This Week We’re Talking About…The Best University Towns for a Short Break

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If your kids have grown up, flown the nest and gone away to university, then popping over to visit your son or daughter in their uni city is a great excuse for taking a short break. Especially if your son or daughter just so happens to be attending university in one of these scenic student towns.

1. York

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York is the perfect spot for a weekend break. With two universities in the city, York is a popular choice for students. If your son or daughter is studying in York make sure to make the most of their term-time town by taking plenty of trips to visit – we’re sure they won’t mind, too much.  

2. Edinburgh

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The beautiful Scottish capital is a popular university spot for students across the UK – with three universities in the city there’s plenty of choice. Edinburgh also makes for the ideal short break destination, so if your son or daughter has chosen to head off to Edinburgh for their studies it’s really a win-win all round. From cultural treasures such as Edinburgh Castle to striking views of the city from Arthur’s Seat; the cosy pubs where you can enjoy a ‘wee dram’, and the top selection of hight-street stores and independent boutiques – there’s so much to see and do in Edinburgh, Luckily, there’s a whole 4 years of university in Scotland so you have plenty of time to explore.

3. Oxford

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The University of Oxford is almost synonymous with the city itself, and is definitely a must-see on an Oxford short break. As well as taking in the grounds of the iconic university, which was established in 1096 – there is plenty more to do on a short break in Oxford. We definitely recommend enjoying a bite to eat at The Grand Café, and taking a wander around the boutiques on Little Clarendon Street.

4. Lancaster

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With two universities the heritage city of Lancaster makes for a beautiful place for the kids to study…and for you to come visit. Make sure to take a relaxing stroll along the canal, stopping in at some of the beer gardens along the way. A visit to the Lancaster Castle is another must-do, where you can learn about the history of the castle and courtrooms – including the famous witch trials. In the evening, Lancaster has a great selection of cosy pubs and chic restaurants to choose from – an ideal spot for catching up with your son or daughter about how their course is going.

5. St Andrews

If it’s good enough for Wills and Kate, it’s good enough for us. The University of St Andrews is one of the most prestigious universities in the UK, and the oldest in Scotland, with famous former-students ranging from Prince William and Kate Middleton to Bob Dylan. St Andrews is an excellent choice for a relaxing break – indulge in a spot of golf, take a walk by the seaside and explore the St Andrews Castle ruins. You might even meet your future son or daughter in-law in St Andrew’s as the university is known for being a bit of a matchmaker, with 1 in 10 St Andrews students marrying a fellow alumni.

6. Cambridge

Another of the UK’s top universities, The University of Cambridge is an iconic institution dating back to 1209. The University boasts a beautiful Botanic Gardens, which is a must-see in the city. Unsurprisingly, the notoriously clever city is packed full with plenty of culture and numerous museums – as well as enjoying the beautiful city, you might even learn a thing or two.

7. Stirling

As a Stirling alumna myself, I can’t help but give the beautiful campus university and historic city a mention. The striking university grounds are set on the outskirts of the city, boasting miles of greenery and a tranquil loch – a must-visit in itself. The city of Stirling has plenty of other attractions too, including the William Wallace Monument and Stirling Castle. The buzzing city centre is packed full with traditional pubs and quaint restaurants. Make sure to check out Nicky Tams – the supposedly haunted pub, and try Brea for a delicious dinner.

8. Bath

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The beautiful city of Bath is an idyllic Southern short break spot, so if your child is off to Bath this term you’re luck is in. Famous for its 18th-century Georgian architecture and natural hot springs, Bath is a wonderfully scenic city. There’s also plenty of museums on offer for cultural types – from fashion to architecture to art. We also recommend enjoying a traditional cuppa in the Jane Austen Centre tearooms, and of course you can’t visit Bath without a relaxing soak in the Roman Baths. You can even treat your son and daughter to an indulgent day at the Roman Baths, and allow them some time to relax during a busy term.


Whether your kids are studying at one of our top picks, or one of the many other fabulous university towns in the UK – rather than miss them while they’re away make the most of their uni spots with regular short breaks. Just beware they don’t start asking you to pop round to do their laundry too.

What do you think is the best university town for a short break? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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