Top 10 Best Cities to Study in the UK in 2024Dr Shafiq
The United Kingdom, with its rich historical heritage, diverse cultural tapestry, and reputation for academic excellence, stands out as a premier global destination for higher education. Students from all corners of the globe are drawn to the UK’s prestigious universities, innovative research facilities, and vibrant urban centers, creating a cosmopolitan and intellectually stimulating environment. This guide delves into the best cities in the UK for students, shedding light on the unique characteristics, academic opportunities, and lifestyle each city offers.
From the bustling streets of London to the medieval charm of Edinburgh, the UK is home to a myriad of cities that cater to a wide range of preferences and academic pursuits. Whether you are seeking the dynamic energy of a metropolitan hub or the serene ambiance of a smaller town, the UK’s diverse urban landscapes provide a plethora of options. Each city not only boasts renowned educational institutions but also enriches the student experience with cultural activities, social events, and a sense of community.
In the following sections, we will explore the top cities in the UK for students, highlighting the prestigious universities, vibrant cultural scenes, and supportive student communities found in each location. Whether you are an aspiring artist, a budding engineer, or a future business leader, this guide aims to help you navigate the myriad of options and find the city that best aligns with your academic goals and personal preferences. Join us as we journey through the best cities to study in the UK and discover the perfect backdrop for your educational adventure.
Why study in the UK?
The UK has been well-known for its academic prowess. Some of the greatest minds we know today were nurtured in universities in the UK. The academic research and scholarly work traditionally from the UK are unmatched by other countries worldwide. The country provides a multicultural experience to all students, which is an asset to possess in the professional world. The UK hosts cultures from around the world and experiences from around the world that will continue to broaden the scope of thinking of students studying in the UK.
What makes a city the best city to study in?
There are several factors that a student takes into consideration when looking at different cities and the kind of offers they have to give. For students looking for the best city to study in, the factors that should be considered are the affordability of life in the city’s networking opportunities and the number of recreational activities available.
Affordability and cost of living are significant concerns for a student in one’s life, which is why it is the most crucial factor that plays into the selection of a city to study in. Networking is also crucial in every student’s life because it takes them towards their professional life. With good networking opportunities, the student’s professional life will prosper.
Now let’s see the best cities in the UK to study.
Top 10 Best Cities to Study in the UK
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, and home it is home to some of the best-ranking universities in the world. The top-ranking universities that the city hosts are:
- The University of Edinburgh
- Heriot-Watt University
- Edinburgh Napier University
- Queen Margaret University
Living costs in Edinburgh are relatively cheaper than in London, which is why some students prefer studying there. Besides academic prowess, the city has many cultural festivities for students, including the Edinburgh International Festival, the Edinburgh Art Festival, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and the Edinburgh International Book Festival, which can be an excellent learning experience for these students.
The city is known for its historical beauty rooted in its architecture, traditions, and the stories of the people. The people in Edinburgh are amiable and helpful, especially to students, as students make up a significant size of their population. The city’s serene beauty and culture attract many students to study in this city.
One best city in the UK to study, and otherwise, is Manchester. The education facilities offered in this city are unparalleled, which, coupled with its diverse environment, make it a popular choice among students. It hosts several international universities, such as:
- The University of Manchester
- Manchester Metropolitan University
- University of Salford
There are estimated to be over 100,000 students enrolled in higher-level education programs in the city, making it an ideal destination for international students. Manchester is one of the UK’s most culturally diverse and tolerant cities. It is an important city in the world of commerce and is home to various industries.
The city not only hosts prominent opportunities for trade and commerce that can help students’ employment, but it is also an academic champion. Apart from the academics, the city is well-known for its bands like Oasis and The Smiths being birthed in this very city. The city has a lot to offer students interested in the sports world, specifically football. It is also more economical than other best student cities UK, making it desirable for overseas students.
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To list the “best cities to study in UK” and not list the capital would be foolish. The city of London provides one of the most enriching experiences for students. The city hosts an abundance of well-renowned universities that attract the greatest minds to the city. Some of the well-known universities in London are:
- University College London (UCL)
- Imperial College London
- Queen Mary University
- SOAS – School of Oriental and African Studies
- University of London
- Queen Mary University of London
- King’s College London (KCL)
- Brunel University
- The Royal Holloway University of London
Studying in London will open you to a sea of opportunities. The universities listed above offer courses ranging from undergraduate to postgraduate. According to reports, the city hosts a strong student community of 382,000 students enrolled in 40 institutes of higher education; London also accounts for 16% of the UK’s student population. The city is filled with cultural diversity rooted predominantly in its students.
