Best Universities for Campus and Facilities 2022
A university’s campus and its facilities are central to any university experience. They are not only where teaching will take place, but also where students will go out, play sports, study and most importantly, live! So choosing the right environment is incredibly important.
What makes the best university campus?
University campuses vary a great deal! From campuses spread across a large city, like the University of Cambridge (#2), to an all-on-one-site campus like Loughborough University (#7) and many options in between, there’ll be a campus to suit every student. Traditional campus universities usually have a community feel with everything being in close proximity and with easy access to amenities. City universities are usually bustling with life and offer great transport links.
Universities invest large amounts of money into their campus and facilities, so it’s important to check how much they’re spending on the development of their campus to provide the best learning environment as well as a great overall student experience. For instance, the University of Manchester (#5) has invested over £1 billion over the last ten years to create a world-class campus so students can have high expectations of the resources at their disposal whilst learning.
Real student opinions and university reviews are invaluable sources of information for students looking to find a campus that suits them. One reviewer said this about the University of Exeter (#13): ‘Amazing Uni with a beautiful campus. Facilities available are excellent with town being only a walk away!...’
What are university facilities and why are they important?
University facilities are the physical amenities, resources and services offered by a university to provide an excellent university experience. Some of the best university facilities are not necessarily state-of-the-art, but are those which will be useful and convenient for a specific degree subject. For instance, an abundance of private study spaces may be useful for degrees with less contact hours or sporting facilities near accommodation would be helpful for sports science degrees.
Some of the physical amenities provided by universities include shops, eateries, libraries, Students’ Union buildings/venues and sports facilities. Libraries are one of the most useful resources provided by the university as they provide study areas, printing and IT services, book loan and group working spaces. Learning resources and teaching spaces are also vital as they impact how well students can learn.
All these physical facilities and services are important as they have an impact on how well a student develops overall through their degree, so it’s vital that prospective students gain further insight into these areas through university reviews.
How are the top 20 worked out?
We’ve crunched the numbers on 15,871 student reviews submitted on StudentCrowd between June 2020 to May 2022 to find out the best universities for campus and facilities. The annual StudentCrowd University Awards are the only awards entirely based on authentic student reviews. Here at StudentCrowd, we only allow reviews verified by a valid ac.uk email address, to ensure all the opinions on our site are expressed by real students. You can read more about our authentic review process here. We can now reveal the top 20 universities for campus and facilities in our league table below!
Find out more…
Find out who won StudentCrowd’s overall Best UK Universities 2022.
The Top 20 UK Universities for Campus and Facilities
“Amazing location, prestigious university, great sports facilities! Had the time of life!”
Topping our list for campus and facilities this year we have the University of Reading. It has three campuses: WhiteKnights, London Road and Greenlands. Their Whiteknights site is set in 130 hectares of beautiful parkland, situated in the centre of Reading. Reading’s extensive library has over one million volumes and there are 24/7 IT resources. At the heart of their Whiteknights campus, there are specialist collections and three museums: The Cole Museum of Zoology, The Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology and The Museum of English Rural life. Students are spoilt with countless amenities ranging from shops, eateries, an 89-station fitness studio and a botanical garden.
“The most inspirational place with endless varieties of high quality exposure.”
The University of Cambridge was founded in 1209, making it the second oldest university in the UK. It is a collegiate university, meaning it’s made up of over 31 colleges with 150 different faculties and departments. The university has more than 100 libraries and is scattered across the city of Cambridge. They have nine specialist museums and collections, all of which are open to students and the public. The Language Centre offers opportunities to all students wishing to take up or continue a language. The university town is filled with stunning old architecture which is awe-inspiring to gaze at!
“An outstanding university with dedicated staff and passionate students; a vibrant, enthusiastic, and compassionate campus, surrounded by an abundance of natural beauty and charisma.”
The University of St Andrews is Scotland’s first university, dating back to 1413. The university’s extensive library allows students access to over 210,000 rare printed books from its Special Collections unit. There are a number of cafes within university buildings and many shops and bars around the town which the university is located within. St Andrews has a vibrant performing arts scene with performances being shown in venues like the Byre Theatre. There are also three museums owned by the university.
“The university of sheffield is great and campus has diverse shops and facilities. The environment is also quiet and clean, three libraries provide abundant academic resources.”
The University of Sheffield owns The Diamond which is an £81-million building, boasting innovative study facilities. It also offers on-demand print services, access to their digital collections and high-demand textbooks. Along with their world-class facilities, they also receive a great deal investment into research, such as a recent £50 million from the government to accelerate MND research.
