So you’re about to uproot from the home you’ve grown up in for the past eighteen years, complete with Mum’s home cooking and your comfy bed - you are about to share a flat with boys who don’t wash up and girls who steal your food. So how about a guarantee that you’ll have happy existence outside your flat for the next three years, whenever it gets too much and you need to escape for some fresh air? Well unfortunately for some, that’s not going to happen. Welcome to the list of Britain’s worst cities – hopefully your new University city won’t be in one of them . . .
10. Stoke – On – Trent
Bringing in the top 10 worst places to live in the book ‘Crap Towns’ is Stoke-On-Trent, which often crops up as a regular on the ‘places to avoid’ list. Staffordshire University has a campus in the town, which is heavily criticized for its lack of industry with little green spaces. University of Derby student Alex Perry lived in Stoke but fled from the area three years ago: “The issue with Stoke is that there is no iconic town centre - Stoke is made up of smaller areas. Other cities have had a lot of money spent on them to regenerate, but Stoke is so split up that there’s little effect." Definitely one to avoid then…
9. High Wycombe
Home to the University of Buckinghamshire, High Wycombe’s centre is ‘bland’ with fast food restaurants and too few shops. If you fancy placing a bet on the champion’s league then you’ll find more than a few spots where you can go to part with your cash, but outside of the bookies, High Wycombe doesn’t have much to offer.
Nuneaton is 18 miles away from the University of Warwick and apparently has very good shopping facilities, pubs and restaurants as well as a market on Saturdays but that wasn’t enough to stop its residents from nominating it as ‘crap town.’
Another Uni hotspot is the small and dingy city of Coventry in the West Midlands, which looks to rid itself of the stigma with a multi-million pound regeneration project in the city centre, which will hopefully knock down some of the biggest eyesores and get rid of the concrete-cage ring road.
Unless you’re planning on moving as far away as possible to escape clingy parents, you probably won’t need to consider Gibraltar as your new home town. Critics name this sea-side town ‘the Rock,’ but the summery location may be the reason why it narrowly missed out of a place in the top 5.
A surprising addition to the list is York, which has a good shopping precinct and castle - more than most cities can boast! The city is picturesque, but doesn’t have a lot to attract students and can hardly compete with Yorkshire’s University Capital - Leeds.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Southampton stays in the top 10 despite the popularity and success of its two Universities. Student nights will often be overrun with rowdy sailors on leave, and I speak from experience when I say that more than a couple of injuries can be sustained if you get in the way of their pint. There is not much in the way of shops or bars, and outside of the safety of Soton Campus the place is very grey.
3. Chipping Norton
An idyllic Oxfordshire market town, Chipping Norton is also home to David and Samantha Cameron and Rebecca Brooks. Enough said really!
Over the last ten years Bradford has tried desperately to shake away the concrete dust and pick itself up – it’s home to the National Media Museum which celebrated 50 years of Doctor Who, but residents say it’s better famed for its pound shops.
The worst of the bunch, London takes the top spot for a number of reasons: commuters and tourists, not to mention the obscene prices. It is definitely not a student-friendly place, especially when you find your new course-mate lives forty minutes away on the Northern line!
If you unfortunately find yourself lumbered in one of the above cities, don’t fret too much. You can always get the bus to ‘somewhere else’ and have a nice day trip out.
Written by Jess Macdonald