London is one of the best cities in UK and provides many scholarships and career-based opportunities to students. The city is the business hub of Europe which helps create an opportunity for students to find jobs, but this also makes the city one of the most expensive cities in the world. London is home to some of the leading global firms across fields, with several prestigious companies headquartered in the city. This opens up opportunities for work for students that will help them excel in their careers.
One of the drawbacks of living in this city is the level of expenses that students will have to endure. Housing in London is quite expensive, but schemes for affordable housing for students specifically are always available. Since so many students live in the city, they can get roommates and split the costs of living together.
The largest city in north-east England- Newcastle, hosts two of the most well-known universities. These universities are:
- Newcastle University
- Northumbria University
These universities are located close to one another, providing networking opportunities for students. The locals in the city, the Geordies, are known for their welcoming nature. The city hosts many nightclubs, pubs, and restaurants, which help students take some time off. The city hosts other recreational activities and festivals for adventurous and sporty students. One of the most well-known events is the Great North Run, a half marathon held yearly. The city has a metro system, but it is also pedestrian friendly for students, which reduces their environmental footprint.
The capital and largest city of Wales, Cardiff is home to two prominent educational institutions in the world:
- Cardiff University
- Cardiff Metropolitan University
Cardiff is a beautiful choice for international students as it has practically everything you could need as a student that has moved abroad for their studies. Its academic scene is complemented by the recreational activities that the city offers. Students can engage in plenty of activities when they want to unwind. Nightclubs, shopping arcades, coffee shops, and bars are all bustling in Cardiff, and everything in the city is within walking distance! The city is excellent for students as the sense of community here is very strong, and you can easily call it home.
Coventry is one of the most underrated cities in the list of the best cities to study in the United Kingdom. It is home to some of the most popular universities globally, including:
- University of Warwick
- Coventry University
- Arden University
Coventry stands out as a premier destination for international students, boasting a significant presence of world-renowned universities. This results in a remarkable student population, which constitutes over 6% of the city’s overall residents. Remarkably, 42% of these student’s hail from various corners of the globe, establishing Coventry as a central hub for one of the largest international student communities in the UK. The city’s rich diversity makes it an attractive option for those looking to study in the UK.
Recognized as a top choice for international students, Coventry offers a lively and adventurous lifestyle, appealing to those in search of fun and excitement. The city is host to a plethora of musical performances featuring acclaimed artists, as well as major sporting events, including ice hockey and rugby, providing ample opportunities for students to relax and enjoy their time away from rigorous academic pursuits. For art enthusiasts, Coventry has a wealth to offer, with access to Roman art galleries, the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, the Brandon Marsh Nature Reserve, and the iconic Coventry Cathedral.
In addition to its vibrant cultural scene, Coventry is renowned for its safety, boasting a low crime rate that contributes to a secure living environment for international students. This aspect is particularly reassuring for those adjusting to life in a new country.
From a financial standpoint, Coventry presents a more affordable option compared to other major UK cities like Manchester and London, with lower rent and living expenses. Moreover, its strategic location, just an hour away from London, provides students with the flexibility to travel and explore the capital with ease. All these factors collectively position Coventry as an optimal city for pursuing studies in the UK.
Scotland’s largest city, Glasgow, has some of the finest universities in the UK. These include:
- University of Glasgow
- Glasgow Caledonian University
- University of Strathclyde
- The Glasgow School of Art
Compared to other best student cities uk, the cost of living is more reasonable, and student housing is readily available, making Glasgow a top choice among students looking for affordability. The subway is a great way to get around the city, so you do not have to rely on expensive private vehicles. It is counted among the best cities in the UK to study abroad.
Glasgow is the most populous city in Scotland, allowing students from different backgrounds to come together at pubs and mingle with people from different backgrounds.
If you are looking to sharpen your research skills and delve into the research world, the universities in Glasgow are most popularly known for their pioneering research work. Studying in Glasgow would allow you to work with some of the best minds in the world. The city is ideal for students with prospective careers in academia because the exposure the universities in this city have to offer is unmatched.
