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Student cities

Durham: Student City Guide

There are so many great things to do in Durham. Here's the Durham student city guide to help you make the most of living in the city on a budget.

Durham

Credit: Tanasut Chindasuthi – Shutterstock

Welcome to our new 'Student City Guide' series. We aim to fill in the gaps in your local knowledge as well as enlighten you on the best places to go in every student city and do it on a tight budget.

This article in the series is all about Durham University and the surrounding area. It is a comprehensive guide into the local attractions and services hot spots for students.

Note: Figures quoted are correct at the time of writing.

Money matters

Examples of what students can expect to pay in Durham:

Pint of Lager: £2 +
Double vodka & mixer: £2 +
Average Rent: £85 per week
Single bus ticket to uni: £1.50

Keep reading below for more detailed info on prices.

Universities and colleges

  • Durham University – 0191 334 2000
  • Durham is made up of 17 colleges and these colleges are where you will live for the first year and possibly longer.

Transport

For students getting to University in Durham, the bus or walking are the best options. But this will depend on where you are living.

Durham is not only easy to navigate around, but for a small city, there are also many transport links to areas all around the country.

Buses

Two friends on a bus looking at phone

Credit: Dusan Petkovic – Shutterstock

In Durham the main bus company is Arriva. Go North East also offers a great service but mainly to areas away from the city centre.

The bus network in Durham covers almost everywhere that you may want to go and also runs relatively frequently.

A single fare in Durham is around £1.50. A return ticket is also available on an Arriva bus and will set you back around £2.80. The Arriva website states that it is easier for the driver if you have the correct change available.

If these fares appear to be too much then there are a few ways to save yourself some money on travel throughout the year, for instance the 4-week saver pass.

There is a Durham student saver ticket that lasts for the whole academic year and allows you to travel in the city of Durham. The savings you could make if you take the bus just two times a day are well worth it.

For long-distance travel by coach or bus, many students choose to take the  National Express coaches.

Trains

The train station is just a short walk from the city centre and it's cheap on the Cathedral Bus to get there. It has links all over the country to places like London, Newcastle and Manchester so getting home to your family will be no problem.

If you can, make sure you book your train ticket in advance online for big savings at First TransPennine Express.

Cycling

bikes in a row line with mudguards on tyres

Credit: B. Forenius – Shutterstock

Durham has some amazing scenery and beautiful hotspots that are great for cycling to and around. Cycling to university is always one of the best and cheapest options. Not to forget the health benefits.

If you're looking online, you can get a good deal on a bike delivered to your door from Hargroves Cycles.

Congestion charge

Durham has a small road system as it has kept most of its historic past. This means that the council have enforced a congestion charge for cars in the city centre. For up-to-date information about public transport in Durham, have a look at the Durham City Council Website.

Best student nightclubs

lines of work in nightclubs

It has to be said that the city of Durham does not boast the best clubs or student nights in the country. In fact, there is very little to choose from.

However, there are still a few clubs that offer some great student deals and will help you to have a great night with a variety of genres.

If you are not so keen on the selection then you would be happy to know that Newcastle is just a 15-minute train ride away. To add to this, it is £35 in a taxi if you miss the last train and at the weekends there is a night bus that allows you to travel home after a night out.

So, here is a list of the clubs in Durham and what they have to offer.

Loveshack – Located in the Walkergate Complex, Loveshack offers a great student night out. It even has a VW camper can to chill in. The main types of music you can expect to hear here are R'n'B and dance but on Mondays, there is a more electronic vibe with a mix of dubstep. Double Vodka and mixer from as little as £2 and entry costs the same.

Studio/Loft – This club has two self-contained floors and is a great venue for a boogie. On Thursday there is a special night that plays all your favourite rap, R'n'B and Hip-Hop. On Tuesdays, they have a 50p night. 50p for entry and 50p for selected drinks.

