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The Best Universities For Sports Clubs & Societies

students exercise in field

With students starting or returning to their studies across the nation, PureGym has analysed the amount of sporting clubs and societies at each of the top 100 ranked universities in the United Kingdom. 

Lancaster University in the North West of England and the University of Oxford in central England ranked joint first, offering students an impressive 81 sporting options at each of their campuses. 

Oxford, synonymous with rowing, offers clubs for everything from football to polo and ultimate frisbee, while Lancaster prides itself on equal variety and facilities, with the likes of a barbell society for students interested in their strength training. 

As societies and sports clubs play such a key role in university life, which many students missed out on during the COVID-19 pandemic, PureGym researchers wanted to help current and prospective students that love sport, to easily view how much sporting choice they’ll have at their chosen place of study.

Both clubs and societies listed on each university’s website were featured, with numbers ranging from the highest (81) to just three, that are on offer at Leeds Arts University. 

The Universities with the Highest Number of Sports Clubs & Societies 

 University # of Sports Teams 
1. Lancaster University 81 
1. Oxford University 81 
2. University of Bristol 78 
3. University of Nottingham 76 
4. University of Cambridge 75 
5. University College London 74 
6. Cardiff University 73 
7. King’s College London 71 
8. University of Aberdeen 66 
8. Queen Mary University of London 66 
8. Ulster University 66 
9. Imperial College London 64 
9. University of York 64 
9. University of Warwick 64 
9. University of Edinburgh 64 
10. University of Leeds 63 

in order to give the full picture, as student enrollment differs widely at universities across the United Kingdom, PureGym also looked at which universities rank top when taking into account the number of clubs available per student. 

While the University of Oxford might offer the broadest amount of choice for students, it’s actually Falmouth University in Cornwall that tops the podium when it comes to having the most clubs per student enrolled.

Lancaster University proves its strong sporting credentials, however, again ranking favourably for sports societies per student, in addition to total options.

Other universities where sporting clubs and societies may be less over-subscribed include Bangor University and Aberystwyth in Wales and the University of Aberdeen. 

The Universities with the Highest Number of Sports Clubs & Societies Per Student 

  1. Falmouth University 
  1. St George’s University of London 
  1. Aberystwyth University 
  1. Bangor University 
  1. Abertay University 
  1. Lancaster University 
  1. University of St Andrews 
  1. University of Aberdeen 
  1. York St John University 
  1. University of Stirling 

Stephen Rowe, Chief Marketing Officer at PureGym commented, “Alongside lectures and a busy social life, joining societies and clubs that match up with your interests is a big part of being a university student. 

And more and more, we’re seeing young Brits looking to these clubs as a way to keep fit or enjoy their favourite sport during term time. 

With students returning post-pandemic, it felt like the perfect time to delve into which universities are actually offering students the biggest amount of choice when it comes to sport and fitness. 

Being active plays an important part in helping foster good physical and mental wellbeing, and finding a sport you enjoy as a student can help to build a long-lasting healthy lifestyle – not to mention keeping you in excellent shape to keep up with the demands of a student lifestyle. 

With almost 300 gyms spread across the UK and close to many campuses too, we also look forward to welcoming some of these students to a PureGym near them!” 

For further information on the study and the universities featured, visit: 

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