London vs Manchester – Which is the Best Student City?

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London vs Manchester Which is the Best Student City

London vs Manchester, the two of the UK’s most sought after cities in terms of education. Ranking 1st and 4th respectively in the QS Top 10 Best Student Cities in the UK, both cities have something to offer, in terms of education and amazing student life.  London, also known as the Big Smoke, is the capital of the United Kingdom, and the top-ranked student city in all of the UK. It is also famous for its universities, nightlife, diversity, arts and culture, and is the hub of budding businesses. On the other hand, Manchester is the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution and has constantly evolved throughout the years. Its Northern Quarter has become a thriving hub for creativity and successful independent ventures. Manchester is also home to one of the largest student populations in Europe, housing around 100,000 students as of September 2017.

London vs Manchester: Education


There are around 40 universities in London that provide courses in a variety of areas. Undergraduate, postgraduate, and foundational education is of excellent quality, with numerous universities receiving gold awards for teaching excellence. The average annual cost of studying in London is estimated to be at least £13,200 (₹11 Lacs). London is home to some of the best universities out there. The following are the top universities in London.


Manchester offers excellent worldwide education with an average annual cost of at least £16,000 (₹14 Lacs). As one of the most populous student cities in the UK, it is home to excellent universities, all renowned in their own right:

London vs Manchester: Living Costs

Another essential parameter while comparing the two cities is the cost of living. Both the countries are expensive owing to the popularity and high standard of living, In Manchester, you will need around £3,247(₹3.32 Lacs) to maintain a standard of living while in London it’s about £4,800.00(₹4.91 Lacs). tabulated below is the cost of living in the cities according to several factors.

ServiceCost in LondonCost in Manchester
Single Bedroom Apartment Rent (City Centre, Outside Centre)£1,696.94(₹17.3 Lacs),  £1,291.64(₹ 13.2 Lacs)£859.30(₹87,995), £566.67(₹58,029)
Utilities (Basic + Internet)£220.1(₹22,528) £185.86(₹19,032)
Sports and Leisure £70.28(₹ 7,196)£44.28(₹4,534)
Taxi Tariff (1 Km)£1.70(₹174)£1.22(₹124)
One-Way Ticket£2.80(₹ 286)£2.95(₹302)
Inexpensive Meal for One£15.00(₹1,536)£15.00(₹1,536)

*The data is taken from Numbeo.com

Read in detail about the Cost of Studying in UK

London vs Manchester: Student Life


London is a cultural hub, with a variety of activities you can undertake, including silent art exhibitions, active rock climbing activities, et cetera. The city has restaurants that are open 24/7 and its transport system is a gem of the city, with an underground train system (known as the Tube) and buses running across the entirety of London.

Only 57% of Londoners are British by birth. The rich international environment includes people from other countries and cultures such as France, India, China, Turkey, Brazil, the United States, Poland, and more. It’s the perfect place to establish a global network of friends or future business partners. 


Manchester is one of the more affordable cities in the UK, as proven before. It is famous for its music bands, like the Oasis and the Smiths and football clubs. As Manchester is one of the liveliest cities out there, there are many clubs and restaurants across the place. 

The city of Manchester is a multicultural hub, with a significant ethnic minority comprising over 12% of the total population. The largest communities here include Pakistani, African, Chinese, Polish and Italian ex-pats. Manchester is also the third-most-popular city in the United Kingdom for foreign visitors, after London and Edinburgh. Thus, if you enjoy socialising and meeting people from many corners of the world, Manchester will satisfy your thirst for diversity.

London vs Manchester: Tourist Attractions


If you’re thinking of roaming around London on a day off and visiting some spectacular places, you’re in luck. London is home to a variety of attractions.

  • The Big Ben
  • London Eye
  • Buckingham Palace
  • St. Paul’s Cathedral
  • British Museum 
  • Tower of London
  • SEALIFE London
  • Warner Bros. Studio Tour of Harry Potter

London also has a Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour service, which will take you to some of the city’s greatest attractions, accompanied by a live or audio guide. 


Manchester, on the other hand, has its fair share of attractions as well, including but not limited to:

  • The Opera House
  • Chill Factor (Britain’s Longest and Widest Indoor Ski Slope)
  • Elegant shops at St. Anne’s Square, King Street and Royal Exchange
  • Bolton Arcade
  • the Science and Industry Museum  
  • the Imperial War Museum North
  • The Library at Chetham’s Hospital has more than 100,000 books and is famous for being the meeting place of Karl Marx and Freidrich Engels. 
  • Castlefield, an Urban Heritage Park, filled with restored Victorian houses and the reconstructed Roman Road. Includes tourist attractions like Castlefield Art Gallery, Bridgewater Hall, Bridgewater Canal and Castlefield Bowl.

London vs Manchester: Work 


London’s great international environment attracts businesses from all over the world, providing exceptional opportunities. These include banks, media companies, publishers and various other businesses out to hire new employees. Renowned companies include the likes of the BBC, Marks & Spencer, Calvin Klein, Coca-Cola Enterprises, HSBC Bank, Paramount, Porsche. Universities themselves advertise internships in some of the top international companies. London has an average salary of £39k(₹39.93 Lacs) per year. It has great prospects for a substantial pay rise in the future as the average salary in London is almost 53% higher than graduate salaries.


Manchester’s economy is the third-largest in Britain. The city provides employment opportunities in large numbers in the hospitality industry, hotels and restaurants, business development, manufacturing, media and sports. Their financial sector is the strongest and hires the most employees. Some of the biggest companies and brands in Manchester include Google, BBC, Boohoo, Kellogg’s, Adidas, Siemens, Totesport and the Guardian Media Group. The average salary in Manchester is £30k (₹30.7 Lacs).

The city also offers an array of part-time jobs and internships for students throughout the year in retail and promotional jobs, bar, restaurant and festival staff, hospitality jobs, positions in museums, art galleries or theatres and more.

As you can see, both cities have their pros and cons. While Manchester is undoubtedly more affordable than London, London holds its reputation and position deservingly, and both cities provide top quality education and thriving student life. Confused about which city to choose?  Connect with our experts at Leverage Edu and kickstart your study abroad journey. Call us at 1800 57 2000 to book your FREE counselling session today. 

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