We all love uni league tables about academic excellence and employer reputation. But if there’s one aspect of uni we all agree is pretty important, it is (to use a 1980s coming-of-age movie word to describe it) partying. We need to know which are the best unis for nightlife in the UK, so we can head there for nights out to remember. Whether it’s tearing up the sticky floors of the cheese club or two-stepping your way through six hours of house music, university truly is the best time to throw some shapes. And while you count down the days until the event, why not spend time seeing where your uni comes in the most important ranking of all?
25 UK universities with the best nightlife ranked!
25. University of Cambridge
The inclusion of Cantabrigians in the top 25 hardest partying universities list might raise eyebrows for those who view them primarily as academically focused. However, this ranking reveals a different side to the student life at Cambridge, where a balance between intense study sessions and vibrant social activities is evidently maintained. This ‘work hard, play hard’ ethos is not just a catchy phrase but a lived reality for the students, who manage to excel in their academic pursuits while also engaging in lively and diverse social scenes.
24. Reading University
When you’ve got one of the country’s biggest festivals coming to your city every year then you’re probably going to like to party a bit. Perhaps that’s why Reading students are one of the worst in the country for borrowing from their parents. But one could argue that having a mega festival in your backyard every year is like a permanent party invite, so it’s no wonder Reading University students are notorious for tapping into the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’. It obviously costs to be one of the best unis for nightlife in the UK.
23. University of Oxford
Much like Cambridge, those who are not in the know might find it a bit confusing that Oxford has made the list of unis with the best nightlife. But anyone who has graced the clubs of the beautiful city will know that these lot don’t mess around. At first glance, Oxford’s reputation for academic excellence might make its inclusion in the list of top party universities seem a bit perplexing. However, those who have experienced the nightlife in this historic city will understand why. The students here, known as Oxonians, are not just about libraries and lectures; they know how to throw down with the best of them. Apparently, on average, Oxonians borrow more than £300 a month from their parents. Now we know they aren’t spending it on books.
22. University of Hull
When you’re one of the booziest unis in the country, it is also a good bet that you will be one of the hardest partying. And so, it is true for Hull. Hull unis students are reaping the benefits of being in one of the best unis for nightlife in the UK. There’s over 70 pubs, bars and cafe-type-bars in Central Hull, and that’s not including clubs. So you’ve got a good selection to pick from for a night out.
21. University of Nottingham
When the inventor of Weatherspoon’s comes from your Uni, it’s unsurprising that you made the top 25 hardest partying universities with the best nightlife. Surely there’s a Weatherspoon’s on every corner. Someone please confirm…
The city famous for lots of things, from Robin Hood to castles and stilton cheese, but great nightlife is another one to add to the list.
20. Coventry University
We found Coventry students do tend to borrow quite a bit of cash from their mums and dads, but that should do nothing to downplay their achievements on making the top 25 best unis for nightlife. The city is home to 50,000 students, so you know it’s going to have everything there to cater to parties and epic nights out. This includes live music venues, bars, nightclubs and everything that makes up a vibrant nightlife.
19. University of Manchester
With Manchester always duped as a party city where ever since the Hacienda days it’s been a great place for music, going out and having fun. So it’s somewhat surprising to find Manchester not clinching a spot in the top 10 of the hardest partying universities when it comes to unis with the best nightlife. Instead, it lands at 19th, a position that might raise a few eyebrows considering the city’s vibrant nightlife and cultural scene. Meanwhile, MMU didn’t even get a look in. What’s happening with you Mancs? It’s probably because there’s lots to do in the city too, whether it’s football, museums, or generally enjoying the glorious weather (ok maybe not the last one).
18. University of Plymouth
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When it was named in the top 20 kinkiest universities we were slightly surprised. Now we know those Plymouth students have a fun attitude to life, it makes sense they make the top 20 best unis for nightlife. So if you enjoy partying with an added bit of kink, the otherwise family-friendly, chilled-out city of Plymouth is the university city for you. What a strange mix.
17. University of Portsmouth
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Portsmouth students love to party. Their free-spirited attitude has seen them make our top 20 hardest partying universities. It’s another uni city by the sea, which on the one hand makes it nice and calm. But on the other, gives off holiday vibes which is all about getting dressed up and heading out to party.
16. Durham University
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They may have to borrow an eye-watering amount of cash from their parents to do it, but Durham University sure knows how to party. They just miss out on the top 15 but, it’s still a pretty good uni if you’re looking for the UK’s best unis for nightlife. It’s not a city necessarily known for being party central, but clearly it’s a fun place to be a student.
15. University of Exeter
Getting closer to the university with the best nightlife in the UK, Exeter love to party and come in 15th on our top partying unis! It’s a small city, but it’s still one crowded with lots of places to go out. In fact the University of Exeter itself has a got a rep. The Great Hall belonging to the uni is a huge entertainment venue where big names come to play.
