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8 uni cities for students to explore on a budget

Heading off to uni? Whether you’re a fresher, you’re going back for another year, or you’re visiting friends who’ve started their studies somewhere new, there’s so much for students to see and do in the UK’s university cities. And the best news? Exploring them doesn’t mean blowing your student budget. We’ve picked out our favourite student-friendly things to do in eight university cities, and you can save on the cost of travel by getting to each one with megabus. Plus, we’ll give you 10% off with a TOTUM card as well as airtime rewards – which basically means you can earn cashback from megabus journeys to get money off your phone bill. So, which city first?

Go on a street art crawl in Bristol
Bristol’s famous for its street art – this place is widely considered to be Banksy’s hometown, after all. A wander around some of the brightest artworks and biggest murals won’t cost you a penny, and a stroll through certain areas – like Nelson Street and Stokes Croft – is like a visit to a huge open-air museum, minus the entry fee. And for something really special, visit in May when Upfest is on. 50,000 people come to Europe’s largest street art festival, and the best news is it’s totally free.
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Feast on Birmingham’s cheap eats
Hungry students in Birmingham are in luck – this place is packed with must-visit places to eat. For starters, there’s the balti triangle just south of the city centre. Head to the area between Ladypool Road, Stoney Lane and Stratford Road for a curry and you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to well-priced places to eat. There are some other gems worth stopping off at, too, including Mr Egg in Selly Oak. Boba and Chinese street food is what this place does best.
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Go on a shopping spree in London
London’s lesser-known markets are ideal for students shopping on a budget. Camden Market is great for alternative clothes, Brick Lane Market is stacked with vintage and retro treasures, and Maltby Street Market is the place to go for street food that won’t break the bank. Plus, while some of London’s more upmarket shopping areas aren’t exactly wallet-friendly, they’re perfect for window shopping. It’d be rude not to pay places like Sloane Street, Bond Street and the King’s Road a visit while you’re in town.
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Find all the murals in Glasgow
A great way to get to know Glasgow if you’re new to it is to follow the city’s mural trail. Start at Buchanan Street, at the steps outside the Royal Concert Hall, and you can follow the trail to see a floating taxi, the Hip Hop Marionettes and Strathclyde University’s Wonderwall along the way. It’s worth setting aside a good few hours to take it all in – longer if you fancy stopping off for a pint or lunch while you’re wandering.
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Get a 360-degree view of Edinburgh
Need to walk off a late night? Trek up to Arthur’s Seat to clear your head and get an amazing view of the city. It’s at the end of The Royal Mile and although the peak is actually an ancient volcano, it’s not an overly strenuous climb. Plus, you can get that essential selfie at the top with Edinburgh in the background to show your mates back home.
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Catch a movie in Cardiff
Chapter Arts Centre is a bit of a community hub in Cardiff, and as well as a café and art gallery it’s home to an independent cinema with two screens. Head here to watch movies you won’t find showing at the bigger cinemas, and make sure you take your NUS card – students get money off cinema tickets.
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Get into the Christmas spirit in Manchester
Staying in Manchester over winter? You can’t miss the Christmas markets – literally. There are more than 200 stalls spread across nine areas of the city centre, and they’re open from early November all the way up to a few days before Christmas. Piccadilly Square is the place to start, as it’s transformed into a winter wonderland. Wrap up warm, head out with your mates and have a wander – it’s seriously festive.
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Go to the beach in Newcastle
That’s right – a quick hop on the metro to Cullercoats gets you out of Newcastle’s city centre and onto Tynemouth Longsands beach. It’s a perfect weekend trip if you fancy exploring a bit further away from campus with friends, or somewhere nice to take family when they come to visit. It certainly beats showing them round your uni halls, anyway.
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