Admit it, we’ve all had our dreams about what university would be like before enrolling. Hollywood, television and social media are largely to blame for this impression. The Venn diagram of the university experience generally according to these stories consisted of romance, nightlife drama and of very limited studying. Unfortunately, what most of these exaggerated reports fail to highlight was that there are plenty of universities where a vibrant social life isn’t the reality. So that’s why we’ve ranked the 10 worst universities in the UK according to social life for 2023. Take a look…

10. University of Surrey

Surrey isn’t a bad university. In fact it’s pretty impressive, a long respected uni renowned for biomedical science. However its excellence doesn’t seem to reach to its local bars and clubs. That’s why it’s on our list of the 10 worst unis for social life in the UK.

9. Abertay University

dundee is a student city

Dundee is a student city, which is why despite being on our list of unis with a bad social life, Abertay University is still a great uni option. However, it perhaps isn’t as easy to find things to do if you compare with the likes of typical student cities; Edinburgh, York, Manchester, London, Glasgow etc. Nevertheless, if you go to Abertay, you’ll still likely have an enjoyable experience.

8. University of Huddersfield

A lot of students come to Huddersfield to study, however it doesn’t compare to Leeds or Manchester for social life. It’s much smaller, but it does have things to do. It might just be a case of putting a bit more effort in to boost your social life if you’re studying here. Overall, the University of Huddersfield is the 8th worst for social life, but it’s actually not that bad with a score of 3.89 out of 5.

7. Hartpury University

As much as it might try hard, Hartpury University can’t compete with nightlife. This probably affects social life, where it’s harder to mingle and find typical studenty things to do. Plus, the student union is typically empty, so it makes it even harder to get to know others. However, if you’re going to a uni near Gloucestershire, it’s probably to be expected. There are a lot of other things to do, such as hiking, camping and other outdoorsy-type activities.

 6. University of Bolton

university of bolton worst social life uk

In sixth places of the worst universities in the UK for social life is the University of Bolton. Although it has things going on, it’s not really a student city per se. Especially when compared with nearby Manchester. However, in other studies the uni of Bolton scored well for student satisfaction and teaching quality in the North West. Ultimately, it’s all relative.

5. St Georges, University of London

Although located in London, some students don’t enjoy the location of St Georges uni. It might be one of the worst universities for social life in the UK due to this, where students report it doesn’t offer an authentic uni experience because of location. It’s part of the hospital, with no actual campus, which probably hinders socialising.

4. University of South Wales

We have to admit – this one shocked us. Cardiff is known for being a great night out, however student social life is more than just a great night out. From reviews, it seems that some students love the social life there, whereas others hate it. This probably is why it’s landed in 4th place of our list of the worst unis for social life 2023.

3. University of Cambridge

University of Cambridge is one of the worst for social life in UK

Maybe it’s the workload, maybe it’s the tiny city? But for whatever reason, the University of Cambridge is the third worst university for social life in the UK. However, it’s solid scholarly reputation probably doesn’t put any students off if they get accepted.

2. Middlesex University

In second position is Middlesex University, located in North London. It’s probably the location that lets this place down. You’re close enough to know that London is buzzing with so many great things to do with friends, but still further out from trendier places. Nevertheless, most people still enjoy their time at Middlesex according to reviews, it just doesn’t have as good a social life as other UK unis.

1. Plymouth Marjon University

Plymouth Marjon University

Although Plymouth Marjon University came in last of the list of universities with the worst social life, it still fared pretty well. It scored 3.81 out of 5, equal to 76%, which is still pretty good to be fair. Lots of students choose Plymouth for the affordability and proximity to the coast, however there are some downsides to studying in the city. Some students felt that not enough happens when it comes to events, suggesting it’s ok, but not super thrilling.


As much as your parents and tutors would like to claim, university is not all books and lectures. Your social life will be an Integral part of your experience. With this information gathered from Get Licensed and student reviews of their unis, our list is something to consider if you prioritise social life. But we encourage all students to do their own research (i.e. don’t reject your place at Cambridge based on this list)! Also, why not check out our picks for the universities with the best student life to help make your decision.