Why choosing the right place is important

When thinking about university, one key consideration is the kind of place where you might like to study and live. Around 50% of students go to university in the region they grew up in. If that’s the case, you may already be familiar with the area. However, if you are moving to a new region – or even a new town or city within your home region – you should get to know the place first.

Whether near to home or far away, this will be the place where you work, rest and play for the next three years. The UK has over 130 universities, so there is a huge range of options. For example, you might choose to go to university in a major city or a smaller town; somewhere where it is mostly students or with a wider cross-section of society.

To help you consider your options, here we are profiling two counties in the North West of England, Cumbria and Lancashire. These two counties are home to three universities:

  • Cumbria University, based in Carlisle
  • University of Central Lancashire, based in Preston
  • University of Lancaster, based in Lancaster

 

Profile: Cumbria and Lancashire

As the home of the Lake District National Park, Cumbria is famous for its stunning scenery and England’s highest mountains. However, it is not just a rural area. It has lively cities such as Carlisle and Barrow, as well as beautiful market towns such as Kendal and Penrith.

Lancashire is an historic county, with strong links to the industrial revolution. As well as being on the doorstep of major cities such as Liverpool and Manchester, it includes many towns and lots of countryside. As such, Lancashire is a diverse part of the UK in terms of population and places.

 

Population

The city of Carlisle is home to Cumbria University and has…

  • A population of 75,000, making it the UK’s 120th largest settlement
  • A slightly higher than average age (44.5 yrs vs av. of 42.5)
  • Less ethnic diversity than average (5% non-White British vs av. of 20%)
  • 3.7% of the local population are students, placing it in the top third nationally
  • 22% of the local population are graduates, placing it in the bottom third nationally

The city of Lancaster is home to the University of Lancaster and has…

  • A population of 48,000, making it the UK’s 205th largest settlement
  • A slightly lower than average age for England and Wales (40 yrs vs av. of 42.5)
  • Less ethnic diversity than average (9% non-White British vs av. of 20% )
  • 12% of the population are students, placing it in the top 10% nationally
  • 27% of the population are graduates, placing it in the top half nationally

The city of Preston is home to the University of Central Lancashire and has…

  • A population of 98,000, making it the UK’s 83rd largest settlement
  • A much younger than average age for England and Wales (35.2 yrs vs av. of 42.5)
  • More ethnic diversity than average (24% non-White British vs av. of 20%)
  • 11% of the population are students, placing it in the top 10% nationally
  • 25% of the population are graduates, placing it in the top half nationally

 

Culture and heritage

The city of Carlisle is ranked 201 (out of 326) places for heritage by the RSA. It has…

  • 1,145 listed buildings, placing it in the top half nationally
  • 3 museums, placing it in the bottom third nationally
  • 2 blue plaques, placing it in the bottom third nationally

The city of Lancaster is ranked 74 (out of 326) places for heritage by the RSA. It has…

  • 1,335 listed buildings, placing it in the top third nationally
  • 7 museums, placing it in the bottom third nationally
  • 47 blue plaques, placing it in the top half nationally

The city of Preston is ranked 141 (out of 326) places for heritage by the RSA. It has…

  • 472 listed buildings, placing it in the bottom half nationally
  • 5 museums, placing it in the bottom third nationally
  • 19 blue plaques, placing it in the bottom third nationally

 

Environment

The city of Carlisle has…

  • 111 sq km area of natural beauty, placing it in the top third nationally
  • A recycling rate of 41%, placing it in the bottom half nationally
  • A population density of 1 person per hectare, well below the national av. of 3.7

The city of Lancaster has…

  • 306 sq km area of natural beauty, placing it in the top 10% nationally
  • A recycling rate of 36%, placing it in the bottom third nationally
  • A population density of 2.4 persons per hectare, below the national av. of 3.7

The city of Preston has…

  • 14 sq km area of natural beauty, placing it in the top third nationally
  • A recycling rate of 30%, placing it in the bottom third nationally
  • A population density of 9.9 persons per hectare, above the national av. of 3.7

However, don’t forget that all of Cumbria and most of Lancashire is very close to beautiful countryside and national parks. Once you get outside the cities, the scenery changes quickly!

 

Transport links

Carlisle has good mainline rail links, including to Glasgow, London, Leeds and Newcastle. If you are flying, Glasgow, Newcastle and Blackpool airports are all less than 90 minutes’ drive.

Lancashire is easily reached from all over the UK and is well-served by international airports, ferry ports and main line rail. The West Coast Line to London stops at Lancaster and Preston.

The following table shows the average train times to six major cities:

London Birmingham Bristol Glasgow Leeds Manchester
Oxenholme Lake District(Cumbria University) 2h 51m 2h 15m 4h 1h 51m 2h 24m 1h 15m
Lancaster Station(Lancaster University) 2h 32m 2h 3h 43m 2h 4m 1h 52m 1h
Preston Railway(University of Central Lancashire) 2h 10m 1h 40m 3h 23m 2h 18m 1h 51m 38m

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