A new study has found that the University of Oxford is the most Instagrammable UK university.


International education provider Oxford Royale analysed every one of the 132 UK universities based on how many hashtags they had on Instagram. By gathering the Instagram data, it then gave them a measure of which of the UK’s universities are the most Instagrammable. That is to say, which of the universities are the most posted about on Instagram.


The University of Oxford came top of the list as the most Instagrammable university, with 326,439 posts on the social media platform. This put the world-famous university in a resounding first place as their overall post number was over 100,000 more tan the second-placed university and more than four times higher than the bottom-ranked university.

As one of the oldest universities in the world, set amidst the instantly recognizable dreaming spires, and where much of the Harry Potter films were filmed, Oxford is an unsurprising entry at number one. As well as the many students that would be proud to post about Oxford university if they study there, it is also likely helped along by the near 7 million tourists that visit each year.

In second place is Oxford’s arch-rivals the University of Cambridge, which has 223,484 Instagram posts. Cambridge is the quieter of the two cities, though it is not short of its own rich academic history. The two renowned institutions are collectively known as Oxbridge and have over half a million Instagram posts between them.

In third place on the list of the UK’s most Instagrammable universities is the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). The LSE had 192,000 posts on Instagram and is the only London university to make the top ten list.

The University of West England (UWE) came fourth on the list, with 103,000 Instagram posts referring to the Bristol-based university. UWE is also the highest-ranked former polytechnic, which is a name given to universities that were predominantly formed in the 1960’s as a push to expand tertiary education, especially in the STEM fields.

UWE is only one of two former polytechnic universities that made the list, with the other being Coventry University. Coventry University came fifth on the list as the midlands institution had 96,978 Instagram posts posted about it. Coventry University is also the fourth-largest university in the country, with nearly 40,000 students in total.

In sixth place was another midlands university, the University of Birmingham. Birmingham was only just behind Coventry and had 93,578 posts in total.

The highest-ranking Scottish university is the University of Glasgow, which is in seventh place on the list. Glasgow has 92,624 posts on Instagram, which puts it way ahead of its Scottish rivals the University of Edinburgh and the University of St Andrews, which are ranked 16th (with 57,282 posts) and 58th (with 22,808 posts) respectively.


In eighth place is Newcastle University. The northeast University had 83,466 posts on Instagram overall. Shortly following in ninth place, is the University of Leeds, with 81,397 posts. Leeds is the only Yorkshire university to feature in the top ten, with York, Hull, and Sheffield being the biggest names to miss out.

In tenth place, rounding off the list is the University of Manchester. With over 40,000 students, the northwest university is the biggest on the list and the third biggest in the country. Only the Open University and Univesity College London have more students overall. In total, Manchester had 76,129 posts on Instagram, placing it tenth on the list of most Instagrammable universities in the UK.

80% of the top 10 most Instagrammable universities are part of the Russell Group, which is comprised of the top 24 research institutions in the country. Some universities have not been tagged on Instagram at all, such as Royal Agricultural University or Leeds Trinity University.

William Humphreys, CEO & Founder, Oxford Royale Academy (ORA) commented on the findings: “After the pandemic, with students having a difficult time studying at home or during the lockdown, returning to a beautiful campus is likely to boost spirits and create an ideal atmosphere for these young people’s development. This generation of students has grown up with social media as an integral part of their lives, so it is interesting to look at how universities rank outside of the traditional academic factors.”

The Top 10 Most Instagrammable Universities

Rank University Instagram # posts
1 University of Oxford 326,439
2 University of Cambridge 223,484
3 London School of Economics and Political Science 192,000
4 UWE Bristol 103,000
5 Coventry University 96,978
6 University of Birmingham 93,578
7 University of Glasgow 92,624
8 Newcastle University 83,466
9 University of Leeds 81,397
10 University of Manchester 76,129

What does it mean to be Instagrammable?

With over 1.2 billion users worldwide, Instagram is fast becoming a contender to be the most popular social media platform in the world. Instagram is mainly comprised of photo posting and graphics, although there are some images with words, poems, and quotations on them too.

So how does a university become Instagrammable?

For something to be Instagrammable, the poster must want to share their image or an experience associated with an image with the world. It is, therefore, perhaps not surprising that three of the top five universities on our list – the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge, and the LSE – are amongst the most highly regarded educational institutions in the world, as students at such esteemed institutions are proud to share their experiences with their followers.

There is also the added factor that Oxford, Cambridge, and London receive many millions of tourists each year. These tourists are also very likely to post pictures of their visits to these places (which may include the universities in question) on their Instagram, making the universities all the more Instagrammable.

It is perhaps also not surprising that fifth-placed Coventry University is the fourth biggest university in the UK. As well as being a famous institution, another simple way for a university to become more Instagrammable is to simply have more students.

The analysis in this article was conducted by Oxford Royale, a summer school company that allows students to be taught by unique and diverse faculty from Oxbridge academics, Ivy League lecturers, and industry professionals.