The Best Student Neighbourhoods in the UK’s Top University Cities

Student rooms living rent

Picking a student house for your second year is a stressful time for any fresher.

You’re often in a new city, with a whole new group of friends. You won’t have had time to fully explore your university town before deciding where to live, so it’s hard to even know where to start.

But getting a shared house is way easier if you’ve got the right info – and that’s why we’ve put together this article! We’ve taken the Complete University Guide’s Top 10 Universities for 2018, and researched the best and most popular student neighbourhoods for each. With this info, finding student accommodation for your second year will be easier than ever.

10. Loughborough University

Located in north Leicestershire, this single-campus uni has seriously excelled in recent years. It’s been praised for its tech and engineering departments, as well as its impressive array of sporting achievements.

Loughborough University

The Golden Triangle
Loughborough’s Golden Triangle is a highly sought-after area of student housing in Loughborough. It’s situated roughly halfway between the university campus and the town centre, making it the hottest student living spot in the town. For those who are organised enough to remember street names, it’s the area between Ashby Road and Derby Road and runs all the way up to Alan Moss Road.

Loughborough Golden Triangle

This area has fantastic amenities. It’s served by a massive Sainsbury’s, and of course, there are plenty of pubs and shops just a short walk away. On top of that, there are plenty of well-furnished, modern and comfortable student houses to choose from.
Be warned though – competition for housing in this area can be pretty intense, so start your house hunt sooner rather than later.

9. Lancaster University

This northern uni takes a leaf from the likes of Oxford and Cambridge, with its unusual collegiate system. However, accommodation can be tricky – the main campus is pretty isolated, sitting 3 miles from the city centre.

The City Centre
There are obvious benefits to living in the city centre, even if proximity to campus isn’t one of them. You get all the amenities, nightlife, pubs and shops that Lancaster city centre has to offer. It’s even got a castle! Plus, there are great transport links and it’ll only take around 15-25 minutes to commute into uni (which you can probably manage even when you’re hungover.)

Bowerham’s another option. It’s a culinary heaven, with a great choice of bars, restaurants, and take-aways. This includes some of Lancaster’s best and most famous pubs, like the Greave’s Park. Plus, it’s only a 10 minute walk from the city centre, and a 15 minute bus ride to the university.

Primrose gives you the best of both worlds, as it’s situated between Bowerham and the City Centre. Live here to enjoy the beautiful Williamson Park, easy access to the city centre, and award winning fish and chips!

8. University of Warwick

Somewhat misleadingly, the University of Warwick is actually based in Coventry, so you’ll be looking there for student accommodation. It’s well-known for its maths and computing courses.

Neighbourhoods like Earlsdon in the city centre are super convenient for students, sitting just 10-15 minutes away from the campus and city centre via bike or bus. Earlsdon’s high street has all the amenities you need, including the ever essential Subway and Greggs, and a Co-op for your weekly shop.

Leamington Spa
If you’re willing to commute to uni, Leamington provides a nice respite from Coventry proper. Despite the 30 minute bus ride to Coventry, it’s incredibly popular with students and keeps the atmosphere of a University Town. There are loads of shops, bars, clubs, and restaurants and lots of choice of accommodation (including some amazing 14 bed houses). Plus, if the commute sounds like a pain, you’ll be pleased to know that the uni has its own learning facility in the centre of the town. That means travelling in isn’t always a necessity (and you’ve got no excuse to neglect your studies).

7. UCL

London’s an awesome place to live, but the size can make it overwhelming for newcomers. UCL is right in the heart of London, close to The British Library, Trafalgar Square, and Covent Garden. However, this central location can make finding affordable student housing a challenge.

University College London

This London borough remains popular with UCL students – and it’s not hard to see why. It’s ram packed with bars, restaurants, and plenty of shopping, including the alternative wares on sale at the famous Camden Market. Plus, the picturesque Primrose Hill is nearby for when you want to escape the hustle and bustle of London. Camden’s a 25 minute walk, or 12 minute tube ride from the university.

King’s Cross
King’s Cross is a 15 minute walk, or 10 minute tube ride to the uni, so it’s an incredibly convenient option. It’s more expensive than other options as it’s so central, and the accommodation is likely to be smaller. That said, you will benefit from being so central – living near King’s Cross gives you unparalleled transport links to London, the rest of the country, and Europe. Everything else is either on your doorstep or a short hop on the tube away.

Holloway’s further away, situated just north of Camden. It’s very popular with UCL students as it’s not as pricey as other neighbourhoods, so you can find a more comfortable place to live. It’s also a bit quieter, with plenty of cafes, shops, and gardens.

