University Nightlife League Table

Where does your Uni Rank?

Most university league tables attempt to find the best university by graduate jobs and contact hours. We think the thing that makes your time at university unique is the lifestyle. We’ve put together the Alternative University League Table to cover all of your worries, cross examining 53 universities on how affordable they are for rent, beer, tickets to gigs and nights out, Deliveroo options and sustainability.

Sort by what’s important to you, or take a look at who scored the most across the board – you may be surprised…


UniversityAvg. Halls Rent per MonthAvg. Pint PricePubs per Square MileAvg. Club Ticket PriceAvg. Gig Ticket PriceAvg. Student Event PriceNo. of Deliveroo OptionsSustainability ScoreTotal Points
University of Leicester£362£3.427£4.07£7.05£7.4014651.50%307
Bournemouth University£428£2.976£3.84£5.97£6.306165.70%303
Swansea University£364£2.971£4.00£6.72£5.0743*67.00%301
University of Manchester£309£3.939£3.77£7.18£7.9921439.10%298
Manchester Metropolitan University£454£3.939£3.77£7.18£7.9921077.60%295
University of Reading£420£3.657£3.44£7.75£5.5310263.10%287
Cardiff Metropolitan University£471£3.414£3.55£7.16£5.778567.30%286
Nottingham Trent£381£3.819£3.80£7.79£5.9656*74.50%285
Cardiff University£433£3.414£3.55£7.16£5.7710348.10%278
University of Surrey£309£4.501£2.58£6.39£5.374143.80%254
Liverpool John Moores University£403£3.4511£4.47£7.09£9.8710545.10%253
University of Lincoln£279£3.107£3.90£5.41£10.672837.90%252
University of Leeds£364£3.533£4.86£7.55£7.0116463.10%250
University of Bristol£373£4.3210£3.94£8.49£8.0512458.60%247
University of Warwick£287£3.785£4.10£7.38£5.631147.80%245
University of Chester£365£3.001£4.11£7.91£5.334360.80%244
University of Portsmouth£394£3.8212£4.01£7.22£8.172939.00%243
University of Derby£450£3.157£1.77£8.04£7.123146.20%230
University of Southampton£465£3.839£3.85£7.61£6.9810335.00%228
University of Nottingham£433£3.819£3.80£7.79£5.964242.90%226
Plymouth University£417£3.944£4.57£6.71£7.794564.40%225
Oxford Brookes£365£4.578£4.45£7.24£9.148851.60%224
Sheffield Hallam£369£3.741£3.69£8.08£8.248854.30%223
University of Birmingham£377£4.164£4.05£7.47£7.7715735.90%214
Newcastle University£361£3.746£5.45£8.14£7.904761.30%211
University of Hull£276£3.437£4.90£8.74£5.682741.50%210
University of Exeter£312£3.946£4.77£7.62£8.533562.50%209
Leeds Beckett University£403£3.533£4.86£7.55£7.0117642.70%208
London School of Economics£407£5.197£4.38£7.36£10.2373764.40%206
University of Liverpool£595£3.4511£4.47£7.09£9.875632.60%201
University of Cambridge£405£3.995£4.31£7.34£9.879445.30%200
Birmingham City University£508£4.164£4.05£7.47£6.3014245.20%199
University of Bradford£406£3.003£4.08£7.16£14.951955.10%197
University of Oxford£442£4.578£4.45£7.24£9.148946.90%192
University of Edinburgh£386£4.355£4.64£7.72£8.5010853.10%189
University of Dundee£523£2.929£3.82£7.42£11.572031.30%187
Lancaster University£381£2.801£3.70£12.61£7.67029.60%181
University of Sheffield£438£3.741£3.69£8.08£8.248938.20%178
Queen Mary£401£5.197£4.38£7.36£10.2352935.10%172
King's College£643£5.197£4.38£7.36£10.2376149.40%171
University of Winchester£359£4.300.5£2.93£8.08£13.232455.90%170
University of Sussex£422£4.2410£4.45£7.34£10.16042.30%165
Glasgow Caledonian University£428£3.976£4.34£7.90£11.488551.40%163
University of York£364£3.962£5.23£7.64£9.787638.80%157
University of Bath£300£4.031£3.89£8.75£9.68044.70%156
Edinburgh Napier University£394£4.355£4.64£7.72£8.50057.70%151
Imperial College£433£5.197£4.38£7.36£10.2348018.40%149
Royal Holloway£669£5.197£4.38£7.36£10.2381625.20%145
Queen's University Belfast£313£3.200.3£4.29£9.79£11.152627.40%143
University of Glasgow£396£3.976£4.34£7.90£11.487320.40%143
University of Aberdeen£387£4.163£5.07£7.28£11.875722.80%130

