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Student News

Which universities have the best and worst nightlife?

The best and worst places in the UK for a night out have been revealed – and we did not expect some of the results. Read on to find out where your university city ranks!

People dancing in club with thumb emojis

Credit: dwphotos – Shutterstock

Let's face it: the quality of a night out depends pretty heavily on where you are.

If your local nightlife options are mostly packed bars and clubs with eye-watering prices (we're looking at you, London...), it's not easy to properly enjoy the night – but if drinks are cheap, the music's pumping and the atmosphere's buzzing, then you've got yourself a night out to remember(ish).

Thankfully, research has revealed the best university towns and cities for nights out, and the top 10 places in the UK have been revealed. Drum roll, please...

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Ranking the best universities for nightlife

Will Ferrell at a student party

Credit: DreamWorks Pictures

A lot of unis in the UK boast a great nightlife, so narrowing it down wouldn't have been easy – but these rankings, compiled by I Saw It First, focused on what's most important to students.

The rankings were worked out based on a number of factors, then calculated together to find overall winners. These factors were:

  • Nightlife options (the number of different clubs and bars)
  • Price of a pint
  • Cost of a taxi
  • Safety index
  • Number of takeaways (a very important one).
Nightlife is one thing, but how does your uni rank for sustainability? Check out the league table of the most eco-friendly universities.

Which universities have the best nightlife?

university of huddersfield

Credit: Alastair Wallace – Shutterstock

These places have the best unis for nightlife:

  1. Huddersfield
  2. Derby
  3. Chester
  4. Liverpool
  5. Sheffield
  6. Newcastle
  7. Leeds
  8. Stoke-on-Trent
  9. Preston
  10. Middlesbrough.

Northern towns and cities in England are the clear winners for nightlife in this study, with not a single uni town from the South making the top 10.

At number one is Yorkshire's Huddersfield, where a pint can cost you £3.05 and you have a pretty incredible 163 takeaways to choose from.

And Derby is a very close second place, with a massive 72 different nightlife options and pints for just £3 a pop.

As you can see, the top 10 uni towns and cities for nightlife also makes for great reading for some of the biggest and most prestigious universities in the UK.

The University of Liverpool, the University of Sheffield, Newcastle University and the University of Leeds can all claim success courtesy of their hometowns, proving that you don't need to compromise between a great social life and a uni that ranks well in the more traditional league tables.

Which universities have the worst nightlife?

london skyline at night

These are the cities and towns with the worst unis for nightlife:

  1. Northampton
  2. Portsmouth
  3. Worcester
  4. Cheltenham
  5. Guildford
  6. Gloucester
  7. Dundee
  8. London
  9. Luton
  10. Oxford

While these rankings aren't completely comprehensive (16 places were omitted from the study due to lack of data), there are still some pretty interesting names in I Saw It First's bottom 10 university towns and cities for nightlife.

Take, for instance, the University of Oxford. It may frequently rank as one of the top UK universities for academia, but for nightlife? Its hometown ranks number 61 out of 61. Sorry, Oxford.

And what about London? Despite boasting some of the best universities in the world, including Imperial College London, the London School of Economics and Politics (LSE) and University College London (UCL), the UK's capital city finds itself third from bottom for student nightlife.

There's no doubt that London's ranking has taken a battering from its high prices. Despite having by far the most nightlife options (1,326, which is over 1,000 more than the city with the next highest total), London's expensive alcohol (£5 a pint) and taxi prices, plus its relatively poor performance for safety, combine to drag it down to almost rock bottom.

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Best universities towns and cities by category

Rebel Wilson cheering holding a bottle of wine

Credit: Warner Bros.

Based on the factors used to measure places in this study, some university towns and cities have been revealed as being the best in particular areas, such as the price of drinks and safety.

As we mentioned earlier, for the number of nightlife options, London is crowned as the winner with 1,326(!) places to go on a night out. The city in second for this measure is Manchester, with a comparatively low (but objectively still impressive) 228 spots for a night out.

The cheapest pints are in Bolton and Lancaster at £2.50 – so, while London might have more nightlife options, its pints are recorded as costing twice that much.

The basic cost of a taxi is cheapest in Derby, but if you're travelling any distance over 1km, you'll find the lowest prices in Belfast.

St Andrews (where Prince William and Kate Middleton studied and met, no less) is said to be the safest student city.

And finally, for the most amount of takeaways, it's Birmingham! Given that that's secretly everyone's favourite part of a night out, we think that's the decision made in terms of where to go for our next night out...

As great as nights out are, we all love a night in with mates now and then. With our guide, you can host a stand-out dinner party on a budget.


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