The Most Beautiful Universities In The UK 2023

By Anna Tan | 19, Jul, 2023
The Most Beautiful Universities In The UK 2023

When it comes to the most beautiful universities in the UK, Christ Church College usually comes to mind. What if I told you there are at least 6 universities that are just as beautiful as this tourist-filled "Harry Potter" library?

UK universities are famous globally for their world rankings, prestigious education, and rich history. Behind some of these red brick walls are stories that are best experienced through your five senses and a nostalgic atmosphere that will remind you of your school days.

So let's go on an adventure and find out which UK universities made the cut!

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1. Royal Holloway, University of London
Royal Holloway University of London

Image credit: Royal Holloway, University of London

Starting at the top of our list is a stunning architecture known as Royal Holloway which was part of the University of London in 1900. It was formerly called Bedford College and its iconic gothic building is used in several films and TV series such as Avengers: Age of Ultron, You, and Downton Abbey.

If you notice that the building bears a similar resemblance to the Château de Chambord in France, then you are right as the design was inspired by that building.

Fun fact: It is one of the first few universities in the UK that allowed women to attain higher education back in the day. Group tours are available throughout the year where you can tour the Founder's Building, enjoy afternoon tea in the Picture Gallery, and admire the exhibitions.


2. University of Edinburgh
University of Edinburgh

Image Credit: LWYang from USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Why pay for Harry Potter tours when you can go to the source where Harry Potter comes alive? That's right, J.K. Rowling wrote almost all her books in Edinburgh and it is one of the reasons why Edinburgh is known as the world's first UNESCO City Of Literature.

This university is one of Scotland's four ancient universities and has a beautiful view of Arthur's Seat and the castle located at the backdrop. If you are walking to the university in the morning, you can capture the beautiful morning sun rising from the back of the hill. You will find a series of Italian Renaissance and Neo-Gothic buildings around the campus as you explore them on a campus tour.

The most popular tourist attraction will be its iconic Georgian Old College building with its majestic dome. It also hosts some of the best contemporary art exhibitions located inside Talbot Rice Gallery.


3. University of Greenwich

Image Credit: Wolfart from Pexels

If you are interested in UNESCO World Heritage sites, then The University of Greenwich is where you need to be. With a beautiful riverfront, it sits at the Old Royal Naval College, a historical landmark, and is one of the oldest universities in the UK.

This beautiful campus rich with history is what attracts many students to study and reside here. In addition, it has some of the finest architecture in the UK, designed by the famous Sir Christopher Wren, notably known for its St. Paul's Cathedral design,

Like most universities in the UK, it was used as a film location for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (the opening scene of a carriage chase) and Sherlock Holmes (spot the scene where there were riots outside the House of Parliament).


4. Aberystwyth University

Resembling a medieval castle, Aberystwyth University is located in the serene countryside with the main campus on Penglais Hill overlooking Cardigan Bay. With the Cambrian Mountains at its backdrop and a short distance from a couple of national parks, it is a great place to be one with nature and experience life in a seaside town.

This campus town also has a nice balance of pubs, cafes, and heritage sites to explore. The gorgeous Victorian architecture creates a quaint ambiance in the neighborhood and the number of boutique shops and restaurants will convince you to stay a little longer!

Fun fact: King Charles is an alumnus of Aberystwyth University.


5. Newcastle University

Once a school for medicine and surgery, Newcastle University has now expanded into a full-fledged campus spanning 50 acres and is known as one of the most beautiful universities in the UK for its redbrick building and historic architecture.

Its oldest building, Armstrong Building, has gone through various changes since its founding in 1886. It has decorative plaster ceilings, a stained-glass lantern, an artistic 1960s staircase, and a room at the top with a beautiful view of the city.

Other buildings such as the Bruce Building and Devonshire Building are also worth a tour with one being a former brewery and the other winning architectural awards for environmental friendliness.


6. Durham University
Durham University Castle

Image Credit: Durham University

This list will not be complete without Durham University. Once voted as UK's second most beautiful university behind Oxford, it has numerous tourist attractions starting from its UNESCO World Heritage site which consists of an 11th-century cathedral and castle, historic libraries, and museums.

This 11th-century castle is the famous Durham Castle and houses the students of Durham University for accommodation and education. And if you wander around Durham Cathedral and notice some familiar locations, that's because the cloisters and The Chapter House were used in the first two Harry Potter films.

Durham University is by far my favorite for its unique tours to explore the hidden gems of the university.


Final Thoughts

Friedrich Schiller once said, "The key to education is the experience of beauty." Hence, there is no better way to learn than studying in the most beautiful universities in the UK. But even if you are not planning to be a student on these premises, it is still worthwhile to visit as a wandering tourist. Don't forget to grab a souvenir when you are there!

Share this article with a friend who needs alternative university tourist attractions!


Aberystwyth University Cover Image Credit: Aberystwyth University


Anna is an upbeat travel writer who is constantly hungry for adventure (and food). She writes about her climbing adventures on

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