Klute – Rumour has it that Klute is the worst nightclub in Britain. However, don't let this put you off as it is VERY popular with students. It is a cheesy night out but the value for money is brilliant. You can get free entry as a student and you are pretty much guaranteed that all the party-goers are students too. Not to mention the ridiculous quad bulls on offer.

Look out for when your college is holding their Klute night as it will mean that entry is even cheaper for you!

Revolver @ DSU – You can have a great night at Durham Student's Union. Most notably, on Saturdays, there is a night called Revolver. Revolver has all the latest Indie tunes and is the best place for Indie and rock music in Durham.

Walkabout – There is a Walkabout in Durham.

Fishtank – Fishtank offers the latest in live music and performances in the city of Durham. It's a great venue for students to hang out as it has a laid back feel to it. The music is generally indie or alternative styles.

Eating out

eating out on a budget

There is no doubt that you will eat out at least once when you visit Durham. There is a good selection of restaurants in the city with a few recognisable chains dotted about. However, it is nice to try something a bit different from time to time.

Here are our top restaurants for students located in and around Durham. There are some good deals and eating out shouldn't be too expensive.

  • Pan Din Thai – Although it can be a little bit pricey, Pad Din Thai offers some of the best Thai food on offer in Durham.
  • El Greco – If you are a fan of Greek food then this is definitely the place for you. There is a set meal of three courses for under £10 which is a bargain. A great place for dates or eating out with the family.
  • Brewers Fayre – A hearty chain of English style pub restaurants that are great with mates and the family alike.
  • Tia's – There is a Chiquito's in Durham but Tia's is a bit different. The Mexican food on offer at Tia's is great for students and the cost will not break the bank.

Entertainment

On the face of things, Durham may appear to be a small and quiet city but there is plenty to do.

You have the choice of entertainment both in and around the city and you can even venture as far as Newcastle for the major attractions.

Bear in mind that Durham is a very scenic area. There is a lot to see in the way of heritage and scenery. It is a beautiful city which has so much to see.

Here are a few of our top picks for you to enjoy as a treat every now and then:

  • Durham Castle – Durham Castle is located right next to the University and is in fact home to 100 students from the University. It is great to visit for those students interested in the history of the city and guided tours are offered. It is completely free.
  • Durham Cathedral Hailed as one of the greatest Norman buildings in the UK, Durham Cathedral is another building of heritage in the city.
  • Durham University Botanic Gardens These beautiful botanic gardens are open to the public and students alike. The tickets can cost as little as £1.50 with a student discount.
  • Prince Bishop River Cruiser – You can take a cruise down the river in Durham's city centre. There is a special student evening cruise with a BBQ and disco. The only downside is that you have to get 140 other people to go with you. It is a good idea for societies.
  • Seasonal Attractions – There is plenty going on in Durham throughout the year. There is a Christmas market and lots going on at bonfire night. Look out for posters nearer to the date to see what is going on.

Health and fitness

man on treadmill

It's easy to keep fit in Durham as with most cities in the UK.

There are loads of gyms which offer student discounts and trials. However, the best option for students would be to do it for free. There are some great parks and trails that you can jog on.

If you enjoy swimming then Durham is great. There are swimming pools located all over the city offering great prices. Coxhoe leisure centre is a great example.

Student accommodation

New section! Find student letting agents in Durham.

Durham has student accommodation mostly in the centre of the city. This is great for students as it means easy access to most of what the city has to offer and the university.

It is a strong recommendation to stay in the centre of the city when you live in a student house for second and third year. It is not too busy or loud but everything is on your doorstep. You can save a lot of money by walking to university.

For student digs, average rent can range between £80 to over £100 a week, obviously depending on the location and quality of the house. Check out our guide to viewing a student house for extra tips when taking a look.

There are lots of students houses in Durham so you don't have to worry about finding somewhere to live.

If you haven't already, it's a great idea to start a student budget to help you manage your money.

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