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Safest cities in the UK for international students

safest cities in the UK
The UK is a popular study abroad destination but in recent years the crime rate has increase. Source: Mat Hayward / AFP

Living in the safest cities in the UK brings more than just a feeling of security. We can study better, travel more, go out often and more — everything to make the most of our time in one of the greatest countries in the world.

In 2021-22, the crime rate in the UK was 79.52 per 1,000 people, according to CrimeRate, a data analysis and GIS project dedicated to uncovering crime trends in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

While this figure may seem like a lot, these could include crimes that do not affect your safety. All universities in the UK would likely have safety features such as round-the-clock security to CCTV surveillance as well.

But there are some cities that are considered safer than others. Bear in mind that “safety” here isn’t just about how likely you are to be a victim of violent crime. Studying in the safest cities in the UK also means getting better healthcare or fewer risks of getting hacked online.

Here is a list of the four safest cities in the UK for international students to live and study: 

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The crime rate in the UK was 79.52 per 1,000 people in 2021–22. Source: Stephane De Sakutin / AFP

1. Liverpool, England

The maritime city of Liverpool is filled with history and culture. As the home of the famous band, The Beatles, the city’s art and music scenes are still booming, and there’s always plenty to do.

The city is also home to one of the top public universities in the UK and the world. The University of Liverpool ranked 146th in the list of Best Global Universities.

Though previously receiving a bad reputation in terms of safety, Liverpool has improved and proven to be one of the safest cities in the UK in recent years.

With over 35,000 CCTV cameras installed, the most of any major UK city, the scale of surveillance ensures that many criminals are deterred. 

Liverpool’s crime rate is also low, with just over 59,000 reported annually, compared to the UK’s average of 71,000

2. Bath, England

Located in Somerset, England, Bath is one of the most popular cities in the UK. Filled with rich British history to be explored, it is a popular tourist destination.

The large city is best known for the ancient Roman Baths that in 1987 were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Royal architecture, scenic parks and a vibrant array of cafes and bars add to the city’s charm.

Bath has been ranked as Somerset’s safest city with a crime rate that is lower than the county of Somerset in the southwest as a whole.

Although the city is not exempt from crime, Bath has a low crime rate, equivalent to just 780 per 100,000 when taking into account burglary, robbery, and violent crimes.

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Edinburgh is the second most populated city in Scotland and one of the safest cities in the UK. Source: Lesley Martin / AFP

3. Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburg, the capital of Scotland and one of the largest cities in the UK, is better known as the city where the Harry Potter books were written.

It is a wonderful city, full of great life and excitement, and is widely regarded as one of Britain’s most welcoming places. The second largest city in Scotland after Glasgow, Edinburgh currently has a population of 548,000.

Three universities call this city home: Edinburgh Napier University, University of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt University.

In Edinburgh, only 16% of residents say they have ever experienced crime and 90% say they are perfectly happy.

4. Plymouth, England

Located in the South West of England is the city of Plymouth. Known as one of England’s ocean cities, Plymouth has been a centre of shipping for centuries. Originally for the transport of trade and commercial shipping, today it is used as a base for the Royal Navy.

With a population of 241,484, the city is the 30th most populated area in the UK and the second-largest city in the South West after Bristol.

It is home to five universities: the University of Plymouth, City College Plymouth, Arts University Plymouth, Plymouth Marjon University and Plymouth University International College.

In 2022, Plymouth has once again been named one of the safest cities in the UK to enjoy a night out in a pub or club. The Purple Flag accreditation assesses the way the city’s evening-and-night-time economy (ENTE) is managed. It previously won in 2020.