Revealed: Russell Group universities dominate top 10 most instagrammable unis

Instagram has become the visual voice of a generation. Amongst the Gen Z age group (18-24) 87% use social media, with 93% using Instagram according to Sproutsocial. And universities are a popular subject on the photo-sharing platform.


It has emerged that the University of Oxford is the most Instagrammable university with 326,439 hashtagged posts. A trend also surfaced showing  Russell Group universities dominated the top 10.

The analysis was conducted by international  education provider Oxford Royale Academy. 123 UK universities were measured by how many times they had been hashtagged on a post on Instagram.

William Humphreys, CEO & Founder of Oxford Royale said:

“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.”   

  Let’s look at the top 10.

Top Ten 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 

The Most Instagrammable University

It is perhaps unsurprising that Oxford tops the ranks. There is a multitude of reasons that Oxford university is tagged more times than any of the universities in the UK. First and foremost data reveals it is routinely recognised as the best university in the UK and even one of the best in the world. In this study, it beats off rivals – the University of Cambridge, by more than 100,000 hashtag posts.

This elite establishment has helped shape some of the greatest minds in the world. Little wonder students will flood their Insta feed with many photos about the prestigious university. After all, even being accepted into the leading university in the world is an exceptional achievement.

Joining the ranks of the famous institution’s tremendous list of alumni entitles them to bragging rights. Notable figures include:

  • J. R. R. Tolkien
  • Lewis Carroll
  • Richard Dawkins
  • Christopher Hitchens
  • T. S. Eliot

The marvellous architecture and rich history of the city certainly give students plenty of picturesque photo opportunities. Buildings such as the city’s castle date back to the 11th century. Many more world-renowned buildings are part of the university itself including:

  • Christ Church College
  • Radcliffe Camera
  • Radcliffe Observatory
  • Divinity School
  • New College
  • Sheldonian Theatre

Many of these buildings are known for their role in recent TV shows and films. Perhaps most notably many of these buildings have been used in the filming of the Harry Potter franchise – beloved across the world. A slew of films have featured the grounds of the university. This gives pupils and film fans across the globe the chance to post away on Instagram, with re-creations of their favourite scenes.

The University of Cambridge is the second most Instagrammable university

The University of Cambridge is officially one of the most instagrammable universities in the UK coming in second place on the list of most instagrammable universities. So why is Cambridge home to one of the most Insta worthy universities? Firstly it is largely recognised as the second-best university in the UK – certainly a uni choice to be proud of.

Cambridge perhaps has the most impressive list of alumni with certified geniuses such as:

  • Stephen Hawking
  • Isaac Newton
  • Charles Darwin
  • Alan Turing

This is just a small handful of notable ex-students that new students and fans can celebrate via Instagram posts.

Also Read: Top Tips for a Successful Professional Services Marketing Plan

As the second oldest university in the UK it is not surprising that Cambridge offers a vast array of photo opportunities. There are 31 history-laden colleges to use as the backdrop for Instagram posts. This includes:

  • King’s College and King’s College Chapel
  • Trinity College
  • Pembroke College
  • Corpus Christi College
  • St. John’s College
  • Queens’ College and the Mathematical Bridge
  • Cambridge University Botanic Garden
  • Peterhouse College

Much like its educational rival the university has been used in an impressive list of films. Recently Cambridge’s most notable student (Stephen Hawking) was celebrated in The Theory of Everything.

Of course, the grounds of Cambridge University were used to help tell the story of his life. The location was also used in films like Chariots of Fire among a list of others.

The rest of the top 10 most Insta worthy universities

Despite its size and population, London only had one university in the top 10. London School of Economics and Political Science had 192,000 hashtagged posts on Instagram.

The University of the West of England Bristol was fourth overall and one of two former polytechnics in the top 10. UWE Bristol had 103,000 hashtagged posts and was the last university to gain six digits.

Mid-England provided a respectable showing as Coventry uni and the University of Birmingham placed fifth and sixth with 96,978 and 93,578 posts respectively.

The University of Glasgow ranks seventh on the list and is the only Scottish university to break the top 10 with 92,624 posts. This is despite St Andrew’s reputation as one of the best universities in the UK. This is perhaps due to its geographical location. Although the seaside town of St Andrews is beautiful, with plenty of picturesque scenery, and architecture, it only has a population of around 18,000. Tiny in comparison to Scotland’s largest city, Glasgow.

The northeast of England is represented by Newcastle University. This was the most Instagram-worthy university in the area with 83,466 hashtagged posts. The University of Leeds was the only Yorkshire institution to feature in the top 10. The University of Leeds had 81,397 tagged posts.

The University of Manchester completes the full ranking with 76,129 tagged posts.

An impressive 80% of the top 10 most Instagrammable Universities are part of the Russell Group. Sadly however some universities, like Leeds Trinity and the Royal Agricultural University had no Instagram presence at all with zero tagged posts.


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