“The facilities at this university are beyond anything I've seen... There are a large selection of quality furbished cafes, bars and restaurants, as well as fast food, a desert shop, ice cream parlour, Starbucks, vegan cafe and UOM outdoor market...”
A whopping £1 billion has been invested into new teaching and research buildings, student facilities and resources at The University of Manchester and also into the public areas surrounding campus. Students are entitled to discounted rates at the universities sports facilities. These include two 50-metre swimming pools, three fitness suites and a plethora of indoor and outdoor pitches around campus. One of the many sports facilities available to students, the Wythenshawe Sports Ground, has a crazy 26 full-sized football pitches.
“A great university with a beautiful campus. Especially great facilities such as gym, library and amazing societies.”
The University of Birmingham’s estate is vast, covering 672 acres with over 200 buildings of varying ages. It is currently undergoing a £1-billion development program which started in 2016. The university boasts an extensive library housing 2.7 million books in total. There are two hotels on campus which are great for housing visiting family members and attendees of events. There are also a variety of services offered to students on campus by the university’s media centre, including training and locations to record podcasts and professional films.
“Great uni with great facilities on campus plus easy to get to around using the campus bus.”
Loughborough University is well known for their renowned sporting facilities. This includes two highly-equipped gyms on campus, Hollywell Fitness Centre and Powerbase, an Olympic-sized swimming pool and high-performance athletic centres, where international athletes sometimes come to train. Over the last 10 years, £350m has been invested into their facilities. Around campus you will find an impressive and recently refurbished library, eateries, a bank, two theatres and a health centre, amongst other amenities.
“Very good uni to study at. Really friendly and helpful staff, great facilities and clubs.”
Bangor University’s campus is buzzing with life and is packed with interesting things to do within their excellent facilities. They have an environmental centre, language centre and a research vessel owned by The School of Ocean Sciences called The Prince Madog. There is also a natural history museum, a Centre for Hill and Upland Management, two physiology laboratories and Treborth Botanic Gardens. Along with these excellent facilities, they are well known for their extensive resources for Sport Health and Exercise science, featuring a £1-million teaching lab.
“The university campus is simply amazing with a mix of old and new buildings. The new Learning Hub is fantastic with lots of spaces for study....”
Providing essential study facilities and access to 2.5 million books and journals and 800,000 e-books and e-journals, the University of Glasgow's library is open 361 days a year, from 7.25am to 2am! Over the next 10 years, the University of Glasgow is investing £1 billion into the development of their renowned campus and facilities. Being situated right in the heart of Glasgow, there are extensive amenities around the university and excellent travel options available.
“There are great facilities on campus, science labs, paramedic science labs, criminology labs, Engineering labs and new Food labs in Jelico. There are 3 food places... my personal favourite is the cafe in Pembroke where you can get fresh pizza's made...”
The University of Greenwich is located in and around the Old Royal Naval College which is a World Heritage site, features breath-taking architecture and is situated in South East London. Their £76-million Stockwell Street Building which opened in 2014 is now home to a large library, film and TV studios and state-of-the-art editing suites. The university has over 8,000 sq metres of lab space, amongst other facilities and resources available to students. There is also a new student hub which has recently received a £6.4-million investment.
“I have really enjoyed my time at Aberdeen University and would definitely recommend it! The campus is beautiful and the facilities are brilliant, especially the connection the university has to Aberdeen Sports Village facilities!”
The stunning Sir Duncan Rice Library, designed to evoke the ice and light of the north, provides study spaces spanning over eight floors at the University of Aberdeen. Aberdeen Sports Village and Aquatic Centre feature many world-class facilities. There are three full-size FIFA-approved indoor football pitches, three swimming pools, four squash courts, an outdoor hockey pitch and an athletic track. The university also has three museums on campus, with exhibitions changing throughout the year.
“Northumbria is a great university with an excellent library & sport facilities. It has a friendly atmosphere & is located in an excellent city.”
The university library at Northumbria University provides modern study spaces for students and is open 24/7 during term-time. Northumbria University has recently invested upwards of £250 million to create a buzzing, safe and supportive environment around campus. There are two campuses: one in Newcastle and a new one in the City of London. They also have catering and retail outlets on campus serving hot and cold food which can be pre-ordered on an app.
“Amazing Uni with a beautiful campus. Facilities available are excellent with town being only a walk away!...”
