21 UK Universities on Instagram Worth Following

Fantastic images from the sector

August 30, 2016
Universities, higher education, and Instagram

The stats on Instagram are staggering. According to the latest numbers, 300 million people use Instagram on a daily basis. Currently, there are 95 million photos/videos posted each day on Instagram. That's a lot of people posting a lot of content.

Universities in the UK are all over Instagram and while this is just a small sampling of what's being posted/created/shared, here are 21 examples of accounts worth following:


1. Leeds Beckett University


With 499 posts and just over 6,000 followers, Leeds Beckett University's Instagram account features a lot of purple. This particular photograph looks like it could be the default wallpaper/background for the next iteration of Windows. What a lovely day that must have been in Leeds! Plus, it's always a nice move when a university cross-promotes their social media channels.


2. University of Sheffield


It rains in the UK. I know this is surprising to some of you as you may have noticed that a lot of UK university photos on Instagram always seem to show a perfectly sunny day. Well, I love this post from the University of Sheffield because it's honest. It rains in the UK and this photograph is beautiful. The contrast with the red car, leafy green tree, and the grey roadway make for a real depiction of daily life in Sheffield. With just under 17,000 followers, this is definitely an account to follow.


3. Loughborough University


While they can't necessarily use this on official marketing collateral, Loughborough University is basically saying: "Go to Loughborough University...get a degree, win a gold medal." They can definitely brag a bit though as they had the most gold medalists of any other UK university at the 2016 Olympic games.


4. University of Lincoln


The University of Lincoln's Instagram account is packed with pretty photographs. But, this video, initially released in 2011, still cracks me up. It's clear from a quick glance on their account that they definitely have a lot of swans.


5. University of Birmingham


A lot of the University of Birmingham's Instagram account images feature Old Joe. Their campus clocktower is so tall it barely fits inside of a square photograph. With more than 18,000 followers, the University of Birmingham receives significant interaction on every single one of their visually stunning Instagram posts.


6. Sheffield Hallam University


An eclectic mix of people, places, art, and sports, Sheffield Hallam University's Instagram account is all about variety. They do a great job of conveying the feel of Sheffield in their photos. Who knew there were so many elephants there?!


7. Lancaster University


Whoever runs the Instagram account for Lancaster University didn't take this photo. However, as a repost, it's gorgeous. In fact, if you take a quick spin through Lancaster University's Instagram, you'll notice that a lot of their photographs are reposts from other users. And, that's okay...it keeps things fresh and allows the community to share their best pics.


8. Durham University


They have a castle on campus and it is truly epic. However, Durham University's Instagram account is surprisingly light on castle pics. I do hope that their student does well on the Great British Bake Off! And, just because it's worth a look, here's a lovely photo of the cobbled streets as posted by the university.


9. University of St Andrews


The University of St Andrews was founded in the 15th century. Because they've been around for a long time, they have some amazing buildings on campus. From the looks of it, you could fall down, accidentally take a picture on campus, and it would always be beautiful and full of magnificent stonework.


10. University of Edinburgh


The University of Edinburgh's photo series of newly graduated student athletes is a nice contrast to their usual awesome campus photographs. Seriously, what a lovely place. Sign me up for a fresh batch of haggis, neeps & tatties.


11. University of Glasgow


The University of Glasgow does a great job with all of their social media channels. With more than 23,000 followers on Instagram, they post a lot of pretty pics. They even have proof that the sun does shine sometimes in Glasgow! Plus, those giant UofG letters are a smart branding move.


12. De Montfort University



A photo posted by DMU Leicester (@dmuleicester) on Aug 20, 2016 at 6:32pm PDT

Relatively "new" by UK standards, De Montfort University is all about growth and newness. Featuring their new building projects on Instagram is a great way to convey where they are going as a university. Whoever runs their Instagram account is always aware of social media trends (e.g. the Prisma app). And, they aren't afraid to try out one of Instagram's new features.*


13. Cardiff University



A photo posted by Cardiff University (@cardiffuni) on Jul 7, 2016 at 9:59am PDT

I love it when a university re-shares a captivating image. This photo is from 2012, but it's great to reintroduce it to a new audience. Plus, who doesn't like the Welsh flag?! Also, this image of graffiti on the side of an engineering building is particularly good.


14. University of Manchester


At almost 13,000 followers, the University of Manchester's Instagram account receives a lot of likes. And, just like a lot of UK university Instagram account, they have a photograph of bears (it must be a graduation thing). I clearly need to make a trip up to Manchester though as this image from the John Rylands Library is amazing!


15. Newcastle University


360 degree photos are still unique enough that they elicit a "wow" response. Newcastle University's Instagram account features Prisma app edited pics, 360 "bubble" shots, and a solid mix of campus imagery. Apparently, 13,000 followers is a magic number as Newcastle University is almost there...go ahead, give 'em a follow.


16. University of Warwick


Looks like the University of Warwick has a drone! With a nice bit of branding at the end of this particular video, the university's Instagrammer clearly shows their skills with video production/editing. I really enjoyed seeing all of the photographs of local wildlife. It is a nice contrast to a constant stream of campus buildings (not that there's anything wrong with that). By the way, are those giant handcuffs?


17. Oxford University


The University of Oxford has 115,000 followers on Instagram. They received more than 3,500 likes on this photograph of an ancient manuscript. This is the epitome of captivating content. Although, this picture of a cat named Teabag has more likes...Oxford University's Instagrammer can basically post whatever they want at any time and they will get a deluge of engagement. And, it's easy to see why that is the case.


18. Cambridge University


122,000 followers. Does any other university in the UK have more followers on Instagram? That's so many! They can post a pic of the side of a building and get 3,600 likes. However, browsing through their collection of images and one thing is abundantly clear: Cambridge University is a gorgeous place. However, let's be honest...doesn't it rain in Cambridge...at least once in a while?


19. Regent's University London


Regent's University London is located within a park in London. The campus is an oasis in a sea of concrete and stone. And, it rains there. It's best to let prospective students know the truth rather than always showcase sunny days. Plus, when the sun does shine, everything looks even better!


20. University of Bristol


There's a balloon festival in Bristol and Bristol University did the right thing in posting a lot of pretty balloon pictures on their Instagram account. They don't always post about balloons though. They do a great job of reposting pics (with attribution) from their community. However, when in doubt, always go back to the balloons. The Bristol University Hot Air Ballooning Society (yes, it's a real group) took second place in this year's inflation race.


21. London School of Economics


I love that the London School of Economics doesn't take itself too seriously. That doesn't mean that it isn't a serious university, but a sense of humour conveyed via social media can humanize a place. With 20,000 Instagram followers, LSE's account curates a wide array of interesting photos. And, a gigantic penguin seems to be a popular campus feature.


As there are many, many, many more universities in the UK who have outstanding Instagram accounts, I will most-likely create a follow-up "part 2" post. Stay tuned!


* Time will tell whether or not Instagram's new Stories feature will be as successful as the core functionality of the app. However, due to its similarity to Snapchat, the learning curve isn't steep and several universities are already experimenting with creating their own unique Instagram Stories.


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