Bored of hearing about world rankings and acceptance rates, now you find your university on the things that REALLY matter. From how much it is to grab a pint to how safe (or dangerous) your uni’s city is, here’s the ultimate ALTERNATIVE university league table to make your decision.

Unifresher’s alternative uni league table is a fresh look at universities in the UK, aside from standard measurements of academic output, awards and entry requirements. We’re not saying these things aren’t important, but so is the quality of life you live while studying. That’s why we’ve put together this different kind of league, which takes statistics and figures from sources like Numbeo, Uber and People and Planet to rank 94 UK universities on their quality of life.

How to use the table

Use the table to find out which university came out on top (by total score) and which are…not quite as good.

Scroll across the table to see all the different factors we ranked each university for,  or use the arrows at the top of each column to find out which university is the best for each variable, such as sustainability, crime rate, social life or the cost of a McMeal!

You can also search for a particular university in the navigation bar to find where your uni ranks compared to others. Enjoy!

Alternative University League Table

RankUniversityalternative university league tablePint**price of a pintSocial Lifebest universities for social lifeSustainabilityuniversities with best sustainability scoreMcMeal*Crime Ratealternative university league tablePrice of an Uberprice of an uber per universityCinema Ticketcinema ticket priceTotal Score
1Bangor University£3.853.9370.30%£5.3024.66£11.00£10.00539
2Cardiff Metropolitan University£4.004.4482.30%£6.9537.73£13.00£6.00464
3Newcastle University£3.704.5464.40%£6.5038.4£15.00£12.00455
4University of Plymouth£3.504.3361.80%£5.5040.1£19.00£10.00454
5Northumbria University, Newcastle£3.704.5666.80%£6.5038.4£20.00£10.00432
6Swansea University£4.004.3868.40%£7.5035.46£13.00£10.00431
7University of Portsmouth£4.504.3348.60%£5.8945.44£12.00£7.50427
8Aberystwyth University£3.604.1031.00%£6.2532.44£12.00£12.25423
9Cardiff University£4.004.5749.40%£6.9537.73£15.00£10.00415
10University of Leeds£4.304.5849.70%£7.0043.34£11.00£10.00413
11University of Gloucestershire£4.503.9434.50%£5.5037.05£7.00£12.50406
12Nottingham Trent University£4.004.5969.80%£6.0050.5£12.00£10.00404
13University of Derby£3.003.8247.30%£6.0043.97£11.00£6.00402
14University of Exeter£4.254.2772.20%£6.9534.55£16.00£7.50401
15University of Reading£4.004.2375.80%£6.0043.74£22.00£7.95400
16University of Bristol£4.674.4366.10%£6.5041.72£15.00£10.00398
17Bristol, University of the West of ...£4.674.2564.10%£6.5041.72£14.00£10.00388
18Leeds Beckett University£4.304.4147.20%£7.0043.34£12.00£12.00383
19Durham University£3.703.9556.00%£6.5023.31£20.00£10.00381
20University of York£5.504.3544.10%£6.0027.64£10.00£10.00378
21Bournemouth University£4.004.4064.70%£6.0041.09£16.00£6.00375
22University of Worcester£4.003.9666.90%£6.2540.74£15.00£10.00371
23Brunel University London£4.004.0056.10%£6.0054.17£12.00£10.00368
24University of Central Lancashire£3.854.0454.20%£5.3767.64£10.00£9.50366
25University of Sheffield£4.004.6341.70%£6.5042.48£11.00£10.00364
26University of Sunderland£3.503.724.80%£5.9946.1£12.00£15.00363
27University of Liverpool£4.384.6950.90%£6.0047.89£13.00£10.00363
28Keele University£3.704.0250.50%£6.5038.4£19.00£10.00359
29University of Bolton£3.103.9210.50%£5.3763.71£10.00£7.00358
30University of Nottingham£4.004.4436.10%£6.0050.5£9.00£8.00356
31University of Chester£3.954.0642.50%£6.5020.97£12.00£9.00356
32Edinburgh Napier University£5.004.1456.10%£6.5031.37£11.00£10.00356
33Manchester Metropolitan University£4.654.3079.90%£6.7955.14£13.00£10.00354
34Liverpool John Moores University£4.384.4455.10%£6.0047.89£14.00£8.00352
35University of Salford£3.404.0470.60%£6.0055.14£16.00£12.00344
