Students having fun outdoors at an event

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By Study Inn

So you’ve got your A-Level results, congratulations! And now, you’re off to one of the Guardian’s top 20 universities this September, which is pretty exciting, if not a little nerve-wracking! But maybe you’re wondering, or perhaps settling a debate with your mates — where’s the cheapest place for a cold, frosty pint? And besides that, even though your uni has a tremendous academic reputation (parents are happy, great) is it actually a fun place to be?  

To satisfy your curiosity, we’ve done a spot of research ourselves. We based our rankings on a number of factors:

  • Number of pubs nearby
  • Number of restaurants nearby
  • Number of nightclubs nearby
  • Number of student societies 
  • Student satisfaction score
  • And critically, the average cost of a pint.

We gave each of these six categories a score and took an average to determine their overall star rating. Coming out on top was Glasgow, with an impressive four out of five stars, followed in hot pursuit by Leeds with just under four stars. Joint third place is taken by prestigious universities Exeter, Strathclyde and UCL, scoring a high three and a half stars out of five. 

The Most Fun Places to Be a Student

The most cities to be a student in infographic

University of Glasgow

University of Glasgow

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Securing the number one spot for the most fun place to be a student is Glasgow University. Surprised? We’re not! Glasgow is renowned for being one of the most friendly and welcoming cities in the UK and the most diverse in Scotland. It’s also home to Strathclyde University, which features third in the fun ranking as another stand-out university. A high proportion of green spaces gives Glasgow the nickname “The Dear Green Place” with beautiful walks and places of outstanding natural beauty like the Glasgow Botanic Gardens. 

For art and music seekers, Glasgow is a bustling hub of culture as a designated UNESCO City of Music, hosting the Scottish Opera Company, the National Theatre of Scotland and the Glasgow Jazz Festival to name a few. Feast your eager eyes on some arresting art pieces, found in The Gallery of Modern Art and The Riverside Museum and take an amble into the city centre for all your shopping needs (affordable and high-end). 

Of course, one of the major advantages of Glasgow and Strathclyde University is the cost of living compared to the expense of the London universities. Pints are relatively cheap in Glasgow (£4.18) and there’s a huge range of traditional Scottish pubs, bars, clubs and restaurants to keep you entertained during term time. 

Glasgow and Strathclyde University boast over 200-300 student societies to cater to a wide range of interests. Glasgow’s campus Gilmorehill is nicely compact and walkable — perfect for the 9 am lecture rush.  

University of Leeds

University of Leeds

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Leeds University always scores highly for an all-around fun university experience. Continuing the theme up North, Leeds is a world-class university in a thriving city notorious for an electric nightlife — found in Call Lane and the Northern Quarter. Like Glasgow and Strathclyde, the Northern location has its student cost advantages, being significantly cheaper than down south. 

A typical Leeds right of passage is the famous Otley Run (also known as the Headingley Mile) in which students sport their most ridiculous costumes on a whirlwind tour of some of Leeds’ best pubs. Bursting with shops and shopping centres like Victoria Gate and Trinity Leeds, there are plenty of opportunities for student discounts too (don’t spend all your maintenance loan!). 

Situated in West Yorkshire, Leeds is in close proximity to the picturesque Yorkshire Dales and the stunning Peak District — so you’ll never be short on weekend breaks away. 

In Leeds city centre, you have the Leeds City Museum and Royal Armouries for the historians and the Henry Moore Institute for your art fix. Good transport connections mean travelling around the city is easy, and students receive discounted yearly bus and train tickets to cut down on travel costs.

But what about the culture? For music and theatre fans there’s no shortage of entertainment facilities. Leeds is also home to some big music venues like the O2 Academy and Leeds Arena with theatrical entertainment on offer in the Leeds City Varieties and West Yorkshire Playhouse.

Study Inn — Leeds University

Looking for student accommodation in Leeds? Study Inn has the best private student accommodation in Leeds at Brotherton House with an all-inclusive, luxury edge. Choose from a stunning studio apartment, or modern en-suite room all within a ten-minute walk of Leeds and Leeds Beckett University campus. 

Brotherton House has a cinema lounge, spa facilities, gym, yoga studio and two bowling lanes to enjoy with your flatmates and create lasting friendships. 

