What are the best student cities in the UK in 2021?

How can you tell the difference between the various student cities in the UK?

Aren’t they all the same?

We think the answer is “no”!

The best rated student city, according to over 6,000 students, has a rating of 4.62 out of 5 whereas the worst-rated city has a rating of 2.78, so there is a meaningful difference between how students rate their location.

So why not find out from the experts which cities in the UK top the chart for student experience in 2021?

To create this list, we analysed 6,048 reviews submitted by students on our platform over the last 24 months. StudentCrowd users review their location across 5 categories: living costs, eating out, nightlife, shopping and public transport.

The following list gives you the top 20 student cities in the UK and it’s the only list of its kind that is 100% based on student reviews alone, so you can benefit from the experiences of students who have gone before you. We only included locations with 20 or more reviews. (To see a list of all the locations, see our dynamic league table which summarises all our location reviews from all time and is updated constantly.)

Whether you’re an undergrad just dipping your toe into higher education, or shopping around for where to study for your postgrad degree, the list features the best location options for your university experience, according to students.

Where you live has a big impact on the rest of your student experience. If you are an international student coming to study in the United Kingdom, this is a great place to start your research on where you might enjoy living. 

So how do you decide what’s important to you when choosing your best-fit location for studying in the UK?

Of course, your choice depends on your unique personal preferences.

Apart from the categories covered in our reviews, other important things to consider are:

- how expensive your accommodation might be (we make this easy over on this page)

- how close (or far away!) you want to be from home

- whether you would prefer a rural or urban lifestyle or something in between

- how safe the area is

- whether there are things to do when you’re not studying (we have some handy guides in our location pages: use the links below)

- how big the student population is in that location

Something interesting to note: over half of these top 20 locations are in the north or midlands regions in England and the vast majority of them are large urban areas.

Working out what is important to you about the place where you live and study will help you sift through the large number of options available to find the location that really works for you.

So, without further ado, here are the Best Student Cities in the UK 2021, as voted by students.

Have you been living somewhere as a student? Take a moment to review your student city or town to share your own experience of living there.

 

 #1 
 

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Newcastle upon Tyne

“The town has a lot of friendly and approachable people that have made the overall experience of staying in Newcastle better. There are many areas of interests and also a lot of places to eat from.”

   
Overall rating
Campus/Facilities
(352 reviews)
4.62/5

 

 

Universities in this location:

Newcastle University, Northumbria University

 

 #2 
 

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Liverpool

“...an amazing city. The people are very proud but very welcoming, and have the best sense of humour. Eating out and clubbing is amazing in the city as there is so much choice. The cost of living is also amazingly cheap.”

   
Overall rating
Campus/Facilities
(391 reviews)
4.58/5

 

 

 

 #3 
 

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Nottingham

“Everything is super close and if you need to travel out there is a abundance of transport options with the eco friendly trams to loads of Ubers! The nightlife is incredible tonnes of clubs and cheap to free student nights!”

   
Overall rating
 
(269 reviews)
4.45/5

 

 

 

 #4 
 

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Cardiff

“Cardiff is an absolutely fantastic city... I was amazed about how much it had to offer. It is a compact city but has so much to do... Cardiff is also incredible for sport...”

   
Overall rating
 
(79 reviews)
4.44/5

 

 

 

 #5 
 

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Sheffield

“Sheffield is a fantastic city to be a student in... there is so much going on for students as well of loads of green spaces to chill... there is also a thriving underground music scene with warehouse parties....”

   
Overall rating
 
(652 reviews)
4.4/5

 

 
 #6 
 

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Norwich

“Norwich is one of the best cities... There is always something to do from eating out to clubbing or shopping. Everything is all within walking distance too but if your not the walking type then you can use the cities rent a bikes also know as beryl bikes to get around....”

