There are a number of reasons new students choose Portsmouth as their number one destination; from our incredible weather to our historic cobbled streets. Ask any student living in Portsmouth right now and they will tell you we are a city full of opportunities and hidden gems. Still stuck choosing your ideal university location? Look no further than our guide for prospective students!


Students needn’t scrape by on a tight budget in Portsmouth. The city was named as one of the top 10 most affordable places to live as a student by Natwest’s Student Living Index, factoring the cost of housing, going out with new friends and food. Portsmouth is also one of the most affordable cities for new graduates, according to research from Universities UK, meaning many former students decide to stay with us once their studies are over! The city boasts relatively low housing costs for the South East and plenty of affordable bars and restaurants, so who could blame them?


If your student loan is burning a hole in your pocket, there are numerous areas to give in to the urge to spend. Gunwharf Quays is the place to be for designer label fans, as it offers global names like Calvin Klein, Armani and Michael Kors. If quirky finds are more your style, be sure to explore Southsea, where independent boutiques and artisan eateries line the streets. Of course, high streets favourites are a staple, with some of the most popular stores like JD Sports and H&M situated on Commercial Road.

History and museums

Portsmouth is one of the most historically rich cities in the UK, perfect for any aspiring history students! Explore our maritime history at the Historic Dockyard, home to the world famous HMS Victory and HMS Warrior 1860. You'll also find the world-renowned Mary Rose museum, which not only displays the ship itself but also a huge array of Tudor artefacts. If you prefer being on land, the National Museum of the Royal Navy plays host to a wealth of maritime artifacts and celebrates Portsmouth’s involvement with the war at sea. Away from the water, Fort Nelson helped protect British citizens for decades, and is now an ideal day out of the city to breathe in country air and explore 19 acres of secret underground tunnels and ammunition bunkers.

Festivals and events

With the huge amount of incredible annual events hosted in Portsmouth, we have something to suit every kind of student! Victorious Festival is one of the UK’s fastest growing music festivals, welcoming chart topping acts like Lewis Capaldi, New Order and Ian Brown; it’s not one to miss. For the sporty types: start your training for the Great South Run, an annual 10 mile road race with scenic views of the city along the way. Pop culture fans come together every year for Portsmouth Comic Con for the chance to meet TV and film legends and view exciting exhibitions. Of course, our annual calendar wouldn’t be complete without Portsmouth Pride. The main event is completely free and is an amazing way to spend a summer day full of happiness.

Culture and nightlife

Students flock into central Portsmouth every weekend for a night out to remember. As well as recognisable, big-name clubs like Pop World and Pryzm, it would be a shame not to explore some of the smaller independent bars and lounges throughout the city; we even have one of the best board game lounges in the UK! Fan of the stage? Look no further than Portsmouth Guildhall, the Kings Theatre or the New Theatre Royal, to catch some of the biggest names in music, theatre and comedy. Recent performances have included Jimmy Carr and the Queen musical We Will Rock You.

Travel and connections

Situated by the sea, Portsmouth is the ideal location for a student wanting urban life without all the hustle and bustle of the UK’s bigger, more industrial cities. Everything in central Portsmouth is within walking distance, especially from the main university campuses; perfect for a night out or a stroll between classes. A trip to London is just 90 minutes away by train, and most UK cities are a coach journey away thanks to National Express’ service running from the Portsmouth University campus. A weekend away from studying is easy to plan, as mainland Europe and the Isle of Wight are reachable by ferry or hovercraft from the port. Bon voyage!

Student life in Portsmouth

It’s no wonder Portsmouth is one of the most student-friendly cities in the UK. On top of our extensive history, cobbled streets and seaside charm, we are proud to have a low crime rate and some of the warmest weather anywhere in England. Dust off your history books, pack your best beachwear and we’ll see you in the new academic year!

Emily Ware is a content writer for The Student Housing Company, one of the UK’s leading providers of luxury independent accommodation for students in a number of UK university cities.




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