6. Durham University

Durham’s collegiate system means you might only have to spend one year living out of university accommodation, as you’re often able to take up a place in halls again in third year. Durham’s only a small city, so you’ll find most student houses are either in the city centre or the surrounding villages.

City centre
Living in the centre is the most convenient option in terms of amenities, but the rent is considerably higher than other areas.

The Viaduct
This area has the highest population of students in Durham. It’s close to the train station, as well as the city centre shops.

5. Imperial College London

Imperial is located in South Kensington, one of London’s most expensive boroughs. This can be a barrier to finding affordable accommodation, so many students commute from other areas. Imperial’s accommodation page gives detailed data about London’s boroughs, but here are some of the most popular options for Imperial students:

Hammersmith’s way more affordable than South Kensington, but only 15 minutes away on the tube. There are plenty of entertainment options nearby, including the Hammersmith Apollo, which often plays host to top comedians and touring superstars. There are lots of eclectic eateries and bars too, and the Thames is close enough for a riverside stroll. Plus, the Westfield Shopping Centre (a relatively safe haven from tourists) is just 11 minutes away on the Hammersmith and City line.

Shepherd’s Bush
It’s all on your doorstep at Shepherd’s Bush. You’ve got live music venues like the O2 Empire, and the Westfield Shopping Centre is perfect for a more relaxed London shopping experience. The fantastic transport links (a 20 minute tube trip to Imperial) and very reasonable accommodation prices are just the icing on the cake, and it’s a very desirable area for students.

4. London School of Economics

Like UCL, LSE is slap bang in the middle of London, so you’ll need to handle accommodation strategically.

Brixton’s an exciting and dynamic area, and an increasingly popular place to live. It’s characterised by its thriving markets and independent shops, and it’s brimming with bars and restaurants. Importantly, it’s just 25 minutes from LSE.

Shepherd’s Bush
A 23 minute journey makes Shepherd’s Bush an option for LSE students too, and they can enjoy all the same amenities as their ICL counterparts.

Finsbury Park
This North London borough is one of the most convenient and affordable options for LSE students, as the journey only takes 20 minutes. Its great transport links make travelling around the rest of London easy too, and its array of high street stores means you can get all the essentials right on your doorstep.

3. University of St Andrews

This isolated Scottish town sits on the east coast of Fife, and during term time students make up a third of the population! If golf or beaches are your thing, this little town will probably be paradise.
Although halls are only guaranteed for first years, a high percentage of St Andrews students live in them throughout their time at the university. As St Andrews itself offers a limited choice of private accommodation, students are increasingly choosing to live further afield.

Cupar (town in central Fife)
Although it’s nearly 10 miles from St Andrews, this town is very accessible, with regular buses serving the route between the towns. It’s worth noting that other villagers like Kingsbarns, Anstruther, and Crail are closer, but the public transport links to these are considerably more limited. There are plenty of shops and cafes, as well as a Lidl and Aldi for all your budget shopping needs. If you’re feeling claustrophobic, hourly trains to Edinburgh and Dundee provide an easy escape.

Dundee’s a bit of trek - 13 miles away, in fact - but some students choose to live there to enjoy the amenities that the city offers. It’s incredibly easy to get to, with buses running to and from St Andrews every 10 minutes during the day, and every half hour in the evening. St Andrews students are allowed to use the University of Dundee’s library, Union, and gym facilities too, meaning you won’t have to make the journey every day.

2. University of Oxford

Many Oxford colleges offer guaranteed accommodation for either 2 or 3 years. If you do end up looking for private accommodation, these are the best locations:

Oxford University

Cowley Road
Cowley Road and Iffley Road are popular locations for Oxford students – they’re just south of the city centre, and there are plenty of student houses available. It’s an eclectic area, packed full of vintage shops, interesting restaurants and even an indie cinema. You’ll be spoilt for choice at night too, with the Bullingdon and O2 music venues both drawing great acts to the area.

For those in northern colleges, Jericho’s a more convenient alternative to Cowley. It’s very artsy, with plenty of bars, restaurants, and quirky shops to choose from. It’s just a stone’s throw from Port Meadow too, which provides a welcome escape into the countryside. However, it does tend to be more expensive than some areas of the city.

1. University of Cambridge

Cambridge guarantees that the majority of its students will be able to live in college-owned accommodation for the entirety of their degree, so there’s very little need to search for a student house in your second year. In fact, many colleges own houses and flats around the city!

About the author: Thomas Brella

Thomas Brella is the founder of Student Hacks, starting the website in 2013 while studying at the University of Brighton to share tips and tricks on life as a cash-strapped student. He's now spent over 10 years scoping out the best ways to live on a budget

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