºC

Culture & Customs

  • British people are generally relaxed and polite, although they can also be quite reserved. This doesn’t mean they are unfriendly!
  • If you are invited to someone’s home for a meal, it's customary to take a small gift – or you could invite them to your home in return
  • If you are invited to a pub but don’t drink alcohol, don’t worry, pubs sell non-alcoholic drinks. Both men and women aged 18 or over are allowed into pubs. There’s no waiter service and you normally pay for drinks when you order them at the bar
  • If you are going to be late for a meeting it is polite to call the person and let them know. (Arranging to meet to see a film at 8pm means arriving at 8pm but if you are invited to someone’s home for a meal at 8pm it is usually ok to be 10 to 15 minutes late)
  • People in the UK usually form polite queues – for buses, cinema tickets, access to classrooms etc. It is considered rude to ‘push in’ instead of queuing
  • In the UK it is not unusual to see couples holding hands in public. You may find the relationships between men and women are less formal than you are used to. You may also notice differences in social contact and relationships between people of the same sex.


The food in the UK is quite varied now and most supermarkets supply a global range of products. In Blackburn there are a number of supermarkets including Tesco, Morrison’s and ASDA and there is also a large indoor market

The Cost of Living in the UK

The cost of living varies from one part of the UK to another. Generally it is more expensive to live in London and the south-east of England than it is to live in the north of England. Good news when you choose to study at Blackburn College.

To give you a feel for how much items cost we’ve put together some useful lists to help you to budget. Some items on this list may be cheaper than we have put. UK supermarkets often have offers such as, "20% off", "Half Price" or "Buy One, Get One Free."

Food Items

One pint of milk 40p
A loaf of bread 80p
A whole chicken £4.00
6 Eggs £1.40
Butter £1.00
Minced Beef (400g) £2.00
Bananas (around 6) £1.00
A tin of tomatoes 50p
Rice (1kg) £1.40
Pasta (500g) 80p
Fresh Orange Juice (1 litre) £1.20
Cornflakes (500g) £1.90
Coca-Cola (2 litres) £1.80

Having issues viewing the table? View it as a PDF document.

A great website to work out which supermarket will be cheaper for you is mySupermarket which compares the prices of every day products every week and is completely independent.

Household / Personal Items

Fabric Softener (500ml) £1.00
Washing Powder (small box) £2.30
Toothpaste £1.00
Shampoo £1.00
Toilet Rolls (4) £1.90
Spray Deodorant £2.20

Having issues viewing the table? View it as a PDF document.


The cost of utilities such as gas, electricity and water may be much more expensive in the UK than you are used to paying at home. You should make sure you work out how much gas and electricity you might be using to avoid any unexpected bills. Some electricity and gas companies have a ‘Pay as you Go’ option whereby you put money on a card and this entitles you to use as much as gas and electricity as there is money on your card. This can be a good way to make sure you never spend more than you are expected to. This really applies if you are staying in self-catering, non-homestay accommodation.


The price of clothes varies enormously in the UK. Most students at Blackburn College dress informally in jeans, trousers or a skirt worn with a T-shirt or a jumper. It is advised that you bring your normal range of clothes with you and buy additional warm clothes when you get here.

There are shops catering for nearly every taste and budget in Blackburn. Shops such as Primark, T.K. Maxx, H&M and some large supermarkets like Asda and Tesco, have very inexpensive clothing lines.

You may find clothes very expensive in the UK in comparison to home, so it might be worth shopping for clothing in your home country before arriving in the UK.