5 reasons why Leeds is the best university city from London vibe to ‘Instagrammable’ shopping centres – Mellissa Dzinzi

My bias towards Leeds is the world’s worst kept secret. I love the city with all its flaws and when I can, I always try to persuade people to move here.

As a resident and former university student, I’ve seen both worlds and what the city has to offer.

There are three main universities in the city, University of Leeds, Leeds Beckett University and Leeds Trinity University in Horsforth.

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I moved to Leeds at eight years old and no matter how many times I’ve run away and moved to another city, I’ve always come back.

One regret that I will always have is not doing three years of University in Leeds and only doing a year as a masters student. I would have got far more than I did in the midlands.

It didn’t come to me as no surprise when the University of Leeds was named in a survey by University Compare as the fifth-best university in the UK for 2021/22.

But as a university city, this comes as no surprise to me at all that the institution is so high up on the list.

You have a number of shopping centres that range from ‘basic’ to high-end luxury aesthetic, huge parks and more than one club.

These are my reasons why I think going to university in Leeds is the best:

There’s something for everyone

You don’t need to travel to neighbouring cities to play golf, virtual darts, go to the theatre, or even visit a museum. You can do all of these things in the city centre meaning you don’t pay an arm and a leg for a new experience.

Most students want to try new ventures and not have to pay extortionate prices. Leeds is the place to be for this.


I could always count on having a good night out no matter where I went and whatever day I decided to go out. It’s always literally a good time.

People may disagree on this but I have always had a good night out in Leeds city centre compared to other cities. Everyone is friendly, the drinks are cheap and there’s a variety of choices to pick from.


Victoria Gate was eerily quiet
The luxurious Victoria Gate in Leeds

There are so many places to shop to your heart’s content. Leeds has luxury shopping centres that are ‘Instagrammable’ and full of shops that you don’t find in other big cities in the country.

You don’t have to spend hundreds or thousands of pounds, there’s literally a shop for everyone’s personal style or preference.

Some people don’t think this is necessarily something that’s important but for me, I do enjoy a good window shop from time to time and if I’m going to do it, I don’t want to travel far.


Part of the university experience is exploring the city you’ll call home for the next three years. With one of the biggest parks in Europe – Roundhay Park, you can see all sorts of views that make you appreciate the small gems in Leeds and the UK.

You can also take a quick walk to Tropical World which has the largest collection of tropical plants outside Kew Gardens.

If you’re willing to have a drive around the city, you can venture to Harewood House, Temple Newsam, Kirkstall Abbey, The Chevin, and there’s tonnes more places to go.

London experience without the price

When I did my bachelors in Wolverhampton, I spent my time between London, Manchester and the Midlands but when I came back home as a resident and student, I didn’t have to.

I love the range of restaurants and things to do in the two cities and didn’t realise until I had already spent hundreds of pounds in other cities.

There are constantly new businesses opening that cater for people’s preferences at a decent price.

You don’t have to spend without worrying that you’ll have £10 left for the rest of the month. As a student, every penny matters.

Do you think Leeds is a good city to be a student in? Let us know in the comments.

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