If you have the flexibility to do so, it is a good idea to look at institutions over a wide area in order to find the university or college and course which suits you best.
Even if you are tied to a particular region, in many areas there will be a choice of universities and colleges within reasonable travelling distance. If you need to be home-based, and want to apply for a highly competitive course, you may also wish to research some alternatives offered by other institutions in the area. If you are limited to a single local university or college, you may want to look at the full range of courses it offers to see if there is something which appeals that you did not originally consider.
The coverage of the UK by universities and colleges is patchy and there are some regions, particularly rural areas, where there is relatively little higher education provision. Increasingly, however, higher education courses, or at least segments of them, are available in further education colleges.
The advantage is that you can take higher education courses close to home, but the disadvantage is that you will lose some of the benefits of studying in a higher education environment.
If you are more mobile, you will obviously have a greater choice from which to consider the university or college most suitable for you. Applying without having set foot in an institution is not a good idea, so take every opportunity to visit places that interest you. To do this, you may find open days helpful.