The Student Guide to Manchester.

28 March, 2023

Home to nearly 100,000 students, Manchester is the most popular student city in the UK - and it's easy to see why. It’s a city full of life and culture, and one that offers so much for students looking to have a fun and enjoyable time while preparing for their future. Here's our guide to student life.


So you’re looking to become a student in Manchester? Manchester is a wonderful city where you’re sure to feel right at home. With unlimited places to eat and drink, and a lively atmosphere every day of the week, it’s a perfect place to study. We’re here to help you have the best student experience possible, so we’ve put together a student’s guide to Manchester so you can fully explore this bustling city.

Our helpful guide provides you with everything you need to know about being a student in Manchester. From finding the perfect student accommodation, and helpful student finance tips, to recommendations on where to eat, drink and watch live music on a student budget. We’ll provide you with everything you need to know, so you can make the most out of student life.

Student life in Manchester

Manchester is a place synonymous with students, with over 100,000 students coming from all across the world to study here. It’s a city full of life and culture, and one that offers so much for students looking to have a fun and enjoyable time while preparing for their future.

Finding the right student accommodation in Manchester

There are many great places to live in Manchester, each with their own perks. It’s not always easy to choose where you want to live, especially if you’re completely new to the city. 

So, when should you start looking for your accommodation? It’s always best to do a little research before you even apply for a course. You’ll want to know a bit more about the area before you commit to moving, right? This way, when you are accepted onto the course, you’ll already know your preferred location and can start applying straight away!

It’s all about what you want to get out of the area you’ll be living in. Are you looking for excellent transport links like buses and trams around the city, some local pubs to watch the sport and catch up with coursemates, or even just an area filled with students like yourself? Here are some of the most popular student accommodation areas in Manchester to give you a headstart on where to look, because we know that finding the right student accommodation in Manchester can be hard:


  • Hour walk to the city centre
  • Close to Burton Road and Withington tram stops
  • Lively social scene
  • Most popular area for students
  • 30 minute bus to Spirit Studios


  • 25/35 minute walk to the city centre
  • 20 minute bus to the city centre (No. 53, 50, 147)
  • Close to the famous Curry Mile
  • 15 minute bus to Spirit Studios


  • 10-20 minute walk to the city centre
  • 15 minute walk to Deansgate train and tram station
  • Quieter than other student areas
  • 25 minute walk to Spirit Studios

Oxford Road

  • City centre living
  • Close to Oxford Road station
  • Near music venues such as the O2 Ritz and O2 Academy
  • 10 minute walk to Spirit Studios

Applying for student finance

Applying for university in general can be tricky, especially when it comes to arranging your student finance. With all the requirements Student Finance England (SFE) needs to determine your student loan, it’s a process that needs dedicated time:

Applying for university in general can be tricky, especially when it comes to arranging your student finance. With all the requirements Student Finance England (SFE) needs to determine your student loan, it’s a process that needs dedicated time: 

  • Your university and course that you’ve been accepted on
  • Study history (whether you’ve been to university before)
  • Age
  • Nationality and residency status
  • Know if you’re living at home or in student accommodation
  • Household income
  • Length of studies

But don’t worry; you can find everything you need to know about student finance in our student finance guide, so you don’t miss a trick!

There’s a lot to learn when it comes to student finance. All full-time UK students are eligible for a tuition fee loan from the government to cover the cost of your course. The tuition fee loan is paid directly to your university. These payments are usually made automatically so there’s no need for you to worry about remembering to pay.

As well as this, you’ll also be eligible for a maintenance loan which is paid straight to you. Be mindful of what you spend this on because you also need to factor in your accommodation costs and other living expenses!

All you need to do to get started is head to the student finance page on the Government website to apply today.
Depending on your circumstances and what your university offers, you might be able to apply for a bursary or other funding. There are many different types of funding available so it’s best to check with your university first, but they often help cover living costs, such as accommodation. You can check your eligibility for the Spirit Studios bursary scheme here.

The best music venues in Manchester

Manchester is renowned for its contribution to the global music scene, past and present. The likes of the Stone Roses, Oasis, Blossoms, the Smiths, and New Order are all Manchester born and bred, and those names are only a snippet of the discography of Manchester artists.
Manchester’s rich music culture is perfect for budding musicians, producers and engineers. So if you’re moving to Manchester to study music, you’ll love our recommendations for the best music venues in Manchester for students.