14. University of Brighton
With Fat Boy Slim as a former student, Brightonians are born to party. The fresh air and free-loving attitude of the friendly, seaside town also probably helps. Brighton is also probably the LGBTQ+ capital of the UK too, with a great nightlife for the community to match. There’s also loads of themed bars found in other major party cities, such as the Alcotraz bar, and cabaret and comedy clubs too. It’s pretty much a city built for students so makes sense it’s one of the top UK unis for nightlife.
13. Edinburgh University
With exciting events, such as a Harry Potter-themed bar, popping up all the time in Edinburgh, it’s unsurprising that the students love to party. They’ve just missed out on the top ten, which might come as a disappointment but with a little bit more clubbing a top ten finish is theirs next year.
12. University of Sheffield
When you’ve got one of the best universities in the UK for nightlife you really should be pretty high up on this list. Sheffield students have stood up to the challenge and partied hard. It’s another uni located in a place associated with being a student city, which means there’s parties and club nights pretty much every night of the week. You’ll notice Sheffield Hallam aren’t on this list though – so maybe there’s something in the waters of the Sheffield Uni halls that’s driving the party spirit.
11. University of St Andrews
Props to St Andrews. They came exceedingly high in the top universities in the UK this year (which was put together by The Complete University guide), but they’ve also put in a valiant effort in our list. Burning the candle from both ends, they sound like our kind of people.
10. University of Bristol
Making the official top 10 best unis for nightlife is the University of Bristol. Obviously, Bristol students love to party and their free love and edgy attitude has seen them squeeze into our top ten hardest partying universities. Oh and also – there’s a facebook group dedicated to Bristol University nightlife, which proves just how dedicated to partying you all are.
9. Cardiff University
Cardiff are well known for their crazy nights out, so its no wonder we see them so highly on the list. There’s loads of clubs and bars, as well as dedicated student nights pretty much every night.
8. Swansea University
After just missing out on being the booziest uni in the UK (to a fellow Welsh uni no less), the Swansea lot will be disappointed to see they have been pipped once again. At least you beat Cardiff, eh? Swansea University folk no doubt head to areas such as Wind Street which is notorious for great nightlife, packed with bars and clubs. But there’s also the SU that hosts lots of party nights too, so you’ll find student nights across Swansea every night of the week.
7. University of Liverpool
There are a load of free entry nightclubs in Liverpool, and that could well be a reason the Scouse uni has come so high in this competition. Or it could be that Liverpool was once a Capital City of Culture (until it got stripped of that status oops). Either way, Liverpool is a great place to go out. It isn’t specifically a student city, but it’s just a major city with a nightlife to match.
6. University of Aberdeen
As the second-highest Scottish university on our list, Aberdeen can be proud of their partying credentials. But perhaps that has something to do with the fact they are one of the top universities for borrowing from mum and dad. It’s always easier to go out when you’ve got the funds to do so.
5. Aberystwyth University
Yes, Aber is not the biggest uni in the UK, with just under 10,000 students, but we’re going to say it is the pound for pound champion of partying. Not only is it the UK’s booziest uni but it is also in the top 5 unis with the best nightlife in the UK – only beaten by universities with two or three times the number of students. We salute you Aberystwyth Uni students for living it up while studying.
4. Newcastle University
The fun-loving lot of Newcastle have a reputation for wearing nothing in the freezing cold, but that’s only because they want to look great while they are partying hard. I mean we’ve all seen (or at least heard of) Geordie Shore. And it’s clear from that show how crazy (and we say this affectionately) you Newcastle folk are when it comes to going out and having a good night.
3. University of Glasgow
In third place of best unis for nightlife is the University of Glasgow. It may be filled with a load of Harry Potter-lovers, but Glasgow is definitely a place to party. I’ll have one butterbeer, Rosmerta (that’s one for fans of the boy wizard). The University of Glasgow’s position as a top university for nightlife is also a reflection of the city’s inclusive and welcoming atmosphere. It’s known for being super friendly and sociable, which makes sense as to why it’s ranked so highly.
2. University of Leeds
Leeds students, known for their ‘bloody edgy’ persona, certainly live up to their reputation when it comes to the nightlife scene. This edginess isn’t just a fashion statement; it’s a lifestyle, one that’s deeply ingrained in the vibrant culture of Leeds. With a reputation like this, there’s a certain expectation for Leeds students to lead the pack in terms of trendsetting and partying – and they don’t disappoint. The city’s eclectic mix of music venues, like the famed Hi-Fi club, shows their ability to keep the party scene fresh and exciting.
1. University of Birmingham
Congrats Birmingham students — you are the number one lot of ravers! Your hard work (or lack of) has certainly paid dividends. The University of Birmingham is officially the UK’s best uni for nightlife, so you can go out and celebrate (as if you party people need a reason). Birmingham is no longer the UK’s second city, at least when it comes to having a good time.