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Written by Masnuna, SALC Student Experience Intern



Unveiling comfort: Discovering cosy spaces found throughout the campus and a sneaky one off-campus.

When it comes to university life, finding your personal hideaway from the hustle and bustle can be like finding a needle in a haystack. But fear not, fellow students of the University of Manchester, for we’re here to spill the beans on the best-kept secrets – the cosy spaces that’ll make you want to ditch the crowded cafes and claim your spot of comfort.


1. University Place Atrium

The Uni Place Atrium is a big indoor space that’s all about good vibes and bringing people together. It’s like a mix of modern and cozy, with plenty of comfy spots to sit and chill. You’ve got natural light streaming in, making it a perfect spot to catch up with friends, study, or just soak in the atmosphere.

It’s not only a hangout spot – it’s also the center of action in the University Place building. From lectures and meetings to exhibitions and performances, the atrium is like a stage for all kinds of cool events. 

The space is also home to the Careers Service, the International Programmes Office (formerly known as Study Abroad) and the Student Support & Advice Team who have teamed up to provide a student support network just for you!


Find the atrium on the first floor of University Place, building number 37 on the campus map.


Whether you’re there for some serious learning or just to experience the friendly buzz, enjoy your time soaking up the good vibes!


2. John Rylands

Now some of you may know this magnificent library is not on campus. It’s actually located in Manchester’s busy Deansgate but it just had to be included! 

John Ryands is what you would call a “bookworm’s paradise”. If you haven’t heard of this gem, you’ve been missing out big time. Picture this: vintage vibes, old-school chandeliers, and shelves packed with tomes that have seen more than your great-grandma. The John Rylands Library Reading Room is more than just a place to study; it’s like entering a time machine that transports you to a world where learning feels oh-so-sophisticated. Grab your favourite book, curl up in a plush chair, and feel the history seep into your pores.


3. Alan Gilbert Learning Commons (AGLC or more commonly known as, the Ali G)

Alright, let’s be real – sometimes, you’re productive with a group of friends and sometimes you’re better off flying solo. That’s where Ali G swoops in. It’s more like a modern co-working space rather than a traditional library… since it has no books! It’s a 4-story computer cluster – at least that’s how I see it.

With bookable individual and group study rooms, brainstorm-worthy whiteboards for those “Eureka!” moments with your study buddies and a large display screen, this place is equipped with anything you’ll need for those fruitful study sessions. 


This is an image of one of the 30 group study rooms in Ali G.


Besides the café, the sleeping pod on the 2nd floor and the showers (for those exam days where some people practically start living here), the best thing is that it’s open 24/7 during term time. With all these features, it’s safe to call Ali G the “ultimate study hangout”. Cosy? Check. Collaborative? Double-check.


4. Samuel Alexander Building – or more commonly called, Sam Alex

As you may have assumed, it is named after Samuel Alexander, a philosopher who was one of the university’s early professors and played a crucial role in its development.

The building itself is associated with the Faculty of Humanities. It houses the School of Arts, Languages, and Cultures (SALC), which encompasses disciplines such as languages, literature, linguistics and cultural studies.

Onto the study spaces! Sam Alex offers student study spaces (also known as common rooms) along with its academic and administrative facilities. You can use these spaces to focus on coursework, research, and assignments or even use it to get away from your academic tasks and simply relax. 


Sam Alex was originally named the Faculty of Arts Building.


All common rooms have sofas to relax on – who doesn’t love comfy seating? They are also equipped with microwaves and fridges (not all student spaces on campus have fridges!) so you can store/make your food on campus. This is especially beneficial for our commuter students for whom these spaces are there to serve as a home away from home. 

Oh, and if you’re a bookworm, keep an eye out for free books you can take from the study spaces. Can’t guarantee they will help you with your degree but they are fascinating nonetheless. 


5. Students’ Union

Last on our list is the Students’ Union (SU). The SU is like the epicentre of student life at the University. It’s basically the hub where all the fun, support, and student involvement comes together in one big awesome package. 

I will leave it up to you to explore the SU but here’s some places that are great to hang out in. The Hive (1st floor) and The Nest (ground floor) are 2 open seating areas – I personally think the first one is the best!

So, grab a coffee, chill with your mates and join clubs and societies that cover everything from acapella to skydiving (yes, literally that extreme). The SU’s job is to make sure boredom is banished from campus.

But it’s not all about the fun and games. The Union also has your back when it comes to serious stuff. They’re there to lend an ear and a helping hand if you’re having a tough time with your studies or life in general. Think of them as your student support superheroes. 

One of the ways they have supported UoM students is by working with the university to bring in the ‘cosy campus’ scheme. Several places across campus have been transformed to bring in a more relaxed environment, with hot water and microwave stations, washing up facilities and more. 

Here are some of the spaces below:

  • University Place Drum, open 9am-9pm
  • Dover Street Building Ex Café and G45, open 9am-6pm
  • MECD Ground Floor, open 9-6pm and up to 8pm during exam time
  • Main Library, open 8am-12am Monday to Friday and 9am-12am Saturday and Sunday

Our cost of living offer is constantly evolving so there may be more in the future!


So there you have it – a sneak peek into the cosy campus trail. This is by no means an exhaustive list of cosy spaces on campus and the University of Manchester campus is a goldmine of comfort just waiting for you to explore. So grab your books, your friends, or just your own thoughts, and get ready to cosy up in style. Your oasis of comfort awaits!