I've been asked to recommend colleges with good writing programs in the US and UK. I know of a few in the US but I haven't a clue about the UK. If you know of a good one I can add to the list, please feel free to let us know in the comments.
I asked a friend who is plugged into the academic scene. He recommended checking out these lists:
Poets & Writers List – most people are talking about this list these days
Atlantic List - much–talked about list from a few years ago
List of underrated programs
I can comment on a few schools, in no particular order:
University of Iowa – excellent, world-famous program. Their students and faculty have won a jaw-dropping number of Pulitzer Prizes in literature. Small, midwestern town with a surprisingly diverse selection of restaurants. The Iowa City library has the best collection of graphic novels I've ever seen. :) Samantha Chang, who heads the Iowa Writers Workshop, is Asian, and James McPherson, a Pulitzer Prize winner and long-time faculty member, is African American. I mention this in case diversity of faculty is important to you.
University of California, Irvine – great reputation, great weather, near beautiful southern California beaches. Enormous campus. Lots of expensive cars and hot looking men. :)
Stanford – Stanford does not have an MFA program so they're normally not on the list of schools with great writing programs. However, they do have the Stegner Fellowship, which is a ridiculously exclusive program. I believe that the Stegner Fellows teach undergrad classes and so do the Stegner faculty. Nancy Packard used to head the Stegner program. She has been on the Pulitzer committee multiple times. She's a wonderful instructor. I think she may still be teaching but am not sure. World-class combination of great weather paired with brilliant, nice people in Silicon Valley.
Harvard – I suspect they don't have an MFA program and so are probably not listed in writing program lists. But a few years ago, they hired Bret Anthony Johnston as the Director of Creative Writing. He is hands-down the best craft instructor I have ever had. And I've had a lot of great instructors. He can tell it to you in a clear, organized fashion—this is how you write a good story. He lays it out step-by-step. Very, very rare in the world of writing. It's all stuff you can and will use. He's a total rock star among writing instructors.
Chatham University – I'm listing this university simply because of an instructor I had at a workshop—Marc Nieson. He is a faculty member at Chatham. If Bret Anthony Johnston is a rock star among writing instructors, Marc Nieson is a magician. He can teach something no one else in my experience even attempts to do. He teaches the ART of writing. Say you read two stories, both well-written. You forget one the next day. The other, you can feel the emotional impact of it for days, weeks, years. If anyone can teach you how to take your story from the first type to the second type, it's Marc Nieson. You'll have to learn the basics elsewhere and if you're early in your writing learning curve, you probably won't appreciate what he has to offer. When you're ready for this kind of instruction, though, he is a phenomenal, brilliant instructor. You'll leave his class thinking about emotional resonance and the sight, sound and smell of an emotion. He'll stretch your understanding of writing in ways you didn't even know existed.