36University of East Anglia UEA£5.004.1247.70%£6.5026.12£18.00£12.50339
37Sheffield Hallam University£4.004.3652.40%£6.5042.48£15.00£6.50338
38York St John University£5.504.3639.00%£6.0027.64£13.00£10.00336
39Leeds Art University£4.304.1320.60%£7.0043.34£10.00£10.00329
40Birmingham City University£4.004.1462.00%£6.0062.58£12.00£10.00329
41De Montfort University£4.004.1064.70%£7.0046.41£12.00£6.50325
42Falmouth University£4.003.7833.40%£6.5016.18£14.00£10.00324
43University of Huddersfield£4.003.9348.50%£6.5060.44£11.00£8.00316
44Lancaster University£4.503.8446.10%£9.0047.32£9.00£9.50313
45Aston University, Birmingham£4.004.3559.40%£6.0062.58£16.00£10.00311
46University of Strathclyde£4.004.2335.30%£6.0045.79£13.00£12.50310
47University of Glasgow£4.004.4042.80%£6.0045.79£18.00£8.25309
48University of Manchester£4.654.3247.80%£6.7955.14£14.00£8.50309
49Arts University Bournemouth£4.003.7644.10%£6.0041.09£12.00£10.00304
50University of Surrey£4.004.0532.10%£6.0026.52£16.00£10.00301
51Ulster University£5.204.2243.60%£6.5045.21£15.00£10.00301
52Bath Spa University£4.654.0364.80%£6.5026.38£16.00£8.00301
53Glasgow Caledonian University£4.003.8449.30%£6.0045.79£13.00£10.00300
54The University of Edinburgh£5.004.3342.20%£6.5031.37£15.00£12.50299
55Staffordshire University£3.503.7937.20%£6.0047.01£13.00£9.00297
56University of Lincoln£4.504.2135.40%£7.5026.62£9.00£9.00296
57Solent University (Southampton)£4.004.3542.80%£6.0051.93£18.00£10.00290
58University of St Andrews£3.753.7437.90%£7.0017.03£29.00£8.00287
59Anglia Ruskin University£5.004.2144.60%£6.0028.69£18.00£8.00287
60University of Oxford£5.004.1554.10%£7.0034.75£17.00£10.00283
61University of Leicester£4.004.1243.30%£7.0046.41£13.00£10.00279
62Oxford Brookes University£5.004.0157.00%£7.0034.75£15.00£8.00279
63Queen's University Belfast£5.204.1536.40%£6.5045.21£15.00£10.00278
64Edge Hill University£4.384.0321.20%£6.0047.89£11.00£12.00276
65University of Sussex£5.104.4638.60%£6.0038.05£18.00£9.00276
66Coventry University£3.503.7862.60%£6.0062.73£15.00£8.00276
67Liverpool Hope University£4.384.1831.30%£6.0047.89£14.00£10.00273
68University of Warwick£3.503.7449.20%£6.0052.45£15.00£12.00272
69University of Brighton£5.104.2243.60%£6.0038.05£17.00£9.00271
70University of Southampton£4.004.1028.90%£6.0051.93£13.00£9.50269
71Loughborough University£4.004.2342.70%£7.0046.41£16.00£13.50263
72Newman University, Birmingham£4.004.0421.50%£6.0062.58£11.00£9.00262
73University of Kent£5.004.0159.90%£6.0032.75£20.00£10.00262
74University of Birmingham£4.004.4115.40%£6.0062.58£15.00£10.50260
75University of Bath£4.653.9832.90%£6.5026.38£13.00£10.00252
76University of Essex£3.674.0258.90%£8.0046.45£19.00£12.50251
77University College Birmingham££6.0062.58£12.00£8.00250
78University of Hertfordshire£2.003.7242.50%£8.0023.39£19.00£9.00246
79Middlesex University£3.004.0246.40%£7.5073.24£15.00£15.00230
80University of Cambridge£5.003.7840.70%£6.0028.69£19.00£12.00213
81Kingston University£5.503.8043.00%£6.0025.19£24.00£7.00210
82University of Greenwich£6.003.8470.70%£7.5032.75£22.00£12.00198
83King's College London, University o...£6.004.2769.70%£7.5053.81£22.00£12.00187
84UCL (University College London)£6.004.1871.80%£7.5053.81£22.00£9.25182
85Queen Mary University of London£6.004.0056.90%£7.5053.81£17.00£10.50159
86St Mary's University, Twickenham£6.003.7735.10%£7.5025.88£18.00£15.00151
87University of Chichester£5.003.6635.50%£6.0083.97£19.00£9.00140
88SOAS University of London£6.003.9944.40%£7.5053.81£25.00£12.00108
89University of Westminster, London£6.003.9642.30%£7.5053.81£21.00£12.0099
90London Metropolitan University£6.003.8242.00%£7.5053.81£19.00£12.0090
91University of Roehampton£6.003.9713.60%£7.5053.81£19.00£15.0077
92Royal Holloway, University of Londo...£6.003.7533.60%£7.5053.81£18.00£7.0076
93London South Bank University£6.003.9430.40%£7.5053.81£20.00£12.0075
94Goldsmiths, University of London£6.003.9327.20%£7.5053.81£23.00£8.5064

