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Best UK Universities For Student Life

14 March 2022

When it comes time to choose a university, league tables of the top universities help decide which is most suitable. 

Often these league tables focus on academic performance, research and even alumni employability.

However, another factor to consider when choosing where to undertake higher education is: where is the best for student life?

How you can spend your leisure time will greatly impact your student experience. 

So, to help with your decision, here’s our list of the best UK universities for student life:


Main considerations 

Every student’s thoughts on what comprises a great university experience will differ slightly. 

Some will prefer a university that is centred around campus life. Alternatively, others want to be at the heart of the city centre with access to a vibrant nightlife scene. 

Important factors to consider when making your university decision include:


Community and campus environment

Who else is studying at the university? Is it more of a homogenous group or a multi-cultural mixed community? What facilities are available? 


Social life

What is the student union’s reputation? Are there other leisure activities in the area? Are there things to do with friends? (think art galleries, theatres and even nightclubs).


Extracurricular activities. 

Does that university have many societies that fit with your interests to meet like-minded people? 


Universities with the best campus life

Loughborough University

90% of those who chose Loughborough University say that they have the best student life in the UK (according to The Times).

Located in Leicestershire, it is a campus university that is renowned for its community feel. 

The students union is owned and run entirely by its student body. With over 120 different societies and sporting clubs to join, it is easy to meet new friends with similar interests. 

University of Leeds

Located close to Leeds city centre, it gives you the best of both worlds; a campus community and a student-friendly city. 

The campus is around 100 acres in size, with over 300 clubs and societies. This means there are lots of places to meet new people, relax in a green space or take a mini-adventure. 

Renowned for its international community, it’s incredibly popular for international students.

Queens Belfast University

The historic campus is at the heart of Belfast’s culture. Being close to the city centre it is also a stone’s throw away from the endless Northern Irish coastline. 

Voted the number one region to visit in the world by Lonely Planet. Here, students have a plethora of places to see, things to do and people to meet when not in lectures. 


UK universities with the best nightlife

University of Glasgow & Edinburgh University

Scotland is renowned for its universities with great nightlife. However, Glasgow and Edinburgh are just ahead of the likes of the University of Dundee for student life.

Glasgow has over 170,000 students in the city so naturally, its student nightlife is thriving. With a different vibe or venue for every night of the week, there is something for everyone. 

Similarly, Edinburgh has an abundance of choice when it comes to nightlife. So, finding somewhere to head to after a long day of lectures and hard work is easy for students. Both universities score high for student satisfaction with some specifically studying here to taste the nightlife. 

Newcastle University

Newcastle has a rich history, iconic landmarks and incredible shopping. Its cosmopolitan community of university students means that there are a plethora of people to meet and socialise with. 

The wide range of bars and clubs means students can easily find their favourite spot to frequent. Its nightlife is a huge reason why Newcastle consistently comes out on top as a favourite student city. 

University of Sheffield/ Sheffield Hallam

Both universities are located at the heart of the compact city. Its rolling hills, vibrant city life and diversity makes Sheffield a huge hit with students.

Students have a huge amount of choice from live music venues, clubbing and places to relax after a long day of lectures.

It’s one of the UK’s best-loved student cities. Along with its cultural attractions, and local friendliness, its nightlife contributes significantly to that.


As well as the university campus and city life, student accommodation can have a huge impact on the student experience. Novel provides incredible accommodation that maximises student life. Find your perfect student accommodation with Novel.

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