Manchester has been named the best city in the UK for sober students

It seems staying away from alcohol isn't just about 'Dry January' for more and more young people.

Emily Sergeant Emily Sergeant - 9th January 2024

An interesting new study has seen Manchester named as one of the best cities in the UK for sober students.

There’s no denying that the stereotypical student experience has a bit of a reputation for its hardcore drinking culture, but nowadays, recent studies and trends have shown that there’s an ever-growing number of young people who are opting to stay away from alcohol – especially when they’re studying at university.

It obviously makes sense then, that when it comes to picking which university to spend their next three years at, drinking culture could be something that some students are keen to consider before sticking an application in.

So, which universities actually offer the best environments for sober students then?

In a bid to get to the bottom of this, student housing provider, This is Fresh, has carried out a new study and analysed the 20 UK universities, which are home to the largest numbers of students, to find out which have the highest number of societies where drinking is not part of the specified culture


The numbers of pubs and bars in the area, and the support services available for students who may be struggling with the drinking habits and their mental health, was also taken into consideration during the study.

Manchester has been named the best city in the UK for sober students / Credit: Pixabay

And Manchester has claimed the joint top spot on the list.


Tying with the Scottish capital of Glasgow, the University of Manchester has been named the best city in the UK for sober students.

While it may be a little surprising, especially due to the fact that both of these universities are in cities where drinking culture is generally a focal point, these two institutions were actually found to be the most well-equipped for students looking for activities that don’t involve alcohol, and on top of this, they’ve also been commended for providing a wide range of support services for those who may want to reach out for help with their drinking habits.

Top 10 universities in the UK for sober students

  1. University of Manchester
  2. University of Glasgow
  3. University College London 
  4. King’s College London 
  5. University of Edinburgh 
  6. University of Leeds 
  7. Nottingham Trent University
  8. University of Nottingham  
  9. University of Bristol 
  10. Coventry University

Sure, drinking culture may be big in Manchester, with a total of 1912 bars that are accessible from the university’s campus and student hub areas, but there’s also plenty of support for sober and sober-curious students too, to counteract this.


The University of Manchester was found to have 415 sober societies, and 33 support services available to students.

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University College London (UCL), King’s College London (KCL), and the University of Edinburgh round out the top five, while the fellow Northern city of Leeds also features in the top 10, as does Nottingham, Bristol and Coventry.

Featured Image – University of Manchester