Which university is the best?

Bangor University is the best university according to the alternative university league table
Source: Bangor University

Out of the 94 universities, Bangor University came out on top overall. It’s clear to see why; it comes first place for the cheapest McMeal (or equivalent food combo), as well as high up for other factors like sustainability (70.3%), 10th cheapest for an Uber, and is the 6th safest overall. So it’s generally a good university all round. On average, it beat out all other UK universities, including the elite Russell Groups.

In second place was Cardiff Metropolitan University, which actually came in top place for sustainability and for being the uni city with the cheapest cinema tickets (sharing top position with Bournemouth University and the University of Derby).

Newcastle University came in third place, followed by the University of Plymouth and Northumbria University in fourth and fifth respectively.

Which university is at the bottom?

Goldsmith's University is the worst university according to the alternative league table
Source: Goldsmith’s University

In last place of Unifresher’s alternative university league table is Goldsmith’s University in London. Despite it not being the worst for any one category, it’s total score ranked Goldsmith’s University in 94th place overall. Some of the reasons why are likely due to it being 4th most expensive university to grab an Uber, among the most expensive for a pint, and 9th worst for sustainability.

It seems that London prices are influential on the outcome of our table. It makes sense, as part of judging the best university is understanding whether you can afford student life in your uni city. In fact, of the ten worst universities, only one is not based in London. This was the University of Chichester based in Sussex came in 87th place overall.

The second-lowest is London South Bank University, followed by Royal Holloway, University of Roehampton and London Metropolitan University.

Where are Oxford and Cambridge?

oxford university is the best of the psychology universities in the uk
Oxford University

Oxford University and Cambridge University normally dominate university ranking and tables, but not in our alternative league. When it comes to things that matter (e.g. getting that McMeal combo in regularly), Oxbridge didn’t make the top five – or top ten for that matter. Cambridge ranked at 80th and Oxford came in 60th position, meaning they were both in the bottom half of the table!

Key findings

  • Bangor University came out as the best university overall
  • Goldsmiths, University of London fared the worst
  • 9 out of the 10 worst universities are based in London
  • 5 out of the 10 best universities are based in Wales
  • 9 out of the 10 best universities are located by the coast
  • 3 out of the 10 best universities are Russell Group universities


  • The best university for a McMeal is Bangor University
  • The safest university is Falmouth University
  • The cheapest university for a pint is the University of Hertfordshire
  • The university with the best social life is the University of Liverpool
  • The university that has the cheapest Ubers is the University of Gloucestershire
  • The cheapest universities for a cinema ticket are the University of Derby, Cardiff Metropolitan University and Bournemouth University
  • The most sustainable university is Cardiff Metropolitan University


So how did we create out table? We took the list of UK universities from The Complete University Guide, and then used data from Numbeo to calculate crime rates, the cost of a McMeal, cinema tickets, and the price of beer. We used People and Planet’s most up-to-date findings on sustainability ratings, and user ratings and experiences on University Compare for scoring the universities’ social life.  Finally, we calculated the price of an Uber for a 10km journey starting at each university using Uber’s price estimate at the same time of day (non-weekends).

Universities with incomplete data were removed from the list, giving a total of 94 UK-based universities overall.

Each university was then given a score (1-94) based on their position in the list for each of the variables, and then summed up. Some variables were reverse-scored, including crime rate and prices). The final rank was based on the summation of these scores.

  • *The cost of a McMeal or equivalent combo deal
  • **The cost of 0.5 litre draught, which is equivalent to 0.88 of a pint however we classified this as a pint for simplicity.