Top 4 most innovative UK cities to study at
The university city of Cambridge, one of the most innovative cities in the world. Source: Shutterstock

To study in the UK is to study in one of the most innovative countries in the world.

Did you know that the toothbrush was invented in the UK? It’s just one of the many British inventions that the country is famous for, alongside the lawnmower, thermos flask, steam engine, soda, and even photography.

Once the biggest superpower in the world, the UK is known for its innovative history. Today, it is still a tech-driven nation, with a rising number of vibrant cities that foster ingenious and novel ideas.

Studying in these cities not only give you a global perspective but also teach you how to think outside the box and develop skills like agility and problem-solving.

You can also apply for internships or jobs with tech companies and start-ups in these cities to gain valuable work experience.

WorldAtlas has identified the most innovative cities in the UK based on the number of patents filed per 100,000 people. London is surprisingly not on the list (gasp!) but cities with academic institutions are — here are the top five most innovative cities to study in the UK.


As the home of Cambridge University, one of the top institutions globally known for high academic standards and a long list of iconic alumni that include Charles Darwin and Alan Turing, it’s no wonder that this city tops the list.

This city has a long-standing reputation for life-changing inventions like the telescope and IVF.  According to WorldAtlas, recently published numbers show that there are 341 patents registered per 100,000 people, which is more than double that of the second most innovative city in the UK.

A vibrant hub of engineering and innovation companies located in Cambridge that boost patent numbers significantly.


study in UK

A view of the Coventry Canal Bridge. Source: Shutterstock

Located approximately two hours’ drive away from London, Coventry is the birthplace of many famous inventions like traffic signals, dump trucks, and the very first tank.

Two highly-ranked universities are located here: Coventry University and Warwick University. Academics here focus heavily on engineering, manufacturing, and digital studies, leading to a culture of innovation in the city.

There are approximately 118 patents filed in the city per 100,000 people filed yearly, according to WorldAtlas.



Oxford is one of the most innovative cities in the UK. Source: Glyn Kirk/AFP

Like Cambridge, this city’s innovative culture draws from being home to a historic university — Oxford University — and a thriving city in itself.

Some of the most famous innovations that were born in Oxford include infrared remote sensing and the structure of penicillin.

WorldAtlas notes that although there are fewer patents filed here, it doesn’t mean that a progressive culture doesn’t exist in Oxford.

A high number of authors, poets, actors, and politicians come from Oxford – who may not file patents but just as cutting-edge in their own right.


study in UK

Original Rolls Royce factory and sign in Derby. Source: Shutterstock

Derby is another innovative city to study in the UK, with 98 patents per 100,000 residents filed in 2015.

About two and a half-hour driving distance from London, the city is the birthplace of one of the most popular video game characters: Lara Croft. The Tomb Raider character was first designed in the 1990s at the Core Design Studios in Derby.

As one of the birthplaces of the Industrial Revolution, it’s where some of the country’s first factories set up shop, which kicked off its long history of development and manufacturing.

The city is also a centre for advanced transport manufacturing — the world’s second-largest aero-engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce calls Derby home.

The University of Derby is located here, a modern and high-quality university that emphasises on real-world learning experiences for students.

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