The University of Exeter has three campuses spread over South West England: Streatham and St Luke’s in Exeter and Penryn in Cornwall. They have almost 1,000 significant and diverse artworks worth over £2 million. Their famous Great Hall offers entertainment, sometimes hosting full-size symphony orchestras. Exeter Northcott is their professional repertory theatre and they also have a cinema museum! Exeter has extensive sports facilities, ranging from their Athlete Development Centre, to all-weather pitches and a boathouse.
“The university campus has high quality facilities for the amazing courses that are available. NTU is at the heart of the city centre which means easy access to clubs, pubs and shopping while still being able to access the high quality GOLD standard teaching available.”
From 3D printing, laser cutting studios and animation facilities, to animal units and the Bonington gallery, NTU offers a whole host of amenities catering to almost anyone. Nottingham Trent has three campuses: central City Campus in the energetic heart of Nottingham, the vibrant countryside estate of Brackenhurst and the dedicated student village at the Clifton Campus. They’ve invested over £450 million into development of their resources and facilities over the last 15 years.
“Stunning university grounds with great facilities and staff support.”
The University of Warwick occupies two locations in the centre of Warwickshire with great transport links to neighbouring cities, and one at The Shard, in the centre of London. Their enormous 720-acre campus is based around the outskirts of Coventry and features stunning views and idyllic lakes. On campus, you will find many shops, banks, a pharmacy, cafes, restaurants and a chaplaincy. There is also a 'Sports and Wellness Hub' featuring a 12-lane swimming pool, a climbing wall and a gym with individual stations and free weights. Students are spoilt for choice with a large arts centre, housing two theatres, a music studio, a concert hall and a cinema.
“Great university and great location... The campus is fantastic, and often you will feel like you do not need to leave because everything is here, however, if you do then Lancaster city centre is a lovely place to visit and has all the shops, bars, restaurants, etc. that you need.”
Lancaster University’s campus features a post office, a bakery, supermarkets, a hairdresser, a beauty salon and many cafes, restaurants and bars. The university campus occupies a beautiful 560-acre parkland site at Bailrigg, just three miles from Lancaster city centre. The renowned Peter Scott Gallery showcases contemporary art on campus to students. They also have their own theatre, The Nuffield Theatre, which is one of the largest professional studio theatres in Europe.
“Great university with modern new facility’s...Engineering facility’s are very high spec and new, making it a very enjoyable good learning experience”
RGU is known for its impressive sports facilities, including a variety of gym suites, a 6-lane swimming pool, group exercise classes, studios for hire, a bouldering wall, sports hall and an 11-metre state-of-the-art climbing wall. They cater to cyclists with plenty of bicycle parking, hire options and other cycling facilities around campus. RGU has excellent graphics and printing facilities, a law clinic, physiotherapy clinic, over 2,500 IT workstations and a stunning library spread over four floors.
“Outstanding and state-of-the-art campus and facilities for study and leisure purposes.Perfect connection for studying and entertainment throughout my time here.”
Students at the University of Leeds benefit from four libraries around the 100-acre campus, catering to all their study needs by providing journals, textbooks, study spaces and printing services. There are a wide range of facilities on campus, from cafes and bars, to security services and The Edge. The Edge is a sporting complex featuring an 8-lane swimming pool, 150 exercise classes spread around studios, a 250-station gym, a sports park and halls, a climbing wall, an outdoor centre and even a boathouse!
“Very pretty location and good library facilities. Nice campus and everyone friendly”
The University of Liverpool is situated across two campuses, separated by the river Mersey: Liverpool city centre and Leahurst, which features a veterinary research and teaching centre. The central campus has a number of beautiful green spaces to relax and study in. There are many cafes on campus, two large libraries and the Ness Botanic Gardens. The University of Liverpool also has a large sports centre, including a 25-metre swimming pool, two sports halls, four squash courts, a dance studio and a complete fitness suite.
“Great university, facilities are outstanding, more than adequate, lots of options for spending time and usually not enough minutes in the day to physically do everything you want to do....”
UEA occupies a large 320-acre campus west of Norwich which offers excellent facilities to students: an NHS GP practice, post office, pharmacy, dental practice, faith centre and a large library. The university features distinctive and award-winning architecture around campus for students to appreciate. Students have access to the 24/7 library which provides IT facilities, study spaces, social and quiet areas and a laptop borrow scheme. UEA is well known for their £30-million Sportspark, one of the UK's top sports facilities. Students have access to a 50-metre swimming pool, a 10-metre climbing wall, six AstroTurf pitches, squash, badminton, basketball and volleyball courts, outdoor tennis and netball courts, and 40 acres of playing fields.