UNLOCKING THE SECRETS OF STUDENT LIVING: thriving in the uk’s university cities

By on August 7th, 2023



From the buzz of London to the chilled atmosphere of smaller university cities like Cambridge and Exeter, the UK has some amazing university cities for you to make your home. Each university city has its own distinct character and charm, from vibrant nightlife to eclectic eateries and lush green spaces. All of which combined will go a long way towards helping you to choose your ideal university location.

Choosing your ideal university is an important and potentially life-changing decision. While academic reputation, cost of tuition, and the availability of specific courses are no doubt all important factors, there are other considerations as well. Location, culture, extracurricular activities, and support services are also important aspects to bear in mind when picking a university.

Keep reading for hints and tips on how to choose the right university for you and how to make the most of being a uni student.


Location plays a crucial role in the student experience. Our diverse university cities offer unique opportunities for you to explore and grow. Some of the perennial top contenders for the best university cities in the UK include:


Edinburgh – A vibrant cultural scene, with plenty of galleries, museums and the Edinburgh Fringe. For more fun in Edinburgh, check out our top 10 free things to do in Edinburgh.

Leeds – The perfect destination for those looking to have fun, with plenty of lively bars and clubs.

Liverpool – A friendly, compact city with amazing nightlife, shopping and World Heritage docks.

London – A popular choice for students due to its fast-paced lifestyle and ample job opportunities.

Newcastle Welcoming, lively and full of character, you can’t help but fall in love with ‘the Toon’. Here are some of the best student bars in Newcastle to help get you started.



Choosing the right university city for you will largely depend on your preferences and interests. But it’s also worth looking into the cost of living, job opportunities, the local culture, safety and accessibility. Your university experience will be heavily influenced by where you choose to study, so take the time to thoroughly research your prospective choices. Consider the city’s amenities and facilities, transport links and nightlife.

Once you’ve narrowed down your options, be sure to visit each city to get a good feel for them. Most universities hold open days, which are a great opportunity to chat to course leaders and current students for an inside look at what you can expect from your university experience there. Ultimately, you’ll want to pick a city that fits your lifestyle and interests, so it’s essential to gather all the details that matter to you before making your choice.







University life can be an exciting but often hectic time in your life. So it’s really important to strike a healthy balance between work and leisure. Sometimes that’s easier said than done, but don’t worry. We’ve got some student hacks, tips and tricks to make uni life easier. First and foremost, look after yourself by getting enough sleep, eating well and exercising regularly. This will help to keep you energised, alert, and in tip-top physical and mental health.


It’s also a good idea to get organised by mapping out your commitments in a planner or calendar and scheduling in some downtime. Not only will this help you to keep on top of deadlines, but it’ll also free up time for fun stuff. Remember to factor in some time for catching up with friends and family outside of the university setting too. This is a great way to take a timeout from the demands of studying and enjoy yourself in a familiar environment.


Plus, don’t forget to make the most of all the things that first attracted you to your university city. Sample the nightlife, culture, shopping and restaurants with your friends whenever you get any spare time. The trick is to make sure you’re making the most of your student experience without neglecting your studies or your social life.




Connecting with the university community is a brilliant way to build relationships and expand your network. If you want to make the most of your university experience and connect with like-minded people it’s worth joining some societies and sports clubs. This is a great way to make new friends with similar hobbies and passions. LinkedIn is also a great tool for connecting with alumni and professionals in your field to make contacts for your future career.

Plus, don’t forget to join the welcoming and informative resident groups we’ve created across our dedicated Downing Students social channels on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and WeChat.


As fun as it undoubtedly is, uni life can be challenging at times. So it’s important to look after your mental health and well-being. Make sure you’re taking regular breaks from studying and giving yourself some dedicated time to unwind, like going for a walk, listening to music or reading a book. Also, keep in touch with friends and family through phone or video calls. This will help you to stay connected and give you the chance to talk about any issues.


It’s also a good idea to practice self-care. Whether it be creative activities like drawing or journaling, or physical activities like yoga or running, adding some mindful activities into your busy schedule can really help you to deal with exam stress and provide an outlet for any difficult thoughts or feelings. Finally, if you’re struggling, seek out some of the many mental health support services that are available within your university and local community.

Check out Harry’s self-care routine for some inspiration.

We hope these hints and tips help you to enjoy your university experience to its fullest. Now that you know how to make the most of being a student in whichever university city you choose, hopefully your uni life will be the best time of your life. In the meantime, if you’d like more information about any of our properties or locations, please contact us today to speak with the team.

Downing Student Life

Visit our blog
Back to Top