The Alternative University League Table 2020

Who is the best in the city, in the region, in the country? Are red bricks really better universities? Or are polytechnics the new wave of education?

At the end of the day, it’s a pretty similar experience all round. You go in without a degree, and hopefully leave with one. What differentiates a university experience however, is the lifestyle you can cultivate around it. We’re making memories after all. 

Yeah, part of university is definitely about going to class. There’s no doubt about that. But we all know that there are plenty of other things on prospective student’s minds when it comes to picking the right uni to go to. Can I afford rent? How much will I need to go out every night of the week? Am I going to be able to get that post night out recovery takeaway on Deliveroo? Can I do all of this as sustainably as possible? 

What TickX’s alternative university league table found

University of Leicester is a clear front-runner

So who is the absolute winner when we take all of this into consideration? 

Perhaps surprisingly, it’s the University of Leicester! Smack bang in the middle of the country, this university is known for the discovery of genetic fingerprinting and its contributions to identifying the remains of King Richard III.

Now, they’re also known for being the top of TickX’s alternative university league table with an impressive 307 total points (out of a total of 424)!

It may seem like a unpredictable outcome, but when you break down the reasons, it makes sense as to why this dark horse came out on top!

University Library in the alternative university league table

In each of our individual metrics, they weren’t necessarily #1. Instead, the UoL focused on being as good as they can be across them all. 

The average Halls rent per month at Leicester goes for roughly £362, which although it doesn’t beat UEA’s £225, does put it on the cheaper side at 12th place. Leicester also averaged 12th for the cheapest average pint price at £3.42, with around 7 pubs per square mile. That means that you’ll have more of your student loan to spend on the things that matter, like “books” and stuff… Or in reality, going out.

In fact, Leicester was also on the cheaper side when it came to nightlife. They have an overall average price of £4.07 per ticket for clubs, and £7.05 for gig tickets, making it the 6th best for gigs. For student nights in general, it clocks in at roughly £7.40 a ticket.

Oddly enough, Leicester also ranked 12th overall for the most available Deliveroo options, with 146 available in the vicinity of the campus! London, shockingly, had the most by far but for outside the capital, 146 is pretty good. Manchester, who came in at 1st outside London, only have 214.

In terms of sustainability, Leicester isn’t the worst, but it’s also not the best. They were scored at 51.50% in People & Planets study, putting them firmly in the middle. Perhaps the new wave of 2019/20 students can help improve that?

Ultimately, it just goes to show that slow and steady wins the race! By being pretty good across the board and not over-investing in one category and ignoring others, Leicester amassed the most points and earned the title of #1!

Bournemouth are second best, but they beat out the rest

Following incredibly closely behind Leicester in 2nd place is Bournemouth University! They had a total score of 303, putting them just 5 points shy of 1st place in our alternative university league table.

Bournemouth’s prime beach-side location puts the rent up slightly more than Leicester’s at an average of £428 a month for Halls, which leaves them on the expensive side of the scale, but you’re sure to make that money back when it comes to spending on your student nights out. 

Bournemouth University comes in at 3rd cheapest for a pint at just £2.97, where the cheapest is only £2.80. You won’t have to go far for a bevvy either, with 6 pubs per square mile. 