The city has been an active cultural center, with ballets and operas being popular forms of entertainment. This city might be the best fit if you are in the art world. Art appreciation is an essential part of the city’s culture. A remarkable feature of this city is its tolerance of diverse eating habits; it has even been declared the world’s most vegan-friendly city by PETA.
Nottingham is among the best cities to study abroad in the UK. The city is adoringly called the ‘Queen of the Midlands’ and has some great universities that include:
- University of Nottingham
- Nottingham Trent University
If you envision yourself living in a city with a perfect mix of modernity and British tradition, then Nottingham might be the fit.
The city’s most famous university, the University of Nottingham, has a significant foreign student population, so much so that the university has campuses abroad in Malaysia and China. Public transport in Nottingham is award-winning, with an environmentally friendly tram. You can easily visit many of the city’s historical attractions through the tram as the route passes all critical areas in the city. Besides the academic scene, when you are not studying, you can visit the plethora of restaurants, clubs, shopping malls, and theatres to keep yourself entertained.
Brighton may be one of the oldest in the UK but is also one of the most trendy cities. It has a couple of world-class universities, namely:
- University of Brighton
- University of Sussex
Brighton is a unique city as it may be one of the oldest but it is still very progressive and liberal. It receives many international students each year due to its progressive culture. It is unofficially the UK’s LGBTQ capital. It is an excellent choice for those who enjoy beaches, sand, and the sea because Brighton has all three.
Brighton is only an hour away from London when traveling by tube. It is a popular destination for young people since it stages several high-profile events yearly, like the Brighton Fringe Festival, Brighton Pride, and the Brighton Festival. Many students and young individuals come from London to attend these events.
The Brighton Palace Pier is a popular spot for students to unwind and have a snack with their mates; it overlooks the beautiful sea, allowing for a refreshing outlet. Brighton might be among the best options if you are looking for the best cities to live in UK and study, especially if you want to be surrounded by an inclusive and progressive environment.
Belfast is the capital of Northern Ireland. It hosts two prominent Internationally acclaimed universities like
- Queen’s University Belfast (QUB)
- Ulster University ‐ Belfast campus
Belfast is one of the best student cities in the UK. It is known as a very student-friendly city with a welcoming vibe. It is a good choice for students as it is a relatively affordable city. Nightclubs and pubs remain open till the early morning hours in Belfast due to the popular clubbing culture of the city. Belfast is proud of its rich music culture, and we promise you will fall in love with it too. Belfast is a very eco-friendly city as you can easily travel anywhere within the city on foot, or you could rent a bike. This saves students a lot of money when they do not have to reply to expensive car services.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the most environmentally friendly city to study in the UK?
The UK is essentially very environmentally friendly; it is a signatory to many frameworks that push them to create more eco-friendly cities. In the list provided, Glasgow has been named a vegan-friendly city suitable for people looking to reduce their carbon footprint. Besides Glasgow, Cardiff and Nottingham might be the second best contenders for eco-friendly cities with sound transport systems in Nottingham and the pedestrian-friendly structure of the city of Cardiff.
Which cities have the best public transport?
As per our list, Nottingham has one of the best tram systems in the UK. Newcastle has been the second best contender offering excellent transport facilities.
What factors should I consider when choosing a city to study in the UK?
Factors to consider include the cost of living, quality of education, availability of scholarships and financial aid, job opportunities, and the overall lifestyle and culture of the city.
How can I find the right university in my preferred city?
You can research universities in your preferred city by checking their rankings, faculty, programs, campus facilities, and student reviews. You can also attend university fairs and open days, speak with university representatives, and seek advice from education consultants.
How can I find affordable housing in my preferred city?
You can research affordable housing options on our website. You can also seek advice from your university’s accommodation office and consider sharing accommodation with other students to reduce costs.
How can I adjust to living in a new city as a student?
Adjusting to living in a new city as a student can be challenging, but there are several things you can do to make the transition easier. These include joining student clubs and organizations, attending social events, exploring the city and its culture, and connecting with other students and locals.
The purpose of this article was to list some of the best cities to study in the UK and highlight some of the key characteristics that make them among the best cities. Before moving to the UK or moving from one city to another, you must research the city you will be living in. Everybody’s preference for their city of residence is different, so make sure you do not just blindly follow others’ words when making such a big life decision; instead, take your time and research what you are looking for in your new home.