What are Leeds, York, Notts, Newcastle & Birmingham Universities and cities like? No open days = no clue!

(172 Posts)
Notdonna Sun 21-Jun-20 13:39:09

DD yr12 and all open days cancelled. We haven’t done much UK travel and don’t know the cities at all that DD has on her list. So if anyone has an insight to Birmingham, Leeds, York, Newcastle, Nottingham - the cities and their unis it’d be very much appreciated. Huge thanks!

OP’s posts: |
Prettybluepigeons Sun 21-Jun-20 13:47:46

I also have a y12 and we're facing the same problem- it sucks!

York is lovely. Campus university outside town. 1960s architecture, lots of lovely green space.
Town is beautiful. Little cobbled streets, old buildings, river etc
Excellent pastoral care....certainly during freshers time they have street angels out and about looking out for students in trouble, plus they have second year 'parents' who go out with them and make sure everyone is home safe at the end of the night.

Leeds is a great city for students, lots of people, lots of nightlife. Lots of accommodation.
Rivalry between the uni and Beckett.

If anyone has info about Glasgow or Warwick I'd love to hear!

Doyoumind Sun 21-Jun-20 13:51:59

They are very different cities and universities. One consideration is how much she will want to be on a campus and away from the city centre or if she wants better access to the city. What size of city would she like? There is a big difference between Birmingham and York.

I think they are all great cities but even without a proper open day it might be worth a walk around at least a few of them.

cologne4711 Sun 21-Jun-20 13:55:05

Warwick is a campus university just outside Coventry and has a very good reputation as a solid university academically, but less good on dealing with the sexual misconduct of male students. DS is considering it.

York is also a campus university but the campus is still in the city. I lived in York for a year and it's lovely (though apparently tainted by stag/hen do's).

Leeds is a great student city, it is quite a revelation to me as it wasn't much when I was in York. Lots of options for different abilities and interests as you have Leeds uni, Leeds Beckett (ex poly), the art university and Leeds Trinity which was a teacher training college. So the chances are, any subject you want to do is catered for. It's another one that DS is considering.

I've only been to the Birmingham uni campus once but it's very nice.

Can't help with Nottingham or Newcastle.

cologne4711 Sun 21-Jun-20 13:58:04

As for Glasgow it's a fantastic city. I would love to live there.

Powerfulpam Sun 21-Jun-20 14:02:12

Newcastle is a great city. Super friendly and lots going on without being overwhelming.
York is a great place to visit but much smaller.

Trailing1 Sun 21-Jun-20 14:02:17

DH works at Birmingham and it has a very good reputation for education.
The main campus is quite green and pleasant. Its huge! Lots of student housing available in the nearby area. Cycle routes are in place along the main Bristol road (if DD cycles) and bus routes to the city are reliable. It probably takes 15 minutes on the bus to reach the city centre. Trains run every ten minutes or so from University train station during the weekdays.
The uni has a great swimming pool in the sports centre, it also has a gym.
The village of Bournville houses Cadbury World and is nice for a long walk, it's a beautiful place. I cant comment much on the student nightlife as alot has changed since my youth (I am now what one would call an old fogey) but the main strip of bars and clubs is on Broad Street in the City Centre.


Ihaveoflate Sun 21-Jun-20 14:08:38

As others have said, it depends on whether you want campus or not.

Leeds is quite a good compromise as it is contained on a campus but on the edge of the city centre, so best of both worlds.

Really depends on personality as well. I went to Leeds (20 yrs ago) and hated it because it's huge in terms of student numbers and very anonymous. I would have been better at York.

I work at Leeds Beckett and wouldn't want my child to go there!

AChickenCalledDaal Sun 21-Jun-20 14:16:55

Nottingham is a lovely parkland campus in quite a big city. So kind of best of both worlds if you want a campus experience but also "normal" shops, clubs etc. Brand new sports facilities on campus. DD had an offer from them this year and it was third on her list. I was impressed by how they approached pastoral care in her dept.

The main reason they didn't make her top two is they can't guarantee accommodation for insurance offers and she was quite nervous of fending for herself in the big city. Her firm choice is very ambitious so she needed a bit more security on insurance. Others may be more relaxed about this and there does seem to be plenty of accommodation options if you need to arrange things yourself.

blosstree Sun 21-Jun-20 14:16:54


Really lovely city, lots of culture and multiple museums. Loads of great pubs, restaurants, cafes etc. Good night life. The Quayside is lovely - a big market every Sunday which is a great day out. It's also a very pretty city too with beautiful architecture, which I think many are surprised by if they've never visited before. Good amenities, good access to the coast for days out if that's of interest. Good train service to other parts of the country.

York: Very quaint and pretty in the centre, touristy, good shopping, eateries and nightlife. Lots of history, good rail access to other parts of the country.

These are the only two I have experience of, I know Newcastle the best but York is one of my favourite cities!

Piggywaspushed Sun 21-Jun-20 14:17:49

Those are all good choices (what subject?) so I think it depends on the campus/not campus debate.

Kids I have taught have all been very happy at Birmingham which is an increasingly popular choice.

I went to York (eons ago, but I don't think I t ahs changed much!). It's an extremely user friendly city and a great choice for someone who wants to study somewhere lovely. Lots of my friends never left and still live there. After York, I went to Nottingham, which I also liked a great deal. Excellent transport . I visited Nottingham again recently for an NTU Open Day and was very impressed by how lovely the city centre is now compared to when I was there when it was very bland.