  • Night and Day Cafe – Located on Oldham Street in the Northern Quarter, this venue is fantastic for catching talented artists performing live.
  • Band on the Wall – You can head to one of top Radio 6 DJ, Craig Charles’, popular events here. This place is one for the Manchester music history books. 
  • Castlefield Bowl – An astonishing outdoor amphitheatre that hosts the annual ‘Sounds of the City’ concerts.
  • The Warehouse Project – Love dance music? This ones for you! Techno, trance, electronic, whatever you enjoy, they’ve got it.
  • O2 Ritz – This venue has hosted the likes of the Smiths, Arctic Monkeys, and even the Beatles. You’ll be able to see the big names of today here too.
  • Royal Albert Hall – This has potential to be in everyone’s favourite music  venue. The brilliant architecture adds to the whole experience of every gig with its overlooking stalls. You have to see it to believe it.
  • AO Arena – The largest venue in Manchester with a capacity of 21,000. Need we say more?
  • Manchester Academy – Divided up into four smaller venues, Manchester Academy is ideal for seeing some lesser known bands on their rise to stardom!
  • Gorilla – Live music is top of the list here, with live music most days of the week. You can also grab something to eat and a drink too.

Be sure to check out some of these live music venues. You never know, you could be seeing these places regularly one day if you’d like a career in the music industry!

The best student restaurants Manchester

You can still have a fantastic time on a student budget trying out some great places to eat. Manchester is very kind to students, and many of its restaurants offer student discounts and deals. Whether it’s two for one on meals, or 10, 20 or 30% off, you can take advantage of some brilliant deals. 

To save you from trekking around the city, we’ve done the research for you! Our recommendations are not just cheap or offer student discounts but also downright delicious! Take a look at the best student restaurants in Manchester:

  • Rudy’s – Next level Neapolitan style pizza with a range of tasty toppings.
  • Bundobust – Indian food with a twist! Get a load of the street food style Dhal and Saag on offer here. Students also get 10% off!
  • Akbar’s – Your classic Indian dishes with extra large Naan breads! This restaurant is great value for money and you’ll be wanting to go back again we can assure you!
  • Northern Soul Grilled Cheese  – The ultimate grilled cheese sandwiches. Go with the ‘Manc style’ for a northern inspired sandwich, or pick your own fillings to build your dream grilled cheese!
  • Vapiano – Some of the freshest and most delicious pasta you’ll get at any Italian restaurant. Students also benefit from 20% off!
  • Yard & Coop – Get some of the best fried chicken in the city, and at a discounted price with 20% for students.
  • Pho – Treat your palate to some traditional Vietnamese noodle soup! You’ll also get 15% off food as a student.

The best nightlife for students in Manchester

Manchester is a huge city with one of the largest student populations in the UK. Because of this, Manchester has a thriving nightlife scene – especially during freshers’ week. Even still, there are many fantastic bars in the centre and on the outskirts, meaning you can have a night out wherever you are in Manchester. 
Of course, there are too many to list them all, but our guide to Manchester nightlife for students sure does highlight some of the best! Here are some of our favourite clubs and bars in Manchester for students:

  • Lola Lo – Bringing the tiki party to Manchester, Lola Lo is the perfect place for an exotic cocktail or two!
  • FAC251 – A club ingrained in the culture of Manchester. FAC251 has a rich history itself alinknd hosts a range of student events like quids on Mondays with cheap prices.
  • 42’s – You’ll hear everything Alternative/Indie/Rock and all of your favourite artists! Get down to their skint Thursday events for prices as low as £1!
  • NQ64 – Who’d have thought about combining an arcade with a bar? NQ64 have got this spot on, and it’s now one of the most unique nights out in Manchester.

Apply to be a student of Manchester!

Are you almost ready to become a student in Manchester? Spirit Studios has a range of courses available if you’re looking to get into the music industry. Whichever area of music you have a passion for, we have a course for you! 

Whether you’re looking for our Music Production courses, we offer a BA (Hons) Music Production course and a MA Music Production course. Or if you prefer to get into music management and events, then our Music Business course is just for you. 

Our Sound Engineering courses are fantastic if you’re interested in learning how to record and deliver high quality audio. We’ll help you gain the essential skills you need to rock the music industry! 

You’ll get real opportunities, learn from industry experts, and develop your skills as you venture into a successful music and sound career. Take a look at our range of subject areas, or see first-hand how student life with Spirit Studios would be on one of our open days.
If you’re ready to kickstart your career, apply now for the course that suits you. Our helpful team is ready for a chat any time, so contact us today if you want to find out more.

Interested in studying with us?

Click below to start your application, register for an open day or get in touch with any questions