Top 10 cities in the UK for international students

Top 10 cities in the UK for international students

Shanti RanaThu Jul 08 2021

Top 10 cities in the UK for international students

While studying abroad may appear to be stress-free and easy, being left alone in a completely unfamiliar environment can be rather worrisome at times. So, it’s important that you pick the best possible place and universities. 

The UK is one of the most sought after student destinations thanks to the British education system, employment opportunities, safety, diverse culture and overall beauty.

The British education sector enjoys a high reputation and is well-known worldwide. Most of the UK universities offer hands-on programs to meet the industry needs, where mostly the undergraduate programs are provided with placement years. 

Moreover, the UK is a cost-effective destination to study Bachelor's degrees that are offered in three years and Master's degrees offered in one year. The UK cities are known for their 

All the cities and towns in the UK offer remarkable environments to study.

Nevertheless, some students choose to live in busy places such as London, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Newcastle, and Leeds. Whereas some other students also prefer to stay in university towns such as Loughborough, Lancaster, Oxford, Cambridge, St Andrews, Exeter, etc.   

The best student cities in the UK can be based on several factors like universities, living expenses, desirability, job opportunities, safety etcetera. 

This guide will provide you with the 10 top cities in the UK for international students. 



London has quite often been ranked at the top of the world's best student cities list. Additionally, it is also seen as a country with over 20 universities on the world's best universities list. 

It is acknowledged worldwide for its diversity, career opportunities, top universities with affordable tuition fees and impressive lifestyle. 

London ranks first in the list of the most suitable cities for students. It is a fusion of cultures, with people from all over the world living in London to experience the true British way of life. 

Students can pick from ample disciplines like business, science, law, social science, Engineering etcetera. London is one of the top destinations for students willing to study MBA. 

London has great shops, including fresh local grocery stores, and boutiques selling fashionable and interesting clothing. Some great shopping areas are Portobello, The Road, Covent Garden, and Camden Lock Market. From Big Ben and Buckingham Palace to hundreds of free museums and events, London has many attractions and activities. 

Besides the sites and attractions, London has a diverse population which makes it more interesting.

London is one of the finest cities in the world and rightly so for international students who will get a taste of a global world. The only disadvantage is that it is also one of the most expensive cities in the world. 

Fortunately, there are loads of ways to live in London cheaply as a student.  From using student discounts for travelling on the underground and overground, to know which areas are more affordable for London student accommodation, you can manage your expenses in London. 

Moreover, there are also more part-time job opportunities that pay better to international students. 

 A number of highly distinguished universities are located in the city of London, are below: 

  1. University College London
  2. Imperial College London
  3. King’s College London  
  4. Middlesex University 
  5. Queen Mary University



Edinburgh is one of the biggest cities in Scotland and a jackpot when it comes to its desirability for international students. Why? 

Edinburgh homes some of the best universities and its academics stand out. Additionally, Edinburgh offers copious internship opportunities, job opportunities and networking scenarios for students all over the world. 

The capital of Scotland is known for its history, charm, and high standard of living. Students can participate in major annual events such as Edinburgh International Festival and Hogmanay New Year’s Street Party. 

Edinburgh is also quite affordable thanks to the comparatively affordable rent, accommodations and other living expenses. 

The University of Edinburgh is the most well-known institution in the city and ranks in the top five universities in the UK and in the top 20 in the world (QS World University Rankings 2021). 

Here are some popular universities of Edinburgh which makes it further appealing to the students. 

  1. University of Edinburgh
  2. Heriot-Watt University
  3. Edinburgh Napier University
  4. University Of St. Andrews
  5. Abertay University


Manchester City
Manchester City

With over 100,000 students, Manchester is undoubtedly one of the best student cities in the UK. 

Manchester is often regarded as England's "Northern Capital," and it is frequently considered as the "Best Student City”. 

It is a young and vibrant city that is also known for its influence on the histories of industry, music, and sports. 

With its unique cultures and beauty, Manchester has been earning its popularity as a study overseas destination for international students searching for authentic and diverse experiences that are lacking back home. 

Other than the highest-ranked universities, Manchester is also a cheaper UK city to live in thus increasing its prospects amongst the students.

These universities are the most chosen by home students as well as international students:

  1. University Of Manchester
  2. University Of Bolton 
  3. University Of Central Lancashire-UCLan
  4. University Of Salford
  5. Lancaster University



Glasgow is a bustling city with vibrant life and first-class educational facilities.  It is a hub of culture, entertainment, arts, and education and ranks among the top 5 cities in the UK in terms of education and standard of living. 

Thanks to the top universities in Glasgow and its affordability amongst students, Glasgow is quickly growing as the best student city rather quickly. 

It is home to top-notch universities such as the University of Glasgow, the University of Strathclyde, and many more. In recent years, the number of students going to Glasgow for educational purposes has increased dramatically.

Glasgow is home to a number of prestigious universities and colleges, and as a student city, there is no shortage of affordable student housing options.

Apart from academics, there are numerous other reasons to study in Glasgow, ranging from the city's entertainment and art to its thriving music scene. The city is home to a large number of international students, and the diverse melting pot of cultures makes it one of the most exciting UK cities to live in.

The universities listed below are the best in Glasgow for both domestic and international students. 