Lastly, I am from Glasgow and I love it dearly. It is large and clogged with traffic these days sadly but it is a very vibrant and passionate city. The university itself is in a great area and is beautiful. And not far away is stunning scenery.

Firefretted Sun 21-Jun-20 14:21:08

Nottingham is a brilliant city - small enough to feel friendly but loads to do. Uni Park campus is beautiful with a massive lake and loads of gardens. Frequent buses to and from town and very cheap student tickets at the Savoy cinema! The GP surgery on campus is excellent - really efficient. York also a lovely place to live. Brum is a bit grim - less to do than you might think for such a big city and has a horrible litter problem. For Warwick students, nightlife and cultural life in Coventry isn't great - it's a bit of a 'nothing' town.

RummidgeGeneral Sun 21-Jun-20 14:22:45


This is a helpful website for comparing student satisfaction on different courses.

LaLaFlottes Sun 21-Jun-20 15:16:08

We are in a similar boat but we did manage to make it to Birmingham’s open day.
I have to say we were very impressed - the campus is lovely and served by its own train station. Good facilities and spacious. The more historic buildings are stunning and there is a lot of “green”. Plenty of sports facilities and the student accommodation looked good and the cost is reasonable.
I don’t know Birmingham as a city but I should imagine there is plenty to do.

The students showing people around seemed happy and were very friendly which I think is a good sign. The staff were also easy to talk to and very enthusiastic.

DD is keen!

mumsneedwine Sun 21-Jun-20 15:47:55

Nottingham seems to be a great (& cheap) student city. Trams make it easy to get around and Uber drivers are checked by council. Lots of student club nights and masses of sport. Campus is beautiful.

No help for the others, sorry. DD has friends at all of them and they are all happy. I'd say look at the course and how it's taught.

MarchingFrogs Sun 21-Jun-20 17:06:19

DD is at the University of Birmingham, as was her elder sibling a couple of years before her. Attractive, green campus, lots of student housing just off-site, even more green-ness also on the doorstep and easy access into the city centre for shopping and clubbing. At least one club is full-time 'students only', according to DD.
Leeds - as others have said, campus but on the edge of the city centre. Decent gym and swimming pool, though not 50m like the one at UoB. Lots of 'student's culture as well as the more traditional variety (world famous Piano Competition etc). There is (or at least there used to be) a Cat Cafe in the citysmile.

Has she signed up for the virtual open days? DS2 is also looking at Birmingham and York, for History of Art- he has the choice of Wednesday or Thursday this coming week at Birmingham and I think Friday and Saturday for York. I think Nottingham is around now as well? The real thing would have been next weekend, along with UoB and York, but DS2 decided that he wasn't particularly keen on the course there.

mushroom3 Sun 21-Jun-20 17:09:26

DD (yr 13) has firmed Newcastle. It's a beautiful city, easy to walk around and is supposed to have a vibrant student life (when we no longer have a pandemic). It's also not too expensive to be a student there. If you know Glasgow, the majestic buildings and streets remind me of Glasgow. We visited many places, York, Sheffield, Birmingham, Manchester, Lincoln, Swansea, Cardiff, UEA, Nottingham and Liverpool. For her the feel of the city was as important of the course and Newcastle has the best fit for her. She also liked Liverpool a lot.

Londonmummy66 Sun 21-Jun-20 17:14:12

This is helpful as DC1 is looking at Glasgow York and Birmingham. Does anyone know anything about Aberdeen or Holloway?

Piggywaspushed Sun 21-Jun-20 17:44:00

If you live where your username suggests, do not under estimate how far away Aberdeen will be!

One thing worth noting is that far more Scottish students attend their local uni so both Aberdeen and Glasgow are different in many ways from most big English unis.

NotMeNoNo Sun 21-Jun-20 17:53:26

Nottingham is a great city, whilst the university is on a campus it's very accessible to get into town and around depending on where accommodation is, good trams, developing cycle routes. I think it's the perfect medium size city (but then a good John Lewis is my main criteria). Nobody is going to get lost or overwhelmed here.

I don't think there's a wrong answer though, they are all great cities with plenty going on. I'd choose Newcastle and Leeds next, Birmingham is a good campus but it's a drag getting around the city, York too small and touristy (unless they are preferred for particular subjects).

IrmaFayLear Sun 21-Jun-20 18:17:55

Two of ds’s friends went to Royal Holloway for different subjects. They both complained bitterly that everyone went home all the time.

Divoc2020 Sun 21-Jun-20 21:08:41

Family member is at York and adores it! Good balance between easy access around the campus and then reasonable night life - bars, pubs, cinemas etc in the city centre. It's obviously not as lively as somewhere like Leeds or Newcastle, but not all students want to be out clubbing all the time! Seems really safe and lovely on campus with all the lakes and geese!

Decorhate Sun 21-Jun-20 21:32:34

Dd is at Leeds (Uni of). Really happy there. She wanted a city university & a decent sized, lively city. Don’t know why someone mentioned rivalry with Leeds Beckett. They don’t usually have anything to do with each other (apart from sports fixtures presumably?)

Mine both liked Birmingham & applied there. It is a lovely campus.

Nottingham (both unis) is very popular with young people where I live. Personally it didn’t appeal to me or Ds, felt the campus was too spread out & it felt like you were out in the countryside.

Toddlerteaplease Sun 21-Jun-20 22:48:24

Nottingham is a good place to live and as A PP has said, the campus is lovely. As is neighbouring wollaton park. I live in the middle of Lenton, one of the main student areas and I love it as it's so convenient. My area feels very safe.

longtimecomin Sun 21-Jun-20 22:55:23

Newcastle is amazing!!!

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