Eight reasons why Manchester is a great place to be a student

Firework display behind Manchester Town Hall

With around 100,000 students in Greater Manchester, there’s no doubt that this Northern hub is a fantastic place to be a student.

The city of Manchester hosts the University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University and the Royal Northern College of Music, a music conservatoire. Other cities and towns in the Greater Manchester area also boast excellent institutions such as the University of Salford and the University of Bolton.

1. It’s a city for students

With such a huge student population, the city and surrounding areas cater to students everywhere you go. Great food is everywhere and it’s affordable, with street markets and quirky cafés popping up all over the city and plenty of student deals available for you to experience all the cuisines Manchester has to offer. There are whole areas dominated by students – Oxford Road, which hosts three different universities, and Fallowfield, the student hub a short bus ride from the University of Manchester, home to halls of residence and student housing that make it feel like its own student village.

People from Manchester – known as Mancunians – are famous for being friendly, but it’s not just Mancunians you’ll interact with. It’s estimated that there are around 41,000 international students in and around the city, so wherever you’re from, you’ll be sure to meet an incredibly diverse range of people when you study here.

2. The world-famous music scene

Greater Manchester is home to bands such as Oasis, The Smiths, Joy Division and The Stone Roses – and this music legacy continues today. From smaller music venues such as Deaf Institute to unique spaces like the Albert Hall to astronomical venues such as Manchester Arena – there’s always a gig to see somewhere in the city.

The nightlife is diverse; a night out in Manchester could mean anything from Canal Street, to Deansgate Locks, to the Warehouse Project. And nightlife doesn’t have to mean music – there’s also a whole host of theatre and comedy clubs. Check out what’s on at the Palace Theatre, the Opera House, the Frog and Bucket or the Comedy Store.

3. Its festivals are fantastic

Known for being a rainy city, the wet weather never stops Mancunians getting out on the streets for a celebration. Pride in Manchester is unmissable, spanning huge areas of the city, people celebrate and support the LGBTQ+ community. Celebrating creativity, Manchester International Festival commissions, produces and presents dynamic new work by leading artists from different art forms and backgrounds. Chinese New Year celebrations in Manchester light up the city, days of celebrations end in the iconic parade through the streets of Chinatown. There are also plenty of music festivals, popular among students, such as Parklife, Sounds of the City and more.

4. You’re never short on culture

Manchester has a rich and fascinating history. It was at the centre of the UK’s industrial revolution and the city, led by textile manufacturing, boomed in the 19th century. The worker bee, the city’s symbol, is a representation for this industrial past, and you’ll see this bee everywhere you go. You can learn about the city’s industrial legacy at the Museum of Science and Industry. From art to football, there are plenty more museums and galleries to explore in Manchester. Visit the Whitworth Art Gallery, part of the University of Manchester and conveniently located on its campus, or head to the city centre for the National Football Museum, the Imperial War Museum North and the Manchester Jewish Museum. For something a bit different, visit the amazing John Rylands Library and explore its historic corridors.

5. The Northern Quarter is at your fingertips

From vintage shops to tea rooms, it’s hard not to love the Northern Quarter of Manchester. Simply wander around and take in the amazing array of street art, or make the most of some of the shops, on offer. You can spend an afternoon getting lost in Affleck's Palace, the ‘emporium of eclecticism’ where you can explore so many quirky, independent shops. The Northern Quarter is also a hub of great cafés, bars and restaurants – have tea and cake at Home Sweet Home or enjoy the buzzing atmosphere at Mackie Mayor. For the cat lovers out there, you can now also experience Manchester’s first Cat Café!

6. It’s an iconic city of sport

It’s hard to utter the word ‘Manchester’ across the world without football being mentioned. Home to both Manchester United and Manchester City football clubs, and their equally famous home stadiums, when in Manchester, you’re at the centre of an iconic football legacy. However, it’s not just football that you can experience in Manchester. Spend a day watching cricket at Lancashire Country Cricket club or see the Sale Sharks in action in a Rugby Union game. Manchester’s 2002 Commonwealth Games legacy means you can experience the Manchester Aquatics Centre, the Regional Athletics Arena, the National Squash Centre and Manchester Velodrome.

7. It has great transport links

While it might be famous for the Magic Buses that trundle along Oxford Road, one of the busiest bus routes in Europe, Manchester’s wider transport links make it a well-connected and international city. Just two hours from London by train, you can access the capital and all it has to offer. Manchester’s tram network is expanding, so it’s quick and easy to get to the airport or explore parts of Greater Manchester you might not go to otherwise. Manchester Airport itself is one of the busiest in the UK, and with flights to 199 destinations, it’s well-connected to the rest of the world.

8. Unbeatable access to the surrounding area

Make the most of Manchester’s location and excellent transport links by getting out of the city. Explore the Peak District National Park’s rugged moorland and impressive rocks – famous for some of the best outdoor rock climbing in the country as well as epic caving, cycling and walking tracks. You can also take a day trip and explore some of the public estates in the Peak District. Lyme Park, accessible by tram from Manchester, is a beautiful estate on the edge of the Peak District. Venture further afield and you’ll find Chatsworth House, an equally impressive stately home. Both locations were used for various adaptations of Pride and Prejudice, so they are must-sees for all the Jane Austen fans out there.

It’s not just countryside you have easy access to – Liverpool, Leeds and Sheffield are all fantastic Northern cities within around an hour of Manchester.

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