  1. University Of Glasgow
  2. University Of Strathclyde
  3. The University Of the West of Scotland
  4. Glasgow Caledonian University


Coventry City
Coventry City

Coventry has become an extremely popular student city due to the presence of esteemed universities such as the University of Warwick and Coventry University

This city has gained popularity as a result of its proximity to the University of Warwick, but the highly reputable Coventry University cannot be overlooked. Coventry’s affordable student studios and apartments are located near the campus, making it easy to explore the city.

 It is also just an hour away from London for quick day trips into the capital city's life for refreshment. Coventry is known among international students for its affordability and high employment opportunities.

It is particularly famous for mechanical engineering students because of the degree as well as job opportunities.

If you are looking for a mixed and vibrant culture, Coventry has several art galleries and theatres, as well as several pieces of music and sporting events. It was recently named the British City of Culture 2021 for its diversity and culture.

Coventry City has many more art galleries, museums, tree-lined parks, and a wealth of art and design expertise to check out. It is the gathering place for the most fashionable people in Britain.

It has a thriving industry in the aforementioned fields and has earned a great reputation owing to its stellar student employment records. Within the Coventry territory, the following universities are the top choices among the students:

  1. Coventry University 
  2. University of Warwick



Nottingham is one of the most affordable cities in the UK and is very popular among students. It has over 60,000 students hence, students are bound to feel cultural diversity in this wonder of a city. Be it accommodation cost, lunch expenses or gym cost, Nottingham is very cheaper to live in.

In addition to strong academic activities, the city has many things to do, from shopping and theatres to entertainment and dining. It's simple to get around, and you'll be greeted warmly by the friendly locals.

These things make Nottingham one of the best cities to live in the UK as an international student.

  1. University Of Nottingham 
  2. Nottingham Trent University
  3. Nottingham Business School 
  4. Nottingham College Adams Building
  5. National Design Academy



If you are an international student looking to study in a city teeming with vibrant culture, top-notch universities and networking opportunities, Studying in Birmingham can bring you a step closer to all this. 

Birmingham is the greatest city in the West Midlands, UK, with many attractions to choose from. 

The city centre has the Birmingham Art Gallery and Museum, famous for its Pre-Raphaelite masterpieces. Birmingham’s five prestigious universities attract thousands of international students each year, making it one of the most culturally diverse cities in the UK. 

Birmingham is also the second-largest city, with a student-friendly atmosphere, vibrant culture and nightlife, and many affordable renting houses, flats, apartment options because of the large student population in the city.

It also has numerous music festivals, international acts, sporting events, and local bars and clubs. 

Despite the fact that it is frequently noted for its central location and great transport links to the rest of the UK's cities and locations, the city has much to offer. The most popular universities of Birmingham are: 

  1. University Of Birmingham
  2. Birmingham City University
  3. University College Birmingham
  4. Newman University - Birmingham
  5. Aston University



A famous vibrant city in Northwest England Newcastle upon Tyne is also known as Newcastle. It is considered the most popular student city in the UK. 

The city offers some of the best restaurants, cafes, and shopping centres for daytime walkers, as well as iconic landmarks such as the Tyne Bridge and the Angel of the North. 

The Newcastle is one of Britain's premier international metropolises, a mix of industrial heritage, Georgian architecture, and contemporary art and culture. 

It is also home to many interesting museums and entertainment venues, including the prominent Theatre Royal and City Hall. 

If you are an outgoing person in the nightclub, the city has fantastic nightlife with a varied range of bars and clubs to treat yourself. But more importantly, the city has some of the best universities. 

Studying in New Castle will help you gain a prestigious degree from a prestigious university.  

Being the most liked city by the students, Newcastle houses three prestigious universities. Being a part of these colleges and educational institutes in Newcastle UK, you can fulfil all your study abroad dreams.

  1. Newcastle University
  2. Northumbria University
  3. Newcastle College 



Aberdeen is recognized by the Scots as the most suitable city to live in and work in. 

The city has excellent academic opportunities, affordable student housing,  and stunning scenery that make this city an extremely attractive place for international students from all around the world each year. 

This makes it one of the most popular international cities. The coast and the extraordinary landscape create a beautiful landscape. Extracurricular activities and thriving creative life, art, and culture provide unlimited fun and inspiration for exploration. 

In the UK, if you plan to travel through nearby international airports and some European cities that are only a short flight away from the hotel, Scotland is the ideal hub for exploring the best destinations in the rest of Europe. 

Scotland has an impressive educational record and endless history, making it an ideal destination for international students from all over the world.

These are some popular universities situated in Aberdeen.

  1. University of Aberdeen
  2. University of Dundee
  3. University of Highlands and Islands


Brighton City
Brighton City

Brighton is one of the busiest cities in the UK that hosts festivals, concerts, bars and clubs, beach parties, and other events throughout the year, serving a large number of international students across the world. 

The best cafes, restaurants, comedy clubs, and vintage clothing stores are all over the city, and there are many activities on every corner. Walking through Brighton’s painted streets will not disappoint you for sure. 

The most famous Universities within the city of Brighton will not give you the opportunity to think like an international student for other universities once you make up your mind to pick Brighton as your most preferred location to stick with. 

You can easily choose to study at popular universities like the University of Sussex or the University of Brighton. Both universities offer impressive courses and accommodation options, and both are chosen against the backdrop of the beautiful countryside of this southern English city.  

Each student can choose to study throughout the year, four months, or several weeks during the winter or summer vacation. 

  1. University of Brighton
  2. University of Sussex

So, which one of the above city, do you feel is the best UK city to study and work for the international students? 

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