The best places to be a student

Ifsafety is one of your biggest concerns, make a beeline for Bath. The World Heritage listed city’s two universities are among the safest in the country, according to research by the Independent Complete University Guide. Impressive safety record aside, Bath – the birthplace of Jane Austen - is jaw droppingly beautiful, owing to its gorgeous Georgian architecture.

Yes going to university is about getting a degree but you are allowed to let your hair down – and Birmingham students do this best, spending more on alcohol (£68 per week) than any other UK city. Apart from booze, Birmingham students enjoy balti (Birmingham is the UK’s curry capital) and um, canals - England’s second city has more canals that Venice. Who knew?

Coming out of the closest isn’t always easy, but Brighton is a good place to do it. Sometimes referred to as ‘London by the sea’, Brighton has long been known as Britain’s gay capital. Every August, Brighton – whose famous residents include Peter Andre, Adele and Fatboy Slim – hosts Pride Brighton: one of the biggest LGBT celebrations on the planet. Bottom line? If you’re gay, lesbian or bi, Brighton rocks.

Why study in Cambridge? Because it’s the best uni in Britain, that’s why. Cambridge ranks first nationally in 14 of 30 disciplines, compared to 10 for Oxford. The colleges are also drop dead gorgeous – particularly King’s College, a gothic treasure that took 100 years to build. But Cambridge isn’t all about books… the bustling market town is also famous for its bicycles, choristers and River Cam.

London was crowned the second best student city in the world by the global rankings, drawn up by the QS Best Student Cities – and rightly so. The capital is a great place to be a student with its world-class clubs, culture and cosmopolitan mix (London is home to over 100,000 international students from over 200 different nations). Sure the capital can be eye wateringly expensive, but there are tonnes of part time jobs available to help finance your studies (and social life).

Sports mad students should look to Loughborough. The Leicestershire University has been ranked the Sports University of the Year 2013-14 by The Sunday Times. Loughborough was also the official preparation camp for Team GB ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games. That said, you don’t need to be the next Jessica Ennis to enrol here. Un-sporty types will enjoy life at Loughborough – which was voted England’s Best Student Experience for six years running (2006-2011) – too.

Manchester receives more applications for undergraduate study than any other British university, making it a lively place to live. There are four universities to choose from: Manchester University, Manchester Metropolitan University, Salford University and the Royal Northern College of Music. What’s more, life in Manchester is uber affordable with accommodation almost half the price you’d pay for similar digs in Dublin or London.

Partying is a big part of university life but some colleges – here’s looking at you Newcastle - party harder than others.  Newcastle has been named the third best university in the country for nightlife according to Which’s 2013-14 student survey. An £8-million refurbishment of the Students’ Union has recently been completed, proof, if any was needed, that the northern uni plays hard.

St Andrews
Kate Middleton and Prince William put this pretty university town on the north coast of Fife on the map, when they met here as students back in 2001. Ever since, St Andrews has been one of the most popular universities in the UK, with approximately 10 students vying for every one place. Royal watching aside, there’s lots of student societies to join and St Andrews is a golfing mecca…

Lastly if you want to hear the sound of waves crashing on the shore, post seminar, Swansea could be the university for you: its campus is located less than a minute from the beach! A new water sports centre was opened on the beach back in 2012 by a partnership involving the university so students can try their hand at water sports such as windsurfing, kite surfing, and beach volleyball.