• Birmingham

    Famous for its exuberant nightlife, vast shopping centres, cultural hotspots and historic landmarks. Birmingham is England's second-largest city, which suggests it's got everything that a student needs to have a good time!

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  • Bournemouth

    With 7 miles of beach, a pier and buzzing nightlife - what's not to love about this picturesque seaside town? Bournemouth also has a warmer than average UK climate - so you can really get your tan on during the summer months!

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    Residences

  • Bristol

    The city is brimming with vibrant cultural hotspots, a buzzing social scene and an overall chilled atmosphere. Renowned for its music and art scenes, and its many festivals, you can expect to have a jam-packed diary all year around.

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  • Cambridge

    This small historic town has plenty to offer including punting down the beautiful river Cam and visiting the many museums of Cambridge. But if the party scene is more your thing, there are also plenty of bars and clubs to cater towards your tastes.

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  • Cardiff

    It's easy to see why Cardiff is the capital of Wales with it's beautiful historic castle and revitalized waterfront. There's always something for students to enjoy, including visiting the quirky comic shops, art centre and weekly farmers markets.

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  • Edinburgh

    Edinburgh, the Scottish capital is home to the much-loved and enjoyed Edinburgh Fringe Festival. It also has many student hotspots including Princes street where you can find all the trendy student shops and classy bars.

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  • Exeter

    Exeter is a city of history, architecture, and culture, with an abundance of shopping opportunities and foodie hotspots thrown in for good measure. What's not to love about this student city?

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  • Lancaster

    Lancaster knows how to spoil you with numerous shops, restaurants, bars and clubs. The city also has many historical hotspots and posesses one of the longest canals in the UK, stretching 43 miles all the way through to Preston.

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  • Lincoln

    Lincoln offers an experience rich in history combined with independent boutique shopping. The city is packed with restaurants and student bars and is surrounded in beautiful countryside. It's obvious why students love Lincoln.

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  • Liverpool

    Liverpool has an abundance of things to offer students such as shopping, unique restaurants and entertainment - including live music. Liverpool also has a nightlife scene with many bars and clubs dotted over the city - you really are spoilt for choice!

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  • London

    It's easy to understand why students love London. The city is made accessible by the underground and has everything a student could possibly want from the Uk's best shopping, restaurants, parks and museums to some of the most unique bars and clubs.

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  • Newcastle

    Newcastle has lots to offer including its historic castle and bridges, restaurants, bars, clubs and extensive shopping - including 600 shops in the city. It's simple to understand why students love this city!

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  • Nottingham

    Nottingham is known for its role in the great Robin Hood legend and sandstone caves underneath the streets of the city. Nottingham also has a beautiful castle to explore along with many shops, restaurants, bars and clubs.

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    Residences

  • Plymouth

    What's not to love about Plymouth? The beautiful port city in Devon boasts an idyllic harbour, plenty of shopping areas, restaurants, bars and Barbican areas.

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    Residences

  • Portsmouth

    If you love the sea - Portsmouth is a great choice! From eating and drinking out to shopping and exploring the historical dockyard - there's always something to keep students entertained in Portsmouth.

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    Residences

  • Southampton

    Southampton is a bustling student city offering museums, music venues, art galleries, award winning parks and incredible shopping facilities. There are also plenty of student bars, clubs and a selection of eateries for you and your flatmates to try!

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A Weekend Less Ordinary in Scotland

As a mad athletics fan, I was over the moon to get tickets for two sessions at The Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

As the date grew closer, I decided to turn my trip into a mini break and base myself in Edinburgh so that I could get to see all the sights I had previously missed out on. On this occasion the timing could not have been better as my stay coincided with the beginning of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

My accommodation was at Canal Point, ideally located just a few minutes walk from the heart of Edinburgh. My studio flat was beautifully laid out, very comfortable and with a prime view of the fireworks courtesy of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo at Edinburgh Castle.

Thursday

On my first day, I decided to have a spot of lunch at the Grassmarket before heading off to Glasgow – less than an hour’s train ride away. St George’s Square was a hub of activity with the official Commonwealth Games shop, street entertainment and the iconic Big G. The great weather had brought everyone out to soak up the friendly atmosphere and a short train journey out of the city took me to Hampden Park for the athletics.

