Best Student Cities In The UK (Updated 2024)

Studying abroad can be a transformative, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many students. For those seeking an exciting, vibrant study experience, choosing a student city over a remote campus is often the preferred path. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the distinctive qualities that set student cities apart and provide insights into some of the top student cities in the UK for the year of 2024.

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Table of Contents

What Is A Student City?

A student city is a place known for its large student population and a high concentration of educational institutions such as universities and colleges. These cities often have a vibrant and youthful atmosphere due to the presence of students. They tend to offer various amenities and activities catered to student life, including affordable housing, cultural events, nightlife, and recreational opportunities.

What Makes Up A Student City?

So what exactly makes a city a “Student City”? Here are some distinct factors that explain what a student city is ball about:

  1. Educational Institutions: The presence of universities, colleges, and other educational institutions is a defining feature of a student city. These institutions attract a large student population, creating a diverse and intellectually stimulating environment.

  2. Youthful Population: This is key. A significant proportion of the city’s population consists of students, contributing to a youthful and energetic atmosphere.

  3. Academic Resources: Student cities typically offer abundant academic resources, including well-equipped libraries, research facilities, and access to professors and experts in various fields.

  4. Affordable Housing: To accommodate the student population, there is usually a range of housing options available, including affordable student housing, shared apartments, and rental properties.

  5. Cultural and Social Activities: Student cities are known for their vibrant cultural scenes, including theatres, art galleries, music venues, and festivals. They also offer a wide variety of social activities, clubs, and organisations catering to different interests.

  6. Nightlife: A thriving nightlife is a common feature of student cities, with numerous bars, pubs, clubs, and entertainment venues that cater to the preferences of the young population.

  7. Job Opportunities: These cities often provide part-time job opportunities for students to support themselves while studying. This can be especially important for international students.

  8. Public Transportation: Student cities usually have efficient public transportation systems, making it easy for students to commute to their institutions and explore the city.

  9. Dining Options For Students: There is typically a diverse range of dining options, including affordable eateries, food markets, and restaurants offering international cuisine, to cater to various tastes and budgets.

  10. Recreational Facilities: Student cities often feature parks, sports facilities, and recreational areas where students can unwind and engage in physical activities.

  11. Networking Opportunities: The diverse student body and the city’s connection to various industries create networking opportunities that can be valuable for future careers.

Why Should You Choose A Student City?

Choosing a student city over remote campuses or other options offers numerous advantages for students. A student city often has all the amenities catered towards student living such as transportation, affordable housing and dining options, diverse lifestyle options and more. Students also often have access to top-notch professors, research facilities, libraries and more due to the city’s accessibility.

Top Student Cities In The UK 2024

Here are the top student cities in the United Kingdom for 2024, as per the QS world university rankings website:

Top Student City Ranking Methodology

The best student cities in the UK are ranked based on six key categories. To be eligible, cities must have a population exceeding 250,000 and have at least two popular universities. The six categories are:

  1. University Rankings: This category evaluates the performance of universities in the QS World University Rankings.

  2. Student Mix: This category assesses the student population’s composition in the city. It considers the proportion of residents who are students, the number of international students, and the city’s inclusivity.

  3. Desirability: This category focuses on the city’s appeal, taking into account safety, pollution levels, and survey responses from students who desire to study in the city.

  4. Employer Activity: It evaluates youth employment rates in the city and the perceptions of employers regarding the quality of graduates produced by local universities.

  5. Affordability: This category considers the cost of tuition at the city’s universities and the overall cost of living for students.

  6. Student Ratings: This category takes into account student ratings for factors such as friendliness, sustainability, and diversity in the city. It also examines the percentage of students who choose to remain in the city after graduation.

How To Choose A Good Student City?

When selecting a student city, you should also consider other elements such as university choice, what you want to study, tuition fees and more, as the study and living environment is just one aspect of an overseas study experience. We have plenty of university reviews and ranking tables for different subjects in our article section.

Once you’ve determined the university and course that fits your budget, you can then evaluate the location of the university. Is it centrally located or remote? Do you prefer a bit of scenery or a vibrant city life? How far is the campus from the main cities or towns? These are all factors you need to look at to see what is the best fit for your needs. Once you have narrowed down the list of universities and cities that fit your criteria, you will be better equipped to make the right choice.


In short, choosing a student city offers students a unique and enriching educational experience, combining academic excellence with vibrant social and cultural opportunities. Major cities in the UK provide access to top universities, diverse student populations, networking prospects, and a dynamic quality of life.

Whether you’re in the city or in a suburban area, living abroad fosters personal growth, international exposure, and a holistic educational journey that extends beyond the classroom, overall contributing to a transformative learning experience.

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