They fall roughly in the centre of the league for cheapest club tickets at £3.84 on average, followed by £5.97 for gigs and £6.30 on average for student events – all cheaper than Leicester

Letting them down though are the number of Deliveroo options available near the uni, at just 61, so you may find yourself having to organise your own hangover food… But all is made up in terms of sustainability, where Bournemouth came out 5th with a score of 65.70%!

Swansea swanning into third place

Yeah, we’re sorry for that title too, but finishing off our top three is Swansea University, who were just two points behind Bournemouth at a total of 301!

They rank in at 13th overall in terms of average Halls rent at £364 a month, and are joint with Bournemouth at £2.97 on average per pint, so you’ll probably manage to save a fair bit of your loan (maybe).

Or, you’ll end up spending more on your nights out! The average price for a club ticket is just £4, with gigs at £6.72 a ticket and student events in general at £5.07. 

What drags them down however is having just 1 pub per square mile, so your choices for that post-lecture drink are pretty limited. Swansea University also didn’t do so well when it came to takeaways… Based on their Singleton Campus alone, Deliveroo options were limited at just 43, but sustainability was up in comparison to Leicester and Bournemouth with an overall score of 67%!

Man Met vs UoM: A rivalry as old as time

Anyone local to Manchester is fully aware of the rivalry that exists between the University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan. Like many other red bricks and polytechnics that share a city, insults are hurled about the lack of degrees or a level of pompousness to try rouse the other side and… Manchester is no different. 

The two universities are practically next door neighbours, sharing Oxford Road between them, and it seems they can’t get away from each other, even on our alternative university league table.

With just 3 points between them, UoM comes in at 4th place overall with 298 points, Man Met following closely behind with 295. 

So what was it that separated them? Well, turns out the University of Manchester has an average Halls rent that was significantly cheaper at £309 a month versus Man Met’s £454. UoM were joint 6th in terms of cheap rent with Surrey, whereas Man Met was 46th…

However, the two universities were completely equal in terms of average ticket prices as it was taken for Manchester as a whole, but Man Met fell ever so slightly behind with 210 Deliveroo options to UoM’s 214.

The biggest difference came in terms of sustainability.

In fact, Manchester Metropolitan came out at #1 in terms of sustainability at an incredible 77.60%, thanks to their variety of schemes and projects that aim to make the university and its students more environmentally friendly!

The rise of the underdogs - polytechnics pave the way

With Manchester Metropolitan showing up it’s red brick rival with a sustainability score of 77.60%, it’s clear that polytechnics are nothing to roll your eyes at. 

Like Man Met, Cardiff Metropolitan scored high in terms of sustainability with 67.30%, making it 3rd best overall, whereas Cardiff University scored pretty low at just 48.10%. 

Liverpool John Moores defeated the University of Liverpool by a long shot, ranking in at 52 points higher overall thanks to its cheaper rent, better sustainability and twice as many Deliveroo options nearby. 

Glasgow Caledonian University also scored higher than the University of Glasgow, despite having a higher average rent for halls. What saved them was having more options on Deliveroo,  but also being twice as sustainable as UoG who ranked in at a poor 20.40%. 

It follows that Sheffield Hallam also ranked higher than the University of Sheffield and Nottingham Trent ranked higher than University of Nottingham, also thanks to having a significantly better sustainability score. 

What makes polytechnics so much better for sustainability than red bricks? People and Planet’s investigation is pretty comprehensive, cross referencing a number of values from environmental policies to energy sources to produce a percentage score to compare them each against. Find out more about how they worked out the score here.

But Russell Group red bricks still come out on top

Even with so many polytechnics showing their edge, it’s hard to stop these Russell Group universities from their all-round success in our alternative university league table.

The University of Manchester still beats Manchester Metropolitan when considering all the facts, even though Man Met’s sustainability is phenomenally better. This is largely due to UoM having significantly cheaper rent and only slightly more Deliveroo options. 

Likewise, the University of Edinburgh beats out Edinburgh Napier by roughly 30 points overall thanks to the Uni of’s huge amount of Deliveroo options in comparison. And, the University of Leeds defeats Leeds Beckett University at 250 points to 208, thanks to it’s cheaper rent and sustainability. Interestingly enough, the University of Leeds is one of the few red bricks that actually beats it’s polytechnic counterpart in terms of sustainability.