If you have never watched athletics live, you really should as it is very different from what is shown on TV. There are numerous events taking place at the same time, so you never know where to look. If you are lucky enough to get seats near the front, you may find yourself amongst the coaches and families of athletes also watching the action closely.

The quality of athletics on show did not disappoint, with the highly anticipated Mens 800m favourite David Rudisha beaten; David Weir winning yet another gold medal for England in the Mens 1500m and seeing England get three women successfully through the heats in the 200m. However it was the atmosphere that really made it special from the crowd singing the Proclaimers ‘500 miles’, to the reception Scot Eilidh Child got after her silver medal. The unity shown and appreciation for good athletics, regardless of who they competed for left me in eager anticipation for the Saturday night return to Hampden Park.

Friday

Friday was a day spent away from athletics and time for me to be a tourist. I needed a good breakfast to start the day off and so made a trip to my favourite café – Peter’s Yard in The Meadows – great food and a great spot for people watching. As any good tourist does, I got on a City Sightseeing bus and enjoyed the commentary as we slowly made our way round the city taking in sights such as Edinburgh CastleHolyrood Palace and The Royal Mile.

I then headed over to the high street to enjoy some of the street entertainment, which was buzzing with performers promoting their shows to the delighted and captivated audience. The centre of the festival is in Bristo Square which is home to the famous Underbelly. There I watched the Soweto Afro-Pop Opera, a joyful mix of motown, acapella and traditional South African songs that had the crowd dancing in the aisles.

With the sun out for the afternoon, I decided to head out of the city on a Magestic Tour Bus which goes out to the Ocean Terminal and Leith, taking in the Royal Botanic Gardens and the Royal Yacht Britannia. The last stop was St Andrew’s Square which had been transformed for the Festival with pop up bars and entertainment venues. I was quite happy to while away a couple of hours, having a drink and listening to great live music. Dinner was courtesy of Zizzi’s at the canal basin opposite Canal Point where you could still hear the music and audiences of the Festival venues.

Saturday

Saturday morning started with breakfast at Loudons in Fountainbridge – a popular spot with tourists, local families and students alike. Sadly the weather turned for the worse so I spent the best part of the day watching the Commonwealth Games on the big TV in the comfort of the Canal Point common room before heading back over to Glasgow. Where, despite the weather, everyone was very upbeat and it seemed that most Scottish men were wearing kilts, including the staff at the train stations.

The last night of the athletics and the anticipation of Usain Bolt made the atmosphere in Hampden Park electric. Sat 8 rows from the front, by the pole vault event made me feel like I was in the midst of the drama unfolding. The poor girls were struggling to keep warm and dry in the torrential rain, wrapping themselves in towels and blankets and seeking refuge in the stand with their coaches. Despite the event being delayed, the weather meant that only four girls managed a legal jump, which was a miracle since they were slipping all over the place and one girl even snapped her pole. The unlucky ones spent much of the night in tears, seeking comfort from each other and their coaches. Touchingly, the four home nation girls (three of which hadn’t made a successful jump), took a group bow to a standing ovation. This is the sort of action you just cant capture unless you are there in person.

The rest of the nights’ action passed in a blur with a series of outstanding performances despite the difficult conditions. Notably Jo Pavey’s gutsy 5000m run to secure a silver medal in front of a rapturous crowd and the relays where England won a medal in each of the four races. The man of the moment Usain Bolt stole the show, not only for his brilliance as a sprinter but the way in which he interacted with the crowd (right by me!) which raised the atmosphere another notch. That night, everyone waited for the Jamaican relay gold medalists to make their way slowly round the stadium on their lap of honour, happily signing autographs, stopping for selfies and posing in tartan memorabilia before reluctantly leaving the stadium, and the XX Commonwealth Games.

….Finally

There were so many special moments to mention and although the atmosphere made these games the most fun and exciting I have been to, it was by no means unusual for an athletics event. On a personal note, the weekend was very enlightening, who knew that you could have such a great time in two small cities, and in one weekend without even leaving Great Britain. Even without the Games, I will definitely be heading back to Edinburgh when the Fringe Festival is on to spend more time watching the excellent entertainment on offer and being part of the very special atmosphere. If you are a student in Edinburgh or heading there this September, you are very lucky indeed!

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