We use cookies to allow us and selected partners to improve your experience and our advertising. By continuing to browse you consent to our use of cookies. You can understand more and change your cookies preferences here.

Northern universities reign supreme for student nightlife

Students rate top universities for student union, sports scene and more

Northern universities reign supreme for student nightlife

The north’s reputation for a buzzing and eclectic student nightlife shows no signs of letting up, the Which? University Student Survey 2018 reveals.

The University of Leeds, University of Liverpool, Liverpool John Moores University, University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University, Newcastle University and Northumbria University were all rated top in this year’s nightlife category.

Meanwhile, the University of Sussex and Nottingham Trent University were left to fly the flag for the south and Midlands respectively, while the University of Strathclyde was the lone Scottish representative.

Students were asked how they would rate their university for its variety of pubs, clubs and music venues nearby, catering to a range of tastes.

Full results – Which? University Student Survey 2018

Political or creative? Head down south…

The annual survey – polling more than 5,000 students at 127 UK universities – focuses on the extracurricular side of student life.

While northern universities can proudly claim to offer students the best in evening entertainment, students down south won’t be without things to do when lectures finish for the day.

As well as offering one of the best nightlife scenes in the country, Sussex topped the political scene category too, facilitating students’ desires to both express their views on key issues and tear up the dance floor at 2am.

They were rated top alongside fellow mainstays from last year, Cambridge, Goldsmiths University of London, London School of Economics and Oxford, plus newcomer Manchester, for offering relevant groups and activities on campus for the politically-conscious (or ‘woke’).

The creative scene category had a new kid on the block too, in the form of Arts University Bournemouth (AUB).

AUB joined Falmouth University, Goldsmiths (University of London), Norwich University of the Arts and University for the Creative Arts, in another category dominated by universities in the south.

Which city should you study in?

You explore Which? University’s city guides for student nightlife recommendations, local info and more. Plus, take our quiz below to find out where could suit you best to live, study and socialise in.

Top-rated student unions and sports scenes

The student union category saw fresh competition after two years of steady dominance from Cardiff, Leeds, Loughborough and Sheffield.

Dundee, Harper Adams and Imperial College London all broke into the category to join them this year, with students rating their variety of events, student nights and campaigning activities.

WATCH: Students reveal how university changed them (for better or worse)


And following recent news that students are spending less on alcohol and more on gym memberships and sports clubs, the Universities of Brunel and Nottingham have been bestowed a gold medal for their sports scene.

They join Bath, Cardiff Met, Chichester, Durham, Exeter, Loughborough, Stirling, Surrey and Worcester on the podium this year.

The best across the board

Six universities stood out, scoring highly across four out of six categories: Cardiff Metropolitan, University College London, Leeds, Manchester, Nottingham and Sheffield.

Students with a varied range of interests may wish to consider these when choosing their university, alongside other factors such as the specific course they’re applying to, the local city life and what works with their student budget.

Work out your living costs with our student budget calculator

‘Deciding on a university is an important decision for many, and while there are different league tables that help prospective students make an informed decision, it is always best to hear from current university students’, says Alex Hayman, Managing Director of Which? University.

‘Students may have different priorities beyond their academic objectives when it comes to choosing a university. Extracurricular activities can play a pivotal role in the overall student experience, so it is important they consider all factors of university life before making a decision.’

WATCH: Students and degree apprentices compare their university experiences:

Learn more about higher and degree apprenticeships, a fee-free alternative to university

About the survey

Findings from this year’s survey were merged with those from the previous two years, to give a larger overall sample, of 10,754 undergraduate students at UK universities.

All surveys were conducted by YouthSight on behalf of Which?.

Not sure where to study? Search, compare and shortlist universities easily on Which? University.

Back to top
Back to top