You are here

Universities in England: Location Guide

Universities in England: Location Guide main image

You go through the UCAS catalogue and there’s hundreds of universities in England to choose from, many of which you’ve never heard of. Maybe this affects us international students a little bit more than the British, but still, it’s not likely that anyone has visited every single one of those universities. You don’t have the time to do it: you’ve got A-levels to study for before university applications are due in, and that last summer to enjoy after you apply. Plus, you don’t want to spend all your money travelling around every English town; that’s a real budget bomb.

Here’s a quick location guide to help you narrow down the English universities you want to consider visiting. Basically, just look at the English town or city in which the university is based. This strategy is not perfect and it is admittedly based on a bit of stereotyping, but it will save you time and money.

1. Is the university in London?

Among all the colleges and universities in England, around 45 are found in the capital. They’re all very different, but the city itself has a major impact on the lifestyle of its students. There is always something happening in London. The incredible pace at which everything happens can be a great bonus for some people, but daunting to others. If considering a university in London, make sure you’re ready for life in a large, busy metropolis.

Expect: Higher prices and to live further away from your university.

Recommended: For the extra-energetic city lovers among you.

2. Is it in a northern or southern English town?

I had imagined England as a country with a uniform culture, but the north and the south can be as different as two different countries sometimes (Nottingham considered the halfway point). I think the north is more innovative and the south is more traditional, and this reflects on local universities: Oxford, Cambridge and Bath are great southern English universities with deep academic roots. In the north, Manchester, Liverpool and Newcastle are great universities in England that focus on modern teaching and learning approaches.

Recommended: If you’re English, leave your comfort zone and cross the north/south divide. Learn to love the other side!

3. Does the city have more than one university?

Many large English towns and cities have somewhere between two and five universities. The chemistry of your university experience is always a little different depending on this. English towns and cities with more universities have greater offers of things to do: more events and student parties. Having more than one university in the vicinity means you’re more likely to meet more new people.

Expect: A little bit of friendly rivalry between neighboring universities.

4. Or is it a single-university town?

English towns with only one university have a more united student community, but sometimes have less to offer students. This doesn’t mean there will be nothing on, however. I studied in Hull, and there were six or seven different nightclubs there. But if having plenty going on after class is important for you, make sure you look up these towns online.

Recommended: That bit in the university brochure that talks about the “vibrant nightlife”? Take it with a pinch of salt – they all say that!

5. Is the university even in a town?

Rural universities really allow you to focus on your studies and you’ll be surrounded by the beautiful English countryside. These universities will have all the facilities you need on campus, with everything conveniently close together.

Expect: A few streets where all the houses look the same, a couple of pubs.

Recommended: If you’re a quiet, calm sort of person. If you’re a party person, these self-contained university campuses can feel a little too small and slow.

Remember not to take anything for granted: every rule has exceptions, and these aren’t even rules. They’re just a quick way to help you narrow down that catalogue. Once you’ve got a smaller list, do more research and check out some English towns in person. I spent a weekend in Hull before I accepted the university’s offer. I was sure I’d like the town, and it never disappointed me.

What does my advice boil down to? The university you choose is where you’ll be living for three years, maybe more, and you want that to be a good experience. Choose an English town, city or other location where you can imagine yourself being comfortable, happy and having a great time. It’s as simple as that.

Francisco is the head of copy, content and creativity at Uniplaces, an online marketplace for booking student accommodation. To receive a £20 discount on your student accommodation booking via Uniplaces, use the special offer code ‘QSUK’.

Iulia600's profile image
Written by Francisco Peres
Francisco is the Head of Copy, Content and Creativity at Uniplaces, an online marketplace for booking student accommodation. He grew up in Porto, Portugal and has lived in England, Thailand and Mozambique. He swears he’s lost belongings in all the continents of the world. He loves the sea, books and winding roads, but also has a soft spot for coffee and long conversations. He’s really thankful the world is as large as it is.

Want to leave a comment?

Please login or register to post
comment above our articles

0 Comment