I was talking to a friend who was also attending for the first time, about the different presentations we saw and what we generally thought about the conference. I really enjoyed my time there, but after our conversation, I started to think about how good Develop was compared to the other conferences I've attended. I'm no way an expert critic on conferences but I have attended at least one each year for the last few years, from small regional sized conferences to the largest in the world. Develop is defiantly up near the top of the list for me, it doesn't beat GDC in my mind but it is the best conference I've attended in the UK. In fairness I think trying to compare Develop to GDC is a little unfair, just on the scale alone GDC this year saw 26,000 attendees.
Finally, I would say to anyone who hasn't gone to Develop and is thinking about going to a conference, especially if you are in the UK, I would make sure it is on your list of considerations. It doesn't matter if you are a student or from the smallest indie studio to the largest game studio, Develop has a whole range of good stuff to offer.