   
Overall rating
 
(40 reviews)
4.38/5

 

 

 

 #7 
 

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Glasgow

“Love it, always something to do and something going on. Subway is great for getting around. Endless food options and nights out”

   
Overall rating
 
(295 reviews)
4.34/5

 

 

 

 #8 
 

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Manchester

“Manchester's an amazing city, so much going on 24/7, loads of different activities/events and something for everyone. Hundreds of independent restaurants/bars etc you'll never run out of things to do and a very unique city”

   
Overall rating
 
(212 reviews)
4.31/5

 

 

 

 #9 
 

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Birmingham

“Birmingham has everything you need. Large city, minimal cost - if you know where to shop to save. Good night life, student friendly and generally a very inclusive and mixed place to live.”

   
Overall rating
 
(194 reviews)
4.25/5

 

 

 

 #10 
 

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Swansea

“Very affordable area to live in. It is also a seaside area so it is amazing to be able to have access to the beautiful beaches of Gower!”

   
Overall rating
 
(39 reviews)
4.24/5

 

 

Universities in this location:

Swansea University

 

 #11 
 

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Portsmouth

“This city meet all of the criteria. It is designed for students and not only. Accommodation is cheap, there are two shopping centres, lots of place to eat and party. Ubers, taxis, trains and buses available.”

   
Overall rating
 
(161 reviews)
4.23/5

 

 

Universities in this location:

University of Portsmouth

 

 #12 
 

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Chester

“Historical city with its wonders. Everything is available and in cheap price. Cost of living is not expensive at all. Multiple side jobs are available if someone wants to work. Multiple shops and malls are open for a weekend shopping.”

   
Overall rating
 
(59 reviews)
4.22/5

 

 

Universities in this location:

University of Chester

 

 #13 
 

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Bristol

“The city of Bristol is very beautiful and comfortable to live in. I feel safe and happy here”

   
Overall rating
 
(222 reviews)
4.21/5

 

 

Universities in this location:

UWE Bristol, University of Bristol

 

 #14 
 

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Plymouth

"Plymouth is one of my favourite places! It has everything I need and when I am there I feel so safe and welcomed. The restaurants, views and the town itself is so beautiful."

   
Overall rating
 
(70 reviews)
4.2/5

 

 

Universities in this location:

University of Plymouth, Plymouth Marjon University

 

 #15 
 

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Belfast

"Extremely friendly people with a range of different activities to get involved in. Very exuberant night life which results in some powerful night outs."

   
Overall rating
 
(65 reviews)
4.18/5

 

 

 

 #16 
 

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Reading

“brilliant 24 hour bus service between town and university. The town centre has a wonderful vibe with all the shops and restaurants you want with most restaurants situated along the canal with beautiful views”

   
Overall rating
 
(23 reviews)
4.17/5

 

 

Universities in this location:

University of Reading

 

 #17 
 

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Preston

“Preston is a beautiful city, having many scenic places such as avenham park and Preston docks. It is also very cheap compared to other student cities across the UK.”

   
Overall rating
 
(88 reviews)
4.15/5

 

 

Universities in this location:

University of Central Lancashire (UCLan)

 

 #18 
 

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Leeds

“Leeds is an amazing city for things to do. There are always plenty of places to eat and drink out, great places to shop and quirky places to visit. The nightlife is also amazing too with many student nights and weekly events on!...”

   
Overall rating
 
(164 reviews)
4.14/5

 

 

 

 #19 
 

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Edinburgh

“I've never felt more at home that in Edinburgh. It's a nice size, the people are nice, coming from the Lake District the air and water are as nice as home. I'm definitely going to try and get a job here after uni.”

   
Overall rating
 
(130 reviews)
4.14/5

 

 

 

 #20 
 

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Lincoln

“Lincoln is a beautiful city with plenty of shops and clubs for student life. Lincoln is also full of culture with the Cathedral and Castle close to BGU.”

   
Overall rating
 
(101 reviews)
4.14/5

 

 

 

Are you studying in a different location but think it should be in the top 20? Review your location now!

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