Manchester is one of the most famous cities in the country, known for its size, opportunities and mix of cultures and lifestyles. As you would expect from a city like this, Manchester is a great place to be a student.

Manchester student life is pretty good. Living costs are reasonable, there’s a lot to see and do, and you’re also within reach of other northern cities too.

If you’re planning to be a student in Manchester, you couldn’t have picked a nicer place to study!


Student life in Manchester


Manchester has five universities and over 100,000 students. Much of the city is built around students and student life, so you’re in a great place!

Universities in Manchester include: The University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University, University of Salford, University of Bolton and University Academy 92.

The University of Manchester is the main university in town. It’s a huge campus with over 40,000 students based on Oxford Road, south of the city centre. It’s mainly known for its three faculties, Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, Faculty of Science and Engineering and the Faculty of Humanities. All have a stellar reputation for the quality of the teaching and research.

According to the university, 94% of University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University graduates go straight into employment or further study within six months.

That’s useful to know if you’re planning to study there!

Living costs for students

Despite its size and stature, Manchester is a very affordable place to be a student. It is apparently the third most affordable city to live in, with Bangor and Nottingham being slightly cheaper.

Student accommodation in Manchester is relatively cheap, with a huge range of halls, private student halls and university accommodation available.

Sanctuary Students has two buildings within a short walk of the city centre and The University of Manchester. Both offer superb accommodation for students in Manchester without compromising on quality.

Life with Sanctuary Students is about much more than a room too!

Eating out and entertainment can also be cost-effective. With lots of pubs, bars, cafés, restaurants and eateries to choose from, you’re not short of choice, either.

Eating out

Eating out in Manchester is a foodie’s dream but the rest of us will do okay too. There are literally hundreds of places to each in and around the city centre.

Chinatown and the Curry Mile in Rusholme are two highlights while Rudy's Neapolitan Pizza and YES are both student favourites. Check out the Northern Quarter for lots of curry houses, the Arndale Food Court, Trof, Gusto and Sweet Mandarin all being worth a try.

You can also venture further out of town for quaint pubs, Michelin-starred restaurants and any type of food you could possibly want to try!


Nightlife in Manchester is another reason why being a student here is so cool.

Northern Quarter has pubs, bars, live music and Affleck's Palace. Manchester Arena is another local highlight, with some of the world’s leading performers appearing here regularly.

The Printworks in the city centre is a good place to spend the night. As is The Comedy Store, Pangaea, Manchester Museum, indie clubs like Mojo and South, Canal Street, Warehouse Project at Mayfield Depot, Deaf Institute, Soup Kitchen, Manchester Academy, Albert Hall and lots of other places.

There are lots of smaller pubs, bars, cafés, nightclubs and events held each year, so there is always something to do of a night-time!

Shopping as a student

Manchester is the self-proclaimed shopping capital of the North West, and we wouldn’t disagree.

You have The Arndale Centre and Market Street in the town centre, both full of chains and independents plus places to eat and drink.

You also have the Trafford Centre outside of town, King Street, Exchange Square and the Northern Quarter.

The Northern Quarter is full of quirky stores, record shops, vintage stores and independents. If you like to go your own way or stand out from the crowd, this is where you shop.

Student accommodation

Manchester has a lively accommodation sector with a real mix of quality and type of places to stay.

The universities all have their own halls that offer good-quality accommodation on campus.

Private operators like us at Sanctuary Students also have a presence in the city. We have two buildings, one on Denmark Road and the other on Grafton Street. Both are within easy walk of class and the city centre.

There are also private landlords aplenty offering HMOs and student housing. Quality is a real mixed bag so make sure you check out your accommodation before committing!

We are obviously biased, but we think Sanctuary Students is your best option once you finish your first year.

Student accommodation is cheap, quality is high and we do everything we can to ensure your student years are happy ones.

Places to visit

The sheer number of things to see and do is one of the highlights of Manchester student life.

Depending on how much free time you get during your course, there is always something going on in and around the city.

Places to visit include Castlefield, the Science and Industry Museum, Imperial War Museum North, Manchester Cathedral, St. Mary's Catholic Church, National Football Museum, Chetham's Library, Manchester Art Gallery, Chinatown, Manchester Town Hall, People's History Museum, Heaton Park, Fletcher Moss Botanical Garden, Platt Hall: Gallery of Costume, Ancoats, Beech Road and Manchester’s Central Library to name just a few.

There are hundreds of non-cultural things to see and do of course, including pubs, parks, cafés, bistros, restaurants, live music venues and more.

Getting around

As you would expect from a northern powerhouse city, getting around Manchester is a breeze.

Manchester apparently has one of the busiest bus routes in Europe. The Oxford Road corridor, where you’ll be, has more buses than almost anywhere else.

We strongly recommend getting a student bus pass as it’s the easiest way to get around!

Manchester has three main train stations: Manchester Piccadilly, Victoria and Oxford Road. Each covers local lines as well as national ones and Piccadilly links Manchester to London Euston and other major transport hubs.

Manchester Airport is south of the city by the M56 and is a major UK airport with hundreds of flights to major destinations.

Manchester is also a decent cycling city. While the traffic can get busy, there are cycle lanes linking campus with the town centre.

Working as a student

The size of Manchester means there are usually opportunities for students to earn a little income if they need to. The sheer number of pubs, bars and restaurants means there is a perpetual need for reliable waiting staff, kitchen staff and bar staff.

Manchester is also known for manufacturing and industry who often require lower skilled labour to help out.

Finally, all those shops around the city all need staff to work weekends and lates, so there are usually opportunities aplenty to do that.

Of all the cities in the UK, Manchester student life has to be one of the best. You have almost as much going on as London but it all costs a lot less.

The quality of education is also pretty good too, which is a nice bonus.

Need more info?

Our goal is to equip you with all the necessary information & resources to make this process as smooth as possible. So, don't hesitate – explore our website today and find your dream student accommodation!