Northern and Scottish universities 'top for nightlife'

students in bar Students were asked if there were different types of pubs, clubs and music venues nearby

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Students seeking an active nightlife from their university days should head to institutions in the north of England or Scotland, a survey suggests.

Those wanting an active political scene may do better in London and south-east England, Which University suggests.

Analysis of some 17,500 student ratings of extra-curricular university life reveals which campuses are best for the arts, sport, nightlife and politics.

The ratings were made by UK undergraduates in 2013 and 2012.

The consumer group said the lists were not ranked in order and the scores of the universities within the groups were not necessarily significantly different.

Music venues and demos

Eight universities in the north of England and Scotland were among the top-rated by students for their diverse nightlife in terms of pubs, clubs and music venues.

These were Newcastle, Manchester, Liverpool, Liverpool John Moores, Northumbria, Leeds, Strathclyde and Glasgow Caledonian.

The only university in the south of England to make it into this top group was Sussex.

Start Quote

With increased tuition fees, it's never been more important for prospective students to weigh up all the options”

End Quote Jenni Allen Which University

Would-be politicians may want to head to London, with the School of Oriental and African Studies, the London School of Economics and Political Science, Goldsmiths, and University College London among those considered the best for a political experience.

This meant that they offered many different political groups and activities, such as meetings and demonstrations, and that politics was a visible part of university life.

But Oxford, Cambridge, Sussex, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Sheffield and Queen's University Belfast also made it into the top-ranked group for political activities.

Students were quizzed over whether sport was a large part of university life, with a wide range of organised sports teams, clubs and facilities open to those of all levels.

Unsurprisingly, Loughborough - well known for its sporting facilities - was considered among the best universities, alongside St Mary's University College, Bath, Stirling, Brunel, Durham, Leeds Metropolitan, Cardiff Metropolitan, Harper Adams, Birmingham, Chichester and Northumbria.

Which University also asked undergraduates if music, theatre, dance, choirs and the visual arts were a large part of university life, with lots of arts societies, events and facilities open to all students.

A number of specialist institutions, including the Arts University Bournemouth, University of the Arts London and University for the Creative Arts, scored well in this category.

They were joined in the top group by Oxford, Cambridge, Goldsmiths, Falmouth, Bath Spa, De Montfort, St Andrews, Southampton Solent, Buckinghamshire New University, Huddersfield and Dundee.

Which combined the results of a survey of 8,053 UK undergraduates in the summer of 2013 and 9,604 questioned in 2012 to reach its conclusions.

Course satisfaction

The consumer group study also surveyed around 8,000 students for their views on their experience of higher education.

The findings showed the vast majority (85%) of students said they were satisfied with their university, with the same proportion happy with their course.

But more than a quarter (26%) said they wished they had done more research, and one in 10 regretted the university they had chosen. Around 11% had regrets about the course they had picked.

Jenni Allen, head of Which University, said: "The academic and extra-curricular experience at university varies widely.

"With increased tuition fees, it's never been more important for prospective students to weigh up all the options and make sure they make the right choice for them."

Since last autumn, UK universities have been allowed to charge tuition fees of up to £9,000 a year.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 117.

    Liverpool for me for certain...... the best years of my life , a truly great city,great nightlife...full of history and well known for its music and historic buildings..

  • rate this

    Comment number 116.

    Sheffield was a great place to study in the 1970s. Social life is a paramount part of Uni. Good clubs, pubs, music, countryside close to the city, theatre, sport especially within the Uni itself.

    All this and still got my 1st class degree in Biochemistry.

  • rate this

    Comment number 108.

    I agree that it isn't just the Uni itself that matters. Having spent time with my older brothers, who both studied at Newcastle, I went to Oxford expecting University life to be similar. While academic facilities were fantastic, I found the city small, very expensive, with limited nightlife and locals (perhaps understandably) unfriendly. I often felt that I would have preferred studying elsewhere.

  • rate this

    Comment number 105.

    These ignorant University surveys are completely unreliable. Regardless of what argument is put forward, they always fail to take into account numerous factors, and this is because of the simple obvious limitations of surveying such a vast diversity within a university. What truly gets me worked up is the fact that people listen to these pointless surveys and base their decisions on them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 53.

    I wish the university I went to didn't have such an active night life. I didn't enjoy getting drunk or partying so I was pretty much left out of all social events. Even sports or "geeky" societies only ever met outside the university to go on pub and club crawls.


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