So, who is the best in London then?

London has one of the largest concentrations of universities in the world, so it’s pretty understandable that there are a fair few rivalries that have emerged between them, but who is actually best?

Figures for pint price, amount of pubs and price of tickets were all taken on a city-wide basis, so everyone is tied on that front. That means that when it came down to it, the metrics that mattered were rent prices, Deliveroo options and sustainability. It’s also unsurprising that all of London’s offerings were the clear winners for takeaways by far

So, according to our alternative university league table, the clear winner was the London School of Economics who scored 206 points overall thanks to their cheap rent, decent Deliveroo options (for London) and mainly for having the best sustainability score for the capital at 64.40%. 

The uni with the most Deliveroo options was Royal Holloway, who had a staggering 816 restaurants to choose from, but sadly it wasn’t enough for them to beat out their London counterparts, as they came in last place in the capital. What let them down was their astronomical rent prices (an average of £669 a month for Halls), and a shockingly low sustainability score (25.20%). 

But they weren’t the worst in terms of sustainability, as that title was taken by Imperial College with 18.40%, who also clocked in with the lowest amount of Deliveroo options in the city at just 480. Thankfully, with rent at just £433, they didn’t come out the lowest. 

The complete order of London universities from our rankings is: 

  1. London School of Economics (206)
  2. University College London (190)
  3. Queen Mary (172)
  4. King’s College (171)
  5. Imperial College (149)
  6. Royal Holloway (145)

You might think London has the most pubs, but it doesn’t even make the top 20

If a London university was your go-to because you were sure it would have the most things to do, well…

You would think that London has the highest density of everything, but it doesn’t even make the top 20 when it comes to pubs per square mile. Shocking, right?

London averaged out at just 7 pubs per square mile, whereas #1 on the list had 12! Well done, Portsmouth. Where else are you meant to study during your frees?  The Library? 

Coming second with 11 pubs per square mile was Liverpool, putting John Moores and the University of Liverpool up there as some of the highest ranking unis around. Coming in closely behind are the University of Bristol, University of East Anglia, University of West England and the University of Sussex all at 10 pubs per square mile.

Finally, the top 10 is closed off with Manchester’s universities at 9 pubs per square mile, which goes up to the top 14 with Nottingham Trent, University of Southampton, University of Nottingham and the University of Dundee all ranking in with the same.

Which universities are the best night out?

When it comes to going out, you’ve not just got the ticket price to consider. How many drinks can you fit in whilst still keeping it cheap?

Turns out, Derby is the place to be with a total night out costing you just £17.52 – that’s five drinks and club entry. Lancaster University would only cost you 20p more for approximately the same, and then the University of Dundee would push the boat out by a whole 70p extra at £18.42. 

The #1 uni, Leicester, doesn’t even make the top 10 with an average night out price of £21.17, but thankfully #2 and #3 keep it under £20 with Bournemouth and Swansea ranking in at £18.69 and £18.85 respectively.  

The rivalry to end all rivalries: Oxford or Cambridge...or neither?

The rivalry that exists between Oxford and Cambridge is one that extends beyond the borders of the UK. They are both world famous universities, praised for their high level of education and the success many of their graduates go on to achieve. 

But when it comes down to it, is that really good enough? 

When looking at total points on our alternative university league table, neither Oxford or Cambridge managed to breach the top 30, which is pretty average. Cambridge scored the best and won out with 200 points, but Oxford were close behind at 192. This was largely due to Cambridge being slightly cheaper in general, but only slightly

Oxford did come out on top in terms of the most pubs, with an average of 8 per square mile versus Cambridge’s 5. However, their pints are still more expensive, averaging at £4.57 to Cambridge’s £3.99. Oxford also won when it came to sustainability, but again, only slightly as they scored 46.90% to Cambridge’s 45.30%

How we did it: ​

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All figures correct as of August 2019