Catering While Studying in Great Britain

Catering While Studying in Great Britain


For decades, many prejudices have been raised when talking about food and Great Britain: tasteless, overcooked vegetables in Sunday roast or greasy, deep-fried takeaway fish and chips.

A look at the current menus in the cafes, bistros and restaurants that are located at many universities and colleges on and around the campus shows that this image is now out of date.

Because of the UK’s multicultural society, international students can enjoy a wide variety of foods, from Asian to South African. Just like in Germany, the food depends on the accommodation. Similarly, the cost of living for studying in the UK may vary accordingly.

Catering on campus in the UK

In contrast to German universities, there is no canteen for meals during studies in Great Britain. To learn more about United Kingdom and Europe, please visit campingship.

However, depending on where they are studying, students have a larger or smaller selection of dining options and supermarkets in Great Britain. Many campus locations also have their own supermarket.

On campus there are usually cafes, bistros, snack shops and sometimes even pubs or restaurants where food is offered at student-friendly prices. The food options while studying in Great Britain also include the following diets:

  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan
  • Kosher and Halal
  • ecologically.

In addition, alternative foods are available almost everywhere for those with food allergies and the exact ingredients of foods or dishes are clearly marked in restaurants or supermarkets.

Most universities also offer further information on catering in Great Britain on their homepage. There, students can see the exact location of the catering services on the campus map, as well as the menu and opening times.

Catering in the dormitory

Students are also offered a meal option in the accommodations on campus. So-called Catered Residence Halls offer a room including breakfast and dinner for a surcharge. Most of the student residences, however, are self-catering facilities. Students can prepare meals together in a communal kitchen.

In the case of university-owned accommodation, international students are usually guaranteed a place in the dormitory.

Off-campus catering in the UK

Depending on where students choose to live away from campus life, they can use different facilities and supermarkets for catering while studying abroad in the UK.

There are a large number of international cafes and restaurants on the British Isles. The most popular takeaway is no longer fish and chips but Indian curry.

Many British students are now increasingly cooking traditional or international dishes at home. The ingredients for many international dishes are available in all medium-sized to large supermarket chains. In big cities there are even special supermarkets that specialize in Asian or Indian foods, for example.

Anyone studying abroad in the UK should also try the local specialties. In the many coastal cities there are many dishes with fresh fish and seafood as well as the famous fish and chips. Nationally famous traditional dishes also include:

  • Sunday Roast
  • English Breakfast
  • Cream tea
  • Trifle

In contrast to Germany, there are supermarkets in every British city that have long opening hours in the evening and are also open on Sundays and public holidays. Incidentally, tap water is safe to drink anywhere in the UK.

Self catering

In the UK, it is possible to self-cater for yourself in one of the many private off-campus accommodations. Around the university there are often many offers for single apartments or rooms in shared flats or shared houses.

Students who live in a self-catered residence hall or private accommodation off campus during their semester abroad can arrange their meals according to their own preferences. British apartments usually have a small kitchenette. Those who live in a flat share the kitchen with the other students.

Self-catering accommodation is particularly suitable, for example, for allergy sufferers, students with chronic illnesses who have to adhere to a certain diet, or for students who suffer from food intolerance. Even students who, because of their faith, want to follow a certain nutrition plan are well advised to choose accommodation with specially organized meals.


The homestay option as accommodation includes accommodation in a private room with a British family. Depending on the arrangement, students can prepare their own meals in the host family’s kitchen. In many homestay offers, however, at least one meal is usually included, such as breakfast or dinner that is prepared by the host family.

Some host families also offer full board. Students who are at the university at noon receive a packed lunch. Catering in Great Britain by a host family in particular gives exchange students many insights into British culture – because desserts in particular, but also hearty main dishes, are an important part of everyday life in Great Britain.

Food costs in the UK

With the homestay option or accommodation in a Catered Residence Hall, the costs for meals are already included in the total costs. Students who live in a self-catered residence hall or private accommodation and take care of themselves should calculate the cost of food as follows: Depending on the region and diet, breakfast, a warm dinner and a light lunch will cost around 30 to 60 pounds sterling.

There are also plenty of eateries on and around campus that offer a hot meal between three and nine pounds. Many cafes and restaurants offer discounts for students. In addition, students should keep their eyes open for the so-called “early bird” deals. If you want to save money on meals in the UK, you should shop and cook with other students.

Catering While Studying in Great Britain