Choose Plymouth

Choose the University of Plymouth

With a mission to advance knowledge and transform lives through education and research, the University of Plymouth is among the emerging global elite of modern higher education institutions.

The Times Higher Education '200 Young Universities' rank us as one of the top three UK modern universities*. Plymouth is distinguished by its approach to combining world-class research and teaching with a commitment to widening participation and social inclusion.

Our University campus is at the centre of a thriving, oceanfront city in one of the UK’s most beautiful regions.

Plymouth has everything you would expect from the largest city in the South West – major high street stores, theatres, multiplex cinema, art cinemas, and a wealth of small clubs and venues.

We also enjoy easy access to the fine beaches and beautiful countryside of the South West.

Plymouth named the best holiday destination in Europe for 2020 – and second best in the world

Under the radar? Not anymore.

Renowned travel magazine Condé Nast Traveller has taken notice of Plymouth’s significant developments, listing the city above Paris, Salvador and Kyoto as a surprise package for 2020.

CN Traveller’s best holiday destinations for 2020

Plymouth – the UK's friendliest city

According to new research by Moonpig, Plymouth is officially the friendliest city in the UK.  The study scored cities according to four ranking factors: generosity, welcome, trust, and online search interest in “friendship”, and Plymouth came out top.

See the scores

Student blogs

Our #MyLifeWithPlym student blogs give you an insight into what it is really like to be a student with the University of Plymouth.
Meet our bloggers

Your applicant journey

Information about the journey you'll take from before you apply, right up to when you start at the University of Plymouth.
Applicant journey

Research rich

Ten things you probably didn't know about Plymouth

1. Plymouth is the best place to live in the country in terms of good schools, clean air, value and quality of housing and access to sparkling sea...’ The Guardian’ 2013.

2. The bright young students are making a beeline for Plymouth. The University of Plymouth is the ninth biggest in the UK with over 27,000 students. 

3. More than 11,000 University of Plymouth students are involved in over 60 sports clubs and 110 societies. 

4. Making waves. The University of Plymouth’s Marine Building is home to the most advanced wave tank in the country. 

5. Plymouth has the highest concentration of manufacturing and engineering employment in the whole of the south of England.

6. Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust is the largest teaching hospital trust in the South West. It employs over 6,000 staff working in 350 different roles within the Trust.

7. Plymouth was announced as one of the first Social Enterprise Cities in the UK in November 2013. 

8. Plymouth ranks third for its quality of life against 20 of Britain’s largest cities according to the Sustainable Cities index 2010. 

9. Plymouth city centre was heralded ‘beautiful’ and ‘heroic’ by TV’s Kevin McCloud, the writer and television presenter best known for his work on the Channel 4 series ‘Grand Designs’. 

10. In 2012 nearly 5.5 million people visited Plymouth, spending £314 million. 

Find out lots more facts about Plymouth like these in Plymouth's Book of Wonder: Over 100 Amazing Facts.

Sustainable university

  • H Accredited Fairtrade University since 2009 and 75% increase in sales of Fairtrade in 2014-2015 since 2012-13
  • > Five Green Gown Awards since 2011, including three in 2014
  • ' One of just six institutions internationally to receive a Global Showcase award from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)
  • ( Drake’s Place £1.4 million restoration project of the gardens and reservoir completed in 2014, receiving Green Flag award in 2015
  • ' The House and Marine Station building projects most recently opened are BREEAM Excellent (an environmental assessment method rating system for buildings)
  • 2 Zero waste to landfill in 2015/16
  • ( We have over 290 bicycle parking spaces on campus
  • @ Our Students' Union has NUS Green Impact ‘Excellence Outstanding’ status
  • ' Achieved ISO 14001 accreditation for all our operations on the Plymouth campus since 2009

Events and festivals

Top bands and live shows perform at the 4,000-seat Plymouth Pavilions arena, and Plymouth plays host to international events: major sports events like The America’s Cup World Series; public spectacles like the British Firework Championships; niche celebrations of artistic endeavour on the very edge of technology and music, the Contemporary Music Festival.

