Managing Your Expectations for a Homestay in London

Where you live can seriously affect your university experience. A healthy home life in a good area can make the difference between enjoying your time in the UK and being stressed out. For a great way to live, why not try out a homestay? London is a big city (there’s so much to see and do that you can easily feel lost), so staying with a host family can help you navigate anything new about UK life, while also showing you some little-known local delights.

In this article, we’ll run through what you can expect if you choose to stay with a family.

General Tips

Firstly, as with any decisions about student accommodation, it’s crucial to know your budget. Transport to and from the city centre isn’t included in the cost of a homestay. London can also be expensive when it comes to food, so make sure you know what’s provided by your host family and what isn’t.

Secondly, it’s crucial you communicate with your host family. The best thing about living with locals is getting to know new people. It’s also a great way to work on your English!

Types of Homestay

There are a lot of options for your homestay. London is a big and diverse city, but no matter where you are, you should remember to stay tidy and be respectful of both your hosts and any other students living with you.

It’s important to make an informed choice about three things in particular: meals, sleeping and location.


Different families have different arrangements. You should be familiar with the following terms:

• ‘Bed and breakfast’: Exactly what it sounds like – guests get a place to sleep and a morning meal.
• ‘Half-board’: Guests get breakfast and an evening meal.
• ‘Self-catering’: No food is provided – guests cook or buy all meals for themselves.


Generally, you only have two choices when it comes to sleeping arrangements. A single room means you get a bed in your own room, allowing you more privacy. A twin room means you share your room with another student. Don’t worry though – you won’t be expected to share a bed!


One of the city’s quirks is that its public transport is organised in ‘zones’. This can have big effects on your homestay. London’s system, luckily, is very simple. Zone 1 is the centre of the city, and the zones 2-6 are further out. It’s generally cheaper if you live further away from the centre, but you should keep in mind how much you’ll need to spend on travel.

Know Your Hosts

Finally, it’s crucial you get to know your hosts. A homestay in London offers a great chance to experience another culture and meet new people, and lots of students form close bonds with their host families. Don’t ever be afraid to start a conversation. Most families are welcoming and friendly by nature.

For a great way to experience life in a new city, try out a homestay. London has a lot to offer, and a host family can really help you explore it.

Sophie Smith works as an independent consultant and offers advice to young people looking for London-based student accommodation, whether they prefer Halls of Residence or a private homestay. London has a wide range of options when it comes to student living, and Sophie’s expert tips and tricks never fail to put aspiring residents at ease. Her knowledge stems from her first-hand experience studying in the city and living on a budget, so she is more than qualified to support others doing the same.

This article is copyright free.

Author: Desiree Michels