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University of Exeter

University of Exeter

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Exeter University has a lively student scene, offering a variety of social activities, events and parties, thanks to its large student population. Located in the idyllic county of Devon, Exeter is surrounded by enchanting landscapes, a stunning coastline and scenic countryside. For outdoorsy types, there are plenty of activities to choose from — like hiking, cycling, surfing and beach trips. Adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers will love the choice of destinations — Exeter is well-known for its commitment to environmental issues. Excellent campus facilities are also available at Exeter University, like modern libraries, sports centres and dedicated social and study spaces. Exeter is celebrated for its selection of support services for academic assistance and student well-being support, ensuring a positive and fulfilling university experience. 

The iconic Exeter Cathedral and medieval Exeter Historic Guildhall are some highlights of the city’s rich history and a range of museums, galleries, theatres and live music venues provide any student with a long cultural bucket list. Exeter is also a cheap place for pints and has the second-biggest range of restaurants (529!) in the top 20, so you’ll never be caught short on things to do.

Hosting a range of exciting food festivals and musical events throughout the year, Exeter is a city which is always alive and thriving. With a huge assortment of student societies, there’s something for everyone — whether you’re interested in anime or cream teas. Develop new skills, make lifelong friends and enjoy immersing yourself in the Exeter University experience. 

Study Inn — Exeter University

At Walnut Gardens, we redefine the meaning of all-inclusive student living by offering a host of extraordinary amenities. Unwind and indulge in our cinema lounge, where movie nights take on a whole new level of comfort and excitement. Need a break from the books? Pamper yourself in our rejuvenating spa facilities, or feel the burn in our state-of-the-art gym and invigorating yoga studio. 

At Study Inn, we understand that your university experience is not solely about the lectures and exams. It’s about embracing a vibrant community, fostering connections, and creating moments that will stay with you long after graduation. That’s why Walnut Gardens offers not just a place to rest your head, but a vibrant and engaging way of life to enhance your time at university.

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University College London

University College London

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University College London, also known as UCL, is situated in the heart of our capital city London — where the arts and culture thrive endlessly, offering rafts of art exhibitions, bars, museums, concerts and performances. The pure variety that’s on offer attracts a diverse student body into its active and vibrant range of student-run organisations, clubs and societies. Of course, London is famous for its bustling nightlife where there’s always something on for everyone — including memorable student nights and festivals. 

Aside from the benefits of location, UCL has an excellent reputation for a wide choice of volunteer opportunities for a sense of fulfilment, allowing students to enact a positive impact on the community. And, there are plenty of green spaces like Regent’s Park, Hampstead Heath and Hyde Park nearby to restore inner peace during exam season. And, UCL is lucky enough to always be host to many guest lectures from intellectuals, celebrities and industry professionals to broaden the horizons of your degree subject. 

UCL is also a great university for athletes or those looking to try a new sport, with excellent sports facilities, gyms and outdoor areas. Stay active, compete and enjoy a rich social connection with your fellow teammates. 

Luxury Student Accommodation

Uni living can be a difficult adjustment. And, with an uncertain economic climate, the concern about bills and all your extra expenditures can be daunting. This is where Study Inn can help. We have stunning, all-inclusive accommodation at four of the Guardian’s Top 20 universities (including two of the most fun!):

At these locations, student living is easy. Why? Well, all your utility bills (gas, water and electricity) are included in your rent, letting you breathe a sigh of relief when it comes to the stress of rising bills. Our housekeeping team is there to regularly clean your bedroom and communal areas, and all your personal bedroom and kitchen essentials are provided on-site — saving you money where it matters. 

In addition, reap the benefits of our superfast Wi-Fi and exclusive wellness spas, gyms and entertainment spaces you won’t find anywhere else, with our 24-hour onsite team available to assist you whenever you need. We believe in an end-to-end hassle-free service, which is why we won’t pester you for a guarantor or a damage deposit payment. 

It isn’t just our contemporary facilities which stand out. We also organise social events to help students make new, international connections. Going the extra mile with our services means you can concentrate on having a brilliant time at uni. It’s student living, made easy!

Ready to start your uni adventure? Book a viewing at one of our select locations.