Old town

From the Hoe, a Victorian promenade descends along the coast to the Barbican. Bombed to bits and burned to the ground in the Second World War, Plymouth’s old town was largely destroyed. But here, clustered around Sutton Harbour on cobbled, Elizabethan streets, is what remains, with quirky shops, galleries, pavement cafés and eateries, bars and nightclubs.

Outdoor sports

Our Students’ Union runs around 60 sporting clubs and societies, some of which are possible only because of our location: bouldering, canoeing, caving, climbing, cycling, coasteering, gorge-walking, high ropes, kayaking, kite-surfing, mountain biking, horse riding, power-boating, sand-yachting, swimming, surfing and windsurfing.

The sea and Dartmoor

Between Dartmoor and the sea, the reward for living in Plymouth is the outdoors. To be outdoors in summer or winter is compelling because the landscape is breathtaking.

Barbeques on the beach, picnics on the Hoe, hikes along the coastline, long bicycle rides on vehicle-free paths that traverse the moors – if being in nature is a source of regeneration for you, this is the place to study.

"I have never before, in my long and eclectic career, been gifted with such an abundance of natural beauty as I experienced filming War Horse on Dartmoor."

Hollywood director,
Steven Spielberg

Discover Devon

With a justified reputation as a British holiday hotspot, Devon’s seaside and sunshine don’t disappoint. But there’s lots more to see besides – from impressive castles and manor houses to historic cities and unrivalled countryside.


Steeped in ancient history and folklore, Dartmoor National Park is the largest open space in the south of England and the largest archaeological site in Europe. It’s also famed for its wildlife – particularly the free-roaming ponies – and for being a literary inspiration to the likes of Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle and Agatha Christie.


With over 2,000 years of history, Exeter is one of England's most characterful cities. The annual Exeter Festival embodies the city's passion for music, dance, comedy, drama and street theatre, which is kept alive all year round at venues like the Spacex Contemporary Art Gallery, the Phoenix, the Northcott and Barnfield Theatres and the Picture House cinema. The quayside’s distinctive pubs add to the lively atmosphere. 


Nicknamed the 'English Riviera', Torbay – with its distinctive 19th century resorts of Paignton, Torquay and Brixham – on the south coast is famous for its long sandy beaches, picturesque views, red sandstone cliffs and clear waters. To the west, Torbay is edged by steep hills creating a suntrap with a local microclimate that makes it warmer than the rest of the country. 

The Jurassic Coast

The Jurassic Coast is a World Heritage Site stretching from Orcombe Point near Exmouth in East Devon to Old Harry Rocks near Swanage in East Dorset, a distance of 153km/95m. Chartered in 2001, the Jurassic Coast was the second wholly natural World Heritage Site to be designated in the UK. You can walk all the way along it on the South West Coast Path.

Take a look at everything there is to explore:

Capture Cornwall

Filled with Celtic folklore and famed for its magnificent coastline – and even more splendid pasties and clotted cream – Cornwall has a vast amount to offer. What’s more, it’s just a short hop from our main campus, just across the River Tamar. 


Cornwall’s one and only city, Truro once thrived as a river port and the prosperity of the late 18th and early 19th century can be seen today in the elegant town houses that line the city’s streets. Centre stage is Truro’s impressive gothic revival cathedral that towers over the town. In its shadow, a warren of back streets are home to a thriving café and bar scene, plus dozens of independent traders selling all you need from fresh fashion and cool surf wear to locally made bread and Cornish cheeses.


The surf centre of Europe, Newquay is one of the nation's favourite seaside resorts. It’s got the laid back atmosphere you’d expect from a town perched on Cornwall's Atlantic cliffs and is bordered by seven miles of glorious golden sandy beaches. 

St. Austell

The curve of St Austell Bay with its sandy beaches is a haven for watersports and family holidays. The white peaks of the China Clay industry overlook the market town, Cornwall's largest town dating back to the 13th century. Situated about a mile from the coast, it’s within easy reach of the world-famous Eden Project and Lost Gardens of Heligan.

The Eden Project

With a worldwide reputation, the award-winning Eden Project is more than just a huge, undercover tropical garden – it’s a fascinating insight into the story of mankind's dependence on plant life. A mindblowing visitor attraction that also hosts a wealth of great live music and culture events, Eden is also fast-becoming a unique resource for education and knowledge towards a sustainable future.

Find out more about Cornwall and its attractions: